wedding party wearing masks

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Kevyn Dixon
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Ideas for Coronavirus Wedding Planning

For Brides

August 7, 2020

Getting Married During The Coronavirus Pandemic 

Are you a bride engaged to be married? Does your world feel like it’s falling apart? Does it feel like everything is on fire? Do you feel absolutely paralyzed because you’ve had to make so many decisions? Do you feel even more frozen now that you’re dealing with a pandemic?! Does coronavirus wedding planning make you want to stop the wedding planning altogether?! Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s all going to be okay!

As a newlywed myself, I cannot imagine the amount of stress you must be feeling right now. Wedding planning is incredibly stressful without a global pandemic! After working with my 2020 brides for this year, I have been blown away by how they have handled this difficult time with grace and poise and I am so thankful for all of them. It’s not an easy time for your vendors either. Many businesses are now at the point where they are just struggling to hang on, and your own wedding vendors may be in that position. I know that this time is not ideal, but we are all going to make lemonade out of lemons! 

I think it’s safe to say that this virus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We have to adjust and move forward with coronavirus wedding planning! Even though large events can’t happen in many states, you can still get married and find ways to celebrate. I have worked with my own brides to adjust, as well as heard of other options from other wedding vendors! 

In this post, I have laid out some options for how you can handle your wedding plans moving forward. Keep in mind that this virus is changing our world every day. The only constant this year is change! This blog post does not account for any type of restrictions that you may have in your state, county or city, so keep state and local mandates in mind as you are planning. 

bridesmaids and groomsmen with masks coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus Wedding Planning Options

Option One: Get married and celebrate on your original date! If I were a bride in 2020, this would be my vote! This is what most of my brides for 2020 have chosen to do. This means that you would be going ahead with the marriage ceremony, and celebrating in a limited way if necessary due to state restrictions. For example, at the time that I am writing this post, North Carolina is in Phase 2, which is a gathering of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. However, in NC, there are currently no restrictions on the number of guests you may have attending your wedding. Many of my brides have opted for a larger ceremony, and a limited, more intimate reception. Or, they have opted to cut their guest count across the board. I LOVE both of those options! It allows you to continue to get married on your original date, and celebrate that day as well. A small reception is so much fun! It allows you to spend more quality time with the guests that do attend, which very rarely happens at large weddings! 

Option Two: Get married, have a small celebration, and have a big party later! This is becoming a popular option as well… however, I am not as keen on this option, only because it basically involves planning two separate wedding days, which may cause some stress! I don’t think there is anything wrong with this option though, and it may be the best option for some people, especially if you have lots of family or other guests traveling from very far away. I second shot a wedding with a friend of mine back in May – they opted for a small ceremony with only 10 people. They had a small celebration dinner that evening, and they are planning a larger reception for their 1-year anniversary. It’s a fun idea for sure! Some of my friends actually did this BEFORE the pandemic, so it’s definitely not a new idea! 

Option Three: Get married, have no celebration, and have a big party later! This is similar to the option above, although you would have no celebration. I don’t like this option as much personally, because I think you should have at least a tiny celebration on your wedding day! However, you could do an elopement-style ceremony now, and a big party later if that suits you! 

Option Four: Elope or have a microwedding! This is essentially Option One… just scaled down even more! I have one 2020 couple opting to elope at a local wedding venue and I know it’s going to be beautiful and so much fun. An elopement-style ceremony gives you the opportunity to be even more present and in the moment with your spouse! A microwedding is similar, but keeps the guest count very limited – think immediate family and closest friends! You could celebrate your elopement or microwedding with a small dinner party.

Option Five: Have your ceremony as normal, and a reception that is more intimate! Many of my brides that are choosing to move forward with their date are choosing this option. If your state has no restrictions on ceremonies, your ceremony will be normal if you choose. Some of my couples have opted to do a receiving line for those guests that would like to speak to the couple before leaving the ceremony, if they are not attending the reception. Your photographer or planner can help move the line along so it doesn’t take up too much time. 

