Planning your wedding during COVID-19


May 14, 2020

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This whole COVID-19 situation has been very hard to deal with, for many harder than others, and I don’t want to sound too repetitive from every other blog or news sources you may follow.  BUT we here in New Jersey and probably many other states, are beginning to hear about quarantine restrictions starting to get lifted.  It’s exciting to start thinking about getting back to normal, but we should be cautious about jumping back in too quickly.  Therefore, I have some suggestions for those who are in the process of rescheduling or contemplating the possibility of rescheduling their big day. 

There is a lot to be scared of still, I get it, and your are NOT alone! To help prevent the fear from taking over and feeling powerless, there ARE things you can do to start taking control again! The good news is, you can actually use this time to get a lot done. And please do not feel guilty about celebrating your engagement and future wedding.  We all need happy things to look forward to, now more than ever!

Talk to your venue & vendors ASAP

The first thing you’ll want to do is to have serious discussions with your venue and vendors (virtually or over the phone, of course!) about the potential impact of COVID-19 on your wedding. If you have a wedding planner, this is something they can facilitate. Otherwise, you’ll need to reach out to your venue and vendor team individually. There will undoubtedly be a varying response from them—most will be more than willing to help you reschedule, while others may lock you within your contract. Know where you stand with your venue/vendor team before doing anything else, and refer back to your contracts for the cancellation and postponement policies as well as information on any fees or non-refundable deposits.

Did your wedding date change due to COVID-19? 

Thinking seriously about postponing your wedding is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the reality of the times. Information is crucial, so stay in the know on the situation and follow the news carefully. Communicating with your guests is so important at this time because they also made  arrangements to celebrate your day. Put a message up on your website notifying guests of your postponement plans or elopement. From there, take a look at your guest list and determine which notification style is most appropriate: hard copy or electronic or both.

How do we help guests and wedding party members who have already bought airfare and hotel/Airbnb rentals? Encourage your guests to check in with companies where they’ve booked if you’ve decided to postpone or cancel. Many of these companies are working with customers to rebook or refund due to COVID-19.

Keep your guests up to date with a stylish change the date / postponement cards from Paper and Posh!  They offer beautifully designed invitations and stationary. Their quality and professionalism is far above many others in the field and it is obvious they take great pride in their work.

Keep an open mind about a weekday wedding!  With so many couples rescheduling, once venues are opened once more, Saturday’s will be hard to come by.  However, Monday, Thursday and Sunday weddings are becoming much more popular among couples.  Going for a weekday wedding can give you a few advantages such as saving some money too, and a greater chance that all of your vendors might still be available for the new date.  Plus it might cut down on some of your guests which can help with the whole social distancing thing.

I realize that you may feel defeated and simply don’t have the energy to reschedule all of the wedding things, but this is YOUR wedding—and you should not let this pandemic get you down. Sure, it may look a little different: It may be a little smaller, and it may be during an off-season, or it may be in a totally different location, but the result will be the same: You will marry the love of your life and it will be meaningful and heartfelt and magical. Regardless of where or when. Don’t let this situation break your spirit—just take a deep breath, and begin putting together a Plan B.

Can you plan a private ceremony for now and a reception later to celebrate with family and friends? Will people not want to come later? Will guests think it is strange since we are already married? There’s no wedding planning rulebook. Your wedding guests are dealing with this global health crisis just as you are, so they understand new wedding celebration-styles are forming.

If your local government allows gatherings of 10 by the time your wedding comes around, you could have your official, legal wedding ceremony with just immediate family. For the postponed date, play around with the idea of having a one-year vow renewal or just reciting the vows you exchanged on your original wedding date. If holding any kind of ceremony feels unauthentic, feel free to just host a reception party! Whatever you decide, it’s going to be the right decision for you both. And any wedding guest will just be happy to be a part of the celebration.

Vendors are still booking and running their business, so continue to reach out. Reaching out now to your potential wedding vendors is key to help keep small businesses afloat during this time. Plus a lot of them are getting booked up for the fall of 2020 since so many spring and summer weddings had to be rescheduled. Also, be sure to hire a wedding planner who can bring their expertise and help you navigate everything including the changes with COVID-19.

There are many things you can still accomplish in your wedding planning with things being closed. You can create a rough draft of your timeline, determine your ceremony staging, or write your vows. You choose all your wedding songs, order thank you gifts for each other, your wedding party and parents, order any decor you need for your wedding day or simply finalize your decor list. Just because we’re in a ‘paused’ state, doesn’t mean wedding planning is on pause. Use this time to be more on top of your wedding plans.

