Lockdown wedding: planning your wedding during the pandemic

Against all odds.

That’s the situation of most couples that are going to marry right now.
2020 is sure one heck of a year. But until everyone gets vaccinated, the threat of the pandemic continues for at least a year or two.

Statistics show that 64% of weddings in Australia were canceled last year, 42% of them had to watch their money go down the drain as vendors and receptions were forced to close and cancel bookings.

But as humans, we are capable of surviving.

After over a year on lockdown, we sort of adapted to the new normal. Most of us have come to realize that it’s not always the quantity but the quality that matters most.
Most especially when it comes to weddings.
Getting married on a lockdown is probably something you have never thought about.
Fortunately, you can still have a beautiful wedding ceremony. Here are the steps to planning your wedding during the pandemic:

Accommodate physical distancing

Both the CDC and WHO have made it clear – we can continue personal and social activities as long as we observe proper health and safety protocols.
With COVID-19 cases still high in Australia, social distancing is something you should take very seriously throughout planning your wedding.
Here’s how you can observe and maintain social distancing on your wedding:

  • Set clear expectations. When you send out invitations, feel free to include health guidelines for your guests.
  • Will you require them to wear masks all the time? Will there be some rapid testing done? Should they bring their own sanitizers? Be clear.
  • Keep your distance from vendors. Throughout the planning process, make sure you aren’t getting in close contact with other people.
    Consider making phone appointments and virtual meetings with your vendors. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Plan activities accordingly. Will there be dancing? You still want everyone to keep their distance (at least 6 feet away). And instead of traditional games and activities, opt for socially distanced alternatives. You’ll find a lot online.
  • How about dress shopping? While in-store is ideal, you can still find the dream dress without having to leave home.

There are online tools where you take a two-minute quiz to know the type of dress, makeup, and jewelry to wear at your wedding.
Also, IG and Twitter give you access to thousands of inspirations.

Expect a smaller guest countA bride and groom holding hands at their planned pandemic lockdown wedding.

As much as you want to invite the entire clan, you know it’s not possible. Don’t worry about your cousin getting mad at you because you didn’t invite them.
They will surely understand that lockdown weddings mean your event has to be as intimate and small as possible.
Gathering restrictions vary according to state. In low to moderate-risk areas, you can plan a bigger celebration.

Check with your event planner to know the gathering capacity of hotels and venues in your area.

Keep guests informed

COVID-19 is something we all take very seriously. In fact, research shows that 71% of people invited to wedding events want to receive information on health and safety before confirming their attendance.
What’s more, 63% of guests are concerned about your mask policy and 60% want to know the size of your guest list.
Here are the WHO’s guidelines for planning events, such as weddings, during the pandemic:

Check local guidelines on event planning.

  • Brief guests about the safety and health protocols in advance and before your event starts. Keep reminding them throughout the occasion.
  • Choose outdoor venues whenever possible.
  • Provide all necessary supplies, such as hygiene stations, masks, sanitizers, etc.

Know contract terms

You know the good old advice to always read the fine lines? It’s even more important this pandemic. Some of the things you need to know are your vendors’ policies on cancellation, rescheduling, and refund.
In case your wedding got postponed or completely canceled, will you be able to get your money back?

Look for outdoor wedding optionsA bride at her planned outdoor pandemic wedding holding flowers during lockdown.

Whenever possible, have your wedding in an outdoor setting. Not only does it make it easier for your guests to practice social distancing, but the spread of Coronavirus is less likely in open spaces.
You still want to observe strict health protocols though.

Be flexible and creative

Having a wedding during the pandemic comes with a lot of challenges.
It’s important to keep a positive attitude throughout the planning process. Choose vendors wisely.
Some hotels and venues adopt the “Community Over Contract” policy wherein they let you re-book your wedding within 12-18 months.
Lastly, be creative. Find ways to still involve your loved ones even if they can’t be physically there to celebrate with you.

Even if you’re getting married at home, there’s a multitude of ways to create a memorable wedding. You can exchange vows in your very own backyard or if you have a big living space, spruce it up with fancy decorations. Consider hiring event stylists to make a picture-perfect “home venue” for your wedding.
If you really want a grand celebration, consider marrying now and save the full-scale reception next year.

Consider a virtual wedding

A virtual setup might sound new in the wedding industry but many couples have proven that it can actually work.
While you want an intimate celebration, you also want most of your friends and relatives to attend. Keep it safe for everyone by setting up a video conference at your wedding. Choose a video calling platform and set up a projector screen in your venue. Don’t forget to involve some of your virtual guests by asking them to make a speech. And of course, toast to your virtual wedding and take a groupie!

Planning your wedding amidst the pandemic is no doubt challenging. Against all odds, they say. But with these tips, you can successfully pull off a wedding that you’ll remember for a lifetime.

Mariam Norman
Mariam Normanhttp://noraydesigns.com
Mariam Norman is a former wedding planner, an experienced storyteller and a gemologist at Noray Designs. She is passionate about helping people explore all aspects of gemology and the fashion industry.
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