The Realities of Covid Weddings - Colorado Elopement Photographer
I am pretty sure we all know how challenging, anxiety inducing and frustrating 2020 has been. It has impacted nearly every single person I know. Some have lost friends or family. Some have lost their businesses. Even my baseball clients are playing in front of cardboard fans with fake applause.... But lately I have really had it on my heart to share how it has impacted my 2020 wedding couples. I want to be clear about the purpose of this, because it could seem very depressing, but I promise I am going somewhere with this.... Just read all of it. It really is important.
There has never been a wedding season like 2020. I've had clients face adversity with wildfires, floods, storms and illness... but I have never seen an entire world of couples facing the cancellation, postponement or struggle to have their wedding in this way. To my couples: I hope this lends you some solidarity and comfort knowing that you are not alone. I hope you feel comfortable sharing this with your friends and family to help explain what you are experiencing. I see your hearts hurting. I see your anxieties. I see your challenges and I DO want to offer help. To random friends: family and guests of 2020 weddings, I hope that this gives you insight into those you know getting married this year. I hope this helps you have compassion on them. I hope this encourages you to help them problem solve, offer them help, a shoulder to cry on or maybe some whiskey. I have decided to keep all of the brides and grooms who answered anonymous. Some of these couples are working with me... and some are not.
COUPLES WHO HAVE GOTTEN MARRIED IN 2020
How did you get married this year? Couple 1: We stuck with our original wedding date but eloped and are not having a reception. We had 36 guests. It was at a gorgeous Airbnb up in the mountains, the setting was gorgeous, the weather held up perfectly. And because it was so small we got time to visit with everyone. Clean up with simple and everyone was gone and we were good to go by 7 PM. It was an afternoon wedding. Couple 2: We changed our wedding date and eloped. We are hosting a future reception. We got married at the courthouse and there were 15 people including us. It wasn’t what I originally was hoping for but given everything going on it was perfect for us. Couple 3: We stuck with our original wedding date but had to change our guest count. We had it at the same church as planned on the same day but with about 270 less people than we had planned. We had about 30 people there. We also had to change the reception venue and the food, the cake, the dj, the drinks; all of it. It wasn’t what we originally had planned but we made it work and we actually had a really great day. I’m so grateful for our family that worked so hard to make our day special. Couple 4: We stuck with our original wedding date but had to change our venue. We got married at a church and then had the ceremony in my parents backyard. Couple 5: We changed our wedding date and eloped. We are hosting a future reception. We got married in a park in Nebraska. As we recently relocated, it didn't make sense for multiple family groups to travel from out of state to attend, so it was only our two witnesses (my brother and his girlfriend) and our pastor. We streamed the ceremony for our family and the wedding party to watch along live. Couple 6: We stuck with our original wedding date but had to cut our guest list. We could only have half our guest count. Originally 300 people down to 160. We also had to seat people all over outside under tents. What has been the most challenging part of getting married this year?
Couple 1: Finding vendors. All of our originals cancelled Couple 2: No honeymoon right away and not having all our family there. Couple 3: We changed our location, our guest count, our food arrangements because no one would cater for us, we couldn’t have a dj, we cut back on flowers; we changed almost everything. It was difficult because the guidelines only allowed us to have 30 guests at the time and we both have really big families. Couple 4: The unknown of everything was the hardest part. My husband and I were determined to find a way to get married on the date we planned. We had a two year long engagement and were waiting to live together until we got married so we wanted to get married but just didn't know how it was going to happen. Things/plans kept changing so fast it was easy to get defeated. Couple 5: Trying to change plans that could accommodate guests/family while being mindful of health/travel guidelines Couple 6: I would say our biggest challenge was not knowing until a week before If we would have a wedding or not. What was the biggest 'loss' for you this year?
Couple 1: Having more people to celebrate with and an actual honeymoon
Couple 2: Missing out on my senior's big moments like prom and graduation.
Couple 3: I would say our biggest loss was not having everyone there that we wanted to be there. So many of our friends and family members missed out because our guest count had to be so low.
Couple 4: The biggest loss was not having everyone we originally planned. When we got married in my parents backyard we made it as close to wheat I envisioned as possible, however it was never going to be what I planned before COVID-19 happened.
Couple 5: Not being able to keep our scheduled date and full wedding plans.
Couple 6: Our biggest loss was not having all of our out of state friends and family with us.
Have you had blowback from any of your guests, family or bridal party for moving forward with your wedding? Has it ruined or hurt any relationships?
Couple 1: No thank goodness
Couple 2: No
Couple 3: Luckily everyone was pretty understanding. We plan on just having a big reception with everyone next year which helped the situation a lot when talking to family members and friends about not being able to attend this year.
Couple 4: We kept most things on the hush hush and didn't post on social media really so didn't get much blow back there. We got lots of hesitation from some family and two of my bridesmaids, but everyone ended us coming that was supposed to be there.
Couple 5: No - everyone has been understanding
Couple 6: We faced very little blowback. We zoomed the ceremony, so If people couldn’t come in person they got to watch from the safety of their own home.
