Crystal Vandegrift is the owner and lead photographer at Crystal Image Photography.
originally posted by Brides.com
Whether you're hiring a wedding planner or not—it's no secret that wedding planners know a lot about planning a wedding, from setting a budget and managing the guest list to designing the flowers and décor.
Wedding Coordinator vs. Planner vs. Designer: What's the Difference?But, even if you don't have the budget for a full-service wedding planner, don't stress. To help you kick off the planning process—and, more importantly, enjoy it!—we called on our wedding industry friends (27 of them, to be exact) and asked them to share their many, many years of experience and wisdom with you.
From money-saving tricks to stress-reducing tips, read on as some of the country's top wedding pros reveal the secrets their clients pay to hear!
Be Honest With Your Opinions“Be as clear as possible when communicating your needs and desires to everyone working on your wedding. Remember it’s just as important to share what you don’t like, as well as what you do, so a distinct picture emerges.”—Sofia Crokos, owner and creative director, Sofia Crokos Events & Lifestyle
Start With Your Budget“Before you make a single decision about your wedding, you need to determine your ‘must-have’ guest count and then your target budget. We see frustrated couples who start the process by booking a venue that simply does not fit into their budget. You have to consider the total cost of your celebration before anything else.”—Lynn Easton, founder, Easton Events
Focus on the Ceremony“Couples focus much of their energy and time on the reception. But without the ceremony, there is no reception. I tell my clients to put more energy into the vows, the actual ceremony, and how to make it unique and memorable. This is what will set the mood for the whole experience of the day.”—Mindy Weiss, owner, Mindy Weiss Party Consultants,
Trust Your Gut“Follow your gut and do your research when it comes to choosing vendors. Don’t settle. Make sure the people you surround yourself with are looking out for you and your best interests versus just trying to sell you something you don’t really need.”—Nicky Reinhard, owner, Nicky Reinhard Events
Appreciate Wedding Planning“A wedding is a micro vision of the larger macro vision of life. The time couples spend wedding planning allows them to decide how they want to navigate familial traditions, cultures, expectations, and needs as they transition into their new lives as their own family. It’s important to see this time can be an adventure, rather than a stressful experience!”—Elizabeth McKellar, owner, The Nouveau Romantics
5 Bonding Moments Every Couple Has During Wedding Planning
Practice Self-Care“Planning a wedding can be an entire year of your life or more, and it can make or break your wedding experience. Practice self-care during your engagement period. Have date nights where you make it off-limits to talk about the wedding. If things get stressful, remember that the wedding comes and goes in six hours, or in a weekend, and then it's over. It's one of the most amazing things to have everyone you love in one place. Relax and enjoy it.”—Alison Laesser-Keck, owner, Alison Bryan Destinations
Keep the Day Personal"A wedding should be personal and reflective of the couple—their stories, shared interests, family backgrounds, personal styles and travels—versus something built on recycled ideas from other weddings. I encourage couples to draw inspiration from the stories of how they met, what they did on their first date, and how they became engaged. It’s easy to find a few details from those stories that naturally translate into fun and unique elements on the wedding day. For example, for the couple who got engaged on a mountain one snowy night in Colorado, we decided to feature a snow machine at their reception. Guests were showered with snowflakes as they left the venue at the end of the night, and everyone loved how the moment was a nod to bride and groom’s engagement story.”—Allison Jackson, owner, Pineapple Productions
Prioritize Your Guests“It’s important to keep the total guest experience in mind, especially for those traveling to the wedding. When choosing your date, be sure to do your homework on what is happening in and around your destination town or city. Parades, graduations, and city-wide conferences will impact hotel and transportation rates.”—Emily Butler, owner, Karson Butler Events
Save Money on Invites"Choosing a rectangular wedding invitation over a square format will save you money on postage, as the USPS considers a square envelope an ‘odd-size’ shape they can’t pass a square envelope through their machines. They call this ‘nonmachineable’ and as such, these envelopes result in an additional $0.15 per envelope. That’s on top of the postage required for the weight and dimensions of your envelope! BTW, it’s perfectly acceptable to forgo an actual RSVP card and envelope, and provide an email address for guests to respond to instead.”—David Stark, chief creative officer, David Stark Design and Production
Repurpose Your Flowers“I always suggest couples donate their flower arrangements to local charities after their wedding. The florals will brighten up someone’s day, and as a couple, they can feel better knowing the money they spent on a large budget item is going to be appreciated a second time around. We repurposed the florals from Julianne Hough & Brooks Laich’s wedding and created over 450 small arrangements that were delivered the day after the wedding by Full Bloom, a company that recycles gently used flowers to local hospices, hospitals, and nursing homes. It was magical.”—Troy Williams, principal and event designer, Simply Troy Lifestyle + Events
Make Your Guests Comfortable“Focus on the touch points that allow guests to be present throughout the weekend. For instance, if your ceremony has the possibility of being too hot or cold, make sure to address those issues with blankets, fans, and water. For the reception, always make sure you have enough servers and bartenders. If guests aren’t able to get a drink or wait too long for their meal, it doesn’t matter how beautiful or fun your wedding is. Guests will be focused on their needs not being met and they won’t be able to enjoy the celebration as you’ve intended them to.”—Beth Helmstetter, creative director, Beth Helmstetter Events
Make the Marriage Your Priority“In the rush of planning, don't lose sight of the big picture. Nothing about a wedding is as important as the marriage that will follow. A wedding is a beginning, not an end in and of itself. There will be different points of view, and perhaps even disagreements, as you plan your wedding. Always make your marriage the priority, the details of the wedding become just that, details.”—Bronson Van Wyck, owner, Van Wyck & Van Wyck
Wait To Say Yes To A Dress“Don't buy your wedding dress before you've decided on a location or date—you’ll want to choose one that fits perfectly with the venue setting and the time of year.”—Rebecca Marin Shepherd, owner, The Wildflowers
The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Dress Shopping
Don't Sweat the Small (or Big!) Stuff“Everything won’t go according to plan on your wedding day. Keep perspective and remember your marriage is the most important part of the process. Surround yourself with people you can lean on, so you don’t sweat the small or big stuff. Soak in every detail because the wedding day will go by quicker than you can possibly imagine.”—Betsy Krug, co-owner & event director, Rebecca Rose Events
Okay, they're not really secrets—just awesome ideas we encourage you to steal.
