In the midst of Covid-19, planning a wedding can be stressful, confusing at best. Convoluted and conflicting information feeding through the media on a daily basis can make it difficult to forward plan with so much uncertainty looming and deeply impacting both the wedding and travel industries.
Knowing where to start and how to navigate through the process of planning a wedding during these unchartered times can be hard to ascertain, so we’ve done the leg work for you and sought out invaluable advice from the industry’s best…
Stay Informed & Follow Guidelines
While national and state governments and health organisations are navigating the ever-changing landscape of Covid-19, restrictions and rules around events and social distancing are updated on a weekly, at times, daily basis. Whether you’re anticipating to move forward with a 2020 wedding or elopement, or are simply in the planning phase for 2021 and beyond, it’s important to remain informed and up to date on what is and isn’t allowed for your event, travel and any planned meetings with your vendors. We cannot emphasise enough, be sure to follow the law and guidelines in place for not only you and your partner’s own health and wellbeing, but also your peers and the greater community.
With these guidelines differentiating state to state, country to country, and an abundance of media coverage, it’s easy for information to be convoluted and confusing to follow. Your first point of call and best place to stay up-to-date with factual, current and official information is your national and state government website in where you reside.
Embrace the Downtime
As a poetic silver lining, this abundance of time at home gives you the chance to work on the intricate details of your event you might otherwise have never got around to. Spend this time researching, reflecting and really evaluating what you and your partner want for your special day. Give yourself the time to ask yourself the hard questions, to determine what is truly important to you both as a couple.
Now is a great chance to get creative and build mood boards right down to the fine details. Analyse what it is in each image that you connect with to guide you through planning a wedding that is authentically you. These will become a great resource for you ongoing when selecting vendors, decor, florals, stationery etc., and to ensure the creatives you are working with are on board with your vision.
This downtime is also a great opportunity to do the things that can so often become an afterthought or to learn a new skill that will add a personal touch to your wedding (and also reduce costs!). Start building playlists for your reception and first dance, practice calligraphy for personalised thank you notes, handcraft name cards, practice your makeup skills with bridal makeup artist Brittany Mason, build a custom RSVP website, make bespoke favors for your bridal party, embroider linen napkins… the possibilities are endless. Get your partner and family involved as well and enjoy the process.
Insider Tip / “Maybe it’s time to feed our souls rather than endlessly chasing economical growth and material possessions. Our values are shifting probably for the best. Many of us will take this opportunity to reassess their choices and decide to live with more purpose, even if that means living with less, traveling less and reconnecting with nature. We sincerely hope that LOVE will prevail in the chaos.” – Damien Milan, Photographer
A take-home from the current climate and the uncertainty surrounding travel and destination weddings is to embrace the idea of a local wedding. Moving your focus from global to local will take a lot of pressure off of yourselves and your wallets, making it easier to celebrate with your friends and family, as well as supporting local photographers and vendors while you’re at it. Keeping your wedding local will bring the attention back to what it’s all really about – celebrating your commitment and love for your partner, and creating those magical memories that will last a lifetime.
Use The Lane Directory to scour endless venues and vendors in your area, keeping in mind current travel restrictions where applicable.
Keep It Intimate
While social distancing and travel restrictions are still in place and an uncertainty of when things will return to ‘normalcy’, for many it’s a chance to reconsider the scale of their wedding. For some, an elopement in 2020 is a beautiful alternative or addition to exchanging vows together, just the two of you, with a reception and celebration to follow in the coming year when restrictions ease. For others, this has been a chance to reevaluate priorities, whether due to financial, travel, personal or holistic reasons, and reducing down their wedding size entirely to just a handful of their nearest and dearest. Either way, small doesn’t mean low impact – you can still create your incredible vision but on a more intimate scale and it won’t discount the incredible memories you will make on your day.
With so much uncertainty around the trajectory for the remainder of 2020 and 2021, bookings are filling up rapidly for many vendors. If a wedding was on the cards for you within this time, you may need to consider a different approach to your original plans.