Did you have to reduce your guest count? How many people did you need to 'uninvite'? How did people respond? Has this ruined or hurt any relationships?
Couple 1: No, a few people were surprised we were having a ceremony anyways. Couple 2: We had to keep the guests to 13 Couple 3: We had about 300 planned originally and had to cut it down to 30 in the church. That count included my husband and I and our bridal party so we basically couldn’t only add a handful of more people. We had to cut at least 270 people. People responded pretty well because they understood our situation. Luckily this hasn’t ruined any relationships we had that we know of. Couple 4: We originally had 150 people but ended up only having 30. Couple 5: We ended up streaming the elopement and only had two witnesses present. People were disappointed to not be there but understood.
Couple 6: We originally 300 people and it went down to 160.
Did you have any trouble with your venue? Did you have to change venues?
Couple 1: No Couple 2: No.. we went to a courthouse Couple 3: We changed venues For the reception because our original venue was for a big group of people and was very expensive. Since our group was going to be much smaller we just had it in a room that connected to the church. We are going to have a big reception at our original venue next summer. Couple 4: We got very lucky with our venue in regards of them not giving us any problems with money. They were nice and gave our deposit back without any issues. We will be having a party new year to celebrate our 1 year anniversary with everyone that couldn't make it this year. unfortunately our Venue we originally picked didn't have the date available to we have to pick another venue for that next year. Couple 5: They were helpful and tried to provide as many realistic options as possible. We will use the same venue for our reception next year. Couple 6: Our venue was fighting for us up till the very end and did everything they could to make it happen.
Has Covid-19 impacted you financially? If so, has it reduced your wedding budget? Did it contribute to any changes of plans?
Couple 1: It definitely cut down budget and we couldn’t go somewhere with a beach or a fancy restaurant.
Couple 2: Thankfully no
Couple 3: Planning essentially two receptions now has definitely cost more than we originally planned. Now we are going to be paying for two dinners instead of one and two nights worth of alcohol. Now, I know one was for a smaller group, but you wouldn’t believe how much it cost just to have dinner, drinks, and cake with about 30-35 people. It was several thousands of dollars. We couldn’t believe it.
Couple 4: N/A
Couple 5: Not yet, but potentially could depending on how long this goes on. We had already paid a significant portion of our costs before everything happened. Couple 6: Less guests made for a less expensive wedding without making people feel left out. Did any elderly or at risk people attend?
Couple 1: Yes
Couple 2: Yes
Couple 3: Yes we had four grandparents attend and some people who were immunocompromised. We were as careful as can be and everyone stayed healthy after thank goodness.
Couple 4: 2 elderly. Both kept their distance and wore masks.
Couple 5: No
Couple 6: N/A
6th response (not officially included in survey): 160 guests almost a month ago and we have not heard of a single guest with Covid (and they were all hugging us). Do you feel like you have missed out on any traditions or special things due to the restrictions or comfort levels of you or your guests?
Couple 1: No it turned out beautifully Couple 2: Absolutely... we did not get to have dinner, cake or dancing and very few pictures and not all the poses I would have liked. Couple 3: We had people wearing masks in some of the photos and the church pews had to be taped off every 6 feet, but it captured the moment and the experience we went through. I wish we could have had our traditional wedding, but this will be something we remember forever and we will tell our grandchildren about. Couple 4: We tried to make it as normal as possible the day of, regardless of having it in my parents backyard. So by default I don't think we missed out on any of the big traditions. We couldn't do a bouquet toss but everything else we checked off the list. Couple 5: Not because of comfort levels, but because of the shift of plans to make sure it was a safe option. What was your biggest challenge planning?
Couple 1: Worrying about being shut down
Couple 2: Nothing
Couple 3: Having to change all of the plans we had already made. I could not get in to have my dress fitting for several months either and I was wondering if I was going to have to get another dress to wear. They finally had me come in for my first fitting two weeks before the wedding and I hadn’t tried on my dress since September. I was suppose to have my fitting in February. It was a little scary! I was so lucky though because my dress fit perfectly and I only needed to add the bustle. The other part that was the hardest was finding a new caterer. No one was willing to come cater the wedding because of the risk. We finally found a small catering business that was willing to do it and we were so thankful. They wore gloves and masks and plates everyone’s dinners and brought them to them so it wasn’t a buffet style of anything. We really tried our best to keep everyone safe.
Couple 4: The biggest challenge was figuring out how and who was going to marry us.
Couple 5: We changed plans several times and the impact of the pandemic hit only about six weeks out from our RSVP deadline. Couple 6: The most emotional toll of not knowing what was going to happen.
What was your biggest victory during this process?
Couple 1: We had a beautiful simple intimate ceremony that blew my mind with how perfect it was.
Couple 2: Getting married
Couple 3: It was a smaller, more intimate wedding and the toasts and speeches got to be a little more in depth and personal which I loved. I got to spend so much time with my family that night and I’m so grateful for that.
Couple 4: Getting married in the church. We got very lucky.
