How To Plan a Wedding During A Pandemic
If you’re reading this, it’s safe to say you’re newly engaged and lost in this whole wedding planning, mainly because we are in the middle of a freaking pandemic. Don’t worry. I have been there done that. Unfortunately for me, there wasn’t much help for soon to be brides back in early 2020. But, I have lived it and now can share everything I have learned about planning a wedding during a pandemic.
If you haven’t been following me for over a year, you don’t know the whole story. Rest assured, I will quickly (hopefully) tell you.
Our Engagement: June 28, 2019, watch our proposal video here.
After we had gotten engaged, we weren’t in a total rush to get married but knew we wanted it to be 2020 or 2021. It was fall 2019 when we decided that 2020 was OUR year to get married (like so many). Little did we know, we were about to embark on something challenging and stressful (as if weddings weren’t stressful enough pre-pandemic).
Before I get started, I want to share that every wedding is different, and some steps may not apply to you or have step 1 as step 3 or vice versa. Also, I can’t cover many little things because it will make this the longest blog post in history, plus other websites like The Knot are fantastic resources. They have actual lists, customizable websites, see ours here, and just a ton of stuff to help you.
I want to share the top things that can make your life a little easier and share what I went through. So, let’s dive in.
Step 1. Finding Your Wedding Venue During A Pandemic
Make sure you find a venue that meets your needs and fits both of your personalities best. Don’t get caught up in finding something just to have. If you have to spend the extra $, it will be worth splurging a bit. Your wedding day is YOUR ONE day, and you don’t want to look back and regret it. Plan accordingly and start saving. I recommend saving money the day you get engaged (at least).
Call venues and ask about their touring guidelines. Once you have found a few, here are some questions I found helpful.
Questions To Ask Yourself
- Does this fit my budget? If not, is there anything I can downsize or live without to help fit this in the budget?
- Is it the right size for my wedding guest party?
- Will I need to buy a lot of decors to make it pretty?
- Do I need a wedding ceremony & reception area? Or just ceremony?
- Can I see myself walking down the aisle here?
If you don’t get chills thinking about walking down the aisle…find a different venue. That’s just my opinion. I knew when we toured our wedding venue (both of them) that it was THE ONE. I got significant butterflies and almost cried, picturing us getting married there.
Essential Questions To Ask The Wedding Venue
- How many guests will they allow? Indoor/Outdoor?
- Is it outdoor only?
- Do they provide a room for you to get ready?
- If outdoors, do they have a bathroom for your wedding guest?
- Do they provide electrical outlets and equipment for ceremony music and vows?
- Is a wedding coordinator provided?
- If lockdowns get stricter and you have to change your wedding date, are they flexible? Are there any cancellation or rescheduling fees?
- If you have to cancel, do you get your deposit back?
- What is the food situation? Can you cater? Do they have to approve caterers?
- Is alcohol allowed? If so, what type (sometimes it’s only beer and wine).
- Do they help set up the wedding guest chairs, tables, etc.?
- Do they offer any discounts to your wedding guest (if at a hotel or resort)?
- How long do you have the venue? What are the cut-off times and the hourly rate if you wanted to go over said time?
- Is there a special pandemic wedding package available?
- Do you have to wear a mask as you’re walking down the aisle?
- Does your guest have to wear a mask during the ceremony, even if it’s outdoors?
- Do they allow a DJ?
- Do they allow you to have a dance floor?
I’m sure there will be many more questions to ask, but I found these were super important. Once you have found a venue that fits your needs, book it. I will tell you not to get too attached and emotionally invested. Things change, especially nowadays. Everything happens for a reason, so don’t sweat it too much if things get messy.
We had booked our first wedding venue, Chapel On The Hill in early Jan and due to some uncontrollable circumstances, we had to change it two-months before our wedding date. We ended up finding our wedding venue, Seascape Beach Resort, which was so beautiful, perfect, and made sense why things got so screwed up. It felt like fate.
So please, plan but keep an open mind and a backup plan. I hope for you it doesn’t, and it all goes perfectly.
