BEST-LAID PLANS: Advice From 2020 Couples PART 2
About the Series:
For this blog series we interviewed a number of our couples from 2020 to share their perspectives, experiences, and best pieces of advice for navigating the wedding planning process in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Something we all learned this year is that our best-laid plans may go awry, but working together - with a little compromise and adjustment - we can find a suitable solution.
As wedding coordinators, one of the biggest things we noticed early on in the year was that each wedding adjustment would need an individual approach based on the personal priorities of the couple. It is always our role to support our clients' personal decisions. For some couples the priority of their wedding was to keep their date, to be married, and to move forward in life together even if it meant a smaller gathering. For other couples the priority was to celebrate with all of their friends and family just the way they had originally envisioned, even if it meant postponing. Some wanted to ensure they could dance mask-free and hug their guests. Some made it a priority not to put their closest friends and family in a position of feeling the need to risk their health to celebrate. Some with larger numbers of guests coming from out-of-town needed to be sensitive to travel restrictions. Some were happy to connect with their guests virtually. Some knew their guests would come in person if they made proper arrangements for everyone to feel comfortable. Every event was a different story.
Instead of sending our couples a "how-to" message for taking the best steps forward in the planning process, knowing that no one really had a solution for avoiding the stress of covid unpredictability, we got pretty quiet, observed the industry, buckled up, and learned from experience all year long. From couple to couple, vendor to vendor, and successful event to successful event, now we can honestly say we know a lot about this! There were no one-size-fits-all fixes other than bringing the best attitude with every step forward.
So how should upcoming couples make decisions for their 2021 weddings? We have plenty of advice! But for this blog series, we want you to hear the advice of our 2020 couples who were in your shoes just a few months ago. We hope some of their decision-making and perspectives resonate with you.
PART 2: KEEP THE DATE, CHANGE THE VISION
Featured Wedding: Grace and Joe Nelson
Venue: The Outpost Center
Day-of-Coordinator: Family Friend
Hair & Makeup: Everyone did their own
Coffee Bar & Baristas: Friends
Dessert: Potluck style
Decor: Family Friend
Food: Organized and served by family friends
What led you to ultimately decide to stick with your original wedding date instead of postponing? Ultimately, we relied on our wisdom and the judgment of our guests in accepting the invitation. We assessed our willingness to accept risks and decided to proceed with our wedding celebration, knowing that the only (dramatic) thing which might change was the number of guests who attended. With the news COVID-19, what was your greatest concern in terms of your wedding? Would we still get to have the wedding we wanted in the timeline we wanted? (We did.)
List a few key ways you adjusted from your original plans and dreams to make your day happen:
Our adjustments were minor when all was said and done. Mainly we put the burden of responsibility on each person—it was up to the individual if they wanted to attend (responsibly). We added extra spacing between tables and chairs. Most of our wedding was planned to be outdoors anyway (ceremony, social hour, bar, dancing).
How did you face any problems / hurdles?
I was open to the idea of switching our venue or our plans. However, our venue was very accommodating to us while still upholding the state’s general guidelines at the time.
How did your perspective change throughout the planning process?
Covid-19 wasn’t much on my brain during the planning process—not beyond the agreement to distance chairs and tables, etc. I realized along the way that I wanted guests to feel as comfortable and informed as possible so they would then feel free to attend. I made updates on our wedding website to give more information and explain our perspective. I also made an effort to seat guests in the vicinity of others they saw more regularly, whereas before I had no plans for a seating chart. I had a few families (of higher risk) come for the outdoor ceremony/coffee hour but leave before the indoor reception.
Looking back, what do you remember most about your wedding day?
I remember being so completely rested and present, which was the main thing I wanted, and was something only I could give away to a fear of the pandemic. I remember 99% of my guests showing up for 95% of the day. It was humbling and honoring to have our guests come celebrate our marriage.
During a hard season all around, I think people are looking for reasons to celebrate and be glad. I think your guests will feel honored if you give them the freedom of choice.
Be true to your convictions. Don’t accept the accusation that you “could be killing someone through covid-19” by your choice to have a wedding. Do what you must to be safe and sensible, and don’t submit to judgment over an event that is incredibly special and sacred.