Couple 5: We were happy to be able to still get married and include our families/close friends through the video streaming. Couple 6: I would say the overwhelming support of people who were coming no matter what was happening in our world!!! It made my heart very happy.
What were the positives during this experience?
Couple 1: Intimacy and just having the people we really loved there
Couple 2: All our kids were there
Couple 3: Our photographer was still on board for this year and for next year. He was so great throughout everything. Also our wedding planner was amazing through all of the changes and craziness that came with covid and really helped me through it. I was so stressed about our wedding and she was really great about everything.
Couple 4: Just getting married and having video and photo there to remember that day. Having my close family and bridal party there as well.
Couple 5: Having an all-inclusive venue that handled the communication with most all our vendors.
What is your advice to the other Covid Couples?
Couple 1: Go for it!!!!!
Couple 2: Do what is best for you and take time to enjoy one another.
Couple 3: Whatever you decide to do is the right thing to do. It is your day and if you want to postpone it that’s fine, if you want to have it with less guests that’s fine too. It is such a difficult time, so hopefully your guests would understand your decision whatever that may be.
Couple 4: Just get married. You should be getting married because you want to marry the person and not because of a party.
Couple 5: Do the best you can given the options and current guidelines. I really tried to not get caught up in being upset about things I couldn't change/outside my control.
What should the world know about getting married during a Pandemic?
Couple 1: Don’t let it stop you
Couple 2: Make sure you are happy with the outcome
Couple 3: The world should just know the stress it brought on and all the changes that had to be made because of it. It was hard on not only the bride, but all of her vendors. The wedding industry took a huge financial hit and because of that, the prices to get married next summer are even higher than they were this summer! All in all, it was a difficult time that came with difficult decisions. Our day may not have gone as planned, but it was beautiful and wonderful anyways. At the end of the day, I married the love of my life and that’s all that matters.
Couple 4 : It sucks but we made it work. Love conquers all, including a pandemic
Couple 5: It's not easy and not ideal. But if the most important thing is getting married, there are ways to make it work.
COUPLES WHO HAVEN'T GOTTEN MARRIED
IN 2020 YET or HAVE POSTPONED TO 2021
How will you get married?
Couple 1: Keeping ceremony in church on original date and rescheduling reception to next year
Couple 2: We are hosting our wedding on our original date and are continuing with our original plans.
Couple 3: We are hoping to stick with our original plans but are nervous about what may change between now and then.
Couple 4: We are hoping to stick with our original plans but are nervous about what may change between now and then.
Couple 5: We called off our original wedding date/plans and have rescheduled to next year.
Couple 6: We are hosting our wedding on our original date but have had to change our venue.
Couple 7: We called off our original wedding date/plans and have rescheduled to next year.
Couple 8: We are hosting our wedding on our original date but have had to drastically cut our guest count.
Couple 9: We are hosting our wedding on our original date and are continuing with our original plans.
Couple 10: We are hosting two separate events now instead of one. - Originally, we were planning to have a 200-person wedding weekend at the YMCA in Estes Park. Both my fiancé, and I are avid outdoors people and we thought it would be fun to make it an all-inclusive weekend retreat and rented big communal cabins for everyone to gather in.
We were already nervous about our grandparents who were planning to travel to altitude, and a few of our grandparents had already been told by their doctors not to go. When COVID hit, we took a step back and realized that having our grandparents there was the most important thing for us, especially since we are fortunate enough to still have 6 living grandparents. Luckily, our immediate family is in two locations: San Antonio, TX and La Jolla, CA. After speaking with our rabbi about the possibility of breaking the ceremony into two parts (an ancient tradition, as it turns out), we decided that, to keep everyone as safe as possible, we'd drive to San Antonio one weekend for part one and then drive to La Jolla the following weekend for part 2. The grandparents are not allowed to travel, and no one attending will be allowed on an airplane. Instead of the big 200-person wedding, we will have two smaller groups of about 20 people. Other guests will be able to log in and "participate" via video conference, and we plan to take video footage of the ceremony, both weekends, and to video blog our travels, which will later be compiled into a video that we'll debut during a watch party at a later date. We are also planning to sign the Colorado State Marriage License at the watch party. If you cancelled or are postponing, what were the biggest deciding factors? (Various responses from couples who are postponing or cancelling)
*The restrictions on guest count put in place by the state or county. *The restrictions on guest count put in place by our venue. *The number of guests who have said they will not attend. *Being able to get married in the way we imagined it. *Being able to effectively socially distance or protect your guests/ yourselves. *Worrying about getting sick. *Worrying about having guests get sick. *Important guest would not be able to attend due to being 'high risk'. *The fear of things changing at the last minute. *The fear of new mandates.
If you are sticking with the original plan, what are your concerns? (Various responses from couples in no particular order)
"Will my matron of honor not be able to get to the wedding due to international travel restrictions? Am I going to be ok without having her there or will I totally fall apart?" "Will vendors cancel on me at the last second?"
"Will state borders close, making it impossible for us to get there?"
"Will someone shame us for going ahead or for choosing to wear/not wear masks at the wedding?"