Here are some photos of us touring venues.
Step 2. Shopping For The Perfect Wedding Dress During a Pandemic
So this part may be a little different because I luckily went wedding dress shopping in early Jan 2020 pre-pandemic. I know some bridal shops allow you to go in and try on dresses but with a limited number of guests. The last time I checked, it was 3. Call and find out what their guidelines are.
I recommend getting your wedding dress early because you don’t want to risk anything getting delayed due to COVID. Bridal gowns take forever as it is, add a pandemic, and you can be waiting for months and months. Give yourself time to make alterations.
Tip: Have in mind the type of venue and season when you’re wedding dress shopping. We decided on a fall wedding, so I knew I wanted a long sleeve lace dress.
What type of bride are you?
Like I said, keep in mind the season of your wedding, and just like real estate, location location location. It truly matters because you don’t want a sleeveless summer dress if you’re getting married in the wintertime. Once you have a slight idea, it makes it easier when you’re trying on wedding dresses.
How do you know when you found THE ONE?
I read about this moment, and this feeling, yet didn’t think it would happen. That was until it did. What’s funny is that I didn’t even pick my wedding dress, my mother-in-law did. She grabbed it and said she thought I would like it, so I added it to the dresses’ list. The first dress I tried on, I knew immediately it was not the one. Once I put on the second dress, I felt like I had lost my breath in the fitting room. The lovely lady helping me was clipping it on, and I just kept looking in the mirror at myself in disbelief that I have already found it. I thought to myself, no way, so I shook it off, came out of the fitting room, and everyone gasped. They LOVED the dress. My mom and mother-in-law started crying, and once they put the veil on me, they were just a mess. It was beautiful.
I thought I had to try on another one to be sure, and although the third dress was so beautiful as well and could have been the one, it just didn’t give me that feeling. Trust me when I say you will get that feeling, so don’t stress out about it.
Elegant Lace Bridal- Instagram
1061 Blossom Hill Rd San Jose, CA 95123
Step 3. Booking all Your Vendors
Once we booked the venue and found my wedding dress, the next thing we did was hire all the vendors necessary. This took some time and research, so read reviews and ask your friends and family for recommendations. This ties back to step 1 because if you’re looking for a caterer, you want to make sure your venue allows outside caterers.
Lucky for us, Seascape Beach Resort provided the food. All we had to do was pick what we wanted.
So remember to start booking/hiring the following:
- Caterers (if applicable)
- DJs (if applicable)
- Makeup Artist
Tip: Make sure you set your mani and pedis appointment the week of the wedding to achieve that fresh look. Also applies if you want your lashes, eyebrows, and waxing done.
My recommendations below are based on who/what I used or was going to use:
6992 Southside Rd, Hollister, CA 95023
When our wedding was originally at Chapel on The Hill, we had reserved our date with Mansmith BBW. Tyler and I LOVE BBQ, and we didn’t want the traditional wedding food that most people will complain about later. That’s what led us to choose BBQ, and since it was so good at Tyler step sister’s wedding, it was the right decision for us. Unfortunately, since we had to change venues, we didn’t use them because we weren’t allowed to bring outside caterers to the Seascape Beach Resort.
108 W William St, San Jose, CA 95110
My tailor was amazing, I love Lori. She was super sweet and tailored my dress perfectly.
Casa De Flores (Our florist for our wedding) – Instagram
They were beyond amazing. Everything they made was top quality and beautiful. I was so obsessed with all of our flower arrangements, and the pampas were to die for. I even have them now to this day in my home. Their pricing was unbeatable as well. I highly recommend them. They travel to where you need them for an additional travel fee, or you can have someone pick it up.
DJ Thick- Instagram
When we thought we were going to have a normal wedding with music and people dancing, this is who we hired. Unfortunately, we couldn’t have a dancefloor or people dancing, so we did not have a DJ. If you book him and his wife, Keziah who does hair and makeup together, you get a package deal. I used her services. See below.
Hair & Makeup Stylist:
I loved my hair and makeup by Keziah. She is such a fun, talented artist. Love her. She’s super professional and follows all the COVID protocols. I felt comfortable and safe with her. I highly recommend using her services.
