Five Steps to Planning your Pandemic Wedding
When it comes to planning your pandemic wedding, the first thing to remember is: DON’T PANIC! It’s okay if you’re feeling like that episode of The Office with the fake fire drill; full of chaos, uncertainty, and no idea what to do.
Planning your wedding is stressful enough as it is. But now, COVID is making everything more stressful and you have no idea what to do. Do you postpone? Have a plan B, C, D? Should you bother booking your vendors? What happens if you have to cancel the wedding?
Take a deep breath. Let me help you and answer (hopefully) all of your questions. Let’s build your wedding up together and make sure all of your boxes are ticked.
Step 1 - Stay Informed
Get up to date information on the COVID regulations for your location. I keep a running blog here that gets updated every time something changes, so if you’re a couple in Ottawa, look at this post and you’ll have the most up-to date info. By keeping up with Ontario Health news and calling our bylaw offices regularly, I make sure that the information here is as accurate as possible.
If you’re not getting married around Ottawa I suggest calling your own local bylaw office and confirming what the pandemic wedding regulations are for your area.
Remember that these regulations are set in place to keep you and your loved ones safe. It’s easy to get sucked into a hole of despair, but at the end of the day, we are all doing our best to keep everyone healthy.
Step 2 - Know your Limits
Figure out exactly what your limit would be to officially elope, postpone, or cancel. What is the absolute minimum you need to get married? Figure out what is most important on your big day and stick to your guns.
Is it a minimum guest count? Is your date significant? Do you want to get married before certain family members are no longer around? Maybe you want to make sure you keep all the same vendors.
Once you have a clear line defined, you’ll have a better idea of how to make the final call. You should do this approximately 1 month before the wedding – although changes to regulations can happen at any point, so keep that in mind.
Consider all of your options; is eloping something you’d be willing to do, or would you prefer to postpone, knowing that things might not change by your next date?
Step 3 - Plan B, C, D & E
Have all the backup plans in place. New regulations are always being made and thrown at us. Be ready for just about anything – if you’re worried about taking on the stress of planning your day, consider hiring a wedding planner. There are excellent local wedding planners who have dealt with it all and will help you work through the possibilities.
Having multiple backup plans set and ready to go will save you some stress and agony when the day gets closer. By taking your limits into consideration, set different plans for each limit. With multiple guest lists, location options and flexible vendors, you’ll get through it.
Protocols are constantly changing, so be ready to have to use your plans quickly. You should have them written down, with clear instructions for guests and family that you can easily share. Consider using a google document for this.
Step 4 - Check your Contracts
Many wedding vendors now have COVID clauses added to their contract, so that you are both protected. Guest count limits, sanitation measures, rescheduling fees and social distancing regulations are common things you’ll find in contracts.
If you haven’t booked any vendors yet, have a look at their policies and don’t be afraid to ask them the hard questions. 2021 and 2022 are booking up VERY quickly with last year’s postponements, so please reach out to vendors as soon as possible!
You should not be working with anyone who is unprepared to answer your questions and concerns about the pandemic, so when in doubt, reach out to them and ask what their policies and backup plans are!
Step 5 - Communicate with your Vendors
Talk to us. We want your wedding to happen just as much as you do. We are all passionate about the industry because we LOVE what we do. Spreading the love and watching two people come together is what this is all about. We can’t help you if you don’t keep us in the loop, so as soon as anything changes for you, LET US KNOW!
In 2020, many couples had to postpone out of obligation, cancel their big days or decide to elope on a whim. COVID has been around for over a year and nothing we plan is certain, so be aware of this.
I do my best to be as accommodating as possible and don’t charge any rescheduling fees when it comes to COVID postponements, but not everyone can be so flexible, industry standard includes rescheduling fees and retainers for many businesses. Remember that your vendors are people too, with regular household expenses and responsibilities, as well their businesses to worry about. Understanding that, please be compassionate with everyone.
Lastly, remember that wedding vendors are here to see your dreams come true. We are passionate about what we do. We choose to do this because we love weddings beyond anything else. You are about to enter into a marriage and while you might have to make some compromises for your pandemic wedding, you should still be able to get married on your terms.