A good starting point is to evaluate what is most important to you and your partner first to build a baseline for your vision, but be prepared to be flexible and adaptable around availability, the seasons and budget. For some, identifying the areas you really don’t want to compromise on is most helpful, be it a venue or a particular vendor, and working everything else around that, as long as you are prepared to be flexible on your date and remaining details to accommodate that. For others, a season or sentimental date will be of more importance, and if the case, be prepared to be planning for a wedding in 2022 or later.
Most vendors by now have a good grasp on what their schedule looks like for 2020 and 2021. With that said, these are unprecedented times and everyone is doing their best to adhere to the forever changing guidelines, so try to be patient and understanding with your vendors throughout the negotiating and planning stages, as they too navigate through this. They are a great resource for you and have a wealth of experience and knowledge, so trust them and be open to their ideas and solutions around any issues that may arise (and they will most certainly arise).
Venue & Vendors
With domestic and international travel restrictions in place for many countries, visiting your desired venue may not be an option right now, particularly if planning a destination wedding.
Many venues have pivoted to offer ‘Virtual Tours’ as the next best thing – a 360˚ visual walk-through of the venue to gain a realistic understanding of the size and scale of the spaces available. Some venues will have this available online as an interactive video, while other venues are encouraging booking in a Facetime or WhatsApp video call. Apart from photos, this will give you the most realistic view and experience of the space and will also give you the chance to ask any important or looming questions you have for the venue.
A key question to ask during these unpredictable times is the venue’s cancellation policy. Every venue has different terms and policies to the next, so be sure you understand and get the information in writing as well. This is particularly important amid Covid-19 as if travel restrictions aren’t lifted before your expected wedding date, you and your vendors may not be able to travel to the venue, nor your guests which may affect the venue’s minimum guest count for catering purposes. The best way to avoid this and any disappointment is to wait for travel restrictions to be lifted before booking anything, or alternatively, just go local and intimate.
Connect with Your Vendors Virtually
While restrictions are in place regarding social distancing and travel, most vendors are offering Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and/or WhatsApp video calls to consult with couples and discuss all the details for their wedding. Plan the points you want to discuss with them beforehand, and don’t forget to throw in a few personal questions as well – it’s important to get to know your vendors and see if they’re the right fit for your personality as a couple. The more at ease and connected you are with them, the more effortless the celebration will flow come wedding day.
Some baseline questions to ask your vendors during your virtual consultation:
- What dates do you have available?
- How would you define your approach?
- Will it be just yourself or a team we’ll be working with?
- What practices have you instilled amid Covid-19?
- Do you have liability insurance?
- Do you have any suggestions for our wedding schedule?
- What is your pricing structure?
- Do you offer packages and if so, what do these include?
- What is your process of working from here?
- Do you have any initial ideas/ recommendations for our venue/ time of year?
- How much deposit do you require?
- Is our deposit transferable if we are required to change the date?
- Are there any fees associated with rescheduling?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- What do you require from us to move forward?
- Is there anything else we should know?
- If you’re unavailable to work with us, is there another vendor you recommend in your stead?
- Are there any other vendors you recommend we work with as well?
Secure Your Date
Due to many celebrations having to be postponed or cancelled, almost all vendors we spoke to have emphasised the importance of rebooking as soon as possible (if you haven’t already done so) if you’re hoping to exchange vows in 2021. Many couples who booked their weddings for 2020 are pushing their date back to next year, so places are filling up much swifter than usual.
We recommend to check in with each supplier on their full availability to determine a unanimous date before making commitments on a rescheduled date. While some creatives who usually have limited booking dates are opening up more placements in their schedules to cater for this, be open to considering mid-week dates to reschedule your celebrations. This will allow for a better likelihood to keep your original vendors and save on losing any further booking fees. For couples looking to wait out the uncertainty a little longer, enquire with your desired vendors about their 2022 availability, many are opening up their bookings earlier and will maintain their current pricing to accommodate this.