originally published by The Knot
While your wedding ceremony is both special and crucial (it's when you'll actually get married!), the reception is probably what you and your guests are most looking forward to—who doesn't want to eat, drink and dance? The best celebrations incorporate personal, fun and unique touches to keep guests smiling and talking about it long after the last dance. Get inpsired by our favorite reception ideas, from simple planning tricks to wow-worthy entertainment below, and by taking our fun Style Quiz. Then start planning your party here.
1. Arrange Seating Thoughtfully
It sounds obvious, but don't discount the importance of a solid seating arrangement. Place guests with people they'll know and get along with. It might seem like a great idea to play matchmaker, or force your guests to sit with strangers to make new friends—but at the end of the day, they're there for you, and to catch up with their own farflung pals. Put another way, a well-thought-out seating chart leads to great conversation, which leads to a great dance party, which leads to an unforgettable night. So seat your tween cousins with other kids their age and let your college friends sit together.
2. Hand Out Awesome Favors
Wedding favors should be the cherry on top of a fabulous reception. Let your guests know how much you appreciate having them there by offering a take-home treat (think: doughnuts, hot cocoa mix and marshmallows, a bag of your favorite coffee beans or jars of local honey), a cute succulent plant or a pair of sunglasses branded with your initials and wedding date.
3. Keep Toasts Short and Sweet
Wedding toasts are all about quality over quantity, so ask anyone who's speaking to make sure their toasts are no more than two minutes. If they have any longer anecdotes, they can feel free to share at the rehearsal dinner.
4. Have a Plan for Kids
To keep the little ones entertained throughout the night (and to give their parents an opportunity to hit the dance floor), give them their own designated area. In a separate room, arrange for a babysitter to set up and oversee movies, games, crafts or a kid-centric dance party. You can also set up a few tables topped with coloring books, crayons, games and small toys.
5. Shake Things Up for Your First Dance
All eyes will be on you during your first dance—it's the perfect opportunity to wow your guests with a fun surprise. Start with a romantic dance to "At Last," or other classic first dance song, then suddenly switch gears to a energetic Latin dance or break it down to Bruno Mars.
6. Offer an Interactive Food Station (or Two)
Great food makes for a great celebration, but offering dishes that everyone can customize to their liking is even better. Interactive food stations, from a mac-and-cheese bar to a sushi-rolling setup, where guests can create their own ideal bites will leave you with happy, well-fed friends ready to have a good time.
7. Rethink Dinner
Instead of a typical three-course menu of salad, entrée and dessert, stretch out dinner over four or five smaller courses (but don't stretch it too much if you're still hoping to get everyone on the dance floor). Plan small surprises between dishes, like a short toast from your hilarious aunt, a sweet poem from a lifelong friend or a professional performance, like a vocalist or dancer. It'll give your guests the experience of a fun night out, complete with dinner and a show.
8. Change Into Something Comfortable
Let's put it this way: You won't have a good time at your reception if you can't take two steps without snagging your train, right? So after the first dance, brides can swap the veil and bustle for a fabulous little white dress or jumpsuit, and grooms can change to a more relaxed suit. If you and your new spouse are comfortable enough to move freely, you'll dance more, chat more, laugh more and eat more cake—that'll rub off on your guests.
9. Plan Surprise Entertainment
Sometimes the best parts of a reception are what guests don't see coming. Surprise your loved ones with unexpected entertainment during the cocktail hour or reception, like a magician, mariachi band, aerialists or a salsa dancer.
10. Make Sure Your Band Has Great Break Music
Everyone's been to that wedding before: Just when the dance floor starts heating up, the band takes a break—and the party seems to as well. To make sure this doesn't happen at your wedding, ask potential bands how they plan to handle breaks before you hire them. Some bands will rest in shifts and split off into a smaller two- or three-piece band, while others will turn on filler music. If yours is planning on the latter, ask whether you can provide the playlist, or at least check and approve their picks before the party.
11. Find a DJ Who Gets You
Okay, this is a little more obvious, but we have to mention it because music is a major reception fun factor, and has a lot to do with how long your guests will stay. The last thing you want to see is your dance floor clear out when the DJ plays obsure songs that are hard to dance to. Talk to your DJ about your do-not-play list upfront.