"Who will be mad they aren't invited and how big of an issue will they make it?"
"Will we be able to go on our honeymoon?"
"Should we have just eloped and called it good?"
"Will the guests be able to get there and feel comfortable?"
"How do I make them feel more comfortable?"
"Will flights get delayed/canceled because there aren't enough people traveling?"
"Will someone end up sick or come having no idea they are sick?"
"Will our accommodations cancel at the last second?"
"Are we being wise with how we are spending our budget?"
"Will the government offices close again, making it nearly impossible to get a marriage license?"
"Just how many more things are going to change between now and our wedding?"
"Will I be able to keep up with the constant change in mandates for a state that I don't live in?"
"Will I lose friendships/relationships because of our choices?"
"Will I ever get enough sleep in this season to not be exhausted and bone weary by the time our wedding comes?" "Will the number of people allowed change?" "We are concerned with the health of guests & making sure everyone feels comfortable." "We are worried about losing all our money we have already put into the wedding." "We are concerned that people won’t come, that people will have to wear masks, the criticism we could get for continuing as planned." "We are concerned that things will not be substantially better next year and then we put it off for a year for nothing." If you are still getting married in 2020, what things are changing for you? *Adding precautions. *Missing certain family members or friends due to being high risk. *Missing certain family members or friends due to fear of getting sick. *Worrying about getting sick ourselves *Drastically lower guest count. *Planning to video chat certain guests who could not attend. *Planning to stream the wedding What has been the hardest part of trying to get married this year?
Couple 1: Feeling that this whole process hasn’t allowed us to enjoy what is usually an enjoyable process! Anticipating getting married should be a happy and exciting time, yet it has been anything but that. Focus not on being married but focus on all the rules, danger around Covid, uncertainty with cancellations/rules, etc
Couple 2: Just dealing with all the unknowns and changing guidelines on a daily basis. Trying to plan a wedding with normal life is hard, but when all of life is upheaved.... how do you balance the constantly changing chaos? You can't prepare for something like this. It's like having a plan A- ZZZ.
Couple 3: Fear of having to change things, negative comments from people, feeling bad for wanting the “normal” experience
Couple 4: The unknown. Trying to be joyful and grateful in this special time, but then being worried and stressed in the next breath.
Couple 5: Feeling unsupported by the people invited to the wedding. You're going through all this agony to host these people and then it seems like they don't even care, so why did you commit to doing all of this.
Couple 6: I felt like no matter what people were upset we were still going forward with it and others are upset we’re canceling and scaling back and they are no longer invited. We’re kind of scrambling to find a new Venue and make new plans at this point. It’s crazy because everyone else is kinda scrambling to do so as well so we are currently looking at Airbnb and VRBO to accommodate what we’re looking for.
Couple 7: A family member was also getting married this year, we got engaged about a month apart last year. Well, they got their dream wedding, on their original date with 250 guests in attendance. They did not follow restrictions (their county wasn't upholding them) and went forward with the wedding as planned. We didn’t attend and most of our family didn’t attend. So now we are trying to plan our two part wedding with this family member in the wedding party. I was happy for them, yet annoyed that they are getting their dream wedding when most people aren’t during this time. I was upset for the complete disregard to the entire situation, when we cared so much about not putting our friends and families in a position where they had to choose between our wedding and their possible health. It may change our relationship. Overall, it’s been an emotional roller coaster, as I’m sure it is for everyone. I felt relieved after postponing because I know it was the right thing for us, and we did it early enough that we didn’t lose any of our vendors.
Couple 8: I think the anxiety of the situation coupled with the “am I doing the right thing” by still having my wedding. We are taking a lot of precautions to ensure no one gets sick at our wedding, but I’m also nervous because it is a “risky” time to be having a wedding. And I think just the unknown of everything! When all of this started in March, it was right before I was going to be ordering and sending out invitations and so I got super overwhelmed. I knew we were still far enough out that we may be okay, but just the unknown killed me!
Couple 9: Biggest stress I’m dealing with right now is my DJ situation. I haven’t heard from him and he hasn’t responded to me so I might need to find a new one, haha. I don’t remember what his business is called. Biggest issue was actually my photographer. She never reached out to me during this whole thing and it was such a huge fight when we were trying to cancel with her cause I wanted a 100% refund (this was towards the beginning of everything).
*just to clarify, I am not the photographer in question lol!*
Couple 10: The hardest part is having had everything planned out so early and now having to scramble last-minute (canceling our photographer in Colorado, and trying to find people who are available in both San Antonio and La Jolla, for example). What has felt like the biggest loss for you?
Couple 1: The loss of what we wanted/imagined - plan B simply is not what we would have wanted and it is hard to accept that what you originally wanted is just no longer an option in this world as we know it
Couple 2: I don't feel like we've been able to enjoy our engagement in the same way we would have been able to in normal times. Even our ability to spend time together has been drastically impacted because of longer working hours and (his) roommate's concerns regarding COVID. Trying to do premarital counseling or showers just feels a little hopeless at times because of the fear people have in meeting up, and doing online meetings is absolutely exhausting when I've been doing it all day. It doesn't feel like we've been able to share the excitement with our friends and family as so many have just been addressing their own concerns instead of showing support and excitement for us, or they've completely forgotten we're even getting married because the whole world has gone crazy and they have their own stressors to manage. It's honestly exhausting and overwhelming to keep up with the constant panic from others and unknown tomorrows.
