Planning a wedding is hard at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic. The constant anxiety and ever shifting landscape isn’t easy for anyone – both couples and suppliers alike. I wanted to put together this blog post as a list of resources for any couple planning a wedding right now. After a couple of months of small 30 person weddings being allowed to proceed during July and August of 2020, the wedding industry and thousands of couples were disappointed at the end of September as the restrictions were tightened. If you are currently trying to plan your wedding I have compiled this list of useful resources.
Can Weddings Take Place During the Covid 19 Pandemic?
When the country is not in a nationwide lockdown – Yes absolutely! And I have been out shooting a few weddings in July and August 2020. They have been beautiful, joyful and sentimental like any other big wedding. The only thing missing was a big crowd of guests, a party and all the hugging! But there are ways to still enjoy your microwedding (keep reading, I will divulge!).
Check out the government website for latest official advice:
Should You Postpone Your Big Wedding Plans Because of Coronavirus?
The answer to this question is entirely up to you and your partner. Some of the couples that had a big wedding booked for 2020 or 2021, have rescheduled their entire wedding to 2021 (or even 2022). While others have decided to proceed with a small ceremony this year to complete the legal side of their marriage, and are saving the big party for a later date (I offer my booked clients a special offer to have both dates photographed). Speaking from someone trying to run a business in the wedding industry, we are very keen to remain part of your wedding – so please postpone instead of cancelling! If you’re struggling to decide on what to do, it’s worth re-visiting what you original intention was when you were planning your wedding. What were you first excited about?
How to plan a micro-wedding under Coronavirus Guidelines
If you are keen to enter the world of matrimony before the end of March 2021, then you are going to have to plan a micro-wedding. And let me assure you, small does not mean un-special! I have shot a few small weddings since the coronavirus guidelines were implemented, and each of them has been just as joyful as a big wedding.
We had an absolutely amazing wedding day! We were so excited to get married and begin our married life together that the focus was definitely on enjoying what we were able to do rather than what we weren’t.
Livvy & Mark, Church Wedding with 12 guests, July 2020. Click here to see more photos from their beautiful wedding.
Thankfully the limitations set against weddings are only on the number of people you can invite, not how you want to get married. You can still get married in a covid secure licensed venue, registry office or place of worship. You are also still able to have a celebrant led ceremony like Alice and Jess did in August. Your reception must take place in a covid secure venue (like a pub, restaurant or wedding venue and not a home or private garden).
It was so much better than either of us could have imagined! Small means personal, everyone was involved, everyone laughed, everyone shared a more intimate day. When no one else is involved in the planning it’s actually very straight forward and stress-free. We would recommend elopements to anyone! Small is not bad, it’s BRILLIANT! You can have a big party next year when everyone can celebrate together but for now just make sure you organise something that makes you happy.
Alice & Jess, Outdoor Civil Partnership with just 2 guests, August 2020 Click here to see more photos from their elopement
How to Make Your Small Wedding Special
There’s one sure fire way to make your small wedding special – and it really is the big benefit of a small wedding – and that’s to personalise the day as much as possible. Your wedding may be limited to just 15 guests, but that doesn’t mean you have to limit the elements you bring to your wedding day. You can still have your hair and make up professionally done – which is guaranteed to make you feel really special on the day. Your favourite pub and restaurant will be keen for your business. Established wedding venues like The Old Library in Birmingham are even offering a special package for microweddings. If you have your heart set on a specific venue for your wedding – it’s worth contacting them to ask what they have available (and be sure to check out this question list for small wedding venues). You can also spoil yourself and have a wedding planner style your wedding dinner table for you to really add the magic touch.
Alternatively if you plan to go low key at home with those in your support bubble, why not indulge in what you both love doing as a couple? Whether that’s slicing cake, clinking cocktail glasses, enjoying Michelin starred food, or casually grazing on a feasting platter, you can now get what you love, on a small scale, in your home.
And if you’re on a budget, why not ask your friends and family to contribute to the day in lieu of a gift? Livvy and Mark involved their friends and family in the creation of their day to make it personal and involve their nearest and dearest. (Check out patchworkit for more ideas)
Because the wedding was small, it actually took the pressure off planning and making sure everything ran to schedule. The informality of it suited us far better and meant we could make it far more ‘us’. All our family contributed in one way or another. Between them they made the cake, did calligraphy, made dessert and pimms, got a cheese board, made garden games and decorated the garden
If you’re wanting to create a truly unique and highly personal experience of your day, then a celebrant led ceremony is something to consider. Alice and Jess opted for a celebrant led ceremony at a Covid secure venue to really add the personal touch to their wedding. They celebrated their union with just two guests and it overflowed with personality.
There were speeches and promises we wrote ourselves, surprise musical performances and dogs!
And let’s face it, everyone is now pretty familiar with Zoom! If your people can’t come to your wedding party, then you can beam your micro wedding party directly in to their home through the power of Zoom!
For more ideas to make your small wedding special, check out this blog post from Devine Bride.
How to Postpone Your Wedding Because of Covid
If you have decided that you want to wait and have your big wedding when we get the green light to let the good times roll, you’re going to need to work through a little plan to postpone. Thankfully the wedding industry is bursting with information to help you. A really good facebook group has been formed by two expert wedding planners (Occasion Queens and Pink Palms) to help you put together and navigate your postponement plan.
In short, what you need to do is list out all the suppliers you have a contract with and communicate with them early on to let them know your intentions. The most important suppliers to contact first will be your venue, your planner (if you have one) and your caterer. You should be aiming to take all of your chosen wedding suppliers to your new wedding date. It’s a good idea to get several available dates from your wedding venue and ask your booked suppliers which dates they are also available for. For the love of all that is easy and smooth, do not just pick a single date and ask your suppliers to work to it. The chances are not all of them will be available and then you start having to deal with cancelling contracts. If you give your suppliers a range of dates, there will be one wedding date that all of your chosen suppliers are available for. EASY! I can highly recommend a doodle poll for executing this task.
If you find yourself in the sticky situation where you need to cancel your contract with a supplier then you will need to refer to the contract that you have in place with that specific supplier. All of my booked clients can check their contract, payment plan and required info in their very own private client portal. The key to a happy ending in this scenario is good open communication early on.
If you have your wedding photography booked with me, and you need to postpone, then I offer a completely fee free booking postponement. My booked clients are my priority and I want to retain your business. All I ask is that you let me know of your postponement intentions at the earliest possibility. I will then send you direct access to my availability calendar, where you will be able to view which dates I am available for. Once you have chosen your new wedding date, let me know and I will send you a contract amendment to sign.
By the time you decide to postpone your wedding, you may have already bought your wedding outfit. In which case you’ll want to ensure that your treasured garments are stored safely and securely. Check out this brilliant instagram story highlight from Heart Aflutter Bridal on how to store your wedding dress.
Wedding Suppliers Keen to Make your Micro-Wedding Special
If you are interested in having me shoot your small, covid secure wedding, then I offer a special package which you can read about here.
The Chimney House, Sheffield – Award winning intimate wedding venue in the heart of Sheffield
Lucky Pineapple – DIY Cocktail Boxes Delivered to your Door (available nationwide) and at home cocktail bar hire service in Brighton.
Tiny Sarah’s Cakes – Small vegan wedding cakes
My final thought it this, while big weddings are currently off the agenda, there is no limit to the number of dogs you can invite to your wedding.