How to Adapt Your Wedding Because of the Pandemic and Stay Sane

June 28, 2020

Hey y’all. This is a crazy stressful time right now, and none of us know if or when or how it’s going to get better. It’s cheesy but these are uncharted waters and we are in it together.

Quick update: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we are not accepting bookings with more than 30 guests until Fall of 2021 or until there’s a vaccine. Thank y’all for understanding!

If you’re trying to plan your wedding in the midst of this it might feel like the sky is falling. I assure you, it is not. Take some deep breaths, eat your stress away with cake, or meditate–whatever you need to get you through the moment. I want you to know your feelings are 100% valid, and you are going through a legitimate grief process. Once the feelings pass, break out your favorite list taking app, or an old school notebook, and map out your thoughts.

Should you postpone? Or keep your original date with an elopement, then throw a big party later? Maybe your wedding was already small and your main concern is keeping everyone safe and healthy. Sit down with your fiance and discuss your options. You may want to involve some of your vendors at this point to see how they’re enforcing social distancing. Remember, this is hard for them too – don’t tolerate rudeness, but be patient. 

Once you’ve decided to adapt your wedding plans, it’s time to act on it:

  1. Make a list of what matters the most to you and your fiance. You may end up having to scratch some things off, especially if they aren’t taking safety steps that are important to you, so it’s vital you place your must-haves at the top.
  2. Reach out to your vendors to understand your options. If you have to leave messages, keep calling/emailing/sending smoke signals. Whatever it takes. This is a tricky spot for your and your vendors. Your contracts will likely have force majeure clauses – while most vendors are human and understanding, they have bills to pay too. Take a really deep breath and come to terms with the fact that as much as it sucks you might lose some of your deposits. Make sure you talk safety with each vendor. Like it or not, your vendors might not be following any CDC protocols and you may need to part ways.
  3. If you have to find new vendors because of booking issues, contracts, or safety concerns, do not panic. It’s going to be OK. This is where that list of must-haves comes in. Think about what matters the most, and make sure it happens. The rest is nice to have, and if you have to go without, it will be alright. No one will notice what you think is missing.
  4. Approach your invite list about your new plans. Be prepared to proceed with caution. You might want to write a script. It’s not actually anyone’s business why you’ve made your decision, yet a prepared statement can make the convos easier. Your fam and some friends might fight you; stand your ground, because whatever decision you’ve made is right for you.
  5. Be flexible where you can and firm where you need. You have the right to make the decisions that help you sleep at night; so do your vendors. No one has the right to bully you for your choices. 
  6. Consider hiring a wedding planner, yes, even if you are hosting a micro wedding! I have several amazing planners to recommend who are taking social distancing guidelines very seriously.

So what am I doing for my clients and potential clients during this uncertain moment? I am extremely risk-averse so I am still social distancing and only going out for bookings and essential trips. I always wear a mask and wash/sanitize my hands, clothing, equipment, and car every time I go out. 

My pandemic pre-wedding procedure:

  1. As much as I want to hug my clients, all meetings will be virtual until I get to see your smiling face in person on your wedding day.
  2. I’m offering flexible payment plans to help ease you through this crazy time.
  3. I’ll be in a mask for the entirety of your wedding and I’ll be sure to keep 6 feet of distance between myself and your guests, wedding party, and you!

My pandemic wedding day process:

  1. More verbal instruction (and patience!) for posed photos. We’ll get through it together, I promise!
  2. I think it goes without saying, but I’ll be washing my hands on repeat, and I always have hand sanitizer on me.
  3. 1 week out from bookings I will take my temp daily to make sure I’m not surprised. If either myself or my second begin showcasing COVID symptoms, I will provide a substitute photographer at no extra cost. I only recommend people I 100% trust.
  4. I am only taking weddings with less than thirty guests at this time, to keep everyone as safe as possible.
  5. Whenever possible, I insist that formal and group photos be taken outside.
  6. If you or one of your guests test positive, please be considerate and let me know as soon as possible so I can start taking precautions. Your event only happens once, but I have multiple events to work this year and need to stay on top of this. This is about more than your wedding. Your wedding effects your guests’ and your vendors’ lives. Please be aware of this.

I know this is weird for y’all. It’s weird for me too. And we’re all learning on the fly, just trying to take it one day at a time and… Get. Through. This.

One thing I know for certain. There will always be love. There will always be celebrations of love. There will always be weddings. They might look a little different, sound a little different, or feel a lot different. That doesn’t make them any less filled with love.

– Mel



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