I believe it was Socrates who once said: “If there was ever a time to hire a wedding planner, this would be it!” As you’re about to read, for these 11 couples, wiser words have never been spoken.

Most would agree that even at the best of times, planning a wedding can be a challenge. Factor in a pandemic? You’ve now got yourself a full time job navigating the constantly changing government rules, re-confirming with the venue, and then having to re-coordinate all your other vendors around newly announced rules. Certainly no task for the faint of heart!

We’ve all got plenty of stress these days. Wedding planning doesn’t need to be one of them. Read on to see how these ten couples – together with their planners – navigated their way through the uncharted territory of pandemic planning toward their happily ever afters.

Brittany and Karan

Wedding Planner

Photo Courtesy of Christine Lim Photography

“We were originally planning a 150-person wedding in July 2020. As health care workers, it became clear to us pretty early on that a big wedding wasn’t going to be possible. We were already so happy to have Iris of Blue Lavender Events planning our wedding, but that was amplified even further when it came to pivoting for the pandemic.

We didn’t want to let the pandemic prevent us from getting married on our original date, but it was also important for us to celebrate our love with all of our friends and family! Iris immediately helped us brainstorm options: First, she coordinated with every single one of our vendors to secure a new date for 2021 so we could have the party we dreamed of then! Iris also worked with many of our vendors to plan our ‘micro-ceremony’ on the originally planned wedding date. We ended up having the most beautiful and intimate ceremony on a sunny summer Saturday on the terrace at the The Globe and Mail Centre with our immediate family. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

Having Iris spearhead everything was a godsend. This was already a busy and stressful time for us, and there was so much uncertainty and constantly changing rules. Iris made our vision come to life for our downsized wedding in a way that was pretty much stress-free for the two of us. I think if we hadn’t had Iris on our team with her optimism, resourcefulness, creativity, and meticulousness, we might have just given up. As uncertainty once again approaches around our party plans for July 2021, we couldn’t be more thankful that we’ve had Iris by our side since the beginning of all of this!”

Samantha & Russell

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Photo Courtesy of Captivate Photo

“It took months of reaching out to our original venue for them to finally give us the option to forfeit our deposit, postpone, or continue with a reduced guest list (from 120+ guests down to just 50). We were hopeful that we could continue with a reduced guest count and with modified seating arrangements, among other protocols set in-place by our venue. However, 2 weeks before our wedding date, COVID-19 guidelines in our area changed to restrict all indoor dining. We were heartbroken and assumed our only option was to postpone and delay our wedding. Through a lot of tears and the support of our friends, family, and wedding coordinator, we decided we weren’t ready to give up, even if it meant letting go of a lot of the traditional wedding customs like a cake, a fancy dinner, dancing and our chosen venue.

So, we did the only thing we could think of to save our day: we contacted our local drive-in theatre (one of our favourite date night spots) and asked if they would allow us to rent out one of their screens for our wedding. Luckily, the theatre manager was thrilled to help, and allowed us access to the venue before it opened so we could have our ceremony, provided us with a sound-system to broadcast the ceremony to friends and family who could stay safely distanced in their cars, and provided food vouchers for the snack bar during the movies that we screened after the ceremony!

It wasn’t traditional, it wasn’t a fancy plated dinner, and it was all thrown together completely last minute, but it was perfect for us. All of our guests had an amazing time and assured us it was truly unforgettable and unlike any wedding they had ever (or probably would ever) attend!

Through the stress of dealing with our original venue’s lack of communication, through having to contact vendors to potentially postpone, through the last-minute re-planning and shift from formal ceremony and reception to a completely DIY event, we had Tanya at Classy Affairs to keep us sane and on-track. We were so grateful that she was able to handle not only the set-up and coordination on the day-of, but we were also grateful for her constant support and positivity which was a shining light for us in our darkest moments. Whenever we were at our peak of stress or sadness, when we thought we had no hope left for our day to continue, Tanya was there to offer strength and guidance. Without her, we would have had to do so much work ourselves on the day-of to set up our ceremony back-drop or our favour table, or to facilitate our vendors. What really blew us away and made us happy that we chose to work with Classy Affairs, was Tanya’s unflinching support and optimism despite all that life and COVID threw at us in 2020. We truly could not have gotten down the aisle without her!”

