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Once upon a decade ago, Kesha implored us all to remember that “the party don’t stop…” and this is exactly the kind of attitude we’re encouraging you to take today if you’re wedding planning during the quarantine. Whether your wedding was postponed and you’re faced with the challenge of pivoting in some areas (and spoiler alert – you can totally overcome this challenge + end up with a bigger and even better result), or whether you are in the beginning stages of your engagement, today we’re sharing 12 ideas for things engaged couples can do for wedding planning in the Age of the Coronavirus. Because even in isolation, friend, the party don’t stop.
Use these precious hours in the coziness of your abode in whatever way you need. And if that means plowing through the bagel bite quarantine snacks while you re-live your childhood via That’s So Raven binge sessions, you do you, pal. But if you’re anything like us, you might find yourself stir crazy and restless and just plain ready to get your wedding planning productivity on.
This time can feel like a burden, or it can feel like a gift. We hope you think of it in terms of the latter. Because boy, do you have a lot of time to engage + collaborate with your wedding vendors now, curate your Pinterest board in a way that goes beyond loving x,y or z ceremony backdrops or spread some love to your parents and bridal party. Ready to dive in?
1. Build your wedding website
First things first. If you don’t have a wedding website, you’ve gotta get a wedding website specially during the COVID-19 times. Even if you’re not having a traditional registry! There are a dozen more reasons we’d encourage you to create a wedding website (read about them here!), but a couple of the biggest reasons is that this will be the easiest way to communicate with your guests!
The unfortunate circumstances that we’re faced with in this current climate is Exhibit A of how a good wedding website can see the day. Not only can you share quick updates about any challenges that might arise on the website itself (and any date changes, venue changes, destination changes/travel alerts that may follow), you can alert your guests in one fell swoop with an email blast so they don’t miss it. It’s also a great place in general to collect RSVPs digitally with a better response rate than traditional cards, and a wedding website can serve as a filter for the 800 general questions your guests might text you otherwise about timings and addresses and meal options down the road.
One free wedding website platforms we recommend is ZOLA. It has loads of modern website templates with matching paper goods and all of the tech features you’d expect, like RSVP and wedding registry built-in. Plus getting 20% off on remaining gifts on your registry post-wedding is a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.
Bonus: Create a video or two via a free online screen capture tool like Loom that you can include on your website! Maybe it’s a general welcome for your guests or maybe it’s the story of how you met. The sky is the limit, and it can be such a fun way for your guests who might not know both of you together to see you interact.
2. Order samples
Sometimes you need some snail mail to remember that the small details count. And we’re all for the warm fuzzy feeling of getting something signed, sealed and delivered! One thing couples can do is order invitation samples online if they’re working with a stationer like Minted – a collective of independent graphic designers that have shared their original, designs as templates for invitations, day-of paper goods, and hey, even matching wedding websites! Scroll through their vast selection of designs and play with wording, images and other customizations that make a design personal to you. Then order a sample so you can feel the paper options, see the special features (I.e. metallic foil, letterpress, etc) and even note the color hues in person.
If you’re working directly with a wedding stationer, depending on where you’re at in the design process with them, ask about options for a tangible sample once the design is finalized! And remember that they are currently being inundated with requests as small business owners themselves, so be patient and remember that compassion goes a long way. They’re itching to get design proposals to you too!
These weeks are an excellent time to start thinking about your bridal party fashion. Are you having a uniform look? Taking the mismatched bridesmaid dress route? What colors do you have in mind? What about prints? What colors are the flowers, and what tones exist naturally at your venue? How will it all blend together in the most cohesive way? These are the questions to start asking as you determine the bridesmaid fashion approach. Once you have a good idea of your direction, see if you can order some swatches from bridesmaid companies like Birdy Grey (get a free swatch using code BIRDYLOVESRUFFLED)! That way you can see the color, feel the texture and appreciate the quality of the material in person.
With processing + shipping times potentially being affected by the recent world events, it’s never a bad idea to start this process early since designers + bridal party boutiques may start seeing some delays. So be proactive in this area and cross the bridesmaid fashion off the list rest assured you love the result!
3. Check venues’ availability (the early bird gets the best date)
One thing is certain: this too shall pass. Between couples who had to postpone their weddings and couples currently planning their weddings, the overlap of availability will be inevitable when weddings and events resume. Add the holiday season starting late-Fall in the mix and we might see an overloaded calendar from your favorite venues and vendors.
