The Complete Guide to Navigating Your Wedding through Coronavirus
Written by a real bride with advice from other real brides.
We’ve been planning this day for months - sometimes even years. We have the vision, the dress and everything in between.
All of the sudden, we’re faced with the reality of a pandemic we never saw coming. Thousands of couples around the world are forced to reschedule or cancel their weddings.
We’re experiencing overwhelming emotion and stress about something completely out of our control.
I'm Alena and I’m the Director of Marketing at Revelry. My wedding was supposed to be on April 18, 2020, but we made the decision to postpone due to Coronavirus.
It was a devastating experience, but I overcame it. I rescheduled vendors, alerted guests and planned for the new plan in a matter of 24 hours.
This guide was created to help you navigate through this difficult time - whether you’ve already postponed, are thinking about it, or even just trying to plan your 2021 wedding.
We’re all in this together. And, there are no rules about how we deal with this.
Making the decision to postpone.
How to get there.
There are a few factors to consider when you’re thinking about your wedding celebration that will ultimately lead you to your decision.
- What is the CDC recommending? First and foremost, consider the state of society. We postponed right when large gatherings were banned.
- Who is a must-have at my wedding? Will they come? For most, it’s immediate family. Sometimes, it’s also the bridal party. If any of your must-have guests can’t make it. It’s time to rethink the date.
- Are you constantly thinking about the decision at hand? If the “what-ifs” are keeping you up at night or affecting your mental health, coming to a decision will help alleviate your worries.
When should I make the call?
Again, there’s no right or wrong here, but at least 4 weeks before the wedding is enough time to alert your guests.
Some brides are deciding sooner in order to move forward and have peace of mind.
Whatever you decide, “trust your gut,” says Revelry bride Lara Johnson. “We decided [in April] to postpone our May wedding and I’ve felt so relieved ever since. As much as I wanted to hope things would get back to normal in a short amount of time, deep down I knew they wouldn’t.”
I made the decision. What now?
The day you make the decision to cancel or postpone is, in no doubt, the worst of it all. Emotions are high and you feel a sense of loss for that certain date you’ve been looking forward to for so long.
Wedding Planner, Jessica Upton of Uptown Events & Travel, says it's okay to release that emotional stress. “Wedding planning is stressful enough. Throw in a pandemic and a good, ugly cry is warranted.”
However, it gets better.
The best advice to get through postponing the wedding is know what your options are.
Know your next available time frame. Know if you’re going to still have a small ceremony on your original date. Know that you’re still going to get married eventually no matter what.
We already had a back-up date reserved, so this gave me a sense of hope to move on and accept what was happening. I moved on in a matter of a few days once we secured a new date in October.
Selecting a new date.
This is the toughest task at hand. You have the venue, the cake, the music and so many other vendors contributing to your celebration.
“I think the biggest challenge is finding a new date that works for all vendors,” says Floral Designer Christin Armstrong of Clementine Botanical Art. “A lot of people have been open to getting married on a different day of the week like a Friday or a Sunday.”
Jessica Upton recommends these five steps when looking at the calendar for a new wedding date:
- What is your personal availability? (factoring in your work schedule, holidays, family commitments, etc.)
- What is your immediate family and wedding party availability?
- What dates is your venue available?
- What dates are your vendors available?
- Does the weather during those available dates have any positive/negative impact?
Once you get dates from your venue, put a hold in place on one, but know what others are available so you can communicate with everyone else.
Ask about flexibility.
Some of your vendors might not be available for the new date, and that’s okay.
“You can work through the contractual terms, and if you're working with a wedding planner, they can assist”, says Jessica Upton. “Vendors are understanding through this unprecedented time and willing to work with you.”
Alert your guests.
The best way to alert guests of a change in date is by email/text for the initial cancellation. You’ll want to get the word out that things are changing as soon as possible, even if you’re sending a formal announcement later.
Once you’ve locked down a new date, you can send out a formal announcement of a Change the Date or new invites. Minted has great options for this, as well as your local calligraphers/designers.
You can also ask for new RSVPs through:
- Online using your wedding website
- RSVP cards through the mail
It’s expected that your guest list will flex a bit due to a new date.
Planning for a new season.
Many brides, like me, have moved a Spring wedding to the Fall. It’s not what we expected, but it doesn’t mean it turns your color choices upside down.
“Many traditionally fall tones are popping up in spring weddings and vice versa,” says Christin. “Stick with your dominant color choices and then let nature be your guide in terms of how to round out those tones to compliment the season.
Bridesmaid dress colors.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on this, being Revelry is a bridesmaid dress brand. The biggest question we’re getting is “should I change my light, Spring colors to match a Fall vibe?”
The answer is no! Of course, you can, but it’s not necessary.
The key to color coordinate for a new season is all in the details; florals, tablescapes and other decor.
For example, I chose a blush palette for my April wedding. I’m keeping the color and just incorporating more mustard and terracotta florals to make it fit the Fall season.
“Working with seasonal varieties in your color palette will make all the difference,” says Christin. “If your wedding colors are very pastel and springy, adding in touches of a leaf tinged with seasonal color or fruit/berries can make the whole look feel more in sync with the season.
The bottom line: What works for Spring can work for Fall.
Should I change my wedding dress?