Option Six: Postpone your entire wedding. I see this as a last resort option. I say this because… don’t you want to go ahead and FINALLY BE MARRIED? Chances are that you’ve been engaged for anywhere from 6 months to a year and a half! Marriage is such a gift. Even if you already live with your spouse-to-be, being married changes everything, and you will become closer! I would go ahead and get married, but that’s just me! I completely understand postponing the entire wedding if you want to go that route. However, know that postponing does not guarantee that restrictions will be different. None of us can predict the future. 

groom picking up bride in lace dress

Why I Don’t Recommend Cancelling Your Wedding

Notice that in this post I don’t lay out cancellation as an option. There are many reasons for this. The first pertains to you as the couple. Chances are, you have been waiting for your wedding day with much anticipation for a very long time. A few of my couples this year have been engaged for as much as a year and a half! I can’t imagine not getting married after all that time! Coronavirus wedding planning may not be fun, but being married is!!!

The second reason that I do not lay out cancellation out as an option is because of your vendors. As we know, small businesses in the events and wedding industries are under a lot of stress right now. Be kind and courteous to your vendors by simply postponing your wedding rather than canceling outright. Or, work with them on one of the other options I have laid out above. We put our hearts into everything we do, and I guarantee that your vendors are looking forward to your wedding day just like you are!!! 🙂 

change the date card wedding

Things YOU Can Do If You’re Planning a Wedding

  1. Have masks available for your guests. You can coordinate these to your wedding colors or personalize them in some way. Even just one of those regular blue surgical masks will do, as long as something is available for everyone. Encourage your guests to wear a mask. 
  2. Notify your guests in advance of how you plan to make them feel comfortable. Many people may not even attend if they anticipate not feeling comfortable. Communicate by mail or through your wedding website, and lay out all of the things you will be doing to celebrate safely.
  3. Have hand sanitizing or handwashing stations available. Lay out these hand sanitizing stations around your venue. A simple hand sanitizer dispenser will work perfectly. 
  4. Skip the passed appetizers. If appetizers are involved, have catering staff plate them rather than guests pick them up themselves. Consider providing a plated dinner rather than a buffet to limit guests mingling. 
  5. Send out a change the date card if you are planning to completely postpone your celebration. Utilize your wedding website to share information as well. Keep your guests informed on your plans!
  6. If you have a very large original guest list, one of the best things you can do right now is create multiple options for your guest list. Create multiple guest lists well in advance of sending out invitations. Then, when it’s time to send out invitations, you will probably know the restrictions for your state, and how many guests you are allowed to have. 
  7.  If you don’t already have a planner or month of coordinator, now is the time to book one. These people are worth their weight in gold. I cannot stress this enough!!! 
  8. Consider live streaming the wedding for guests that cannot or will not attend. A few of my couples have done this and it went perfectly! Their guests around the world loved it! 
  9. Consider using colored bracelets for your guests. You can use three different colors to indicate whether guests prefer to social distance, prefer to only give fist/elbow bumps, or prefer to talk and give hugs. Everyone is comfortable with a different level of interaction at this time, and it’s important to respect that. 

masks for wedding guests in basket

Contact Me if You Need Further Help

I wish I had the perfect answer to solve all these problems…  It is not easy to make these decisions around coronavirus wedding planning. I hope that the options and opportunities to make your guests feel comfortable are helpful to you as you plan your wedding! If you are in the midst of planning your wedding day, and you need a photographer, or if you just want to talk through options for your day, feel free to email me at hello@kevyndixonphoto.com or schedule a phone call here! 

wedding party wearing masks

All in all, I know your wedding day will be SO beautiful! Check out Blair and Zach’s Farmstead wedding and Anna and Josh’s Separk Mansion wedding. Both of these were pandemic weddings, and they still had the most beautiful days and intimate receptions! Coronavirus wedding planning might not be fun, but it will be memorable!

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