Christina & Vitaly

Wedding Planner

Photo Courtesy of Mango Studios

“Our original wedding plan was a destination wedding in Mexico on July 3, surrounded by our friends and family. Everything was booked and planned – all we had to do was show up. However, due to COVID-19 those plans quickly crumbled and eventually were canceled. Like any other couple who experienced the effects of COVID-19, our hearts were truly broken. As you can probably imagine there was an abundance of feelings when we learned we had to cancel our wedding. We struggled a lot with the idea of postponing it to next year, but with too many unknowns, we accepted the fact that we would not be having a destination wedding.

Luckily I came across a post on Instagram about a Petite Wedding Collective hosted by Dukes & Daisies Weddings & Events and with one phone call to Marianne the new planning process began! After speaking to Marianne we knew this is how we would move forward and have our intimate wedding here in Toronto.

To this day I tell everyone, I have no idea what I would have done without a wedding planner. Especially during the pandemic when there were so many factors, things to consider, and unknowns. Not to mention the emotional and mentally draining aspect of having to re-plan a wedding in the first place. I think having someone who can help you through a time like this with a clear mind is so helpful and I am so happy we decided to ask for help.

The great part about Dukes & Daisies was they already had a plan, they did their research and came to us with a COVID-proof plan. Marianne had solutions for everything and did whatever she could to accommodate any requests we had given the restrictions at the time. Simply put, she really did all the heavy lifting; I was not stressed and felt genuinely happy throughout the re-planning process. From A to Z she took care of us and in the end, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. We had an absolutely beautiful wedding and I am forever grateful for Marianne and Dukes & Daisies!”

Valerie & Matthew

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Photo Courtesy of Richelle Hunter Photography

“Our wedding was originally planned for June 20, 2020. This date had a nice ring to it, and we thought it was going to be our year. We never would have imagined a pandemic to occur and put the whole world into lockdown! There was so much uncertainty at the time, not knowing if things would get better in weeks or months, and it’s crazy how much uncertainty still exists even today. But at the time, we knew we didn’t want to put our loved ones at risk and so we made the hard decision to postpone our wedding to July 17, 2021. Having done this, we didn’t want COVID-19 to stop us from getting married so we decided to elope on our original wedding date with our cute French Bulldog by our side and our parents as witnesses. Though it may not have been the wedding we imagined or planned over the year, it turned out to be the most perfect day we could have asked for. It was intimate, romantic, and it was so nice to be fully present. We ended the night by devouring cake from our favourite bakery and late-night cheeseburgers from McDonald’s – wouldn’t have changed a thing!

A wedding planner is something that couples tend to debate, but we highly recommend couples to work with one especially during these uncertain times. A pandemic at this level has not occurred in the last hundred years and no one in the industry really knew what was going to happen but our planner, Danielle at Shaw Events has been so great at hand holding and guiding us through the unknown, reducing our stress and putting our minds at ease. Her extensive knowledge and connections within the industry have helped make our postponement easier than expected.

As we head into 2021 with the intention of moving forward with our wedding celebration, Danielle has been proactively updating us with COVID-19 related information and discussing various options of downsizing our wedding to meet provincial guidelines while still being able to execute our wedding vision. We trust her experience and we’re extremely thankful to have her as our wedding planner. We couldn’t have done any of this without her!”

Michelle & Jorge

Wedding Planner

Photo Courtesy of Wowed Vows Studio

“Our original wedding date was supposed to be August 15, 2020. To begin with, in 2019 I was a total mess; planning a wedding to me was very overwhelming – until of course I met Carly at Designed Dream Events. I remember right after my husband and I had left our first meeting, telling him that I finally took my first breath since we got engaged. Carly has a wonderful, calm demeanor and from the moment we met she knew exactly what was in my mind. Then COVID-19 hit! We were very uneasy with no answers for the foreseeable future, and of course whenever I saw the Premier on the news my first call was to Carly. We ended up changing our décor twice from the original design and our date 3 times. Needless to say, I was once again a wreck! But Carly was always on the other end of the phone calming my nerves. Once we got to the final 60 days, Carly had taken care of all scheduling, contracts, design, and many more things than I can even remember! She took it all and turned it into the magic we walked into on October 18th, 2020.

I’m sure people say this all the time but I mean it when I say my wedding would have been nothing without Carly’s amazing skills, attention to detail, negotiation skills and everything in between! I could never thank her enough! I’m so thankful for all of it.”

Ashley & Cliton

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Photos Courtesy of Kendra Ruth Photography

“My husband and I got engaged in December 2018, after dating for 7 years. We have been together since we were 18! Since I am a planner by trade, I didn’t want to worry about any small/large details for my wedding day. In January 2019 we landed on having our dream wedding at The Arlington Estate, in Kleinberg, on July 11, 2020. Little did we know what was ahead of us – a global pandemic.

