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Wedding Planning during a Pandemic!

We’ve reached out to several beautiful bride-to-be’s to see how COVID-19 has affected their Wedding Planning! Samantha (who has already postponed her Wedding once due to covid!) shares with us a little more of her journey and how she’s feeling leading up to her new Wedding date!

When did you first get engaged? First got engaged November 19th, 2019. He proposed in our own home using our Pug fur baby and put a little dog hoodie on him and sent the pug into the lounge and told me to open it. I truly was surprised.  

What was your original wedding date or if you haven’t had to postpone yet what is the date you have set? My original date was around the same time of my current date but a year before. I think to be specific it was a Saturday 13th of February 2021. For our current date, which is Friday, January 14th, 2022, we don’t have another postponement date. So, if something happens to this date, I don’t actually have a backup plan anymore. 

What were the first things you organized for your wedding? First things I have sorted for my wedding was coming up with a date. I think that is the most important thing as you’re unable to even view a venue without a date. A date was important as well as I am a primary school teacher which made the selection slim of the time off. We both wanted a summer wedding and that we both agreed that we wanted at least a week either side of the wedding to chill and just be with the family who have travelled rather than back to work. Once we picked a date the next most important thing to us was a venue which had some of the things we were after – freedom of choice with music and timings and decorations etc. 

How many people did/do you plan on having, what was important to you about your day?We had a number in mind (100) and then began bickering about who the last 10 were going to be invited out of about another 35 so we decided to invite them all as they were all important to us and friends, we would have to have there to celebrate with us. One major thing which was important to me or something I have seen done which I didn’t like was that some people could only come to the ceremony and then not invited to the dinner, or that some people were only invited to the after function. I think that to me personally, it is really stink so for us -if they were close enough to be invited to the wedding itself then, they were close enough for us to shout them dinner and drinks. Another thing which strongly influenced our decision was that the venue was able to have the reception there too. I have been to weddings which you have to get into your car and go somewhere separate for the reception. To me it just adds another element of organisation for the bride and groom + the guests have to sort themselves out etc and stay sober. I just didn’t want to do that personally. Nothing against them but not for us and a huge factor. 

Somewhere along the way, Covid obviously arose, if your date was arranged pre covid were you worried that it might be impacted, or did it still seem far away at that point? Same goes for dates set post covid! What worries you the most? We are lucky enough to live here in New Zealand and when we chose our second date and venue ‘Covid-19’ seemed super far away. However – with the slow opening up the boarders to the rest of the world it does linger in my mind occasionally. I am all fingers, toes, eyes, arms, and legs crossed it doesn’t affect it second time around as I am not sure what I would do. It was far enough away it wasn’t really a realistic concern, but as the date creeps closer it is becoming a possibility. What worries me the most is the worst of the worst, and I will have to postpone the date and rebook everything – or whether we just elope or something. I guess I will cross that bridge if we come to it. But hoping it doesn’t become a thing. Something that worries my partner is some of his immediate family lives overseas and getting back might be a mission. We have both agreed that if they can’t get back that we will just carry on and facetime them in or something. We wouldn’t postpone the wedding unfortunately if they couldn’t make it, even though it does mean a lot to us. 

When did you decide to call off/postpone the Wedding? If you haven’t had to yet, do you have a backup plan in place in case this happens? No back up plan for this one. But we called off the original wedding date about one week into the New Zealand lock down. which I think was about April ish 2020. This wedding technically is our backup plan because this is the second date we have selected. 

How far into planning your Wedding did you have to cancel? Did you loose any deposits? Or if you haven’t cancelled yet and your date is set for the future, have you come across any covid clauses in any of your vendor contracts? We were not very far into planning at all for our first date of Saturday 13th Feb 2021. We have booked the venue with the deposit, and we had also started planning the invites. We did it a little backwards the first time around mainly because the original venue and destination was on Waiheke Island – a long way away from where we and majority of the guests are – Here in Palmerston North, New Zealand. We had to cancel the original wedding for one main reason but as it started all unwinding it was actually for the best. The main reason was that the venue went into liquidation due to Covid and having no tourists around. The connection we had to the venue (a family friend that was going to get us a good deal on the winery and some discount on either some of the food or drinks etc) also lost his job. That meant that we no longer had a venue on Waiheke Island, and if we did, we would have to pursue this at full cost. which is thousands and thousands. We also lost $1000 in deposit for the venue which we never got back. We were almost days away from paying in full before it went into liquidation which meant we would have lost a further $6000 so I guess we have to be grateful that it wasn’t that much money on the scale of things. 

