The worldwide Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has thrown the entire world into a tailspin, causing thousands of couples to postpone their wedding plans, and leaving those who were just getting started with wedding planning in another kind of limbo – how can you plan anything right now, let alone a mass gathering or travel.
However (stay with me here…) if there is one silver lining to planning your wedding while being logistically unable to actually plan your wedding, it’s that this is an opportunity to make your wedding better: more personal, more budget-conscious, more thoughtful and more awesome.
Stop Wedding Planning on Autopilot
The Coronavirus lockdown has caused us all to adopt a much slower pace of life. There is much less to do, there are fewer places to go, many of us are off-work, all events are cancelled, and we’re being forced to spend a lot of time together. Often, when couples get engaged, they are in a huge rush to plan their “Big Day”… they are anxious to book the best wedding venue money can buy, secure the date in all their friends’ schedules, go wedding dress shopping and start DIY-ing their Pinterest-inspired wedding themes.
However, what do any of those things actually have to do with planning a wedding that’s thoughtful, personal and reflects the journey you two have shared? I take some responsibility here, I know many of you will have bought or been gifted the little white book immediately, you want to get started straight away, working through the first checklist on autopilot.
Let me just stop you there. I want to help you plan your wedding, not just any generic wedding, not a mirror image of the last three you’ve attended, but one that you have planned with purpose, that looks and feels like a reflection of you and your relationship.
Who, what, how and WHY are you getting married?
What makes you want to get married in the first place? Beyond getting married, why do you want a ‘wedding’ (there is a difference).
What about your relationship is completely different to that of any of your friends’ relationships? What drew you to your partner in the first place, and what keeps you together? Are there unique cultural elements you could bring together in a celebration, are you getting married to bring your two friend and family groups together, or planning a destination wedding to celebrate your love of travel?
Have you always dreamt of a big wedding? Do you have visions of feeling like a princess for a day, or are you uncomfortable about the idea of having all eyes on you? Perhaps you love to party, and this is the perfect excuse you’ve been looking for to throw a big one?
Whatever your reasons are, hold onto them tightly. As you may have already noticed, lots of people will have lots and lots of opinions about all the ways you can plan a wedding – whether you should get married in a Church, how much to spend, how many bridesmaids you should have, who you’re supposed to invite, whether you can ask for cash for your wedding present… the list goes on.
The point is, with everyone offering their advice, it’s easy to lose sight of your own “What”, “How” and “Why”, and forget that it’s really all about the “Who” – the person you are marrying, and what makes the two of you so special.
You’ve got plenty of time on your hands right now, so use it to your advantage and make sure you’re both clear on the wedding you really want to have, before you started talking to vendors and making bookings.
Can you still afford the wedding you wanted? Do you still want to spend that much?
Many of us are going to come out of this crisis financially worse-off (ourselves definitely included). If this was us five years ago, I’m not sure whether we would be able to say we could still afford the wedding we had intended to have.
Wedding budgets are all about priorities. What will mean more to you over the next year? If you’re still feeling financially stable, is an expensive wedding the difference between being able to afford your first home together, or finally renovating your bathroom? Now that you’re spending more time at home, are there things you really want to fix, or would you rather spend more money getting far, far away from home on an extravagant honeymoon instead?
Had your parents or any other close family offered to help you financially? Are they still in a position to do so? As many people are currently been made redundant, some older people may find it difficult to get back into the work force and may consider retiring early, so be mindful of this when accepting contributions.
Perhaps you’re all going to come out of the other side of this exactly the same, but this time may even make you rethink what’s important to you in organising your celebration. Maybe you’re faced with having to postpone your wedding, but you’re actually desperate to just get married immediately, and will just plan a party afterwards – in which case you may still need to revisit your wedding budget and possibly make some tweaks.
What has this time taught you about each other?
For many couples, this period of “lockdown” is the most time they’ve ever spent together – and it will really test their relationship. Now’s a great time to think about learning each other’s love languages and also really communicate your needs to each other.
I’ve written an article on the 5 awkward conversations you need to have prior to getting married, and there’s no better time to have them than now.
What’s on your bucket list, what do you want to achieve in the next 5 years, will you be wanting to start a family as soon as possible? If so, are you happy to wait until after the wedding, or is that the new priority, and you can get married later on?
The New York Times article on Couples Surviving Lockdown is full of more tips, including “Journal. Spend five to 10 minutes every day writing freeform.” So grab your little white book and don’t just focus on planning a wedding, but on taking care of yourself and your relationship. It also advises prioritising some time to yourself. Easier said than done sometimes, but crucial to surviving this time together, is having some time alone.
Tough times make for tough people
The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown will be among the toughest thing some of us have ever, and will ever do. We are isolated from our family and friends, our support networks, our jobs, our physical and mental outlets and the freedom we have had our entire lives. Not to mention the stress and anxiety we are feeling.
We will come out of this tougher, and perhaps more sure of ourselves and what is important to us in life. How will this impact your wedding? Maybe it won’t, or maybe you’ll get tough enough to tell your parents you don’t want your wedding to turn into their high-school reunion, or get tough and decide to have a small wedding without your extended friend and family groups, or feel confident enough to break all the “rules” and wear a red dress, have a brunch wedding instead of a traditional evening party, or maybe you’ll just elope to Las Vegas when the travel ban finally lifts.
Whatever you choose, if you take this extra time to make decisions which are truly for you, you’ll have no regrets. Again, I’m sending all my love to those of you who are struggling after having to postpone your weddings, and I wish you all the best with wedding planning during a pandemic – which I know will feel so far removed from what you expected when you got engaged. Things could be worse, things could be better (you could be this couple trapped on their luxury Maldives honeymoon), but things will hopefully get back to “normal” soon, and maybe there will even be some silver linings for wedding planning too.
Lots of love