How to plan a wedding during a pandemic

Let's be frank, what a sh*t show 2020 has turned into for wedding planning!

This year has taken an already often stressful task and magnified it 10 fold to give you something that you may very well put in the too hard basket.

2020 was going to be a block buster year for weddings. Nearly everyone I had talked to in the industry, photographers, videographers, florists, celebrants, caters, were brimming with bookings and very excited for the year ahead, alas, the pandemic has turned everything on its head including the wedding industry. I have really felt for all wedding vendors that have not only taken a hit financially but also had to deal with the stress that has come with all of this, including balancing new date requests or cancellations due to couples being forced to have much smaller weddings.

I have also, of course, really felt for all the brides and grooms to be in 2020 that have had to reschedule their weddings due to restrictions or sit and wait to find out the fate of their big day. I especially feel for all Victorians and those that live along the Murray on New South Wales' side. The second set of restrictions, although during Winter, has made it hard for everyone to know whether their altered wedding plans can go ahead OR if their closest families and friends can make it to their day (the reason many Southern NSW couples have postponed their end of 2020 weddings).

But of course, chances are you already know this if you are reading a blog post called 'How to plan a wedding during a pandemic'. You are probably one of those couples that I really feel for that has had to reschedule or recreate their wedding and are now ready to have another look at your planning your big day now that Victoria's restrictions are lifting.

So how do you go about picking up the pieces and re-planning your wedding?

Step 1: Decide what you want

The first step in planning a wedding day that will make you happy is deciding what you really want for your wedding. This is your big day so you don't want to just make do. You want to decide what is most important to you about your wedding day and work your planning around that.

Things that might be important to you may include:

  • That your whole family can be there on the day

  • That certain wedding guests can be there on your big day

  • That you can have certain people in your wedding party

  • The amount of people that you want at your wedding

  • The date of your wedding, as a certain date might be special to you as a couple

  • Where your wedding ceremony or reception is held

Or when you start thinking about what is truly important to you on your wedding day, you may find that you will be happy as long as it is the two of you and you get married!

Everyone will be different when it comes to what they want from their wedding and there is no right or wrong answer here, so be honest with yourself and your partner to ensure that you don't have any regrets when re-planning your wedding.

Step 2: Find out what you can do

The next step is to find out what the limitations are around the wedding date(s) that you are interested in and which option best matches up to what you want when it comes to your wedding.

Here are the three main options you currently have if you are planning your wedding in Victoria as of September 2020:

Option 1: Postpone your entire wedding

Why your should consider postponing your entire wedding:

  • You have a lot of family or friends that live interstate or in Melbourne

  • You want a large amount of people at your wedding

  • You find the ever-changing restrictions very stressful

  • You are not in the financial situation to, or do not want to hold your wedding, at a public venue

  • You are not in the financial situation to hold 'two wedding days'

Phew! Okay, there is a pretty long list as to why you may postpone your wedding. Essentially if you are dreaming of the big, white wedding, postponing your date is probably the thing for you.

From what I am seeing, I would really just suggest postponing your entire wedding one year from the date your wedding was supposed to be on. Not only will this hopefully give the world (or in our case, Victoria) a chance to settle itself but it will also help you with being able to re-secure your wedding vendors for your new date.

Option 2: Split your wedding over two dates

If your budget will allow it, splitting your wedding day can be a really fun option for your wedding. Essentially this idea is that you will have your ceremony and/or your reception with just a few of your nearest and dearest (number depending on dates and restrictions) and then hold a big party, or your reception, at a later date. You can also opt to video or stream your ceremony to those that aren't able to make it due to number restrictions.

This option is great if you really have your heart set on a certain date for your wedding day. It might be your anniversary date, it might be the date your parents or grandparents got married or another special number.

It also takes away future stress as you will be married! Even if your big party/reception has to get postponed for whatever reason, or it takes you a while to find a date that isn't booked, you have already said 'I do' and have made the leap into the married life. For some couples out there, postponing can just add more stress, if that's you, this might be the best wedding plan to choose!

And to top this option off, you get to wear your wedding dress twice!! How often does that opportunity come around?

Option 3: Get married anyway!

Of course, you are also able to choose to get married no matter what the restrictions!

If you don't want to wait, you don't have to - most restrictions have still allowed for weddings to go ahead with just you, your partner, celebrant and 2 witnesses.

If, when thinking about your wedding, you decided that the most important thing for you was to get married then this option might be best for you. In fact, if you were thinking of eloping this might be the perfect excuse!

There's also a myriad of other reasons that you may want to stick to the original date you planned and go ahead with it the best you can, you may have only wanted a small wedding in the first place, you may have been meaning to get married for years now but putting it off because life came up, or you may have been one of those poor couples that have actually already rescheduled their wedding date three times!

Whatever the reason, if your main want for your wedding is to get married, then why wait?

Step 3: Create an action plan

Once you have decided what you want from your wedding and what option suits you best, it is time to create a plan to make it happen!

Option 1: If you decide to postpone your wedding you will need to start by deciding what date (or dates) you would be happy to move your wedding to. As I said before, I highly suggest looking at a date a year from now, however this is very much up to you. Once you organise that with your partner you will need to contact all your vendors that you have booked to find out if they are available on the date(s) you want. From here you should be able to work out which date allows all or most of your vendors to move to and lock it in! This is the important part, as you don't want to wait too long to do this or you will find dates next year will be booked out. Planning tip: If you have very specific wedding vendors that you want at your wedding, you might even consider moving your wedding to 2022 to increase your chances of everyone being available.

Option 2: If you want to split your wedding into two events, you will first want to decide on a date for your first ceremony. This decision might be made based around advice on restrictions or a date that is important to you, either way you will need to pay close attention to restrictions to work out how many guests you can have at your ceremony and where it is best to hold it. After that's sorted you will need to decide what parts of your wedding you want to go ahead on your first date (other than your ceremony) and start to think about what you will have at your 'second' wedding date, will you re-new your vowels or just hold a reception? From here you can then start making decisions like do you want a photographer on both of your dates? Would you like someone to film your ceremony so you can share it with those that couldn't come to your small ceremony? What type of catering would you like? When deciding on this, remember to consider your finances! Although having a larger party at a later date gives you more time to save up, you need to consider the costs of holding 'two' weddings.

Option 3: If you decide that you want to just go ahead with your wedding you will need to look at the restrictions that you will need to abide by on the date you decide on. You will then need to fit your wedding into those restrictions. You may go with your original wedding date or choose to shift it slightly, assuming this works for your celebrant (and any other vendors you want there), to allow a few more people at your ceremony if this is important to you.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Lastly, no matter what you choose, make sure you enjoy your wedding! This might sound a bit cliché but honestly it takes a lot of hard-work and time to organise a wedding, so appreciate it!

If you're currently organising a small wedding I have some extra special wedding photography and film packages just for you. Check them out here.

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