Do you remember the days when all you had to worry about was whether or not it was going to rain on your wedding date? How quaint, right? Well, not really. Even before COVID-19 came to town, wedding planning has always been pretty dang stressful. For 2020, couples and vendors alike have adjusted by embracing micro wedding and elopements, reduced numbers, postponements and a whole lot of patience. But the world keeps turning and – as they say – the show must go on!

Whether you’re just diving in or you’re already knee deep in planning, chances are you’re feeling (or will soon start feeling) just a smidge overwhelmed. Rest assured, we’ve got your back! To help you out, we reached out to a handful of the city’s top wedding planners for planning advice during this pandemic. There’s some great tips in this one, so whether you’re getting hitched amidst the pandemic, or you’re planning for a post-COVID world, we got you covered!

My biggest piece of advice to couples who are planning their wedding in the midst of this pandemic is to remember what a wedding is really about, and to plan accordingly. We executed over 30 events in 2020 and not one of our clients felt that they missed out. In fact, they felt that this was the wedding they actually always wanted. So, how do you move forward?

  1. Book vendors with a small guest count, with the option to increase if permitted to do so. This is the safest way to plan moving forward, while securing the best vendors.
  2. Understand each vendors' COVID-19 policy and make sure you are comfortable.
  3. Have an A, B and C plan and be 100% OK with each outcome.
  4. Plan with purpose! Be specific and detailed with each scenario that might arise and be sure to have a plan! There are so many ways to get creative in this department!

Photo of Jasmine Carriere
Jasmine CarriereOwner & Creative Director
All That Jaz

There are a few important pieces of information that newly engaged couples should keep in mind when embarking on their wedding planning journey while a pandemic is still at large. When looking at potential venues, ask what their current policies are around COVID-19. Have they been operating on a smaller scale or have they been closed? If social distancing is still a factor in the future, how does that affect the capacity? If government restrictions are still in place, how will that affect your minimum spend requirements?

For both the venue and vendors, ensure you know what their postponement policies are before booking. The venue is the largest piece of the puzzle when it comes to planning a wedding, so be sure to have all the information before moving forward, and know your best-case and worst-case scenarios. Above all, try to be flexible and remember why you're getting married - to celebrate your love! COVID-19 took us by surprise, but as a wedding planner, it has given me the freedom to be even more creative, pivot when needed and still ensure my couples have the best day ever no matter what!

Photo of Alana Klein
Alana KleinOwner & Lead Planner
Swoon Events

Shealyn Angus Weddings & Events

My biggest piece of advice for people wanting to start planning their wedding during a pandemic is to immediately hire a planner. So cliché, but so obviously true. Having a professional on your side who has spent the last seven months guiding other couples through planning issues that inevitably arise in the middle of a global crisis is so valuable. They will be able to nitpick and navigate new contract policies, help build appropriate expectations and back up plans, and provide confidence and stability in an otherwise completely unstable climate.

Photo of Shealyn Angus
Shealyn AngusPrincipal Planner
Shealyn Angus Weddings & Events

Rebecca Chan Events

Amidst the pandemic, some couples are rescheduling to wait it out while others are wanting to get married. If you're looking to tie the knot during this time, there are a few things you must know about planning. It is necessary to be very flexible - in your guest count and your plans. The situation changes on a whim sometimes, so keeping up with the news and regulations is also key. A lot of our clients have everything sorted out and decisions made, but are just waiting on a date that works for all parties. This is a great way to plan, when there are so many variables up in the air. Finally, having an experienced wedding planner on your side who will not only assist you in figuring out changing plans, but provide you some emotional support, is so essential to a stress-free and smooth wedding experience in a really trying time.

Photo of Rebecca Chan
Rebecca ChanOwner & Lead Planner
Rebecca Chan Weddings & Events

Designed Dream Events

We compiled some advice for couples who are planning their weddings in the midst of a pandemic, whether a small and intimate wedding for this year or a bigger wedding for 2021 or 2022:

  • Do not stop planning no matter what surrounding conditions are, continue with your planning, and keep yourself motivated and inspired to plan your big day!
  • Make sure to check your contracts with each vendor and the venue to ensure that the new COVID-19 clause is in there in order to avoid any possible confusion or misunderstandings later.
  • If you are planning your wedding for 2021 or 2022, we suggest that you plan for fewer people but find a big enough venue to accommodate more people. We all hope that this virus will go away by then and that we will able to celebrate in a big crowd again, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • It is a good idea to move away from the hot zones, which the government closes down first, and try to find a venue that has both indoor and outdoor options.
  • It is very important right now to be ready to adapt and to adjust to the changing environment and new rules fast, to be flexible with the dates, days of the week, number of guests, etc.
  • The main thing is to remember and to constantly remind yourself, that doesn't matter whether you are getting married in an intimate setting or with a big crowd - you are marrying your best friend and you should concentrate on that and always keep it in your focus!

Now more than ever, the wedding planning pros are here to help. We are making it our duty to educate and guide our couples through this transitional time and advise them on best practices. One thing is for certain, being together to celebrate these special moments will be more revered than ever and we can guarantee people will not take a moment for granted.

Photo of Fidan Ismayilova
Fidan IsmayilovaFounder
Designed Dream Wedding & Event Planning

Devoted To You

It’s definitely a stressful and challenging time to plan a wedding in the midst of this pandemic with so many unknowns, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still get married and throw a celebration! It is very important to plan your big day with an open mind and be willing to get creative knowing that your wedding may not turn out exactly as you envisioned. With the government restrictions on gathering limits subject to change, it's important to have multiple guest lists, that allow for both worst- and best-case scenarios. What we have learned from this season is that you have to react and respond to changes made by the government that could affect your celebrations quickly. You might not need to un-invite your guests, but you might need to change your logistics around and break down your guests into different groups if the gathering limits apply. Hiring a professional wedding planner can help take care of all the change of plans and provide you the guidance you need for each situation. Get clarification from all your vendors on postponement and cancellation policies before booking and evaluate the situation when you need to pay a big installment to a vendor as most payments are non-refundable.

Photo of Carmen Luk
Carmen LukPrincipal Wedding Planner
Devoted to You

Mad Bash Group

Wedding planning can often feel overwhelming for couples even during normal times! Throw a pandemic into the mix and you might be thinking: now what?! The best advice we can give if you’ve postponed or had to downsize is try to be prepared for everything and anything. Follow the news closely and maintain an open conversation with your vendors and guests. And if you can, have multiple plans in place that allow you to flexibly pivot in the face of changing situations.

As much as we may not want to admit it, we may need to accept the possibility that intimate weddings are going to be the way we do events for the next little while. So if you really want to get married sooner rather than later, we say get hitched to the love of your life with your nearest and dearest now and consider that large, more festive celebration for later (if that’s something you know you want). Also, getting married during a pandemic doesn’t have to be stressful. During this crazy time, you can still have the most gorgeous dream wedding you always thought you would. It may work a little differently, but that’s what us planners are for! We’re here to make your lives as stress-free and simple as possible. Not to mention, we’re so lucky to be in the era we’re in, in terms of technology advancements because now all your friends and family that may not be able to attend in person, can still join you virtually!

Pop-Up Chapels or elopements also provide a great solution to couples still looking to get married, but in a more intimate setting. Not to mention, chapels also tend to be all-inclusive (florals, officiant, photographer, live music, etc.!) and all the planning details are completely taken care of!

Photo of Nicole Connor
Nicole ConnorLead Event Planner + Designer
Love by Lynzie Events + Design