Couple 3: People being excited about our wedding
Couple 4: The potential to not celebrate with all the family and friends I had envisioned.
Couple 5: Pushing back our plans to start a family a year. And now we'll live together for a year instead of getting married. I'm also really sad that I think even delaying a year, it won't be the same as if we'd gotten married this year. I think people have also lost some momentum in being excited for us. By the time we get married now, we'll have been engaged for so long, it won't be the same. Have you had blowback from any of your guests, family or bridal party for cancelling OR moving forward with your wedding? Has it ruined or hurt any relationships?
Couple 1: People have explicitly said they do not feel comfortable traveling and would not travel if it wasn’t for us having our ceremony still; feel like ppl feel guilt tripped into traveling bc we are there immediate family, but we know there are ppl not thrilled about having to travel.
Couple 2: Not yet, but I fully expect this to happen soon when people realize who was and wasn't invited.
Couple 3: Yes. Didn’t ruin the relationship, but definitely hurt feelings.
Couple 4: Not yet. Everyone has been really supportive so far.
Couple 5: I got a lot of unsolicited advice and suggestions. I also felt like my MOH didn't support me in the sense of just being sorry this happened to me. I feel much differently about that relationship now.
If you are getting married this year, have you had to reduce your guest count? How many people have you had to 'uninvite'? How did people respond? Has this ruined or hurt any relationships? How did you uninvite them?
Couple 1: Our guest count has been reduced on it's own. We did not have to cut down yet. We are still waiting on all RSVPs.
Couple 2: Not yet...
Couple 3: We uninvited over 200 people through a “change the date for our reception” card in the mail. Ppl understood but keep saying that they were so looking forward to it this year and are so bummed...which honestly just adds salt to the wound at this point
Couple 4: We had a very small guest count originally (planning for 60). We haven't sent out invitations yet, but do expect that some relationships will be hurt when people realize who was invited over others. We are hoping we don't have to uninvite people once invitations go out, so I literally have 3 groups of people to send them to as I get RSVPs back. How in the world do you decide who to uninvite when they are already on your incredibly selective guest list?!
Couple 5: We had 2 witnesses.
Couple 6: 100 people initially! Now we have 20 people including us.
Couple 7: 280 people on the guest list originally. Now an intimate wedding.
Couple 8: The state of TN doesn’t have any restriction on weddings currently, it’s a city to city thing right now, so we did not have to restrict our guest count.
Couple 9: We were only inviting 100 people in the first place so we aren’t reducing it cause it’ll be smaller anyway.
Couple 10: Instead of the big 200-person wedding, we will have two smaller groups of about 20 people. Have any of your vendors gone out of business? Yes 1 No 4
If so, which vendor? (You don't need to say specifically, just what job you hired them for). Florist Has Covid-19 impacted you financially? If so, has it reduced your wedding budget? Did it contribute to any changes of plans?
Couple 1: My fiancé and I are long distance and made the decision to move to Denver. I got a job right before this all happened, but he's still looking. Also my parents are paying for the wedding and this has impacted their retirement savings.
Couple 2: No not yet thankfully
Couple 3: Thankfully, no.
Couple 4: It has increased our wedding budget bc we now have to do some things twice! Ie, photos this year and next, floral this year and next, etc etc
Couple 5: YES! It didn't reduce our wedding budget because that was already set low at an amount we could handle, but it does give me consistent concern and anxiety when putting money towards our wedding because there are so many unknowns. Vendors could still cancel. People could not show up. Paying for the wedding ourselves had us mindful of our money already, but COVID concerns make it hard to feel like you are making wise financial decisions when so many things could still happen between now and October. When you are a budget minded person already, dealing with planning that could in seconds go out of control is so stressful. I was planning to quit my second job in the next few months so that I could reduce my stress levels, but COVID does have us spending more than we had hoped to spend on small things that we didn't expect. Do you feel like you are missing out on any traditions or special things due to the restrictions or comfort levels of you or your guests?
Couple 1: Yes. We canceled all wedding related events this year, and I'm worried about whether I'll get to do them next year and even if so I can, whether everyone will be fearful the whole time.
Couple 2: I am worried people won't want to dance or hang out as long during the reception. My grandparents won't be attending :(
Couple 3: Yes :(
Couple 4: Yes - the fact that we won’t have first dances on our actual day we get married in our church, ppl not wanting to hug, etc
Couple 5: It sounds silly, but all I really wanted was for my best friends (who all live out of state and mostly internationally) to be at my bridal shower if they could get here. With COVID health and financial concerns, that's completely gone out the window now, and we aren't even sure if they will make it to the wedding. Are there anythings that you wish weren't going to be part of your wedding day, but they have to be because of Covid? (Various Responses in a random order)
"I will be very upset if people wear masks and social distance by the time my wedding happens."