Insider Tip / “Ongoing communication between the client and vendor is key. I know from experience I offer my full availability to all my couples, however, if they don’t check back in then the date may get booked up if they are taking their time to decide. Keeping that communication going and understanding that there are changes daily is important, so couples should check back in with suppliers a few times a week until the date is secured.” – Joanna Brown, Photographer
Coordinating the Styling
Now, more than ever is a great time to seek out inspiration and research the overall styling and experience for your wedding or elopement. However, with many retailers and prop hirers temporarily closed and travel restrictions in place, it can be a frustrating task fuelled with many dead ends.
If budget allows, booking a talented wedding stylist such as The Romance, George & Smee, For Love & Living, The Hunted Yard, Eleven Events, Styled By Her and/or florists such as Fleur My Darling, Pia+Jade, Mrs Gibbons, Botanica Style Co. or Nikau to name a few, rather than trying to coordinate this yourself will be immensely invaluable during this time. These vendors have an abundance of contacts to make the unimaginable possible, along with a bevy of in-house styling props and packages to source from. It will be one less thing to worry about yourself during these difficult times and will open you up to having additional support and ideas for styling and planning your event around the social distancing guidelines. Most vendors are on hand 24/7 via email and are taking virtual consultations and appointments to discuss details. Check out some of our favorite wedding stylists and florists around the world on The Lane Directory.
If however you are planning something small and intimate and would like to keep costs minimal, many florists such as Pia+Jade are offering DIY kits or stylists such as Chelsea Gardens are doing tablescape and food styling workshops on Instagram live over the coming months, which will help guide your own styling finesse. The Sourceress and For Love & Living also have a beautiful and versatile selection of props online ready for hire or purchase that will style-up any setting.
Insider Tip / “When designing ‘day of’ stationery and signage such as programs, welcome signs, menus etc., remove dates to give you the flexibility to use the paper goods at a later date if you need to postpone.” – Acqua & Ink, Stationery
The One Thing to Not Skimp On
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – if we could give a single piece of advice for anyone planning a wedding or elopement – if you’re going to spend money on one thing – make it photography. Documenting the beauty of our relationships and the moments that matter most, photography is a medium that prompts us to relive our most precious memories, which is why, given the times, it’s so important to prioritise your wedding photographer to immortalise these moments forever.
While wedding photographers and videographers are one of the hardest-hit occupations with the current restrictions in place, these creatives are doing their utmost to accommodate couples during these difficult times. Many of our favorite photographers and videographers such as Chloe May, White Vine Photography, Ana Galloway, Damien Milan, Dawn Thomson, Deon & Reni, Gradisca Portento, Joanna Brown, Pinewood Weddings, Captured By Keryn, Moon & Back, Volvoreta, Katherine Ann Rose, Days Made of Love, Lou Lou Memphis, Dos Mas En La Mesa, Stefano Santucci, Story of Eve, Morelife Films and Irina & Matej to name but a few, are offering elopement shoots for 2020 to couples within their regions while also extending their calendars for 2021.
Many photographers are also offering additional initiatives to support their couples such as no charge shoots for Covid-19 Healthcare Workers, half-price combined elopement and wedding packages or complimentary fine art albums of your special day, so be sure to enquire with your photographer on their initiatives should you be facing budget restrictions.
Insider Tip / “More than ever the power and legacy of photography is highlighted in this moment with the enforced social distancing. Weddings are all about gathering your nearest and dearest and sharing a unique experience, and this feels very far away from now, but it will pass and we will be reunited and weddings will happen once more. It highlights how photography is still one of the most important elements of the day, and the tangible product really is priceless…it is an investment in your memories.” – Joanna Brown, Photographer
Bridal & Jewelry
Purchasing Your Wedding Rings
While many fine jewelry boutiques are closed, be assured that fine jewellers are still busy working away in studio, taking orders and crafting couple’s engagement and wedding band designs. While social distancing restrictions are in place, most jewelry designers such as Sarah & Sebastian, Grew & Co., Meadowlark, Kwiat, Julia deVille, Eliise Maar, Azlee, James & Irisa and The Line of Sun to name but a few have pivoted their appointments to Virtual consultations, guiding couple’s through their range and offering their complete services (including custom designs) via Zoom, Facetime or WhatsApp. This allows couples to get an up close look at the jewels and be educated on the quality and cut of each piece, while also viewing it from various angles and with different pairings.