In April 2020, we decided to postpone our summer wedding to New Years Eve 2020. Our family and friends understood the rationale and actually looked forward to a NYE wedding. Including our family (roughly 60 people) from international.

At the end of July 2020 we decided to move our wedding date in order to take advantage of Stage 3 provincial restrictions. We quickly moved our wedding day (now for the third time) to September 12, 2020. Needless to say – after 3 wedding dates, 2 bachelorette/bachelor dates and 3 bridal shower date cancellations and postponements – there was a lot of disappointment along the way.

Shortly after my bridal shower, my family received a call that my grandmother (who lives in Sudbury) was now in palliative care and that we needed to make our way up north as soon as possible. My grandmother has been living with Alzheimer’s for many years and we knew the time was slowly approaching her last days. Little did we know that she would pass away 8 days before our September 12th wedding.

Looking back, I know that my grandmother and grandfather had the best seats in the house that magical wedding day, watching from above. I felt their presence so clearly that day. We had gorgeous weather, we finally got our dream wedding, and we were able to accommodate 100 guests outdoors (originally planned for 200) under a massive white tent. I’m glad to report that not a single guest reported ill with COVID!

Hiring a planner was always a priority for me from the get-go. When we first met with Alisha and her team at Events by Whim, I instantly knew I wanted to work with her. Her positive energy, enthusiasm, and warm personality really “sold me” on hiring her for our big day. I will never forget receiving a call from Alisha in March 2020 as a ‘precaution’ to the recent news of the pandemic and what we should currently be doing now to avoid any disappointment for our July wedding date. The great thing about Alisha is that she is so calming; she is a voice of reason and she made the process fun for us, even in the most stressful of times. In my wedding speech, I thanked Alisha for being my breath of fresh air during wedding planning and a pandemic, and she was just that! If any brides and grooms out there think that they can plan a wedding without a wedding planner, please reconsider your decision to do so. I am a planner, and I needed and wanted a planner. Best decision we made!”

Amy & Daniel

Wedding Planner

Photo Courtesy of Jeremie Dupont

“We were very determined to get married in 2020. Like most couples, we originally planned a fall 2020 wedding with a 300 person guest list at a big banquet hall filled with lots of dancing and celebrating. In the spring of 2020, we felt like our original plans seemed very unknown and so we made the difficult decision to cut the list down to 50 of our closest family and friends. We just knew that we wanted to celebrate our love in whatever way we could. Rules and regulations changed and progressed numerous times throughout the summer/fall and we had to completely change our venue and wedding plans an additional 3 more times before settling on our final venue just 2 weeks before our big day. Adaptability was key, nothing from our vision to our vendors, was off the table when it came to making tough decisions so we could go ahead with our wedding. In the end, it was our positivity and support of our families that helped us push through and truly have the best day ever.

The only reason we were able to pivot so seamlessly was because of Tanya from Classy Affairs. She not only re-planned our wedding four times, she managed to keep us calm, optimistic and positive throughout the entire experience. She thought of every detail and took care of all the worries and stress leading up to and on the big day itself. She contacted every vendor with changes, found alternatives, and negotiated budget changes when needed. She executed the vision better than I even could have imagined. Wedding planners are invaluable but especially navigating restrictions through COVID-19, having a professional planner in your corner to deal with all the changes is necessary. I could not recommend Tanya more.”

Fernanda & Olamide

Wedding Planner

Photo Courtesy of Shotlife Studio Photography & Film

“It’s safe to say COVID-19 has affected all aspects of everyone’s life, but navigating wedding planning through a world wide pandemic definitely takes the cake. In life, we plan for things based on risks and predictions, nothing is for certain but we take calculated and measurable risk to attain certain things. So we planned, and planned, with no planner for a wedding we predicted we would have. As the day got closer, both our ceremony and reception venues withdrew because executing our wedding was not a calculated risk they could take, respectfully. Although we understood, it still left us with a desire to get married on the originally planned date.

The date we set was August 28th, and as of June 1st we had no venues. How do you plan from scratch two months prior to your wedding date? I searched for the best, and I set my trust on Grace Arhin Events. It wasn’t easy, but Grace made planning our wedding a breeze. She took our vision and made it GRAND within government-imposed restrictions. I was originally to marry at Metropolitan United Church in a very gorgeous cathedral, but I got to marry at the timeless Graydon Hall Manor, with a garden to die for and architecture for days. Grace managed my wedding so gracefully, both the planning and execution. She is professional, poised and gracious at all times, even when the floor felt like it was shaking beneath us. Having a wedding planner gave us the wedding of our dreams in a time when that seemed so unattainable.