Embrace technology! You have this cool advantage to book a venue tour online and invite mom, dad, and grandma to participate. Meet with your potential vendors via video conferencing applications. I feel like everyone is a little more relaxed right now on facetime meetings, you can really connect in a way that may have not been possible before. Take advantage of at home try on services for attire. Book your lighting and other details that you don’t need to see in person. Really dig into reviews for venues and vendors, ask to see additional examples of their work, trust your vendors to do the job you hired them for, and ask them for referrals of others that they have had great experiences with.

Even while home, the shopping hasn’t stopped for some. With local bridal salons and businesses of all types evolving to digital experiences, your dress and other at-home styling tips are simply a click away. The same applies to beauty advice too. Now is the best time to work on upkeep without considering drastic transformations. Leave that to the pros.

Have questions about your wedding gown and shopping amid COVID-19? Thanks to bridal boutiques, we’ve got all the answers for you.

Proper dress storage – Spoiler alert: not in plastic.

TLDR? Bridal salons have got your back. From virtual appointments to at-home try-on options, boutiques are making dress shopping possible and personalized in the time of coronavirus.

You can always recreate your ceremony or a part of your ceremony in front of your family and friends at the reception. If you don’t want to make a display out of it, consider printing your vows for guests to read or displaying photos from your ceremony to share the moment with them. Weddings are a celebration of love. Sharing in that moment with the people that care for you most, even if it’s after the fact doesn’t make it any less of a celebration!

How can we possibly do a gift registry when our guests have already lost jobs and income? Let guests decide if they can/want to purchase a gift — but add a respectful note.

It’s ok to leave your gift registry up. People understand that you had no control over this situation, and shouldn’t miss out on fun things like a registry because of the circumstances. But we do think that it is respectful to have a note on the registry website that says ‘We understand many have undergone loss of income due to COVID-19. In no way do we expect ANYTHING from our guests, but if you are still wanting to give a gift, we are incredibly grateful.

Mix it up! Add fun social activities or services to your registry:

Remember, wedding gifts are in NO way mandatory. They are a societal obligation. Who’s to say that offering to paint someone’s living room or decorate their tree at Christmas or organize their closet isn’t an amazing gift! Consider swapping out the idea of physical and monetary gifts for services and offers. When this is all over, we are going to want to spend so much more time with the people we love, why not do that with an activity that has a longer-lasting expression of kindness than a toaster of monogrammed towels could ever have!

Think about how your list segments itself into different categories: coworkers, extended family, college friends, people you haven’t seen in a long time, plus ones, etc. Then you can think about people that you will already have the opportunity to see in your daily life moving forward: people you work with, friends that are perhaps not best friends but in your circle that you see on a regular basis. The thinking here is that you can let them know that you love them and that while you want nothing more than to celebrate with them, you will likely have a chance to do that with them separately, and the reality of the situation is your new guest list under the current circumstances will need to prioritize those people who will have to travel or family members that you don’t see on a regular basis, to ensure that the most people can have the chance to celebrate with you in some fashion.

Your invitations already went out but you might have to cut the guest list and have a smaller wedding due to COVID. What to do? Well it might be easier than you think.

Cutting your guest list is never easy, but given the current circumstances around coronavirus, I think it will be better received than you may be afraid of. Everybody knows the situation and everyone knows that gatherings may be limited, so the expectation is there that this might happen.

There is an easy way around this! Let your guests make the decision for you. I suggest sending out a survey to your guests through Survey Monkey, Typeform, or something similar. This way you can just ask guests the following question: “If our event is held on its regular date would you feel comfortable coming?” Then you can let your guests make the decision for themselves, and if you get responses for a large group of people that say unfortunately we love you but we just don’t feel comfortable going to a gathering at that time, then you don’t have to worry about cutting people yourself because they made the decision for you.

This moment in time won’t last forever. We will get through it and we will come out stronger. And we will all tell our grandkids about that crazy, character-building time we were all quarantined. Everything is figureoutable.


Learn more

Hi there! Welcome to the Marc Deniele Photography blog, a journal about my clients, wedding and portrait tips, and more! Stay a while and say hello!

welome to my blog



Outfit inspiration, posing tips and engagement session insights — compiled in a short and sweet guide just for you.




Outfit inspiration, posing tips and engagement session insights — compiled in a short and sweet guide just for you.

Your Guide
To A Carefree Engagement Session

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