Dallin & Cienna- Instagram
I fell in love with their work the second I came across their Instagram and knew I had to book them. Dallin, the photographer, is super talented and captures all the right moments that you will cherish forever. He was super chill and made it fun and not stressful at all. I highly recommend him, you won’t be disappointed.
Keep in mind when you’re looking for a photographer, it’s essential to find someone whose work speaks to you. You’re going to keep these photographs forever and most likely frame them in your house, so make sure they are the best!!!
I think this is where you spend the most money because it’s all you’ll have to remember when your memory starts to fade with old age…at least that’s how I see it.
Our Engagement Photographer
Shannon Yen – Instagram
We loved working with Shannon. She was super chill, fun, sweet, and captured the perfect moments. Shannon is beyond talented, and her editing is just outstanding. Highly recommend her as well if you’re looking for a wedding photographer.
Custom Bride/Bridesmaid Silk Robes.
Spectrum Print Shop – Instagram
I wanted to customize my getting ready silk robe and my bridesmaids. So I bought these robes and used Spectrum Print Shop in San Jose, CA to print my design on them. You don’t have to personally design it, they will do it for you. Super easy and they came out so good. I think this a fun and cute idea.
Step 5. Check off the little things
You’ve booked and hired all of the big things. Now it’s time for the small stuff. I procrastinated because I felt it wasn’t that big of a deal and later was super stressed because I had a million little things to get done. So start early and just get things checked off and out the way.
Save The Date Cards & Wedding Invitations
This is the small-ish thing you want to tackle first on your little to-do list. There are easy to use programs like Canva that have pre-made templates and FREE!!! You can go to FedEx and get them printed and save a lot of money. We loved our wedding invitations, and they came out so good.
I ordered these cute envelopes to insert our wedding invitation. Shop them here.
Other little things to think about are buying table decor, chair covers if needed, and stuff like that—photobooth props, selfie frames, etc. Amazon and Etsy are great places to buy these things.
Other stores to consider are, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and yes, of course, Target. I actually ended up buying our cake stand at Target. I wanted to buy something I will use again and found a cute marble wood stand.
I wanted a selfie frame so people can use it to take pictures, and once I started looking into it, they were pretty pricey. So I thought, I will just get a design printed on a foam board and cut it myself. You can also use Canva to create something. This is what I made.
(408) 266 2253
1375 Blossom Hill Rd #38
San Jose, CA 95118
Our cake was so delicious. Highly recommend. Just to note, they do not refund you if you have to cancel, they just credit your account.
How To Cope With Disappointment?
Due to the fact that we are in a pandemic and things are uncertain, I think it’s important to discuss how to mentally handle disappointment. For those who were following me during the whole wedding planning, you know the shit we went through. We had to change our wedding date three times. Sending out wedding cancellations is not fun and honestly, there were some tears shed. I think it’s important to let your emotions out but then pick yourself back up and keep moving forward.
The thing that helped me the most was just thinking of our wedding day and how magical it will be when it comes. There is no reason to get too worked up about things that are just out of our control. Stay positive and no matter what stay hopeful…your day will come.
I’m a huge believer in the saying, “everything happens for a reason.” It truly does and you will see once you make it all the way to your big day.
Ask For Help
If you are feeling stressed or stuck, ask your friends and family for help. You’d be surprised how many of them will love to help you. Reach out to other brides like myself and ask questions as well.
Planning a wedding during COVID doesn’t have to be a nightmare. As someone who did it and came out the other side, I have learned that it doesn’t help anyone stress the uncontrollable. Shit happens, and that’s just life. One important thing to remember is that you’re embarking on this new and fantastic journey. You are getting FUCKING MARRIED!!! That is amazing, and no matter what, it’s going to be a memorable special day.
I hope this was helpful and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.
As always, thank you for reading, I appreciate you and your time.
Voted #1 Bay Area Realtor on Social Media
Damaris Dover | realtor®
408.857.7789 | bre#01929839
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