Updated: Aug 1, 2020
Planning or rescheduling your wedding during a health crisis is not ideal. Plans have to change, guests have to be notified, vendors have to be contacted, etc. And it seems like the regulations and requirements change every day. What kind of wedding can you even plan right now? This blog will serve as your guide on the different types of weddings and the variations I have seen of those types to accommodate your unique situation. It is a scary time to plan a wedding, but if you are equipped with the right information you WILL be able to plan your wedding right. So sit back, relax, and read this post from start to finish so that you can see and assess all of the options available to you. Because believe it or not, you have multiple options for a successful wedding.
There are essentially 3 overarching categories of weddings from which all other types of weddings stem from, 1 of which your own wedding will fall under. I'm sure you've heard of elopements and have a basic understanding of what that might entail, and you probably understand that a traditional wedding style is one with a higher guest count. But have you heard of a microwedding before? It is especially important given the circumstances that we are dealing with surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic that you have a full understanding of these different types of weddings and which style might be the right one for you under this "new normal." We'll start off by talking about traditional weddings- the least likely to be permissible in the near future under government orders.
These are the weddings "that every girl dreams of." I label them as traditional, not because they are rooted in cultural tradition, but because it is the traditional (in terms of history) way to have a wedding. When people think of a wedding they usually think of a ceremony followed by a big reception with friends and family. This vision of a wedding usually includes a cocktail hour and then a meal, either sit-down or buffet, and then cake or some kind of dessert followed by dancing and maybe some other components (garter toss, money dance, bouquet toss, etc). Although there are many different variations of this, the overarching design is the same. There are many different spins that people can put on traditional weddings, but they are all rooted in the same format. If you and your significant other are big on family and have a lot of special people that you want to celebrate your special day with, this is probably the route you will want to go for your wedding. These weddings are more expensive, as you will be expected to provide food, dessert, and tables and chairs for all of your guests. It adds up quickly! If your parents are paying for the wedding, this is usually the route they would want you to go, because they want to share the special day with all of their friends and family and show you off as a couple. If you are trying to plan your wedding in 2020, you should probably steer clear of this type of wedding unless you are able to modify it to meet all social distancing guidelines and make your guests feel comfortable attending an event of that scale. If you are set on a traditional wedding, I would advise you to push it into 2021, when it is less likely that we will still be in a health crisis.
I'm sure by now that most, if not all, of you have heard of elopements. The most common types of elopements that we think of are usually in far away places or in a chapel in Vegas with an Elvis impersonator as an officiant (am I wrong?). But it might surprise you that elopements are getting much more popular, and many of them are being done locally. A majority of planners (myself included) are offering elopement packages now. These packages usually involve your planner booking an officiant, a photographer, and a florist. Elopements are significantly less expensive than traditional weddings, because you are not expected to pay for guests and their food (which is one of the most expensive components of a traditional wedding). They are also less risky right now, because you can do it while remaining socially-distant from your photographer and officiant and you will not have to risk your guests being exposed to the virus.
Microweddings are somewhere in between traditional weddings and elopements. A microwedding has all of the same elements of a traditional wedding, but you have a limited number of guests. If you and your partner would like a more intimate feel to your wedding and be able to engage with all of your guests, this might be the type of wedding for you! You can personalize it however you want, but the important thing for a microwedding is keeping the guest count very low- just your closest family and/or friends. With significantly less people than a traditional wedding, it will be easier to practice social distancing for a microwedding, and also easier to find a venue that can accommodate the small size of your party. If you are going this route I would recommend trying to find an outdoor venue so there's less risk factor for your guests.
With the current pandemic, we are seeing some twists on these wedding styles as couples get creative in keeping their weddings afloat. In order to have a traditional wedding, some couples have moved their receptions to outside venues and spaced chairs out at reception tables or placed barriers between chairs so that guests can remain socially distant. Others have casual outdoor cocktail-style receptions and require their guests to wear masks. You can even hand out personalized masks as wedding favors with the your names and the wedding date. Hand sanitizer and door opener hooks/ hands-free tools are also going to be popular wedding favors in the future, because they are items that will make guests feel more comfortable being in a large gathering. There have also been couples who elope and opt to have a large celebration with family and friends when it's safe or for their 1 year anniversary. This might be a good option for you if you have a lot of family and friends that you want to celebrate with but you also want to play it safe and can't wait any longer to marry your significant other. Or if you are set on getting married on a certain date in 2020. Another variation of elopements that I have seen are eloping but livestreaming the event for your friends and family to watch from their homes like they are attending.
As you can see from these 3 types of weddings and the different variations you can come up with for them, it IS possible to still have your wedding. Love is not cancelled. No one, or no pandemic should keep you from having a happy wedding. You might have to make some decisions and change things up a bit but you are ultimately responsible for your happiness and approach in embracing your circumstances. Times are tough, but please don't forget this. You can and WILL have an amazing wedding. And these blog posts are here to help you every step of the way.
Until next time,
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