12. Play Music Everyone Can Dance to
Whether you've hired a band or a DJ, if you want to keep the dance floor packed, plan a playlist that will please the whole crowd, not just you two. You may love obscure indie rock, but now isn't the time to show off your discerning taste in music. Sure, mix in a few of your favorites, but don't leave out the past and present hits, otherwise you risk an empty dance floor.
13. Have a Lounge Area
If your site and budget allow, set up comfortable lounge chairs and couches in your reception space. Instead of having your guests sit around the same tables all night, even after dinner's over, a change of environment will promote conversation, give your energetic dancers a resting area and keep your nondancing guests entertained. It's also an elegant and comfortable way to let elderly guests relax and chat while others take to the dance floor. Look into renting or borrowing couches, chairs and other furniture to create stylish, cozy vignettes complete with pillows, flowers and votive candles in your wedding colors.
14. Hire a Day-of Coordinator
You may have a ton of fun ideas lined up for your reception, but no matter how organized you are it's much more difficult than you'd think to keep each of those plans and moving parts in check. If you already have an event planner, you're all set. If not, look into booking a day-of coordinator to oversee the details (trust us, it's worth it). Check out the different types of planners you can hire.
15. Roll Out a Tasting Station
A full bar is a must-have for a great reception, but take it up a notch with an interactive drink experience. A wine, beer or whiskey tasting lets guests sample different drinks and learn a few tasting notes. A hand-rolled cigar station also fits the bill, as does a make-your-own margarita bar—who could say no to that?
16. Create a Nice Flow Within the Space
One of the less obvious keys to a succesful celebration is movement. The best parties encourage lots of dancing, with mini breaks for mingling and snacking. For maximum dimension and circulation, divide your reception into distinct areas for dancing, drinks and chatting, and coffee and cake. Arrange a few cocktail tables near the bar, offer outdoor seating or set up a table of desserts or late-night bites.
17. Serve Good Food
It doesn't get more 101 than this. Ask yourself what you'd want to eat, both as a wedding guest and in general. Love spaghetti bolognese, dim sum or tacos? Chances are your caterer can find elegant, creative ways to serve it to a large crowd. Another option is to skip the sit-down dinner altogether and pass hearty, satisfying hors d'oeuvres with cocktails.
18. Don't Let Your Guests Get Hungry
Want a guaranteed all-night crowd? Arrange for the catering staff to bring out late-night food like French fries, pizza or doughnuts after midnight (or before, if you just can't wait). Offer a DIY coffee bar complete with flavored syrups and toppings to keep them on their feet. If you stick with low-key favorites, your friends will never want to leave.
19. Plan a Fun Surprise
Here's a secret for you: Keep guests celebrating by planning a surprise for the end of the night that everyone can look forward to. You and your new spouse can perform a song with the band for the last dance or prep a memorable reception getaway like a fireworks send-off.
20. Host a Welcome Dinner
Okay, this tip isn't technically for your reception, but it'll make the reception more fun. A casual event where all your guests can meet and mingle the day before the wedding means everyone will have already gotten to know each other, and old friends will have had a chance to catch up, so when reception rolls around, your guests can skip the pleasantries and get right down to celebrating.
Wedding planning is no easy feat. Even if you think you’ve got the major details nailed down, it can be tough to feel confident in bringing all the elements together in a cohesive way in accordance with your preferred theme. If you can’t visualize your wedding as a whole, it’s bound to make you feel a bit scatter-brained. Thankfully, vision boards are a helpful way to organize your thoughts and map out the details of your big day. After all, you want to fulfill your ultimate wedding desires while making the event memorable and special for everyone involved.
The best part about creating a wedding vision board is that it can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. Grab a foam poster board, cork board, or opt for a completely digital format. Vision boards work the same regardless of the form they take. If you’re not sure where to start when developing a vision board, we’ve highlighted a few go-to options for you, in addition to some printables to help couples spruce up their vision board with uplifting and motivating quotes during the planning process. Below are some great free tools that you can take advantage of today, in addition to some uplifting printable quote cards.
Your vision of your wedding is important to refine, whether you’re in the beginning phase of planning or getting ready for the big day next month. We hope these tips for making an inspiring vision board help you as you dream big and guide your wedding plans. After all, if you can dream it, you can create it.
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer covering Virginia, D.C. and Maryland. If you are interested in being a guest blogger on our site please contact us.
Article originally posted on The Knot.com
The good news is that you can get a lot done.
When it comes to important life events, weddings easily top most folks’ lists as one of the biggest days of their lives in terms of family involvement, lifelong commitment, and financial investment. So while there have been massive lockdowns nationwide (and abroad) and an increasing number of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, many couples who've planned for months, or even years, are searching for ways to find a way forward or plan ahead for possible postponements.
Wedding retailers nationwide are taking quick steps to react to the ever-evolving coronavirus news, with many closing their brick-and-mortar stores to prevent the spread of the virus and practice safe social distancing. (Wedding planners, too, are advising couples to listen to officials and health organizations, first and foremost.) With so much hanging in limbo right now, here’s what to know about how to responsibly plan your upcoming wedding amid a global pandemic.
