Planning a Wedding in times of Social Distancing

Over the past couple months, I have sold gowns to many brides who are on a tight wedding-timeline.  Each girls’ story and reason is a bit different, but they all have one common factor: COVID-19!  Weddings seem to be happening quicker at this point in history because there is an unknown of whether they’ll get the “big” wedding if they wait.  You CAN plan a wedding in just a few months or even in weeks. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider tying the knot on a short engagement:  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Decide on how ‘big’ you want your wedding to be.  This will largely depend on how many people your state and city are allowing to gather in one place together, and keep in mind any social distancing requirements.  

Available venues will also be a factor in how many guests you are able to invite.  You may have your guest list capped at 50, buy you may need to whittle that down even further based on social distancing requirements.  If you’re having trouble finding a venue on a short notice, or the guest list is too big to fit into a venue’s space (even if you whittled it down to bare bones), then maybe consider an outdoor wedding on private property.  Many brides are doing backyard weddings to skirt the issue of guests and trouble finding a venue quickly.  

One other important thing to consider is how are you going to feed your guests?  If your venue requires you use them as the caterer, that takes out some of the work.  However, if you’re able to cater in or make your own food, you can really be creative and go as elaborate or simple as you want.  With a smaller guest list, food won’t be as costly as it would for a large event so do what your budget allows.  If you’d like to spend less, consider a later wedding time where you can just offer a variety of desserts (but don’t forget the wedding cake)!  If you want a little something more…add in some apps during a cocktail hour.  On the flip side, you could go all-out and spend more ‘per plate’ and still pay less than you would have with a larger wedding.  If a fancy catered, sit down meal is your style, do it with THE BEST you can find.  You could also have a food truck and snacks available as the party continues.  No matter how or what you feed your guests, keep in mind any “buffet” or serving rules that may apply.  Your venue staff and caterer can direct you more specifically, as they will be knowledgeable on current food-handling procedures 

Keeping your wedding party small is another helpful tip.  You may want to have 27 bridesmaids, because you have ’27 Dresses’ …but times are different.  You can still invite them to the wedding if there’s room on the guest list (and yes, they can plan the biggest “COVID-19 Bachelorette party of all time), but you will be way less stressed with fewer bridesmaids to please and fewer opinions to listen to.  Also, finding a dress, or coordinating dresses, is easier for 1-3 bridesmaids than it is for 6 or more.

With some decisions made, it’s time to find your dress!  This is a time when you need to be strategic and decisive.  Do a little bit of research of where you can get the best selection of gowns off-the-rack, and have a conversation with the boutique before your appointment.  They should be transparent and honest with what they can offer you, otherwise, don’t waste your time.  Plan to only shop at one or two stores; you honestly don’t need 30 choices, and quite frankly, you don’t want to have to muddle thru that many, it gets confusing and overwhelming very quickly!  You should also plan on only bringing the most essential people with you when you dress shop.  You will need to check ahead with each shop you plan to visit of how many they allow you to bring with you- some are as few as one, some as many as six  depending on your appointment date/time.  That in mind, many brides find it refreshing and easier to make a decision when they’re by themselves!  I have heard from many brides that they’ve shopped with their ‘group’ and it was just too much, so they come back by themselves and start over, often purchasing, because the only person they had to please was themselves (and YOUR opinion IS the ONLY one that really matters)!

Finding your gown in one visit is perfectly okay- and happens more often than you might think!  I would estimate that 1 in 25 brides ends up going back to the FIRST gown she tried on, and 1 out of 10 purchase on their first shopping trip to our store- it may even be their first shopping trip EVER!  The one thing you don’t want is to be pressured into buying a dress!  If the consultants are pushy or you’re just not getting a good vibe, it’s okay to walk away.  Give yourself some time to think, and if you’re still in love with the dress from the “pushy” store, then go back later for the specific purpose of buying THAT dress; you can find veils and accessories at another place.

Many brides are also concerned with alteration times. 

Do not worry!!  Most seamstresses won’t want to see you until the month or a few weeks before your wedding anyway.  Be aware that some stores that do in-house alterations may try to tack on a “rush” charge, but know this is completely unnecessary and just a way to over charge you.  Find a reputable independent bridal seamstress and he/she will be able to have your wedding dress altered in no time!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You CAN plan a beautiful, memorable, intimate wedding in these crazy COVID-19/quarantine/social distancing times.  In fact, I think the ideas that I’ve heard over the last few months have been some of the most inspired and creative.  I’m not sure if this trend toward smaller and more intimate is going to continue, but I feel like brides are happier then ever right now!  Hearing how couples are creating their weddings around their own love story, and not based on someone else’s expectations, is a breath of fresh air!

Happy Planning! ♥