The most important planning decision you’ll make is choosing your venue. That’s why we always suggest working with a planner to determine what venue might work for you based on style, budget, your guests and a number of other considerations only a seasoned wedding planner will know to address! Not only will your venue set the entire tone for your wedding, it can determine everything from which vendors you work with, what the aesthetic or formality level might need to be, what your color palette might be, what restrictions you have, etc. What we’re trying to get at is that it’s not one of those decisions to make on a whim or one you feel like you’re settling on. And it takes some time to do the research!
Not only does it take time on your end, you’ll be working with a sales director to determine availabilities, schedule site visits down the road, etc. The sooner you can make this decision in the planning process, the better. And with spring + summer 2020 weddings now being postponed 6-12 months, venue availability is slimming down more quickly than usual. We’re not saying you need to put a deposit down tomorrow! But laying the foundation of research so you can be ready to visit in person and sign the dotted line once the timing is right will be a game changer!
Start your search here with our international wedding venue guide!
4. Show your bridal party some love
Okay here’s a fun one. When in doubt, spread the love! There’s nothing like focusing on kindness in the midst of dark and uncertain times, and one easy way you can spread joy is by treating your bridal party… the friends who have stood by you and supported you and loved on you most in the world! Not only are there tonsssss of curated gift box companies out there that will deliver the most delightful boxes of treats like chocolates and bath salts and candles to name a few, there are all sorts of DIY projects you can embrace while you’re rocking the quarantine life. I’m talking DIY face masks, cute tote bags, handmade cards, hair clips and the like. You can order supplies online and craft gifts for them to give on your wedding day or bridal shower.
Netflix is offering watch parties, so grab all your girls, schedule a night and watch all your favorite rom coms together (virtually)!
5. Curate your Pinterest Inspiration Board
Speaking of Pinterest, now would be a good time to get back into that secret Pinterest board you’ve been building since the 10th grade. You know the one 😉 We’ll have to share a step-by-step Pinterest guide another time because it couldn’t fit in a post, but get yours started today. You’ll probably find that your tastes have changed since then, and that your board could use a little zhhshing up to match your current day aesthetic, interests and wedding mood.
One pro tip from wedding planners across the board is to pin images that speak to the mood you want to create, your personality, your dreams, your wanderlust, your style… and your relationship – hello! Try to choose images that elicit the feeling you want to create rather than designs that are already out there. Opening yourself up to possibility allows you to ultimately have a wedding that’s a reflection of YOU and not 1.2 million other brides out there.
Wedding trends are always a great source of inspiration, but where it counts, focus on typing words like “pigment, texture, pattern, mood, shadow, wear and even wanderlust” in the search bar to get started. At the end of the day, the board should focus on a unique feeling that can only be true for your story rather than a wedding design template that says “insert couple here.”
6. Tackle all things fashion + beauty
Now is also a good time to be thinking about both bridal fashion + groomswear for the wedding. If you haven’t started shopping yet, that means falling down the wonderful rabbit hole of wedding dresses and bookmarking your favorite designers (maybe even scheduling some appointments with stockists near you once all of this is over!) You might even keep an eye out for trunk shows that might be hitting town this summer, again, dates pending!
For those of you that have already purchased a gown, check in with your boutique on the estimated delivery date as it stands now. Anticipate delays due to the pandemic, and to keep things positive, start thinking about your ideal wedding hair styles based on your dress design.
It’s never too early to be thinking about the hair + makeup component, and if you haven’t scheduled a trial yet, we’d highly recommend that you do! It will allow both you and the stylist to have the right understanding of what you actually want before the big day itself – because when push comes to shove, there won’t be any time for re-do’s on the wedding day.
As for groom’s fashion, now might be the time to think about renting vs. buying or how you’ll coordinate with your groomsmen. Think about how you can make your accessories count – I.e. cuffs links, tie or bowtie, pocket square if you’re skipping the boutonniere. It’s an art, and there are hundreds of resources available on the topic fo’ free!
7. Send Change-The-Dates or Craft Your Guestlist
If you had to postpone your wedding due to the Coronavirus then now is the time to let your guests know of your new date as soon as you get confirmation from your vendors + venue. Update your wedding website with the Change-the-Date announcement and send cards in the mail (you can leave them in your mailbox pre-stamped and your carrier will take them for you, no need to leave the house to go to the post office (as long as your cards have standard size envelopes/don’t have to be weighed for extra postage!). You don’t have to get fancy here, just a photo postcard of the two of you will suffice with the message about changing the date! You can get free postcard templates on sites like vistaprint.com.
