Wedding Planning + COVID

hello friends!

Welcome to the Hello Clutter blog! My goal with this blog is to be real about life, clutter, and organizing. Real life for me right now looks like planning a wedding during an unprecedented time. This post is to reflect my experience planning a wedding during a global pandemic (never imagined I would write that sentence). I hope my words can give some insight to our situation, provide some comfort to those who are struggling with the same thing, and a personal bonus of decluttering my brain by getting my thoughts written out in front of me!

When Michael and I got engaged last year, I never imagined a global pandemic could prevent us from getting married on our wedding day. Michael proposed on March 2nd, 2019. Immediately after our beautiful engagement (please allow me to humble brag for a second and direct y’all to go watch the ADORABLE video this man put together to ask me to marry’d I get so lucky?!), I jumped head-first into wedding planning. Ah, I forgot to introduce myself and say hi, I’m Sarah and I’m super duper Type A, control freak, want to have the rest of my life planned out ASAP (God giggles at me frequently and always keeps me on my toes). We had scheduled our date for October 3rd, 2020 (because 10-10-2020 was already taken at our venue, ugh the symmetry of that date makes the previous math teacher in me do a little happy dance, but I’m obviously super over it..) and everything was going to be PERFECT. Before we knew it, we were working from home, social distancing, and wearing masks everywhere we went.

I was convinced at the beginning of the COVID outbreak in the US that by the time October rolled around we would be completely fine and all back to our “regular” lives. People were going to be smart and stay home, social distance, wear masks, not touch their faces anymore (hands up if you’re like me and still struggle with this one), and COVID would be a thing of the past before we knew it. Fast forward to what feels like 581 months of quarantine: we are still not out of the woods yet. COVID-19 is real, and people are nervous about being able to gather in groups. Weddings are for friends and family to gather together, and during COVID it’s tough to make a call on what is or isn’t a good idea. So many couples have postponed their weddings, or decided to forgo one and just elope together. It’s incredibly frustrating to not have a plan, and to continue to play the waiting game until Fall, so I definitely understand why people have chosen those options!

Michael and I still have a lot of decisions to make, and we are not smooth sailing into our day yet. Please note that so far what we have decided on works for us, and nothing is set in stone. Every couple is different, every family is different, every location is different, and there are so many factors that go into a wedding day. We’re taking it day by day, update by update, and being as smart and rational as we can be! It’s also not easy to make light of such a serious situation, but my favorite part about wedding planning through this season is that love conquers all. No matter what our wedding day looks like, I get to marry the love of my life. How freaking amazing is that. We all need more good news and some positivity!

Please see below (hehe this feels so “per my last email”) some questions that have been coming our way and most couples are being asked. A kind note to anyone invited to a wedding this year: please be patient. I understand that while you have a lot of questions so you can determine if you’d be going to someone’s wedding or not this year, the bride and groom have the same questions and are doing their best to figure things out. When they know something, they will update you! While I am fine to answer questions (most of the time) and am keeping a positive outlook, these questions can be triggering and emotional for couples to deal with. If a couple comes to you about it, great - engage in that conversation and offer your support. If not, hang tight for that update! Stay positive, stay kind, and remember that love is the most important thing!

So are you postponing your wedding? 

Nope! We’re getting married on October 3rd, 2020. No. Matter. What. We knew this was going to be our game plan from the beginning. We are so ready to be married, and have waited long enough to be husband and wife. COVID can’t stop us from that! 

Well what will your wedding day look like now? 

I don’t know yet! Weeee welcome to the waiting game. God really does try to teach us to be patient (He knows I need it). Fun fact (at least in NC): wedding ceremonies during COVID are considered religious services so you technically can have a wedding ceremony as large as you want. Obviously, common sense + venues would say otherwise. No venue wants a COVID-19 breakout headline because they let someone hold a ceremony of 200 people. So, we spoke with ours and learned that currently if Phase 2 were to extend to October, we would be given 90 minutes to hold a ceremony of 30 people. Thankfully 30 people in our case is exactly our immediate family and our wonderful wedding party. Our hope will be that if 30 people is going to be the absolute maximum number of people we can have at our ceremony safely, we will find a way to live stream or share with the rest of our friends and family!

Will you still have a reception? Or postpone for one in 2021?

Maybe, maybe not. This is the tough one to let go for me. Unfortunately in NC Phase 2, a reception at our venue would be out of the question. I know a lot of other couples are already planning to push to 2021, and we still might if we can’t have one on our original date. However, this wouldn’t be a top priority for us. Once we’re married, will I care about a big party? Hear me out..our friends and family are beyond generous with the love and support they have given us, and a reception is a way to thank them for their support as Michael and I come together as one. I’m going to talk about the thing that makes people uncomfortable, but for a wedding it’s our reality. Money. Weddings are crazy expensive and for us financially, we’re not sure if keeping so much money tied up in deposits for possibly another year makes sense for us or not. Right now we can’t afford a honeymoon, so would saving this money mean we could travel the world together and build a stronger bond as a couple? (Safely, after COVID of course!).

Don’t you want a reception?

OF COURSE! When Michael first brought up the idea about maybe not holding a reception, I have to admit I ugly cried. I had not spent months planning this shin-dig just to throw my hands up and say “oh well”. I’m only getting married once, and breaking it down to early 2000s hip hop surrounded by my people with a margarita in hand is what dreams are made of. But, if not having a reception now means that we all stay safe, it’s something we’re realistically having to consider. We’re not sure what the best fit for us is going to be yet, but thankfully we still have time, and always have the rest of our lives for a party!

When will you have a decision?

I would love to know! If you can see into the future, please hook your girl up! We are staying close to all updates that the NC Governor is sending out about COVID, and what our venue is allowing with each phase to come. As soon as we know, our invitees will know!

Do you expect everyone that is invited to come? Will it hurt your feelings?

We don’t! We understand that this is a personal choice if someone feels comfortable to travel, and then be around a group of people (size TBD). We will be doing our very best to set up so people can distance where appropriate, have masks, lots of hand sanitizer, and anything we can do to make people feel safe. Still, if anyone doesn’t feel comfortable we completely understand, just as we hope if our guest list has to decrease, our friends will understand it’s not personal and only due to restrictions we are under! Still, don’t forget to RSVP ;)

How will you be letting people know?

Wedding websites and possibly mail cards as well! We have been using Zola for our wedding website, invites, planning, the works! They have banner options for your website that you can add to the top (pictured above!), with a few different options (on schedule, postponing, canceled, etc.). Zola also has a FAQ section for your website. We already had this up for ours before, but now have a place we can put more detailed COVID information as needed! Zola also provided “Change the Date” cards (pictured below!) that we were able to receive for free when we purchased our invites. I got these back when we were leaning more towards rescheduling our reception, so I don't know if we’ll need to send these out until we have a decision on that, but as a planner I loveeeee to have my options! We also could get others printed with our final decision in the future!

Stay positive, stay kind, stay patient, and spread love (not germs).

Engagement photos from the wonderful Sarah Reaves Photography

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