Book your appointment with Lovely Bride now!SPONSORED BY LOVELY BRIDE
Communicate With Your PartnerBefore diving into anything else, take the most important step, which is communicating with your partner first. “Work with your significant other, gather your thoughts, and establish your priorities,” says celebrity event planner Edward Perotti. “Ask yourself: Is a specific date most important to you? Or is it a meaningful venue? Is having the wedding the same size a priority, or can you scale to provide more options? Is there a vendor you want to work with no matter what? Then read your contracts, make a list of your ideal options, and start with those phone calls.”
Whether you’re quarantined at home with your partner or hundreds of miles away, you can spend this time working through communication exercises. Services like Lasting can help you navigate possible premarital conversations—without excuses that you’re too busy or inundated with dinners, in-person meetings and more.
Finally, perspective is key. “Remember throughout this process that it’s important not to focus on how things should have been, but to focus on how they can be,” he adds. Indeed, planners far and wide have echoed this sentiment and asked for couples to have an attitude that is solution-oriented as all sides are currently impacted by the ongoing pandemic.
Shift Your Schedules If You’ve Postponed
Now is an ideal time to restructure those calendars and get organized. Talk to your planner consistently or shift your calendar dates where necessary if you’re planning on your own. Communicate accordingly with all vendors once you've locked down a new date.
“Let me be blunt: if your wedding is planned for anytime between April and June, you need to accept that fact that postponement may be necessary,” says Perotti. “Now that the Band-Aid has been ripped off, what’s next?”
Ask about your venue’s postponement policies, and be patient with anyone you speak with; they’re likely scrambling to try to accommodate for multiple nervous couples at the same time. Check your wedding insurance policy and see what will be covered, and if there’s anything that can be negotiated given the unusual circumstances. Read here for more tips if you’ve postponed your nuptials due to COVID-19.
“We are all sailing in unknown waters right now,” Perotti says. “What we can do is partner together. Know that your event planner, venue, caterer, photographer and florist are your team members, and they want to make your wedding [the best possible]. The dream might be slightly re-imagined, but it’s still your dream, nonetheless.”
Seek Inspiration OnlineIf you have yet to nail down your wedding theme, take The Knot Style Quiz to narrow down venue options, color palettes and even floral arrangement ideas. The quiz is an easy starting point; plus, it connects you to the best vendors who can execute your vision in your chosen destination.
While shopping in-store may not be a viable option for the foreseeable future, some brands are offering additional support online for brides looking to get all their ducks in a row amid the chaos. BHLDN, which is temporarily closing its physical locations, recently launched The Book, an online resource with a quiz to find your perfect wedding colors, hair and makeup tutorials, and dress decoders, so brides can be as well-informed and inspired as possible. Of course, there are plenty of articles to help you determine what silhouette or types of accessories work best for your body too. Head over to our ideas and etiquette page for more.
“Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and social media are gold mines for inspiration and shopping,” says Bella Belle co-founder Veronyca Kwan. “We’re always an email away for personalized shoe consultations.”
Create an 'Inspiration' BoardIf you have glue, scissors and poster board, create a physical vision board (or a virtual one on the platform of your choosing). Look at this time of self-quarantine as a gift of focused time and energy that you can use toward doing the proper research to dream up the perfect event, from florals to centerpieces to invitation designs.
Even though it may be tough to be patient with the overwhelming number of mini-deadlines and tasks that come with the wedding planning journey, staying calm and utilizing this time will ultimately be helpful to the overall planning process of your big day.
Technology and social media apps have made it much easier to get planning accomplished from a distance. If you’re still in search of vendors, check out The Knot Marketplace for a comprehensive overview of wedding pros, ranging from planners to caterers and top-tier florists across the country.
Couples who’ve previously hired these same vendors have left reviews about their own experiences. The research is also in one place: you can scan their websites, scroll through their social media pages for past weddings, and review what others have said about these businesses.
Another part of the process is having actual one-on-one conversations with potential members of your wedding team. By using tools like FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Skype, interviewing DJs, live bands, photographers and videographers is no problem. They can walk you through presentations of their past work and you’ll still be able to capture their work style over video.
“You can really get a sense of their personality and if they will be the right fit for you," says Marina Birch, owner of Birch Events in Chicago. From there, keep in touch with your chosen vendors digitally to progress through your to-do list. And, of course, for the comfort of knowing that like you, they’re also busy planning from their ends.
Find Alternative Ways to Shop for Your GownStart by researching local salons in your area to see what designers they carry within your budget range. This will help you narrow down the ideal boutiques you'd like to visit once group gathering restrictions are no longer enacted by the CDC. Plus, your loved ones can look forward to a fun date where you model dresses, sip bubbly, and catch up—together.
Go Online for Your Suits and Tuxes TooFor grooms, ask your partner to get out a measuring tape to work through your measurements. A quick YouTube search will let you know what measurements are crucial to know for suit sizes (this sizing guide from The Black Tux is a great place to start!). There are a good number of tux rental and sales sites where you can then opt to shop. Tell your groomsmen to do the same.
If you’re concerned about your color palette, turn to brands like The Tie Bar and Birdy Grey for groomsmen accessories (bowties and neckties) in a range of hues that'll match the bridesmaid dresses.
