It’s 2021 everyone! For those of you who booked a wedding in 2020, then put a pause on things as Covid played out, the time has come for you to start making some decisions.
So what are the top three things you need to consider when planning for your 2021 wedding, amidst a never-ending pandemic and unclear guidelines as to what could or could not be allowed on your date? Here are the big three!
Vendor communication is critical
Remember that all your vendors are going through this right alongside you. Odds are that we’re already aware of everything that you may be weighing and thinking about related to your wedding this year, and we want to be a resource. Please use to talk through what your day could potentially look like, what changes might need to be made, and precautions we are taking to keep everyone safe.
If you are at all considering changing your date, reaching out to make your vendors aware of this as soon as possible is crucial. Our industry has been flipped upside down for the past 11 months, with even more moving pieces than normal, so the best thing that can get us all through this is clear and regular communication with our clients. We want to do everything we can to still try to make this as smooth of as possible for you.
That being said, do not expect date changes to be as easy in 2021 as they were in 2020. In 2020 no one had any idea what we were getting into and what to expect. But now, nearly a year later, Covid and the policies around it are no longer a surprise. In order to keep their doors open both to you and their other clients, vendors are more often finding themselves in the tough situation of needing to fall back on their contracts. We are seeing stricter enforcement on date change and cancellation policies and believe we will continue to do so as this year goes on.
Think about what your covid-friendly wedding looks like
We all hope that things will be “back to normal” by the time your wedding date comes. However, depending on how local ordinances are being handled in your venue’s location, there is still a great deal of uncertainty of when that will happen.
For this reason, we recommend that you plan ahead and already start thinking about what your wedding would like with covid policies in place. Can your venue accommodate a socially distanced setup? Can your photographer find a system to work in a few safe, non-masked, photos? Are there decor or experience elements that can be creatively adjusted? Can you save money anywhere?
If you haven’t figured it out yet, you’re always going to hear from us that planning ahead is crucial to a great experience. This year, we believe you will have a better experience if you plan for a covid-friendly wedding (even just in the back of your mind) with the potential to be pleasantly surprised than to plan for no restrictions and have to begrudgingly change things at the last minute. If this is still all a big fat no though, see the section above about vendor communication.
Manage guest expectations and communication
Probably the biggest headache though is thinking through your guest list. It’s hard to know what everyone’s various comfort levels could be, not to mention who would make the cut on your ABCD list. When should be your final deadline to send invitations, and what if restrictions change just weeks or even days before your date?
If you haven’t gotten on board the wedding website train yet, there’s no time like the present! Let your guests know that is where all the most up to date information will be and save yourself from responding to the calls, emails, and texts. In addition to basic information, your website should include a list of what safety precautions will be in place, as well as any expectations you have of your guests who attend. If they will be required to wear a mask it will be much easier on everyone if that is known ahead of time, instead of a potential day of surprise. Spelling this all out also aids your guest in making their own decisions if they feel safe attending or not.
And on that note, be understanding of those who decide not to attend because they do not feel safe. We are all human, and it can hurt a lol to have someone close to you miss your wedding. But it can hurt even more to permanently damage a relationship over it, and sadly we’ve already seen this happen a few times now. There are any options today for hybrid events, virtual events, and postponed celebrations that the “all or nothing” approach is a thing of the past.
Anything else we missed that should be considered? Drop a line below to let us know!
Chief Strategist and Creative Director of HUE by Sarah Davidson, Sarah is a sought after event industry consultant, planner, and strategist based in Madison, WI. Follow her work on Instagram at @huebysd.