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Wedding Planning in a Pandemic - How to Keep Covid-19 from Taking the Happy out of your Happily Ever After

Hi everyone! Mackenzie here. Let me start off by saying, while we hope bloom is a little light in your life, we also want to be real with you and let you know that we’re here as people, too, experiencing ups and downs in your same world. We're here to lend an ear and also share what has helped us overcome our struggles, should you find yourself there, too.
Today, I’m focusing on wedding planning during a pandemic. While not an expert, I am here as a bride with the hope that I can help even just one person realize they are not alone. I want to share my advice on how to continue wedding planning while living in a time of such uncertainty. My fiancé, Jon, and I were 19 months and thousands of dollars into our wedding planning when two months before the big day, we had to pull the plug for the safety and health of our guests and ourselves. I cried…like a lot. There, I said it.
We started out feeling positive, that we would get married anyway, and our vision of that day had just changed. I wish I could say that I continued feeling optimistic as time went, but as we learned more about the virus and pandemic, we went on an emotional roller coaster.

Your feelings are valid.

First, I want you to know that if you’re in this position too, your feelings are valid! No matter what someone else may tell you, please know that there is no right or wrong way to feel; our world has not dealt with a pandemic of this magnitude in our lifetime. Be sad, confused, angry, and allow yourself to feel whatever emotion comes your way.
I’ll be the first to tell you about the amount of guilt I've felt during this. No matter what we did, the guilt ate into me every day. I felt guilty for wanting to continue with our plans, but having to un-invite people. I felt guilty for considering getting married as planned with our immediate circle of people there with health risks. I felt guilty for putting our big reception off a year because our ceremony wouldn’t feel genuine anymore; as if we were putting so much into something that already would have happened, taking the focus away from our marriage, and focusing on the party all while putting others at risk. I felt guilty for considering canceling and losing money already paid to signed contracts. I felt guilty for moving our date for our vendors’ sake. I felt guilty for feeling sad at all because our wedding is still happening.
I don't feel guilty about that anymore as I've learned there's no right or wrong way to experience emotion. I still feel guilty for postponing all together because we just want to be married, this day is to celebrate our love and what makes us happy. All we should need is the two of us. No matter what you do, postpone, cancel, make your wedding more intimate and small, host a virtual ceremony, etc., do YOU. This day is for you and your love; make sure you’re putting your hearts first. There is no wrong answer.
If you know a couple who is engaged, please give your friends, families, coworkers, etc., grace as they sort through their feelings. Please save your judgments and opinions, unless requested, and remember that a wedding day comes second to a marriage. A marriage is about those two people you may be thinking about right now. Not their parents, not their siblings, best friends, or Aunt Suzies and Uncle Joes. It’s about them and their love. Every situation is unique, and you never know what someone else is going through.

You are not alone.

You are SO not alone in this! We are in month 8 of a global pandemic, that’s 8 months of couples planning weddings that have had to make difficult decisions under these circumstances. Thousands of couples have had their events postponed or canceled. Some couples have done virtual events, made their wedding more small and intimate, switched to outdoors, and everything in between. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Zola, a wedding registry company and wedding website host, offers an AMAZING Facebook group of thousands of people who have so much advice and kindness to give. I 10/10 highly recommend joining Facebook groups for planning advice and tips.

Deciding on how to move forward with your wedding:

Now that we’ve covered recognizing it’s okay to feel all the feelings and that there’s always someone you can turn to for help, let’s talk about making a decision of what your next steps are in planning. When considering all of your options, what are must-haves for your big day? What are the requirements of those must-haves? What new limitations do the current circumstances bring about? Consider the availability of new dates if you’re looking to postpone. 2021 is booking at twice the volume of a normal year. Having an outside vs. inside event, guest count, food service type, health risks of anyone involved, travel restrictions, and vendor contract limitations to name a few. Regardless of your scenario, reach out to your vendors and see what kind of help they’re offering. Most vendors are flexible and understanding and may even offer something for your hardship. Our honeymoon resort gave us $100 off our stay and our invitation printer reprinted our invitations at a fraction of the cost simply by inquiring about changing information to reprint from our original invite design, both situations completely unprompted. Kindness is everywhere. People pushing for positivity are out there, and they’re here for you. Bloom is here for you! Where there is a hardship, there are helpers.

If you're moving forward as planned...

Great! Hold on to keeping you and your spouse happy instead of focusing on the emotions or reactions of others. You may have planned for a buffet service, 250 invited guests, and having a ring warming ceremony before your vows. Of course, you'll have to reconsider those original plans with government guidelines and social distancing efforts, but that doesn't mean you can't still get married. Focus on what you and your significant other want. At this point, your friends and family that can no longer be invited to your wedding events are going to be understanding of the situation. For those who aren't, remember- it's not about them. Say your peace with communicating that your plans have changed and you wish they could be there, and move on. Let your vendors know that the show must go on, and see what has to change on their end in order to make your day happen with their services. If a vendor can no longer provide their services, look into your contract and read the fine print about acts of God, cancellation by the service provider, and if there is a force majeure clause. Moving on from legal stuff and towards some more fun changes, check out what I've found for couples moving forward with their wedding plans mid-pandemic:

If you're canceling...

any services, read every single word of your contracts and look into whether or not you’re covered by a force majeure that frees both parties of liability during extraordinary circumstances. Don’t forget to let all of your guests know what has changed if you sent out save the dates, invitations, or received wedding gifts. Follow up with a handwritten thank you card if you have received gifts. Most importantly, don't forget that love isn't canceled. Your spouse is by your side, and nothing has changed that. A wedding is one day, a marriage is lifelong.

If you're postponing...

prepare for your would-be wedding date to hit you harder than you may expect. Our original wedding date was June 27th, and that day was hard. From personal experience, plan something fun to do with your fiancé! Worst case scenario, you’re too busy to be upset and best-case scenario, you’re going to have an amazing day.
If you now have a would-be wedding date, check these ideas out to keep spirits up:
  • Go hiking
  • Visit a state park
  • Eat outside at a new restaurant
  • Write your vows together if you haven’t already
  • Book an Airbnb near a state park, beach, or lake and get outside for the weekend
  • Keep your fridge stocked with your drink of choice and favorite snack
  • Have a photoshoot with your photographer
  • Dress up anyway and have your first dance in your kitchen, just the two of you
  • Order your entree choices from your caterer and eat at home
  • Order your wedding cake from your cake provider to enjoy at home
  • Build a blanket fort in your living room
  • Open the gifts people have sent your way anyway. There are no rules here, and it’ll give you ample time to write a thank you note while you’re focusing on the wedding day in the future when this time comes around again.
  • Have a Zoom happy hour with friends and family. Check out JackBox for Amazon Fire TV and sticks for a virtual game.
  • Join a social media group and help other couples think through their situations
Jon and I chose to explore Valley Forge, dress up, and try a new restaurant. We also decided to wear our wedding bands before our new wedding date. I may have also considered adopting another dog.

How you can continue to plan in quarantine:

  • Write your vows
  • Create your registry
  • Research marriage licenses
  • Create playlists for your DJ
  • Update your info on your wedding website to keep guests in the loop
  • Send out a digital or printed “change of plans” message to guests
  • DIY all the things with extra time at home

Resources while you plan:

Be sure to participate in our wedding planner giveaway on bloom’s Instagram account and see other resources to help you on your way to happily ever after:
So much love,
Kenz


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