April 3, 2020

Love in the Time of COVID- 19 : Wedding Planning During a Pandemic

Posted in: Planning Tips

I wanted to start my first blog post on my new website right- by following the golden rule and a pillar of my business values- helping others, serving my clients and treating people how I would want to be treated.  Wedding planning can be stressful enough, but wedding planning during a pandemic….?  My heart goes out to all the brides and grooms who are trying to figure it all out at this time.  

First, I want to say, ‘It’s going to be okay!” I promise you.  I know this for a fact.  Is this a crazy time?  Absolutely, there is no arguing that.  Does this really suck?  Uh, yeah, yes it does! 

I know many of you might be feeling like you’ve been cheated, “that this is supposed to be the happiest time of your life!”  But it still can be.  

la-toscana-florida-fort-meyers-bride-groom-elegant-wedding

In my experience, and in the words of the Queen Kelly Clarkson, “what doesn’t kill you make you stronger.”  I’m always not he hunt for the silver linings and I encourage you to search for them, too.  So once you’ve grieved and mourned and felt the feels, look around.  At this time, I be you spent more time with loved ones and with your fiancé.  You two will have to work together to problem solve and maybe even make things better for your big day because you’ve had more time to slow down and  plan.  And that party you’re planning is going to seriously BLAST OFF once we all get out of quarantine and can hug and love on each other SO HARD.  Honestly, I changed my ENTIRE wedding – location, vibe, date, and I’m so glad that I followed my heart on that – because the “2nd” wedding I planned was SO MUCH BETTER.

Okay, it’s pretty well known I’m an empath, so now that we’ve gotten through the feelings part, I want to give you some solid information from both myself and some fellow wedding planning professionals that you can take some actionable steps with during COVID-19 that will help as you navigate planning in the coming weeks and months. 

the-mount-boho-luxe-couple-ceremony-wedding

If you are one of my couples, here is what I can tell you about how I’m dealing with weddings and engagements in the midst of Corona Virus:

  • I will be waiving all change fees for couples who’s wedding has been impacted by COVID-19.  Should you or your venue decide to postpone or reschedule, your deposit will go towards your new date. I will do everything I can to work with you to find a new date that works for us both.
  • If you decide to change your plans, I am always happy to help you with planning an epic elopement and an epic after party down the road.  There are a million creative ways to approach your wedding!  Let’s chat about options!

And finally, I want to remind you that at the end of the day, what’s most important is that you get to marry the love of your life.  And whether that’s in front of 200 people or just me and my camera, that is forever and your love will outlast COVID-19.  Reach out if you have any questions or even just want to vent.  I’m here for you!  We will figure this out together!

country-side-wedding-farm-blooming-hill-field

Okay, so on to our tips from our wedding planning friends, Lindsay & Dara of Wild Flower Events, Sarah Brehant of Brehant Creations, and Angela Wesley of Honey Dew Events.  These women have years of wedding planning experience and have graciously provided the tips below to give you some wonderful advice on how to handle wedding planning during COVID-9.

Dara & Lindsey – Wild Flower Events & Design

Advice Tip #1: To postpone or not postpone?

As we enter April and quarantining becomes the new normal, we’re sure all spring and summer brides are stressing out as to what to do and we understand!  At this point, most April and May weddings have been postponed, but the reality is, we need to start looking at our June weddings as well. Unfortunately, we don’t know when this will end and we strongly believe in being proactive. We encourage you to reach out to your venue and vendors and ask the following questions:

  1. For the venue: What is their re-booking/cancellation policy?  What is their approach to handling the COVID-19 situation?  At what point are you able to select a different date without being penalized with a fee?
  2. To add to the venue questions, what dates do they have available in August-November?
  3. Once you receive these dates, reach out to your vendors and ask if they are available on your preferred dates?  Choose 2-3 dates to send out.
  4. Ask your vendors what their policies are around re-booking.

This information will allow you to make an informed decision on the best way to move forward.

Fall brides, we can’t stress enough to take a deeeeeep breath and be patient!  We understand that the uncertainty of everything is difficult, but right now it’s important to wait and see how COVID-19 progresses.  Vendors are prioritizing directly impacted weddings and remain super positive that these late summer/fall weddings won’t be impacted at all!  Most vendors and venues aren’t reviewing weddings scheduled to take place from August – October until we get through April. Their hope is these weddings will take place as scheduled!