"Masks! :( "
"Masks, ppl who are afraid, physical distancing, an empty church"
"I'm still waiting out the mask decision and what to do about that...which I don't think I'll decide on until we get closer. I really don't want those in our photos, but worry that some of our guests will cause an uproar if we don't require them."
What has been your biggest challenge in your planning process?
Couple 1: Trying to plan a large event when circumstances and rules keep changing. Also just having the motivation to plan when you feel like it might all be for nothing.
Couple 2: Again the unknown. Waiting to plan things, but not being able to wait too long. Needing to have a backup plan without automatically assuming the worst will happen.
Couple 3: The uncertainty with what fall will look like.
Couple 4: Planning TWO weddings basically; and just not knowing what to do since so much of this is all unchartered territory
Couple 5: The constant feeling of having no answers for all the questions people ask and all the rules that keep changing along the way. I have to keep up with a constantly changing atmosphere in my job, and trying to do that in wedding planning is increasing my stress and lack of sleep tenfold. Couple 6: We can’t cancel our previous vendors due to contracts so we pushed them back a year out so we will do a big reception then with everyone we originally invited. We’re kind of scrambling to find a new Venue and make new plans at this point. It’s crazy because everyone else is kinda scrambling to do so as well so we are currently looking at Airbnb and VRBO to accommodate what we’re looking for. Couple 7: N/A
Couple 8: Really the unknowns and trying to plan! I didn’t know how many people would come and a lot of people waited until the last minute to RSVP. I had about 60 RSVPs that I had to track down that didn’t reply by the deadline. I’ve had a few “yes” come back as “no” in the past week, which I completely understand but is also difficult since all of our final catering/table numbers were due last week
Couple 9: Vendor problems with DJ and Photographer (again not me!)
Couple 10: The hardest part is having had everything planned out so early and now having to scramble last-minute with vendors.
What has been your biggest victory during this process?
Couple 1: I'm not sure. But I was very depressed for two or three months, and I'm proud to be at the point where I'm having some fun weekends again. I also felt disappointed by how few of our guests seemed to care about we were going through, but I feel much closer to and grateful for the people that did support us.
Couple 2: Still being able to go through with our normal wedding as of now.
Couple 3: Any RSVP yes! And that my immediate family is supportive.
Couple 4: Knowing I am marrying the right person and being excited to spend my life with him regardless of what the wedding planning process looks like.
Couple 5: Already knowing most of my vendors personally and that they were all available and still willing to be part of our day (so far). The vendors have been the most kind people through this whole thing, which could have honestly gone the other way easily. And second, (the more important piece) Knowing that at the end of the day, we are on the same page about our plans and we are going through with a wedding no matter where it is or what it ends up looking like. We're preparing for a marriage, not just a wedding.
Couple 6: Honestly the most important part is getting married and being with my love on that day and i just try to focus on that when things get stressful. I am kind of excited to do a small intimate wedding as I felt so pressured to invite certain people to our larger one and now we have an excuse to really scale it back and just be with our families on that day.
Couple 7: Overall, I’m happy with our decision and am looking forward to wearing my dress twice in two very different locations (mountains and winery). Our families have been very supportive throughout the entire process and just want us to do what we want. It is hard sometimes to see people having their weddings, but I know everyone’s situation is different. All of our bridal party but one will be with us in Breckenridge, the only one that isn’t is severely immunocompromised and was also part of the reason we postponed.
Couple 8: I would say the biggest positive is that we are getting a more intimate wedding, like we originally wanted. I really wanted only 100-125 people, but our guest list got so big between people my fiancé and I knew from college and his family is massive. We ended up inviting 180, so we thought we would be closer to 150 which was going to be more expensive, and truthfully there would probably be some people there I didn’t necessarily want to invite. Because of COVID, a lot of our “no’s” are people I didn’t want to invite in the first place (forgive me I know this sounds terrible lol) and most of our “yes” are those we are closest to and who I wanted there to begin with!
Couple 9: Everyone is still very excited about coming out to our wedding (most of the groom’s side is traveling). Couple 10: While we're sad that we can't celebrate with everyone as intended, and have prioritized family over friends, we do plan to have a party sometime next year when it's safe to do so. It'll also be hard to have our grandparents physically attend only one half of the wedding, but at least they can be there at all. Another plus is I get to wear my dress at least twice! The jury is still out on whether or not I'll wear it to the party next year What were the positives during this experience? Is there any silver lining for you?
Couple 1: Same as above
Couple 2: No matter what happens, I still get to marry my best friend.
Couple 3: In regards to covid + wedding year, none....
