How to start planning your wedding

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11th January 2021

How to confidently plan your wedding during a pandemic 

With 2020 firmly behind us we were all ready to embrace 2021 with it’s hope of new adventures and celebrations with all our loved ones… until last Monday’s announcement.

No-one expects to have to navigate a global pandemic when planning their wedding but here we are. Both couples and suppliers working together to make the most out of the given circumstances. 

I want to say to anyone having to postpone or experiencing a further postponement – I’m so sorry. It is hard and it is not fair and you are allowed to feel all the emotions you are feeling. You may find my previous article helpful ‘Claiming control of your wedding during Corona if you find yourself in this position. 

To anyone planning or re-planning, please know that the industry is as creative as it is resilient, and there are many wonderful and understanding suppliers who want to help, so do reach out to them and have that conversation. We’ve also been through this all of last year so we are in a slightly better position to deal with everything and help you. 

For those of you who got engaged – Congratulations ! A wonderful end to a dreadful year and an exciting journey ahead. 

So, how do you begin planning a wedding, let alone one affected by a global pandemic?

I want to assure you that you absolutely can progress with your plans and in fact, I actively encourage you too. 

Decisions

The first thing would be to make a decision on what sort of day you’re happy to have. If you’re happy to have a longer engagement period and are planning for a 2022 or even 2023 wedding then I’m hoping you’re safe to plan for a larger wedding. If you’re keen to get married later this year, then it’s wise to have the conversation about intimate celebrations and how happy you’d be in that were the case. My previous article – Microweddings, luxe and lovely – may help shed some light on this decision.

Wedding date

I’d advise having 3 potential dates so when you’re contacting venues you have some flexibility. Venues do book out 12-18 months in advance plus they now have the additional weddings moved from 2020 to fit in, so their availability may be more restricted.  Once you know your date you can adjust your planning timeline and which elements you may need to navigate around the pandemic. 

Must-haves

Together, make a list of the top 3 things each of you feel is important to your day. It may be certain guests, having a particular photographer or band and then regardless of what may happen you will still feel like it’s your wedding day and you have the best of what you want for your day. 

Budget

If you’re wedding is affected by the pandemic I think its’ wise to work out whether you’d be happy to increase your budget, as you’d have more time to save, or would you prefer to stick to the original budget. I always recommend having a 10-15% contingency but I’d maybe raise this to 20% incase of postponement fees or additional deposits. 

Using a budget planner is a good way to see all the costs in one place. Then as you receive quotes from suppliers you can see how it’s all planning out and where you can reallocate spend if necessary. 

Secure your big players. 

Once your date is set and you know you’re must haves— secure your main suppliers. 

I completely understand the dilemma of wanting to book certain suppliers so you know you’ve secured them for your day, but also being cautious about making financial commitments.

However, my advice would be to choose 2-3 main suppliers that will have the biggest impact on your day. For example your venue, photographer and florist. You’ll be happy you have secured them, you’ll feel in control and if you do have to make adjustments you only have a small number of suppliers to move.  Many suppliers will now have reduced availability due to 2020 postponements so do enquire sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. 

Open mind & open conversations 

Speak to your suppliers and family. Everyone is here to support you. You’re also in a slightly better position as most suppliers have been through this last year so will have some good advice to share from working with previous clients. 

Even when we are through this 3rd national lockdown we cannot expect normality to immediately resume. We can only assume there will be a gradual increase in the lifting of wedding restrictions such as guest numbers, dining options, mask wearing etc so it’s important to keep an open mind incase the restrictions may still be in place for your wedding and start to think how creatively you can include them.  

Switch things up

Whilst we wait for further clarity on things like guest numbers etc. You may want to organise other elements of your wedding.

You could start to shop for grooms-wear or bridal party outfits. Many boutiques are offering a try at home service so you can surprise your maids with some options and join on a zoom party – with plenty of fizz of course. A great way to get excited and feel in control of your planning without putting anything at risk. 

Other tasks you can start to tick off;

Wedding playlist – start to put together a Spotify list of songs to play through reception, dining and in between live music sets. 

Wedding guest list – knowing who you’re VIP list is will help when finding your venue & suppliers and also how you may have to navigate this should Covid impact your day in anyway. 

Honeymoon research – I understand this may be difficult with various border restrictions but if there is a destination you have your heart set on, start to research it, keep an eye for their government guidelines and start to create a dream itinerary.

Wedding website – building a website allows you to notify your guests quickly about updates and amendments. Its also cost-effective an deco-friendly and then once we have more clarity you can still surprise your guests with a gorgeous stationery invite.

Gift list – Start composing your gift list and add to your wedding website.

Pin it, Save it, Stick it 

Create your Pinterest board so that you start to buid a look and feel for the day. It will also help suppliers t share that vision as you gave ometig visual to relate to.

Save inspiration to your instagram (keep an eye out for my next post as I will cover how best to use social media to help you effectively plan)

Or start a vision book – old-school scrap book style. Creating something tangible is a lovely keepsake which you can look back on in years to come, plus it’s a great exercise to introduce calm and control in your life through lockdown. 

Time out

Planning does not need to consume your life, nor should it. If it does start to become too much then do take some time out. It can be overwhelming with Pinterest and Instagram supplying daily inspo, plus there can be some accounts that may share something triggering or negative. Everyone is navigating this in their own way. Be mindful of what you consume and how much you do so you can keep your planning positive. 

If you do ever feel overwhelmed, or you need a little guidance to get back on track or view your ideas with clarity, it is a worth while investment to work with a planner or stylist. I offer various options to work together to suit all styles of celebrations and budgets so do request a brochure here. 

I also launched my support service to assist couples through their changing plans last year, so if you feel an hours consultation with me would prove helpful, I’d love to hear from you

I just want to finish on this, there is so much hope and light ahead of us. We are in a stronger place as a nation this time round and we as an industry want to help guide and support you on this wonderful journey together. You will get married. You will celebrate. Love always wins. 

Take care of yourselves and each other.

Lianne xx

Blonde Army is a creative design and hire house for modern celebrations. Offering planning, design and hire we work closely with our clients to ensure a bespoke service and bring a whole lotta fun!


Images in this article from: Charlotte Nelson Photography, Dani Lou Photography, Emmy Shoots & Nicola Dixon Photography