1. Avoid hosting the big event at your house… if you can.
This was a huge mistake on our part, although I can’t say that we had a lot of other options after asking our ~20 guests to come to us.
The ceremony itself took place at Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, CO and it was perfect.
But the reception was at our house.
We planned this event in addition to a “rehearsal” dinner at our house the day before and a cookout the day after (I assumed there wouldn’t be much else for guests to do).
As if a wedding (not to mention, a COVID-19 wedding) wasn’t enough stress… we decided to add on to it by playing hosts at our own event. Multiple events, that is.
And, of course, we’d never hosted this amount of people at our house before. 😬 So I was worried about how that would work out while trying to create a safe, socially distanced environment.
We had considered hosting our guests at a restaurant but didn’t want to have to make five backup plans in case restrictions shut down our venue (again).
At the end of the day, it is what it is. I wasn’t going to let this detail get in the way of this major life milestone.
But damn was I exhausted once the weekend was over.
On that note:
2. Give yourself some time off after your wedding.
Seems obvious, right? But nothing’s really obvious when it comes to planning a ‘Rona wedding because no one has had to deal with it before.
Perhaps I thought that hosting less people would mean less effort.
That was absolutely not the case.
I didn’t officially take the Monday after the wedding off, but I should have. I really needed the whole week to decompress.
Don’t do what I did.
3. Give your original vendors some business on a smaller scale.
I’m excited to report that we were able to work with a LOT of our original vendors in making our small ceremony happen.
Pretty much across the board, the scope of what we needed from our vendors changed, but many of them were still a part of our special day in some form. So in a lot of ways, we were able to preserve the vision behind what we had originally planned.
I’ll be honest in that I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the wedding industry — especially after running my own experiment that resulted in an over 2x markup when using the word “wedding” to request quotes for shuttle services.
BUT I do love my vendors and was happy that we could find ways to support them during these tumultuous times.
4. Costco can help you keep costs down when you scale down.
Which is no surprise but worth mentioning.
We’re still planning to have a reception in the future, which means that many of our costs have now been duplicated.
So we had to be smart about putting three days of meals, booze, and new decorations together for our guests. And Costco came through with plenty of food and alcohol without completely busting our budget.
We were also able to scale down our budget for flowers with help from Costco — spending $100 total for this event and creating bouquets for all the ladies, a boutonniere for Dan, and a few other small arrangements.
Considering the additional costs associated with essentially having two weddings, we’re going to relax our standards a bit on things like flowers and other extras whenever we’re able to have a reception with the rest of our family and friends.
5. Realize that your uninvited guests will probably be relieved you let them off the hook.
When we started to replan our wedding with a (MUCH) smaller ceremony, I was worried about how other people would react to not being invited.
Especially my uncles. They were supposed to walk me down the aisle.
That was a really big deal for me, since my dad is no longer able to do that and they’re his brothers. But I knew it wasn’t fair to ask them to travel right now — one of them recently had undergone kidney surgery.
But all in all, the majority of people that weren’t invited to our small ceremony (but were originally invited to our planned wedding date) told me they were relieved to be excused and were excited for us to be able to still take this big step together.
And I think they meant it.
It’s really no fun traveling right now and I’m personally trying to quarantine as much as possible to limit the spread of COVID-19. Since I work from home, I’m lucky that this is fairly easy to do.
So I’m glad that we moved forward with this new plan — no regrets.
If you’re planning an event during the pandemic or have someone who might benefit from the insights of someone who’s been through the worst of COVID-19 wedding planning, I’d be happy to be a resource for them. 🙂
In the next newsletter, I’ll plan to share some details regarding my latest moves in moving towards an agency model.
Thanks for reading.
Until next time,
Maddy Osman, The Blogsmith