It goes without saying that the past year has been a rollercoaster… and that’s putting it lightly!
This week is the one-year anniversary of our world turning upside-down. The anniversary of the week that the province declared its first state of emergency in the fight against COVID-19. The week that the wedding industry would change forever (or at the very least, for the foreseeable future) and couples would have to begin to imagine their wedding days looking a whole lot different than they’d ever dreamed they would.
As a wedding planner, there is nothing that hurts my heart more than having to admit that I don’t have all the answers. Because I specialize in complete wedding planning and design, as opposed to coordination or management (meaning that more often than not, I work with my couples right from the very beginning of their planning as opposed to jumping in during the final few months to help wrap up the final details), my couples look to me to always have the answers and know what’s the best way forward. It absolutely kills me to have to say the words, “I don’t know,” or, “we’ll have to wait and see.”
Like all the wedding planners across the land (hands up to every single one of you!) I’ve been keeping my ear to the ground and doing my daily reading of the ever-changing framework surrounding weddings and social gatherings. But, what’s in play today may change tomorrow, next week, or next month… so the idea of knowing what will and won’t be in the rules and regulations by the day of my client’s weddings feels like an impossible task. We can hope and we can make educated guesses based on last year’s trends and this year’s numbers, but we can never really know for sure. And so, we create backup plan after backup plan after backup plan, so that when we do know what rules and regulations will be in place at the time of our clients’ big days, we’ll be ready to rock and put those backup plans into play at a moment’s notice.
What I can tell you is that the perfect backup plan for one couple may not work for another. Each couple is different, each wedding is unique, and what’s right for one couple may seem absolutely unfathomable to another. And so, with each of my couples, we always start by having a discussion about what the most important aspects of their wedding days are to them.
Do they just want to be married and start their life as husbands/wives/husband and wife… or can they not imagine not having everyone they love being there with them as they say their vows to one another?
Does the idea of not dancing the night away make them want to cry… or does it make them excited about the possibility of doing something fun and exciting for their day that their guests have never seen before?
The long and the short of it is, what are they willing to give up if they have to in order for their day to happen on their day… and what (or who) can they not imagine their wedding days without?
These are the big questions that couples need to look deep inside to find their answers to. And as much as I wish I could, this is something that I can’t answer for them.
But once we are able to find out what their true priorities are in their heart of hearts, it gives us a better inclination of which direction we need to go when creating their wedding backup plan, and then we can start adjusting and planning what we need to in order to be able to put these plans in play if restrictions at the time of the wedding day that we must.
There are three general back-up plan options to choose from:
(1) have a micro wedding celebration on your wedding date, and reschedule your reception to a later date, so you can celebrate with everyone you love and *hopefully* have fewer restrictions to comply with;
(2) move forward with your day, but with a trimmed guest list and other modifications to comply with social gathering restrictions; or
(3) postpone your wedding altogether, in favour of having the big celebration with everything and everyone you’ve been dreaming of, later on when social gathering restrictions have lifted.
It’s never easy for the couple, no matter which direction they decide to take. But it does make it easier for them after having the real, deep conversation about what really and truly matters most to them for their day. And if I’m being honest, I think that having these conversations is a great reminder for a lot of couples of what their wedding day is really about. That’s something that tends to get lost in the planning process, as all the bells and whistles and Pinterest boards and options come into play. It’s no longer about anyone or anything but themselves… and that is how it should be.
Because when you look at where we’re at right now, in this surreal time where we don’t know what’s happening from one week to the next, none of that stuff really matters when you’re just trying to decide which way to move forward with your wedding. And that’s actually very special. Because for a few minutes in a world that feels like it’s spinning out of control, the couple gets to take a moment to just breathe, refocus, and remember what their day is truly about.