Design Your Wedding BandsMany jewelry shops remain closed due to group gathering measures, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get started on designing your wedding band. (Or, for some, the engagement ring!)
Talk to your jeweler about how you’d like your band to rest against your engagement ring or what you'd like your partner’s ring to look like as well. If you're designing an engagement ring, digital technology has advanced to allow for real life simulations of ring shapes and sizes against hands. There are plenty of options out there. Brands like Ritani and Blue Nile are also great places to envision possible jewelry pieces online. See how your rings potentially stack and whether solid gold or platinum looks best on your partner’s hand.
Build Your RegistryYou might have been putting it off, but now is a good time to sit down with your partner and seek out registry products and other types of newlywed experiences to enhance your life in marriage. After all, there’s no better way to identify what your household needs might be than to, well, be at home all day.
Most retailers have online shops where you can peruse items from the comfort of your couch, including Crate & Barrel and trendy sibling CB2. Other traditional retailers like Williams-Sonoma, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond also have e-commerce experiences where you can easily add items to your bigger registry. More specialty shops like REI, Anthropologie and Traveler's Joy also have extensive offerings online (sometimes even more than what they can carry in stores!), so take this opportunity to get creative and start intentionally building your registry online.
MINTEDIf there’s a time to lean into purchasing items for the wedding day, it’s now. Companies like Elli are offering free reprints for change-the-dates, while other brands like Minted and The Knot Shop offer a range of personalized products. With favors and décor, our current advice is to leave off your wedding date (for now) and instead, lean into your wedding insignia or custom emblem.
With local artisans also practicing social distancing, those who are able to help decorate and embellish your venue with beautiful pieces are also on standby. Go to platforms like Etsy and more.
Take a Breath (You’ve Got This!)Wedding planning is a big undertaking in and of itself, and the added uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic can make even the calmest bride feel anxious about her big day. But one of the best ways to move forward is to do so knowing that you’ve got a team of supportive loved ones who have your back, and that this, too, shall pass.
“Take the time to rejuvenate and reach out to your friends and family whom you have not had the time to talk to,” says Kwan. “Do a bit of spring cleaning or watch old movies. Share positivity in these challenging times.”
After all, if there were ever a time to lean into the process of thinking about why you’re hosting a wedding in the first place—to bring all your loved ones together in one place to celebrate your new life chapter—that time is now. Focusing on gratitude and community are key to navigating the chaos.
Article originally posted on The Knot.com
One significant consequence of the coronavirus pandemic has been the mass postponement of spring, and now summer 2020 weddings, as couples are currently in search of future dates. Updated group gathering guidelines from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the federal government have prompted both couples and vendors to reschedule their upcoming nuptials in the months ahead. As one planner has said, “It is a giant game of chess."
As the situation continues to evolve in the U.S., most couples are now concerned about summer weddings and beyond. “I feel for couples: this is supposed to be the happiest time,” says Jung Lee, founder and event architect of Fête Events New York. “With that said, people more than ever need to see hope, celebration and togetherness in a place where they feel safe.”
Book your appointment with Lovely Bride now!SPONSORED BY LOVELY BRIDE
The most important advice for all couples who’ve set 2020 wedding dates is to be informed and proactive with next steps. “You must plan and move forward,” Lee advises. “Set a date [if it applies to you] and tell your guest list. Everyone will understand and it’ll help them better prepare.” Many pros are currently encouraging couples who still want to marry in 2020 to consider Monday weddings. The reasons for this are straightforward: the majority of your chosen vendors will be available on a Monday over, say, a Saturday. The day also falls right off the tail of a weekend, so your guests will have the flexibility of enjoying the welcome dinner and other festivities prior to the nuptials.
We spoke to multiple planners about prioritizing your checklist now, based on your original wedding date. As you navigate this tricky time, let this advice guide you to making a decision that works best for you and your loved ones.
In this article:
Original March/April Dates, What to DoThe Move: Postpone
Most couples with spring 2020 weddings have undergone the process of rescheduling their weddings or have since secured a new date. “We’ve told them to postpone as the situation with the virus changes rapidly, and the length of time [for social distancing] keeps getting extended,” says event planner JoAnn Gregoli. “We are encouraging these couples to move their weddings to the fall or spring of 2021.”
Even then, planners are offering backup-backup dates due to the nature of COVID-19. “I’ve secured two to four backups options for my couples,” says Lee.
After postponing or making that decision, you must notify your guests with a change-the-date alert. "You'll need to communicate a change in date and location to all your guests, which should be clear and thoughtful,” says the Mavinhouse Events team. “If you are downsizing or postponing, say it in a respectful way and thank them for the efforts they've made already to be a part of your celebration. Include as much information about cancellations for flights and contact info for accommodations.”
Going digital, the planners say, is “the most effective way to” pass along any relevant information.
Finally, here’s how to address vendors at this time. We encourage couples to exercise flexibility and patience as many small businesses have been impacted by the health crisis, as well. "Couples with wedding insurance should closely review their policies for verbiage that includes Act of God, Force Majeure, or Other unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances beyond the two parties control,” says the Mavinhouse team. “All contracts are different and may include variations of the above verbiage, but looking closely for those types of words. It’ll help you see if changes to your wedding plans as a result of the coronavirus would be covered by your insurance policy.”
