It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has had a large impact on the events industry and couples currently on, or thinking about starting, their wedding planning journey.  It can feel overwhelming trying to decide if you should start planning, or where to even begin.  Why are some couples still changing plans?  Will there be any 2021 dates still available?  How do I plan while everyone is still social distancing?  How could a vaccine change my options next year?  I completely understand how overwhelming wedding planning can feel during this season, that’s why today I’m talking all about my top tips for wedding planning during a pandemic.

photo of rings from a wedding during the pandemic
Photo by Lindsey Zitzke Photography

Yay, you’re engaged!  Once the initial surprise starts to wear off, it’s almost certain a hundred questions will begin running through your head.  First off, let me be the first to tell you – it’s perfectly okay (and expected) to celebrate this exciting life milestone, despite the craziness of a pandemic that’s taken over our world.  And while the start of your engaged journey might not look exactly like it would have pre-coronavirus, there’s no reason you can’t take steps toward your dream wedding right away.  Whether your wedding planning journey ultimately leads to an intimate ceremony or a larger affair, I’m here to help you get your thoughts sorted and to take next steps in the right direction.

Regardless of the type of wedding you decide to move forward with, there are plenty of wedding planning items to check off even in the midst of a global pandemic.  Here are a few of my top tips to get you started.

Start by deciding on the type of wedding you want to have

Maybe you don’t want to wait for your wedding day any longer than you have to—and that’s okay!  Sit down together, pour a glass of wine and start the conversation regarding wedding expectations, the sacrifices (if any) you’re okay with making and a timeline that makes the most sense for you as a couple.  Talk through things such as big verse small guest lists, Friday verse Saturday weddings, and the season you’re most interested in getting married.  Are you okay with waiting out the pandemic, or ready to get started? Although gatherings of more than 10 people are currently on pause, venues are still booking wedding 12 to 18 months in advance.  Getting the process started sooner rather than later is never a bad idea!

Set a realistic budget, then choose a date

If you’ve decided on a smaller guest count, does this mean you’ll go all out or save with a smaller budget?  If you’re planning for a larger affair, determining a budget and where that money is coming from first thing is so important.  Start by having the conversation with each other, then talk with parents, grandparents or whoever wants to contribute to your wedding. Once you’ve decided on a realistic budget (but not a second sooner), you can begin venue searching and set a date.  While it makes sense to get a feel for what venues cost, make sure not to book a venue without an understanding of how it works into your overall budget. You don’t want to be left with spending regret and a contract you can’t get out of if you realize you overspent on the venue itself.

Identify your wedding style

Start by dusting off those old Pinterest boards, seeing what you still love, then create a new one from scratch.  I always suggest that couples create a new space for saving inspiration since our preferences can change over time.  What you loved when you first started wedding dreaming isn’t necessarily what you’ll want now. Use this as an opportunity to identify what you and your fiancé both envision and create a wedding vision that works for you both.  Don’t be afraid to wander off Pinterest and check out real wedding from blogs such as Style Me Pretty, Wedding Chicks and Brides.  Still not sure where to start? Consider the look and feel of your venue and then build a wedding style around what works in that space.

Build your vendor team by meeting virtually

Your venue is the natural first step in booking vendors, since you’ll need a firm date before securing any others.  Keep in mind any preferred vendor lists your venue might require you use, then begin building out the rest of your vendor team from there.  Even in the midst of a pandemic, wedding vendors haven’t stopped putting their clients first.  The majority of vendors should have some type of process in place to meet remotely so that you still get a great feel for who’s the best fit.  Now more than ever it makes sense to book your vendors sooner rather than later so that you can rely on their expertise throughout the process.  Once you’ve secured the team of pros, you can start working on the detail that will ultimately bring your day to life such as menu ideas, floral inspiration and drafting a timeline.

Build your wedding website

I’ve always been a huge proponent of wedding websites, but now more than ever they’ve proven themselves as a vital wedding tool.  From the moment you make your guests aware of your wedding plans, they’ll have somewhere to go for the most up-to-date information regarding your wedding.  Throughout 2020, my couples have changed plans as many as three to four times, so having a landing page to share information was so necessary.  Start your website early and opt to use a URL that’s easy and memorable.  Share this link on your save the dates and keep the information up to date throughout your engagement.

Whether you’re planning for a 2021 wedding, intimate ceremony or holding out for a larger affair, you should start thinking about your various options and how your decision will influence your planning.  For instance, it’s no secret that 2021 wedding dates are filling quicker than normal due to the high number of postponed weddings.  Now, that’s not to say you should rule out a wedding for next year.  Just keep in mind that you’ll need to get to planning sooner rather than later!  Another option is considering a Friday, Sunday or off-season date for your event.  Couples are no longer feeling quite as obligated to stick to standard “wedding rules” and more open to changing things up to have their dream day happen.  No matter what type of wedding you choose to plan for, it’s now more beneficial than ever to have the right help on your team.  Are you considering hiring a wedding planner to take the stress out of planning your big day?  I’d love to chat about your wedding plans and see how Ivory Couture can help bring your vision to live.  Start by filling out our inquiry form here.

Looking for more way to jump-start your planning? Check out the related blog posts below!

12 Things to do After You Get Engaged

The Type of Wedding Planner You Need & When to Hire Them

How to Know if Full Service Wedding Planning is Right for You