For those who desire a more tangible experience, Sarah & Sebastian offers a Try at Home Kit, a beautifully designed box delivered to your door that contains each band, setting and stone available in the Co-Creation range in imitation materials, allowing customers the flexibility to experiment with design options and feel confident in the piece they’ve designed.
Finding Your Bridal Gown
With the ever-changing landscape of social and travel restrictions, many bridal boutiques and designers have had to pivot their consultations, appointments, processes and styling sessions to an online and virtual experience for their brides. We spoke with a handful of our bridal brands around the globe and were inundated by the evident dedication and passion they all have as a community to authentically continue to support their brides in finding their dream dress.
Designers across the globe are working around the clock to keep things on track and on time for their clients as much as possible. While doors might be shut, brands are curating unique and innovative ways to connect with their brides on a personal level and give you the service and experience you need.
Brands such as Pallas Couture, Livné White, Elly Sofocli, Daalarna, Murashka, Amy New, Hera Couture, Vagabond, Harta and Mariée to name but a few are hosting virtual one-on-one consultations and appointments via WhatsApp, Skype and/or Facetime. Designers and their dedicated team of knowledgable and talented staff will work closely with brides and guide them through their collections or bespoke offerings. They’ll delve into the intricate constructions and details of each piece, show realistic demonstrations of the fit, and advise on customisable and styling options. As an additional service, designers & For Love and Floravere will ship samples of your selected gowns direct to you to try on in the comfort of your own home. And make it fun, include your nearest and dearest with a virtual Zoom session over champagne and good music.
With the influx of 2020 weddings being postponed to 2021, designers will be busy working to almost double the quantity of orders for next year, so be sure to plan early and allow enough time for your gown to be made. Most designers we spoke with are working to a 6-8 month turn around time for a made-to-order gown, however, be open with each designer you talk with in the early stages to be able to set a realistic timeline for you both. To keep the process on track and get the most out of your consultations, prepare your questions and list your wedding details beforehand, so you’re ready to go come consultation. Designers have also instilled stringent processes to ensure measurements are correctly documented to allow for a fluid process and a perfectly fitting final gown.
If you would like a more fast-tracked process, many brands such as Bo & Luca, De La Rosa, Shona Joy, still have their online stores up and running to shop ready to wear or made-to-order gowns. Not only a cost-effective option, these brands often design with wearability in mind, pieces that will last long beyond your wedding day and will make for luxurious additions to any wardrobe.
With most of our favourite bricks and mortar boutiques now temporarily shut up shop, shopping online for your bridal accessories has never been more relevant. With a plethora of downtime at home, use this gift of time to really experiment and style up your bridal look instead of leaving it to the last minute.
There is an abundance of truly creative independent jewellery, accessory, lingerie and veil designers from all corners of the world who could really do with your support in these trying times. Instagram is a great source to find and shop these brands, and most offer great return policies should you want to trial a few different designs or they not be right for your look. Some of our favorites include Sarah & Sebastian, A.B. Ellie, Kat the Label, Amelie George, Bella Belle, Lucy Folk, Girl and a Serious Dream and The Line of Sun to name a few who have new season product ready to shop via their online stores.
While you’re there, keep an eye out for your bridesmaids too, having matching shoes and jewelry is a great way to create cohesive looks or double as beautiful gifts for your bridal party. Get in touch with the designers – they might be able to do a package deal or discount for larger quantities, as well as assist with any styling advice.
With thanks to The Lane Community for their contribution and support throughout this time.
Find our handpicked edit of Venues from around the world on the Directory.