With insurance, the planners have tangible items for you to follow. “We recommend, should you have to utilize your wedding insurance in some capacity, to gather all of your vendor contracts, make a list of the deposits you’ve already made, as well as a list of the remaining money you have outstanding to vendors,” they advise. “The more information you have to provide your insurance agent, the easier the process will be for you."
Original May Dates, What to DoThe Move: Postpone
If you haven’t already, postpone your May wedding too. Most couples have already shifted their weddings through May as the pandemic continues to spread. “The few weddings moving forward at the end of May also now have a backup date for this fall,” says Lee.
"Just like everyone else, venues and vendors are navigating a fluid and unprecedented situation right now. Your venue and your vendors will always want to put their clients first, while maintaining the integrity of their business,” the planners at Mavinhouse Events explain. “If your wedding is before the end of May, you should reach out to your venue and vendor team to discuss your options. Ask about their specific cancellation and postponement policies, alternate dates that are available, and any policies in regards to switching your date to a different season.”
Fall is the preeminent wedding season, far from the case a decade ago when summer weddings ruled. “Remember, fall dates may still be available, but they are considered peak season for venues and vendors. Be sure to ask if you’ll have to pay any sort of premium to switch your date to a peak season time,” the Mavinhouse team notes. This also means you’ll have to be flexible about specific openings if you want to marry in 2020, including possible weekday and holiday wedding postponement options.
Finally, follow the steps in the March/April monthly breakdown above for both contracts, insurance policies and vendor relations.
Original Early June Dates, What to DoThe Move: Postpone
With social distancing measures enacted through the end of April, many couples are now questioning what to do with their June weddings. In short, this month is on the cusp of the eight-week guidance provided by the CDC’s bulletin about limiting group gatherings. "I have advised our clients to consider postponements through the end of June, and at this point, they have all acted on it, moving their weddings and celebrations to October and beyond," says Amy Shey Jacobs of Chandelier Events in New York. "The internal thinking was also, 'Even if business was allowed to resume, would guests even be able to travel or feel comfortable gathering in large groups?' Overall, the sentiment was that June we will still be in some sort of crisis mode."
"While things are still fluid and ever-changing, we are advising our June clients to do what feels most comfortable for them,” says Mavinhouse. “[By] early-April, a client should make a decision on their June wedding. That is our first recommendation. At that time we may have more insight into what the next few months will look like for wedding celebrations and gathering sizes. Being prepared is the most important step.”
Do your homework first. “Today, a client getting married in June can go through their existing contracts to identify any important information on changing the date,” the Mavinhouse team recommends. “And reach out to your vendors about what your options may be."
Continue marking off your checklist items. Check with your respective attire companies (dress boutiques, tuxedo rentals and bespoke services) to see if they will still meet all deadlines for delivery or pickup. If you’re finalizing décor and more, we recommend withholding date stamps from favors and other insignia that could possibly be obsolete.
Original Late June Dates, What to DoThe Move: Postpone; If your wedding is the last weekend of June, make a decision in April.
While the pandemic continues to unfold, it's likely guests and other loved ones might have levels of discomfort regarding travel, group gatherings and more even by late June. "No one has a crystal ball, but based on our clientele, we moved all June events through June 20 to the fall," says Jacobs.
She adds, "Right now, the national ban on gatherings has been extended through April 30, 2020, with state-by-state gatherings and wedding bans in effect for 'the foreseeable future.' We have seen that venues are following suit with their governmental guidelines but many event venues and vendors have been allowing postponements with no penalty well into June. In fact, all of our events at Chandelier Events in June have currently been postponed to the fall in the New York and New Jersey areas."
Add financial volatility, paired with importing and exporting limitations, and Jacobs says something as simple as flowers remain a question mark. "Could they even be imported from abroad [by then]?" she speculates. "That was part of our thinking."
The sooner you move, the better odds you have with securing an ideal date this fall. "As you know, my advice has always been 'the early bird catches the worm,'" Jacobs says. "There are already so many taken dates for weddings in the fall months that were previously schedule. To ensure that a couple would get a good replacement date, we acted very early to work out those dates."
Again, we encourage couples to consider Monday weddings as most of your vendors are currently available on that particular day of the week and it falls right off a weekend.
Original July/August Dates, What to DoThe Move: Monitor in May; Postpone if you’re concerned
The best step a couple marrying this summer can take is to first reach out to the venue to see what’s next. Then, send a note to your vendors to ask which possible dates they have available. By the end of May, most couples marrying in July and August should make a decision.
Since it's peak summer season, most planners are holding off from rescheduling these events for now. "We are advising our July clients to do what feels most comfortable for them,” says the Mavinhouse team. “We are hopeful that given the significant amounts of social distancing and self-isolation that is currently taking place throughout the nation, this will make July events go off without a hitch.”
Some planners are moving quickly and have asked their clients to firm up a decision by the end of April. “Wait and see for both July and August,” Gregoli recommends. “I have asked my clients to make a decision by May 1.”
As you monitor the ongoing pandemic, there is something you can do to get ahead, like discussing options with your vendors. “For today though, it's important to try to remain calm and excited about your wedding plans while keeping an eye on the news and this ever-changing situation," says the Mavinhouse team.