A few things for vendors have changed – for example the current wedding venue we have booked gave us our venue slightly cheaper ($1000 to be exact), which was great as that’s what we lost anyway. I have also noticed with the photographer and videographer and some other things such as my food truck – they have a piece in their terms and conditions about being affected with Covid and what that might look like in terms of a refund or postponement if the worst-case scenario happened again. Lots of vendors have been flexible with me – I didn’t have too much else lined up for the original wedding date anyway so I didn’t have to go and undo a lot there. 

Had/have you sent out save the date or Wedding invitations? I went ahead and printed invited for the wedding straight away. I didn’t send out save the date as we already had our venue, and we already knew who was going to be invited so to save money I just went straight to the invites. 

How did/do you feel knowing that you had/may have to cancel/postpone due to covid? It does make me nervous and anxious as to the ‘what if’ but I am just hoping for the best. Again, living in New Zealand is probably the best place in the world to have the idea that my wedding won’t be affected. It all depends on these boarders we are beginning to slowly open up again. 

If you’ve had to postpone, did you immediately book for alternative date? Or were plans ‘up in the air’ for a while? When it fell through – everything changed for us. It was the BIGGEST blessing in disguise for us. We had to change a lot about what we thought we wanted or needed for a wedding and thought long and hard about it before going ahead and booking again. I had a meltdown (Bridezilla I know) to my partner, and I lost the plot. I thought what are we going to do now we will never find another place etc. He stopped me and decided to write a list of things which were important to us in a wedding. We wrote down, a venue that could hole both the ceremony and reception, freedom of numbers (not restricted to having say 100 guests), being allowed our own music like either a band or just to have our own playlist to enjoy of meaningful songs or music we actually like. 

I guess the planning was ‘up in the air’ for a couple of months while we reconsidered what was going to come next. My partner just literally googled ‘wedding venues near me’ and our current venue was the first things which popped up. It was great. I could not believe our luck. It was everything we wanted in a venue and more. Ticked all of the boxes AND it was brand new – still being built even so it wasn’t a typical venue or ‘over done’ venue. (Not that any are but down here in the manawatu you are pretty limited). 

What did you do/or plan to do on your original wedding date? Nothing major planned at that point as it happened pretty soon after starting booking the venue. But the original venue had such major restrictions because they were still a functioning winery. I also have a little more stress as 90% of our guests are from the Manawatu which meant that I had to talk with them about accommodation, how the ferries worked etc. Waiheke Island has VERY limited accommodation on the island, so I had to talk about in the invite getting accommodation in the Auckland CBD etc. 

Have you decided to change anything about your Wedding? Guest list, venue etc? We decided that we wanted to invite all of the people on our lists without having to exclude anyone we thought of. A few things changed but it turned out to be for the best. Was the best thing ever as now that it is close and local, I can get more things from the people I know, and I could build/make/create things of my own. 

Besides your postponement/or future Wedding, has Covid affected anything else in your life? No nothing else really, we are very fortunate. I’m not going to lie here – I love lockdown and I loved being at home and working on our house etc. Was a great time for us having to spend time together. I own a spray tanning studio (I used to until recently) for years and Covid affected that for me. This meant I had no business – but it wasn’t my full-time job. 

What advice would you give to anyone else who’s planning in a pandemic? Is there anything you’d do differently, or anything you’ve learned along the way that you’d share with others? Make sure you write a list of what YOU want to achieve and get out of the wedding day BEFORE you start your planning. I thought that I wanted somewhere stunning and high class for my wedding and realised that it wasn’t ‘us’ or what we wanted first. Nothing I would do differently so far. A couple of people I regret inviting (sounds rude), but we did invites so early that if I had done ‘save the dates’ I couldn’t have not given them an invite after anyway. It is what it is. I mean were still friends, but every single person invited adds to the total bill doesn’t it.

But defo have a think about what you want in the day and a couple of those crucial things to think about before planning about what you want to include about the day. How many people do you want invited, do you want to be limited? Do you want a band? Do you want to sort your own catering? Do you!

If after reading this, you would like to share your own Wedding Planning experience during the COVID-19 Pandemic, send me an email at megan@forgetmenotjournals.com, I’d love to hear from you!

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