Wedding Planning (and re-planning) During the COVID Crisis
I'm sure I am not alone in saying that this is most certainly NOT how I thought 2020 would start out! From the start of March I've been trying to soothe worried brides- some of which have successfully moved their March, April or May wedding date and yet some others who have decided to completely call off their wedding. It has not been easy for brides and grooms and it most certainly has not been easy on small businesses at all. The loss of cash flow has halted some businesses completely! What we all need right now is a hot cup of tea (add gin if you're daring), a little patience and the willingness to plan [again]. Keep in mind everything we talk about today will be centered around New Jersey- since I am after all, a NJ based wedding photographer.
If you're wondering about how to plan a wedding during the Covid-19 crisis you're in one of two categories:
(1) you planned your wedding already and you think/ want/ need to postpone.
(2) you have not started planning and now you're scared to start because you don't know how long this thing will last.
Don't worry, in this article, I'm going to do my absolute best to help you both!
Okay so, you planned your wedding and you think/ want/ need to postpone. Lets separate each of these categories out first.
You think you need to postpone.
Step one here is contacting your venue- they are going to be the end all be all when it comes to determining what dates are available and if they are offering services on your date through the crisis. I would hope that if they anticipate being closed on your wedding date that they've already contacted you, but I have definitely heard of weirder things so make sure to place a call ASAP. If your wedding date is in April here in NJ with the new quarantine going through the end of the month, you may need to postpone.
You want to postpone.
If your wedding is after June, consider that changing your venue date or vendor date may come with fees. Your vendors and venues are not doing this to punish you. They are doing this so that they can handle the more immediate cancellations first and can get those couples who do need to move their dates rescheduled before they accommodate those without dire need. If your wedding is in May or early June and your venue has not called you to move your date yet, it's likely they will move your date ahead no questions asked.
You need to postpone.
CRAP! You already got that phone call and your venue told you that they are not providing services to you on your original wedding date to abide by state or federal guidelines. DO NOT FREAK OUT! You have done this once before and all you will need is a little patience to realign things. If you think about it, the hard part is done. You've selected the venue and vendors you absolutely love! All you need to do is get everyone back on the same page. To do this you will need to be reasonable. Take it from a former bride, wedding photographer and CPA- sometimes a little perspective can go a long way.
Collect a few dates from your venue so that you can go back to all of your vendors to see if a date aligns across your entire team. The sooner you decide you want to change your date, the more likely your vendors will have broader availability for you to choose from.
-If you want a prime month such as September or early October consider that only weeknights may remain available for your venue. Remember they are not only accommodating those moving their dates but they have had other couples booked out for that month that have not moved their date.
-Keep in mind AUGUST is for some reason booking up first. I would think it's because people want to make sure they are safe if they reschedule but they still don't want to wait too long for their wedding. August is often not a popular month since it's vacation time and often HOT. If you're dead set on a date in August, STOP READING AND CALL YOUR VENUE AND VENDORS. It is going to be the first month to get completely booked.
-If you're dead set on a weekend date, keep in mind keeping your deposit may mean a 2021 wedding. This does not have to be a bad thing. Consider that you can re-plan your bachelor (ette) if it got postponed, you can make changes to things you otherwise would not have time to or you can invest more to make your day even better and more of what you want! I for one would kill to be able to plan my wedding again!
YOU! You are engaged and you want to start planning but you just can't get yourself into it because you're just not sure how long this thing will last. Trust me, I get it. It was hard for me to sit myself down and write this article. It's not a very happy time so it is definitely hard to focus on fun and exciting things. With the current situation, for some, it may even be hard to believe that things will go back to normal. They will though. With some luck and a little "staying at home" things may be back to normal by early summer. DO NOT WAIT TO START PLANNING YOUR WEDDING. You too have some competition you'll be dealing with when things go back to normal- the rush of brides who already postponed their weddings who would have been married earlier this year. They will be taking up the time at bridal salons, at florist shops, at suit shops and will be utilizing vendors you might have wanted to book!
-Take the extra time you have at home to shop online for vendors; every great vendor has a great website.
-Take the karma and put it in your pocket. Most of these wedding vendors can really use the cash flow from your deposit right now. It might put food on their table or keep their business open. You'll be doing yourself a favor by beating the rush and tackling your "to do list" ; it will absolutely mean less stress later for you.
Starting your planning now is a win-win situation. You can shop online all you want and you can pick a date that is safe from the affects of the virus.
If you're looking for an affordable wedding photographer for your upcoming or rescheduled wedding or if you just need some unbiased advice from a wedding vendor, I'm here for you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact me form on my site located above on the menu bar.
Through May 1st, I'm offering $50 dollars off 4 hour services or $100 off 8 hour services for brides affected by the COVID-19 crisis. You must be able to provide a prior contract with a photographer.
From my couch to yours, wishing everyone reading this health not just for you, but for your family! Stay home and happy planning. You've got this.
Chynna DeStefano-Pasquale is the owner of Bridoll Photography. She has over 50 5-star reviews on WeddingWire and services the New Jersey/ New York area. For more information, see www.bridollphotography.com!