Couple 4: Ehhhh.... it might be too soon to see silver lining since our change of plans is still so fresh ... but I know looking back on it I will be able to find one
Couple 5: We've been able to use COVID as an excuse for our smaller guest list when really.... it was incredibly small to begin with ;). I'm not kidding when I say I am just waiting to be chewed out from certain family members (cousins) when they realize they haven't been invited. Working with gracious vendors who want to still care well for us in the midst of all the trials and heartache and have honestly been some of the biggest blessings and cheerleaders! Seeing some of my people do absolutely everything they can to make sure they can be there in whatever way possible... even catching a last second several thousand dollar international flight from should that be the way it happens. And again, at the end of the day, we will be married and we just want our wedding to reflect our faith in the Lord no matter how that has to happen.
What is your advice to the other Covid Couples? Couple 1: Give yourself time to grieve your original wedding. Couple 2: Remember what is important. Do what feels good for you; try not to let others influence your plans. Couple 3: Your wedding is important, and anyone who makes you feel like it isn’t because of covid isn’t worth your time. Couple 4:Prioritize what is truly important to you; don’t be afraid of doing what is right for you and your fiancé - don’t let other people’s ideas, wants, wishes, judgements, etc influence your decisions; accept that there is so much out of your control and focus on the things you can control Couple 5: Make wise decisions, but don't be pushed into doing/ not doing something that didn't feel right to you. You are allowed to grieve the loss of your dream wedding day without feeling shame for doing so. There are going to be people who don't agree with your plans, but you'll also realize there are people who will stand firm beside you no matter what you choose to do. In the end, it really comes down to the marriage and not the wedding because the wedding is just one day in a hopefully long number of years with the man or woman you've chosen to spend your life with. The marriage is the thing that matters above all else.
What should the world know about planning a wedding during a Pandemic?
Couple 1: That your friends and family whose weddings have been impacted are going through a tough time and any way that you can reach out will mean a lot.
Couple 2: It's NOT all fun and games like most people have gotten to experience, but it CAN be done!
Couple 3:Be flexible... there are definite ups and downs, days where everything feels like it’s going to work out and days where you just want to cancel everything and forget about it. It’s ok to cry, to be sad, and to be mad. But try to keep your chin up and surround yourself with supportive people. And stop watching the dang news and reading facebook. Couple 4: It is not fun, it does not bring joy, and what is supposed to be a happy process for you and your fiancé is not a happy time. The planning is rough, but knowing you’re going to spend the rest of your life with the right person makes it all worth it
Couple 5: If there was ever time for gracious words and kind hearts, it would be when talking to a bride/groom who is planning during a pandemic. Planning a wedding is stressful anyway, but having so many unknowns and opinions, and changing guidelines thrown at you every second of every day makes a bride and groom incredibly weary and discouraged. You're getting thrown into a situation that (thankfully) most other people will never be able to understand. Honestly, a little bit of grace and a friend to vent to and have help navigate the floodwaters is really what we need. We need you to show up, world. Show up like you do when someone treasured has passed away, because I am telling you that our heads are absolutely swimming trying to navigate this season. Hold off on the questions. Hold off on the opinions unless directly asked for them. Know that the invites are coming, but don't hold any of our plans too tightly or throw hateful words when they are changed. Think about things you can do just to let us know you were thinking of us. Leave a cheerful note or small gift on our door. Verbally offer to help, and check back in with us every few weeks or months if we're too stressed to know what tasks to delegate to you immediately. Pray for us. Text us an encouraging thought once in a while. Listen first and offer advice only when asked for so that we know you are a safe person to discuss our feelings and concerns with. Remind us of the end goal when we get lost in the disintegrating details we've been working so hard on for months. Know that we have been doing everything within our power to make this an enjoyable event for those who are able to attend, but we are worried about the reactions we will get from people no matter what we decide... and that keeps us up at night. Know that there is a grieving process to being a COVID couple, no matter what your original plan was. We are tired and there are days we really do just want to curl up and hide from all the information flooding our inboxes that is constantly changing our plans. You still end up sacrificing something to make your wedding happen during a pandemic, and we just want the world to honor our hearts as we make the best out of a horrible scenario.
THE WEDDING INDUSTRY IS BEHIND YOU
I told you all I was doing this for a reason.... and a huge part of that reason is to bring you love and encouragement! So I've collected thoughts, encouragement and well wishes from a few of our favorite vendors. I know it is small and may feel a bit insignificant in comparison to the challenges you have faced this year... but I do genuinely hope it brings you all some feelings of support!
"My heart breaks for my couples who have been dreaming and planning their special day and then 2020 throws a huge curveball at them. I, myself, was planning to get married in August 2020, with over 200 people in attendance, so I completely understand what you are going through and how frustrating and exhausting all these unknowns can be. Postponing your dream wedding or re-imagining/re-planning your special day can be a difficult and emotional process.What you end up deciding to do in terms of your wedding celebration is extremely personal. It's important to remember that there is no “wrong” decision. We’re here for you all, no matter what you decide. Ultimately, amidst all of the chaos that 2020 has brought, it is a reminder that the most important thing when it comes to weddings, is to celebrate the union between you and your partner; that in itself is so beautiful.Congratulations to you all for making it this far! We are here for you."