Again, the answer is no need, but it’s up to your preferences. If you’re worried about being chilly in the winter months, incorporate fur shrugs when you’re outside.
Otherwise, you can always choose an additional dress for an outfit change to make it more fun! This allows you to still incorporate the dress you first fell for.
What to do on your original wedding date.
Have a virtual wedding or elope.
This is 2020. This is a pandemic. And video conferencing is booming. Work with it!
We’re seeing so many couples who have a marriage license still get married with virtual guests. It allows you to still get married on your day in front of the people you love most.
Rachel Horn, from our Revelry IRL Facebook group, plans on making the call a few weeks before her wedding. “If we do postpone, we plan on eloping and having a reception later this year.”
Sounds like fun!
Plan a special weekend.
My fiance and I planned a weekend at a local vacation home with a pool for some relaxation. We called it the “Best Day Ever”.
While we couldn't get legally married on our original date, we exchanged vows, had a small cake and ordered pizza delivery!
We’ve also coordinated our photographer to come take socially-distanced photos of us to remember the day. It was truly the best alternative to not having our wedding on our original date.
Be safe, but make it fun.
The consensus about Fall wedding dates.
To be specific, we’re talking about late August - November.
Is 2020 a complete loss for weddings? Will COVID-19 resurface and impact my Fall wedding? Will people be ready to gather by then?
The truth is, nobody really has the answers, but we do have a general understanding of where most people are at.
Keep planning, but be prepared.
“Fall brides are pressing forward cautiously but optimistic”, says Jessica Upton. “We’re still preparing for the original plan, however brides realize that COVID-19 could affect their wedding plans, so they are emotionally preparing for that possibility.”
What can I plan when everything is closed?
Pretty much everything! We’re in a digital world, so here’s a list of how you can plan from your couch.
- Moodboards. Discover your wedding vibe on Pinterest and start saving details you like.
- Bridal gown shopping. A lot of bridal gown retailers are moving online. Or, you can even shop select Revelry bridal gowns, all on sale.
- Bridesmaid dress shopping. Skip the boutiques. With Revelry, this is all done at home with our Home Try-On program.
- Select vendors. You can do this primarily online, phone or video calls. Browse vendors on Instagram to get a feel for their style of work.
- Invites/Save the Dates. Coordinate a call with a local designer or browse Minted, Zola and others for online invite options. Even if you don't send them now, start picking out designs.
- Signage. Have you heard of a Cricut machine? You can easily DIY select decor and signs with the extra time at home.
Can I still have my shower / bachelorette party?
It’s tough to say when we’ll be able to gather again. We’re seeing more and more brides forego the celebrations ahead of time and just focusing on keeping their wedding day.
However, there are no rules about when/how you choose to have your shower/bachelorette.
Here’s what we’d recommend:
- Have your bachelorette party after your wedding. It will be just as fun. You could even turn your birthday into a bachelorette combo trip!
- Opt for something small and/or local so your girls don’t have to travel or be in a large group
- Push it as close to the wedding date as possible. The longer you wait, the better it will *hopefully* be
- Go virtual. It’s not ideal, but so many celebrations are moving to video conferencing.
When is the best time to make the call on moving my Fall wedding?
Again, you could wait until 30 days before the wedding because things are always changing. However, if you’d rather make the decision and move on, have a backup plan ready.
In our Revelry IRL Facebook group, we asked what Fall 2020 brides were planning. About 85% said they were keeping their September - December weddings as is, but remaining cautious.
Advice for 2021 weddings.
Don’t panic, but also don’t relax on planning.
With so many couples pushing their wedding dates, it’s best to secure the date and/or vendors you really want ahead of time.
Look at the positives.
Your first thought may be, how could anything positive come out of this situation? Take it from other brides, there are definitely some silver linings to postponing.
Revelry bride Lilly Yvonne says she’s taking the time to re-evaluate what she really wants. “In my case, I’m excited to have an even larger bridal squad surrounded by people that love and support me!”
On the flip side, Joanna Davis is thinking about downsizing her wedding. “[Coronavirus] has allowed us a chance to take a step back and decide if [our plans] were really in line with what we want, or if we want to make some changes now that we have the chance.”
For most of the brides we talked to, more time is seen as a blessing.
Here are a few other positives from our bride community:
- “No matter where or when we get married, I still get to marry my best friend” - Kaitlyn Jones
- “We will get through this together because we love each other and that's what matters.” - Rachal Umbar
- “It gives us more time to save money and plan some fun things. We can also save more money to help any of our friends in a tight spot.” - Siane Louise
- “Love conquers all. At the end of the day, we love each other and we will make the best of a crazy situation.” - Kimberly Michelle
Reminders from real Revelry brides.
The bottom line.
Hopefully this post has provided guidance during this unforeseen time.
Most importantly, you should walk away knowing you’re getting married no matter what, and that’s pretty freaking cool.
Our best advice?
“Focus on what you do have control over,” says Jessica Upton. “This allows you to center on the positive. There are certain elements of your day that will be the same regardless if your wedding date gets postponed; The poem your Aunt will read during your wedding ceremony, the first song you'll dance to as husband and wife, the color font you want on your invitations.”
You’re not alone in this. And together, we’re all going to have our Best Day Ever, whenever that may be.
Want to connect with other brides facing the same situation? Join our Revelry IRL Facebook group.