If you aren’t getting married in the next 8-12 weeks and haven’t started building your guest list, there’s no better time to do it than now. Not just because you’re home, but the latest events might shed new light on traditional guestlists with large headcounts. Here are 12 questions to ask yourself before starting your guestlist.
8. Order gift cards from your photographer + support your vendors
If you haven’t had your engagement session taken yet, now is the time to order gift cards from your photographer. Many are offering online shop discounts right now, so buying gift cards now will ensure you can get prints professionally printed and even an album after the wedding is finally over!
You can also support other vendors during this tough time by purchasing bouquets from your florists, as many have flower shipments from canceled events, or bakers + caterers are offering meal delivery services or take out orders while their shops are closed.
9. Write your wedding vows
Struggling with the mental burnout that’s sure to come with staring at a screen hour after hour, especially from the same sofa? Switch it up and try writing instead! Writing, whether it’s daily journaling, gratitude listing or a morning routine of spelling out your big focuses for the day, is a surefire way to boost your energy. And hey, make you feel crazy productive!
Why not take this time to do something super special for your partner that they’ll remember forever? Writing your own wedding vows can seem like a daunting task, I get it! But there are all sorts of resources out there that don’t cost a penny that will guide you with all the right prompts to get your creative juices flowing.
If the idea of sharing these personal thoughts in front of all your guests paralyzes you, why not opt for a sweet love letter to give them on the wedding morning instead? Words matter. And thoughtful sentiments like this will be cherished forever.
10. Build your wedding playlist
Another funsie is to start curating your wedding playlist and/or no-play list. Your band or DJ should be asking you to share some details about your musical taste, including your favorite artists, must-play songs, preferred genres and also those songs to avoid at all costs. Not interested in the idea of a line dance at your wedding? Does something come on Pandora while you’re lounging at home that you absolutely loathe? Add it to the no-play list. You don’t have to have all these thoughts together in one sitting. The best way to do it is to start a running list that builds over time. You’ll discover new songs, remember old ones and without fail, find yourself being serenaded by one you never realized you hated so much.
12. Snatch deals for your honeymoon
Okay, travel may be a littleee tricky right now, especially if you want to travel out of the country. But this is also the time to book flights and travel packages at discounted rates! We recommend waiting till next year for any big travel destination, so look for deals with flexible cancellation policies. Read the fine print before booking anything and keep a record of any guarantees and policies presented at the time of booking.
Create itineraries, build your honeymoon wardrobe on Pinterest, and add your favorite luggage set to your wedding registry in the meantime. And just like with weddings and wedding insurance, purchasing travel and overseas health insurance should be high on your list.
While you’re looking into dreamy destinations and unforgettable excursions, be sure to research travel insurance for the honeymoon which will most likely need to be booked separately. And considering today’s climate, we’d highly suggest booking the CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason) upgrade when offered.
13. Build Your Wedding Registry
Time to have fun! Building a wedding registry is like going on a shopping spree without having to pull your credit card. We recommend Zola for your wedding registry if you’re using their website builder, as their list of benefits is one of the best ones out there. Like free shipping and returns and 20% off remaining gifts from your registry. You can also add items from other stores, create a honeymoon fund with the lowest cash fund fee (less than Paypal, y’all).
14. Level up meal plans with at-home date nights
Grocery stores are a mess right now, who are we kidding? Not to mention there’s no way of isolating fully when you’re still having to shop for haphazard ingredients you’ll have to create a mystery dish with later. That’s why right now is a perfect time to give meal plans a try. There are so many companies out there that specialize in meal delivery, so don’t feel like you can’t make dishes to look forward to for a while. They’re out there! And many local restaurants are offering similar services in addition to take out. And we are alllll for the sexy date nights cooking together, cause even in the midst of your engagement session, it’s crucial to spend quality time with one another that isn’t dedicated to wedding planning tasks. Remember that this is a once-in-a-lifetime season, so enjoy it and don’t take planning too seriously!
We hope these wedding planning tasks can help you stay busy, productive and positive during these days of quarantine ahead. We’re here for you for #allthetips and moral support, so drop us a line if you have any questions and be sure to share your own advice in the comments too!