Continue marking off your checklist items. As previously mentioned, withhold from including wedding dates on your décor if they have yet to be printed and it wouldn’t hurt to touch base with your attire companies as well.
Original September Dates and On, What to DoThe Move: Proceed and monitor
The most vigilant couples are now concerned about weddings past September. There is no need to panic at this time as planners are shifting spring weddings into this time frame. If you’ve secured a weekend fall date, then know that you’re in a good place. Continue marking off those checklist items, however, because this fall already appears to be an even busier season for vendors.
Gregoli suggests couples September and on should proceed as planned. Keep in mind that the situation could shift or evolve. Before you sign contracts, review them carefully and make sure you know exactly what is required if you need to reschedule or postpone down the line.
Regardless of your original wedding date, what every couple can do in this moment is reassure themselves that a wedding will happen. “Every person is unique with what they can handle emotionally,” Lee acknowledges. “But it’s important for couples to now go with the flow, because the world has changed. Your love and togetherness is not going to change. People have to stop saying ‘canceling.’ It is about making adjustments to your wedding day. You can’t cancel love.”
11 Ways to Celebrate Your Original Wedding Date If You've Postponed
Because the day will always be special, no matter what.
originally posted on The Knot.com
by Sarah Hanlon
If you've had to postpone your wedding due to COVID-19 (or another reason out of your control), you're not alone—but that doesn't make it any easier to cope with. When your original wedding date rolls around, you might find yourself feeling sad, confused and overwhelmed. But among all the emotions you'll experience, you can (and should!) honor the day.
While the ramifications of the coronavirus outbreak have affected weddings around the world, couples are instead choosing to "take back the date" to celebrate the day they planned to get married. From hosting a virtual cocktail hour to having your first dance in your living room, there are plenty of ways to mark your wedding date from your home (while following CDC and government guidelines). Though it might not be what you originally envisioned, you'll be happy that you chose to honor the day despite the circumstances. Below, find our favorite ways to take back your own wedding date if you've postponed.
An Advisor Can Help with That
SPONSORED BY MERRILL
Have a Commitment Ceremony
Even if you're postponing your wedding, you can honor your partnership by hosting a commitment ceremony. It's important to note that this is not a legal union—instead, a commitment ceremony simply marks your devotion to each other. (You can have a legal ceremony at a later date). Your commitment ceremony can take any form you want. You and your partner can get dressed up and recite your vows, or you can host a virtual gathering as you pledge your commitment to one another in front of your loved ones. Regardless of how you execute it, this will serve as a way for you to signify your wedding date without the formal ceremony.
Invite Your Loved Ones to Drive By
If social distancing guidelines have kept you apart from your friends and family, invite them to drive through your neighborhood while you and your S.O. wave to them from your porch or front lawn. They'll be thrilled to enjoy the day with you—from a safe distance, of course.
Open a Wedding Present (or Two)
If wedding presents are taking up space in your house, use your original date to open a few and put them to use. Whether you break out your brand new pasta maker or enjoy dinner on china plates, opening your wedding gifts will bring joy to the bittersweet day. (Who doesn't love opening a beautifully wrapped gift, after all?) Wedding gifts are intended to help you begin married life together—and although your wedding might not have gone according to plan, your marriage is far more important than a party. So, grab a few boxes and open them together. Plus, it never hurts to get ahead on your thank-you cards.
Enjoy a Fancy Meal
Support local businesses by ordering your favorite takeout and planning a date night on your original wedding date. Make it extra special by popping a bottle of your favorite champagne, or try your hand at mixology by creating a brand new cocktail. (Take note of the ingredients and serve the drink at your future wedding reception.) While you might not have envisioned celebrating your wedding with local pizza or your favorite lo-mein dish, it'll create a special memory you'll never forget.
Plan a Virtual Cocktail Hour
In the mood to hear some wedding party speeches? Organize a virtual cocktail hour with your friends and family. Gather everyone on a Zoom call or Google Hangout and encourage them to bring their own cocktails. Either make your own or pick up to-go cocktails from your favorite local spots. While you might not be able to come together physically, having your loved ones call in to your digital reception is a great way to take back your wedding date. Make sure everyone comes prepared with a toast (or two) to keep things fun.
Order Wedding Cake or Cupcakes
What's a wedding celebration without cake? Call a local bakery and place an order for a small wedding cake or a batch of cupcakes to enjoy together. While you might not be able to do a classic cake smash in front of your guests, indulging in a sweet treat will be the icing on top of your makeshift celebration.
Say Your Vows
Even if you won't be having a formal ceremony, you can still say your vows to each other to mark your commitment. Since your original wedding date marks the day you planned to formally seal your marriage, honor the intention by reciting your vows together. Consider writing them down in special cards, like this "happy original wedding date" option from Etsy, and exchanging them. While you'll still have to legalize your union in the future, this is a sentimental way to take back your wedding date.
Get Dressed Up
Getting dressed up will make your wedding day feel much more meaningful. Wedding dresses and tuxedos aren't required—but if you want to wear your original outfit, you should! If not, dress up your outfit by wearing your veil, a wedding accessory or any shade of white if you want to. This could also be a great opportunity to wear "something blue" or to break out the white jumpsuit you've been saving for a wedding event.