Mass MoCA wedding couple stylish and vogue

Advice Tip #2: Prioritize your wedding vendors with your back up dates

If you get to the point where you are looking to reschedule your wedding, there is a possibility that some of your vendors may not be available. Our advice is for you and your partner to sit down and prioritize what vendors are a MUST have at the wedding! Once your venue provides you with those backup dates, cross reference them with your vendors to see who can attend. Best case scenario is that the majority (if not all) of your vendors can attend the wedding (yay!), but there’s also a possibility that some can’t, so that’s where your list will come into play. 

boho-wedding-couple-autumn at the Sablewood wedding schoharie

Advice Tip #3: Vendors are doing the best they can!

Vendors are doing everything in their human power to be accommodating and helpful during this unprecedented time.  Through all of this corona craziness, it has been remarkable to see how kind and caring people have been towards one another.  We know of vendors cancelling travel plans in the fall, not attending their own friends weddings to accommodate new backup wedding dates, and completely disregarding certain clauses in their contracts to financially help clients out the best they can.  The support and empathy we have seen many vendors showing brides is extraordinary!

Additionally, we also need to remember that these vendors are real humans and need to live and survive as well.  There is a reason why there are non-refundable deposits, for situations like this!  Vendors have businesses, employees, rent, families, and bills just like the rest of us and they need to be able to survive during this crushing time.  We ask that you be understanding and empathize with the situation they are in as well.  No one wants this to happen, no one enters into a contract and pays the non-refundable deposit thinking it will even come into play, but here we are.  So we encourage you to lead with kindness and understanding and remember weddings are supposed to be about love!

bride and groom kissing at foothill castle wedding with bridal party

Advice Tip #4: Feel bad for yourself and then keep it moving!

THIS SUCKS!  Like who plans their dream wedding to only have a freaking pandemic just roll on through and mess everything up!  This is nuts!  We feel sooo hard for all these brides and grooms whose weddings this has affected.  And we’re not just talking about weddings, but bachelorette parties, bridal showers…the whole gamut of wedding related celebrations!  IT’S NOT FAIR!  So, throw yourself a pity party, scream into a pillow, have an ugly cry, drink maybe a few too many quaratinis, but after that you’re done!  Yes, this totally sucks, but we also need to keep things in perspective!  There are people who are really sick (both Covid-19 related and not), people losing their jobs, and people indefinitely separated from their families. So, take that time to be sad, disappointed, angry, etc. and then hold your head up high and come up with a plan that’s in the best interest of you, your fiancé, your family and friends.  You’ve got this!!

Advice Tip #5: Say F it to Covid-19 and get married anyway!

Who’s going to let a little pandemic stop a wedding!?!  Yes, the CDC has strict guidelines about large gatherings and social distancing is the new black, so maybe your party is not going to happen right now, but that doesn’t mean your wedding can’t happen right now!  At the end of the day, a wedding is about two people choosing to commit to each other and spend the rest of their lives together.  So, if you still want that to happen on the day you planned, do it!  All you need is each other, an officiant and a witness – so zoom or facetime that person in.  Throw yourselves a mini celebration wherever you are (how romantic!)!  Some vendors are doing deliveries, so reach out to a florist for a bouquet, a bakery for a dessert, grab some bubbly and do the damn thing!  And if you still want the big party with all your friends and family, schedule that for a later date, or maybe even your one-year anniversary! 

pafa wedding with couple in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Sarah Brehant – Brehant Creations

FIRST OFF

Take a deep breath. Remember that the entire world is going through this horrifying experience, and you are not alone. We are in this together. If you are getting married at the end of May or June, you should begin to implement a Plan B. This does not necessarily mean you have to postpone, it will just be your Plan B if it comes to that. Plan B will give you a sense of calm and peace of mind. Most importantly, DO NOT CANCEL, Postpone! You will lose so much money if you cancel and you will lose the opportunity for an incredible day and endless memories. If you feel like this is too overwhelming, consider  hiring a planner. We are happy to assist you and do our due diligence, especially during a crisis like this. 

STEP ONE

Contact your venue. Ask them for three dates that they have available. Forget about Saturdays. Consider ANY other day of the week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sundays. Consider them all. If you pick a weekday, this process is going to be much more seamless and much less stressful because there is a high chance that your vendors will have availability. 

classy castle wedding couple twirling at Princeton New Jersey

STEP TWO 

Email all of your vendors and give them those three date options from your venue and ask them if they’re available. Also, ask them what their postponement policies are. Most people think they should look at their vendor contracts for the answer as to what the additional charges may incurred with their vendors, but disregard them for now and just ask them what their implemented policies are. These are unprecedented times and your vendors are here to help you and most are making exceptions for postponements. They were hired to be YOUR team and they are there to continue to act as a team and help you. HINT: Doodle.com has a free poll and you can generate the answer that way and it’s easy and convenient for everyone.


