From One COVID Bride to Another: How To Deal With the Uncertainty of Pandemic Wedding Planning

When I was first engaged, it didn’t take me long at all to know exactly what I wanted. Within a few months, we’d picked a date and had booked our suppliers, smugly sitting back as people asked us if we had much left to arrange. “Oh no,” we said, “we’re pretty much there.”That we were—until COVID threw everything into disarray. Well, you know what they say about best-laid plans! In March 2020, just two months before we were due to tie the knot, we were advised to put on the brakes and postpone until later in the year. 
Honestly (and I’m sure many of you can relate) it was devastating. Not only were all of our carefully laid plans in tatters but also we had to come to terms with the fact that we were not going to be Mr. and Mrs. stepping into the newly married life that we’d been dreaming of. 
After lots of tears were shed and relatives and friends were informed, we set about the logistics of postponing our wedding, negotiating with suppliers and our venue to hold our wedding on a new date five months. However, as the pandemic continued to swarm across the world, we slowly realized that we’d be unable to go ahead with our new date either. 
Or so we thought until our registrar told us we could go ahead, but just us. No guests, no toasts, no party. Although we were of course saddened that we would be unable to have our meticulously planned wedding, we were thrilled that we had the opportunity to go ahead with our vows if we wanted to. 
We quickly got to planning, arranging for our parents and siblings to come and witness the ceremony (at a safe distance). I chose not to wear my wedding dress but instead bought a more casual bridal jumpsuit online. When the day came, it was as if all of the stress and worry that comes with planning a full wedding didn’t matter. We were there for one reason, to bind ourselves together in love. It didn’t really matter to us that we didn’t have a big ol’ cake and music. 
We’ve still got a date booked for April 2021, where we planned to “redo” the wedding with our friends and family, but it’s likely that can’t go ahead either. This time around though, we’re looking at it pragmatically, getting ahead and finding solutions to avoid any further disappointment.  
Speaking from experience, I know that having to postpone and rearrange a wedding at the moment is seriously tough. Not only can it be a strain on your finances, but it can really affect your mental health and anxiety levels. So what can you do to refocus and reset when planning a wedding during a pandemic? Whether you’re planning a wedding you were forced to postpone or working out how to go ahead with existing restrictions, here’s what I’ve learned…

1.
Don’t Ignore It

While it’s easy to want to bury your head in the sand, we’re probably looking at further restrictions that won’t be going away any time soon. Instead of pushing it away, face it head-on. Doing this will also avoid you passing cancellation and change deadlines within supplier T&Cs, leaving you unable to rearrange. It’s tough, but it needs to be done!

2.
Be Transparent

Your guests and suppliers alike will want to be kept in the loop as to your plans. Let them know if you’re seeking a postponement or if you plan to cancel altogether so everyone can plan accordingly, especially if you’re having guests who will need to travel. Try to contact suppliers as early as possible as they’re working with uncertainty, too, and are likely worrying about the cancellations stacking up in their own diaries.

3.
Plan Your Finances

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Weddings can cost so much money, and we’ve found that some suppliers are increasing their prices, likely to make up for lost earnings over the past year. It’s a good idea to ensure you’re on top of what you’ve already spent and how much you need to cover the rest—don’t get caught short! Remember, a budget tracker (whether online or on a spreadsheet) is your friend.

4.
Be Flexible

Although it pains me to say it, we are likely going to have to deal with the “new normal” for a long time yet. This means that the perfect wedding you have in your head might not be able to happen in the way you want it to. Unless you’d like to cancel completely until we’re totally restriction-free, try visualizing your wedding with a mindset of what you can have and be open to alternative ways of celebrating.

5.
Do What You Want To Do

Everyone likes to have an opinion, especially now. We wanted to be married, so the tiny ceremony was a no-brainer. For us, the party could wait. However, we had some pushback from people who thought we should wait until we could have the party and guests—leaving me worried that we were being selfish until I was able to mentally shake it off. Ultimately, it’s your wedding and you have to go with what feels right for you.

6.
Remember Why You’re Doing This

Try to see the bigger picture. I understand that can be difficult at times, and You should absolutely take the time to process your emotions and feel sad, angry, and disappointed if you want to. These emotions are all completely valid. Make sure you keep checking in with yourself about how you're feeling. If you feel like you need to take a pause from planning because you’re not in the right headspace, that’s okay. No one could have predicted this.
Make sure you are looking after yourself mentally and emotionally and as you plan, keep your eye on the end goal. Keep on top of the news, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Remember that your wedding will happen. We will get through this together.