Have a Photo Shoot
Though it's not what you intended, you'll want to remember how you took back the date for years to come. Savor the memories by snapping pictures of everything: your outfits, the food, your vows scrawled on paper, and even your loved ones if they're able to drive by your house. Don't sweat it if you don't have access to a professional camera—your phone or a polaroid camera will suffice. But if you do want professional help, some photographers now offer photography sessions via FaceTime. Others are available for shoots that adhere to social distancing rules and group gathering guidelines. No matter what option is best for you, don't forget to document your creative wedding party.
Host a Virtual Game Night
There are plenty of virtual games you can play with your friends and family over FaceTime, Hangouts or Zoom. Gather a group and organize an evening of Jackbox TV, Houseparty or karaoke. Or, fuel your nostalgia by playing classic favorites like trivia, Bingo or Cards Against Humanity. No matter what you choose, spending time with your loved ones is a great way to celebrate the day (even if it is virtual).
Have Your First Dance in Your Living Room
Move your furniture aside and practice your first dance in your living room. Light a candle for ambiance, and savor the privacy of this classic wedding tradition. Whether you practice your choreography or have a full-out jam session, dancing to anything will help relieve stress and take your mind off of everything else. And since your first dance song is already meaningful, enjoying it on your intended wedding date will make it much more special.
Article originally post on The Knot.com
A step by step guide on what to do, when.
In these unprecedented times, more and more couples are taking the advice of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to limit group gatherings because of COVID-19. As a result, some couples are either postponing their weddings or considering alternative options. In an official statement from its website, the CDC states, “Officials may ask you to modify, postpone, or cancel large events for the safety and well-being of your event staff, participants, and the community. The details of your emergency operations plan should be based on the size and duration of your events, demographics of the participants, complexity of your event operations, and type of on-site services and activities your event may offer.”
National guidelines were issued March 16, requesting the public's compliance with limiting mass gatherings to no more than 10 people. The announcement was made just a day after health officials from the CDC noted it's essential in now containing the virus. “Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities,” CDC officials said. “Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.”
Book your appointment with Lovely Bride now!SPONSORED BY LOVELY BRIDE
Below is a guide on the steps to take when postponing your wedding due to the coronavirus.
Let Your Vendors Know Your Decision ASAPShould you and your partner decide to postpone your wedding, the first people to contact are the ones tasked with making it happen. Your pros should be understanding of your decision and can help provide additional guidance on next steps, from securing a future date to contacting guests. However, keep in mind that your vendors are small businesses and probably dealing with an influx of calls just like yours, so try to be patient. They also may be impacted by things like childcare issues as schools across the country close and figuring out how to keep their employees safe and healthy.
Review Your Wedding InsuranceIf you went the extra step and secured insurance for your day, you’ll want to consult your plan and contact your insurance agent to confirm whether something like this is covered. Unfortunately, it isn’t in most cases, but every plan is different, so it’s better to do your due diligence.
Create a Communication Plan to Inform Your GuestsThe easiest and most effective way to relay your message is via your wedding website. A simple message that’s to-the-point is best. You may also want to consider creating a list of FAQs if you think your guests will have similar questions around travel refunds, your new date, etcetera. Other communication options include sending your guests an email or splitting up the guest list between you, your partner and close friends or family so that you can start making calls.
Consider How You Can Help Your GuestsIf you have a room block, you may want to reach out to the hotel to see if you can negotiate a full or partial refund on behalf of your guests. Taking the burden off of your friends and family will go a long way for those who had made plans to be there.
Be FlexibleWhen working with your vendors to reschedule, try to keep an open mind. While your original date may have landed on a Saturday, securing another Saturday later in the year may not be possible. Consider other days of the week like a Monday, Thursday, Friday or Sunday. You'll have a better chance of securing all of your vendors, and, yes, your guests will still attend!
Let Yourself Grieve Real talk: It’s ok to feel disappointed or upset. Are there bigger issues we’re facing as a country and as a world? Yes. But it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and understand that they are valid. Voicing them to your partner or a close friend can help you start to cope.
Celebrate the Day AnywayEven if it’s not the day you had planned, the date will always hold significance. Find a small, but meaningful way to celebrate. Plan a fancy date night or enjoy your favorite bottle of wine and a movie.
You can find all these steps for postponing due to coronavirus in The Knot's Wedding Planning Checklist.
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer covering Virginia, D.C. NC and Maryland.
Interested in being a guest blogger on our site? Contact us below!
We love Instagram! Check out our feed below and follow us!
Pictures were one of my top priorities for my wedding. I spent a lot of time reading through photographers and even contacting some. I was also pretty nervous, I had never been professionally photographed before. Crystal and her team were SO easy to work with and immediately took away the nerves. I trusted her completely and I am so happy I did. Cannot recommend enough! Ellen - Yorktown VA
If you're looking for an amazing photographer who is relaxed, has experience, and knowledge look no further. Crystal took our engagement and wedding photos. Not only were her photos amazing, but she is extremely responsive to messages and will even help you when planning your big day. It was important to us to work with a photographer who has experience with same sex couples, and Crystal and Casey did a great job capturing everything for my wife and I. We couldn't have asked for a better experience. - Emily - Nellysford, VA
Read more reviews here.