Whether you’re newly engaged or tying the knot during the pandemic, local wedding experts say you can still have the wedding of your dreams./Adobe Stock | amenic181
Local party planners from across Delaware and Pennsylvania offer advice on how to pull off a fabulous event during a pandemic.
By Lisa Dukart
Whether you’re newly engaged or tying the knot during the pandemic, local wedding experts say you can still have the wedding of your dreams.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown life into disarray and weddings are no exception, as fluctuating protocols have made it difficult for couples to navigate the best way forward. With smaller guest lists, micro weddings have gained a foothold, but some couples are keeping larger nuptial plans in place in areas where it’s safe to do so. Others still are postponing their celebrations in hopes the future brings a return to normalcy. Whichever path couples choose, wedding planners have become an even more invaluable resource. Here, seven planners from throughout the region offer their sage advice.
Owner, Ambiance Created
New Castle, Delaware
Getting married during a pandemic isn’t for fanfare, it’s for love. Move forward with plans—just scale the event based on the requirements in your state. If you’re able to, have a micro wedding in your home. You can always plan a really nice anniversary get-together when it’s safer.
Owner, A Sweet Affair Weddings & Events
Ocean View, Delaware
What’s most important is staying privy to everything that’s happening. We can plan for anything, but as we saw last year, what happens sometimes is out of our hands. I’ve seen a lot of couples who originally were thinking a large wedding and are rethinking what that looks like, because they want to just get married. They’re OK with doing something smaller.
Owner, Designs by Daisy
West Chester, Pennsylvania
It’s all about patience. If you want to wait and get married at the venue of your dreams, then you might have to postpone a second or even third time. Write down your goals and desires. Most importantly, you need to be happy with the decisions that you make. If you don’t want to deal with restrictions, opt for a backyard wedding.
Owner, Pine Hill Events
Have the mindset that the day is still special. It may not be exactly what you had in mind, but it is a day worth celebrating and marking as special and lovely and romantic and powerful. If the date is important to you, my advice has always been to get married now and have a party later—even just the two of you, or the two of you and your immediate families. If you’re trying to do something bigger and more of what you may have dreamed about from the very beginning, have plans A, B and C, and include good safety measures from the start. Communicate your expectations with your guests in advance as far as how seating is going to work and your expectations for mask-wearing and physical distancing. Be prepared to go smaller, to segment, to include hybrid or online options, and postpone if necessary. Segmenting is taking the weekend and breaking it down into small groups. Instead of having the rehearsal dinner, a getting-ready brunch, the wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, the wedding reception, the after-party, and then the brunch, break it all up into smaller events with fewer people each. It’s a nice compromise. If you don’t like uncertainty, the later the date, the better.
Caitlin Maloney Kuchemba
Owner, Clover Event Co.
Host a micro wedding this year. For those that want that full wedding experience, the biggest thing to know is that vendors and other professionals are getting booked much quicker and much further out than ever before. The quicker that they can work to book their key vendors—secure a venue, a band or DJ, a photographer, a planner—you need to lock them in. With your venue, you typically are going to sign on for a minimum guest count. We’re advising couples drop that contracted guest count lower to give them the flexibility to increase it. It’s always possible to increase contracts and proposals, but it’s not always possible to decrease them. Consider starting smaller and adding on and making it known to [the vendors] that you would plan to possibly increase if regulations allow.
Owner, Proud to Plan
First, don’t lose focus on the goal to be married, to celebrate with your loved ones. It’s going to be a great day regardless. Second, communicate with your vendors and guests. I’ve had quite a few of my couples even send out Google surveys and say, “We’re still planning on moving forward with our celebration—how many in your party are still interested in attending?” Give them the number of guests you’re expecting and find out who else that’s invited is also within their household that can be seated together. Newly engaged? Get your ideal guest list in place and then when we get a little bit closer, we can make those calls. I’m also telling couples, “These people are the people that love you. They will understand that things need to change because of the pandemic.” The other thing that we’re seeing is that people want to pare it down but still have participation—we can livestream their wedding. I think those couples will look back and be like, “Planning in a pandemic was a lot of strife, but at the same time, our wedding was unique and unforgettable.”
It’s all about patience. If you want to wait and get married at the venue of your dreams, then you might have to postpone a second or even third time.
Owner, Brooke Voris Weddings
Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania
We need to make sure what matters most to the couples is still going to happen on their wedding day. If it’s important for someone elderly or from out of town to be at their wedding, you have to think out of the box for how to get them there. If they’re able to do it with a virtual option, how many of these people need to be at your wedding? Couples are having little boxes delivered—with Champagne, glasses, confetti poppers, programs, a treat—to those people so they feel like they’re part of the experience.