"Expectations of that perfect wedding day are always so high - and rightfully so! But your love is no less significant or powerful because your celebration is smaller. Focus on the two of you and enjoy each other. Embrace the uncertainty with the knowledge that you will survive anything and be stronger for it. Look for the little things. Like you will have more time to enjoy the guests present when entertaining a more intimate party." - From the team at Peak Beverage "I keep thinking of my own marriage - the ups and downs... This is a huge bootcamp for your life. It is so unknown and unexpected. But if you look at the person next to you and realize they make it all so much easier to deal with... Then you've got it made. This is only a chapter of your story!"
Having been married for 33 years Rex and I have been through our share of hardships that we have overcome together. We are so thankful to have gone through life with a help mate and partner . We all know how good it feels to conquer a difficult time and make it through . This is just one of many things that is building and shaping you both on who you are yet to become as a couple . Your getting a head start on facing some setbacks or disappointments in life but it’s ok bc its building a bond , strength and resilience that you need for a great marriage . Focus on the love you found and the love you get to share & looking forward to future your building together the best is yet to come hang in there and we are walking this walk with you and we want to see your dream come true. - Gina Younger - Younger Ranch
"My mom was 18 and my dad 21 when they married in 1952. Their honeymoon plan was to drive to Yellowstone from their hometown of Logan, Utah to spend a few days. My Dad saved $60 for the trip. In the chaos of the wedding my mom forgot to pack shoes so they stopped at a roadside stand in a canyon on their way and bought her a pair of moccasins. The added expense meant that they had to cut their honeymoon short. It consisted of going to Yellowstone, eating dinner, looking at Old Faithful, then driving home. When my mom died they had been married 54 years and this was my dad's favorite story to tell. He always said they learned on their honeymoon that they could make it through anything if they would just smile and press on. Life is hard right now. Life is unfair a lot of the time. But love will carry us through. At the end of the day you will look back on these times and realize these memories made you stronger." - Tresa, Always and Forever Weddings - Event Planner "Stay Patient and Positive! Everything is changing day to day, so you never know what will happen. The one thing that remains though is love. So if it feels right to get married now or to get married after postponing, at least you still have your partner by your side to support you and love you!
- Samantha, The Perfect Moment Events - Wedding Planner We would love to extend virtual hugs to all couples affected by this pandemic. It almost hurts more when people reply with “it’s going to be okay” when you were robbed of this magical day getting to marry your one & only. We hope when you book your new wedding date, or if you elope now and party later, that you can find the good in waiting. It’s bittersweet, of course, and your dress, bridesmaids, family, and partner will all journey this wait with you until next year. Whether you choose to eliminate the wedding part altogether is a delicate choice, pertinent to each couple & their circumstances. It takes a lot of courage to choose a safer time and space to enjoy your investments in your celebration, and you deserve that peace of mind after all you’ve endured this year! There’s so much heart & soul poured into every element of a wedding, that you shouldn’t have to sacrifice those efforts - but rather just delay them until they can be fully appreciated and enjoyed. In the case that that might not be possible, savor the moments, memories and time spent with your loved ones even if it’s in a tiny ceremony of 10 or less. Masks and all, this pandemic will help shape a foundation of your marriage in starting your new lives in such a crazy time. We are here for the last minute brides, budget cut in half brides, brides whose dresses were delayed and won’t arrive in time, brides that need immediate alterations for an elopement, or even those who just need a veil or jewelry for a last minute civil ceremony. We’re here for you, even as a small business where we too, were scared for our future a couple of months ago. In these uncertain times, just a safe little happy place with big smiles behind our masks can make a difference between wearing just a white dress And YOUR wedding dress. We love you all & we’re praying you all get the celebration you deserve.
xoxo, The Blue Bridalistas - Blue Bridal Boutique
A FINAL BIT FROM CALLIE
This blog post was very challenging to organize and articulate.... but I felt that it really needed to be done. It DOES need to be shared with friends and family and those across the world who may or may not ever fully understand. Every single time I receive an email from one of my 2020 couples, I am heartbroken a little bit more. People who have already postponed once are facing an uncertain fall and are yet again faced with more adversity instead of the joy they should have when planning the celebration of their marriage. I have truly grown so close to my clients and while of course, I am devastated about my season... I am truly just in this place of sadness for my people. You guys really are my people. (Especially if you read this entire thing and made it to this point).
My heart really just is hurting.
It's probably a big reason I have been quieter on social media this year. Obviously marketing and pushing our brand and photos on social media is a vital part of staying in business, but I have definitely struggled with how to take care of my people first. Obviously, it is important that I keep booking for future, but it has weighed heavily on my heart to continuously serve my current clients. I have a little bit about my heart to serve on the main part of my website. But I assure you, it's not some puff piece on why you should hire me. It's true. I really, truly believe that God put me on this planet to help take care of people. And this year that has been truly hard to do that. It really is hard to know what to do. So after a lot of thought, prayer and work... I have decided to do a few things to send my couples love and also to help couples across our nation plan their wedding. One of my clients mentioned yesterday that she wished there was a book on how to plan two weddings. Well, that is part of what I intend to do. Keep an eye out! <3
Love you guys, stay strong!