Grace altered our wedding plans about four times within two months due to COVID-19 regulations until we arrived at what would be the most perfect plan. Downsizing doesn’t mean less grand; it simply means intimate. We greeted and spoke to all 60 of our guests, we danced and had the time of our lives. We connected and shared intimate moments with our guests. If I were to do it again post or pre pandemic, I would copy and paste August 28, 2020. COVID-19 has brought on financial and emotional hardship amongst the world, and navigating a balance of those in event planning is difficult. Getting an event planner was never not an option, and COVID-19 enhanced the desire to hire someone to execute our vision, it is not a budget cut any bride should make.

My husband and I have a newfound level of respect and admiration for the event and wedding planning industry. My advice to every single bride out there: do thorough research for someone you can set your trust in to execute whatever your vision is! Big or small, an event planner allows you to enjoy your day and really make all the investment you’re making worth it. I’ve spoken to brides that had no planner and a lot of them say they regret all the money they spent because they didn’t enjoy their day. So spend your money, and enjoy it too. Hire an event planner. For me, my person was Grace at Grace Arhin Events, I do not regret one thing about my grand and glorious day!”

Aisha & Mevan

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Photo Courtesy of L'Atelier Lumiere

“Our wedding was initially planned as a full day event with a morning cultural ceremony and evening reception. Both events would have been at a larger event venue with approximately 150 guests. With COVID-19, we kept our original event date but streamlined our plans. We decided to keep our morning cultural ceremony but shifted it to an outdoor venue with just 40 guests. We had hoped to reschedule our larger reception to 2021 but decided to cancel the larger event as we saw COVID cases rise in the fall.

Mad Bash Group was integral to helping us streamline our plans and manage our event. They helped us communicate changes to our vendors, create a plan to keep our guests safe in accordance with COVID restrictions and managed all of our logistics leading up to the event and on the day of the event. They did an exceptional job of helping me navigate changing plans and learning about the important cultural elements of our ceremony. Although our event was different from what we had originally planned, my husband and I loved our wedding day and our family and friends agreed that it was a truly beautiful and special day.”

Marlo & Tremayne

Wedding Planner

Photo Courtesy of David & Sherry Photography

“My original wedding was supposed to be in July 2020 with 200 guests. I knew I wanted a planner from the start, and hired Alana Klein of Swoon Events for full planning. All was going well with the wedding planning, and then March 2020 comes along and BOOM – COVID-19 hits! As a bride, I was pretty freaked out. These were truly unprecedented times and as if planning a wedding wasn’t already hard enough, now we were left with so many questions and barely any answers.

We moved our date to October 2020 and Alana dealt with everything and everyone. The entire time I was stressing, Alana was calm, collected and organized. We took the guest list down from 200 to 50 people. With Alana’s recommendations, we decided to focus on making the room look spectacular, and putting together all the pieces we still wanted like a band, comedian etc. She knew all the right vendors to speak to, arranged all the virtual meetings, helped get my ideas across clearly, and went back and forth speaking to the vendors so I could focus on work. I am more of a hands off person, and I fully trusted Alana to take over. She understood my vision, and helped this wedding come to life. Not only was she supportive during COVID when all things were uncertain, she kept me calm, and made me feel good about the wedding we were planning. There were so many new things to consider because of COVID, and Alana was on top of it all. She was truly a lifesaver and I couldn’t be happier with how our wedding turned out. Alana did a fantastic job, my wedding was so gorgeous, everyone felt safe and on the day of her and the Swoon Events team were so helpful and organized. I would highly recommend anyone getting married to hire a planner, especially now during a pandemic!”

Diana and Colin

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“We had originally planned to have around 120 wedding guests at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club on Toronto Island until COVID-19 hit. Anticipating that COVID-19 was not something that was going to go away anytime soon, we made the quick decision to cancel our original wedding plans and opt instead for a smaller scale micro wedding with 20 guests.

The first thing we ever did when planning our original wedding was contact Roxy and her team at Art of Celebrations. We have seen first hand the importance of having an incredible wedding coordinator. Roxy was the wedding planner for both of my sister-in-laws weddings. Roxy and her team were crucial in ensuring our special day was magical, even on a smaller scale. Their combined knowledge of floral artistry and flawless attention to detail created the perfect day from start to finish. Roxy has an exceptional eye for all things beautiful. We cannot thank her enough!”