When you are emailing your vendors, ask them when they need an answer  by. Your caterer and florist are most likely the two vendors who will take action and place their orders first. They will likely place those orders a 3-6 weeks before your wedding (everyone is different.) If you can catch them before they place the order, it could save you a TON of money. They will likely tell you they need an answer as to if you’re postponing or not roughly 30 days prior to the wedding date. 


STEP THREE

Circle back. Once you get a date that works for everyone, ask your vendors to place a soft hold on the new date. A soft hold is a date that is not on an official hold, but if your vendors receive another inquiry for that date, they will notify you to give you a warning that they have a potential client and that will nudge you to make a decision. 

STEP FOUR
Use your wedding website. Wedding websites are more important than ever now! They are there to be a communication tool between you and your guests. When they ask you for updates, let them know they can refer to the website and that you will be updating it as often as possible with information. 

autumn upstate ny wedding elopement in Catskills at holden hour

OTHER ADVICE:

If you’re concerned about postponing, order your invites but leave the date blank so you can write it in.Design your invites but wait to place the order. If you already ordered your invitations, add a printed insert that says “please go on our wedding website for date and detail updates.”

Get Event insurance: BOTH liability and Cancellation. These will not cover COVID-19 but they will cover other problems (you never know what could happen!) You insure your home, your health, your dogs and your car- why should this be any different?

Additional Resources from Brehant Creations:

https://www.brehantcreationsevents.com/post/coronavirus-and-your-wedding-gown

https://www.brehantcreationsevents.com/post/engaged-couples-in-quarantine-what-can-you-do-now-for-your-wedding

https://www.brehantcreationsevents.com/post/coronovirus-your-event

waterfall elopement in upstate New York Catskills

Angela Wesley – Honey Dew Events

• Make sure you have a short list of back-up dates in the event that you need to postpone. It is better to have a plan in your back pocket! Doodle Poll is a great way to stay organized when communicating with your vendors to find new date(s) options. 

• If your wedding is taking place in 2020, consider adding a “Covid-19 Insert” to your invitation suite to collect guest emails should a postponement notification need to be distributed. 

• Lots of vendors don’t have a pandemic clause in our contract, so reach out to find out what the postponement policies are for each of your vendors. They are likely still in the works, but make sure you get something in writing from each vendor to cover your bases. 

bride and groom inside of veil

Thank you to these Boss Babes for offering some words of wisdom and encouragement during this tough times.! I echo the sentiments above, and if you’re finding yourself overwhelmed at this time and would like some extra help with planning, I highly reaching out to them for support with planning or rescheduling. 

In addition to their planning tips above, I wanted to share a few additional resources you may be interested in, as well.

Wedding Planning During COVID-19: Advice for Couples, Junebug Weddings  – https://junebugweddings.com/wedding-blog/wedding-planning-during-covid-19-advice-for-couples/

How to Reschedule Your Wedding Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, Martha Weddings – https://www.marthastewartweddings.com/7748315/how-reschedule-wedding-covid-19-pandemic-coronavirus 

What You Need to Know About Coronavirus and Your Wedding. Martha Weddings – https://www.marthastewartweddings.com/7682327/coronavirus-covid19-wedding-planning 

What to Know if You’re planning a Wedding During the Coronoavirus Pandemic- https://www.brides.com/what-to-know-about-coronavirus-and-wedding-planning-4799160 

Wedding Planning During COVID-19 (Let’s Try To Make The Best Of Plan B) – https://www.herecomestheguide.com/wedding-ideas/wedding-planning-during-coronavirus

Have any questions?

Drop them in the comments below, or email me at cassandraphotography@gmail.com

Interested in booking me for your upcoming wedding? Head over to my experience page to learn what it’s like to work with me and get some of your questions answered, and reach out! Can’t wait to hear from you!

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Autumn Styled Portfolio Workshop

Wednesday October 7, 2020
Pond Hill Place
East Wallingford, VT
Tickets $500 (paid via Venmo)

2 couples
2 styled concepts-
modern industrial neutrals & warm autumn boho luxe
Full tent setup, lounge areas, tablescapes, and more...

Masks required. Tickets are transferrable but nonrefundable.

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