How to Start Wedding Planning During a Pandemic
If you’ve recently got engaged, you’ll want to know where to start your planning and whether COVID will have any impact on the planning process. The good news is, with restrictions lifting across the country things have gotten a lot easier logistically for couples.
If you’re only just starting to plan, the only impact the current pandemic is likely to have is that more of your initial planning will be online and that there will be almost double the number of weddings taking place in 2021 and 2022. So, it’s important to be organised and secure the key elements early – especially the venue and photographer.
Here we look at all the key points you should be considering.
From the experts
There are just under 280,000 weddings in the UK most years but we’ll need to find capacity for an extra 200,000 weddings between Autumn 2021 to Spring 2023. Those booking in early 2021 may still be able to secure key dates before the final round of postponements take place.Alison Hargreaves, Wedding industry expert and Guides for Brides CEO
1) Find your wedding venue
In order to secure your wedding date, you’ll first need to find the perfect venue. Where COVID restrictions are in place, it will be a little more difficult to travel to venues and view them, especially if that venue is overseas. However, there are options in place.
- Finding your venue starts with online research and you’ll be pleased to hear that’s totally unaffected by COVID! Use our venue finder to find venues that are of interest to you and shortlist them with the heart icon.
- Send a message via Guides for Brides while their offices may be closed. This gets you to the front of the queue to check date availability, or for a showround as soon as they are open. Quick Tip: A lot of venues prioritise Guides for Brides enquiries as they tend to come from more informed couples who know what they are looking for.
- If you have a few favourites, you may want to find out more by setting up a video call with their wedding coordinator or a virtual venue tour, both of which are possible regardless of COVID restrictions.
- Finally, try to only visit your favourite venue, the one you are planning to book. Read our guide to safely viewing a venue during Coronavirus.
- While in a lockdown, your venue may not be able to open for viewings and you should not travel unless for essential purposes. If this affects you, most venues will hold a date for you for a small deposit so you don’t have to worry about missing out before making your final decision. Just ask them about your options.
2) Book your key wedding suppliers
Like venues, your on-the-day wedding suppliers may have limited availability due to postponements from 2020 and early 2021. So, it is really important to secure your key suppliers as soon as you can. Here’s how to approach this:
- Create a wish list of suppliers you ideally want or need for your big day. From this list, identify which suppliers are most important to you and which will likely only do one wedding a day, such as photographers, videographers, makeup artists, transport, and planners. These should be the first that you find and shortlist.
- Contact them via Guides for Brides so your enquiry is saved in your planner, they have your details on file and they know you are a serious enquiry.
- You may want to meet key suppliers in person, so if that isn’t possible due to regional restrictions, set up a video call instead. They won’t find it an unusual request and developing a personal relationship before the wedding day will be as important to them as it is to you.
- When you are ready to book, confirm with a deposit.
3) Wedding insurance?
At the point of making your first booking, we would usually recommend getting wedding insurance. However, at this time this is quite difficult. While there are some insurers who are providing cover, there isn’t a huge variety and none of them are covering COVID-related cancellations or postponements in their policies.
As a result, venues and suppliers are working with couples to give them the assurances they need for the early planning stages, as insurance can be arranged at a later date. For deposits and payments over £100, pay by credit card if you can to give some level of protection under Section 47.
If you are planning a wedding for the first half of 2021, look out for the pink dash denoting the Book with Confidence guarantee, just in case you need to move the date.
4) Find your wedding dress or suits
Your outfits will be one of the biggest elements of your wedding day and with restrictions in place, you will likely need to be more organised than usual to ensure your outfits arrive in time.
Most brides shop for their wedding dress 6 – 9 months prior to the wedding, but with longer lead times due to a combined combination of COVID and Brexit and local restrictions causing non-essential retail to close, we recommend starting this search as soon as you can. Menswear has shorter lead times unless it is being made to order.
Here’s how to approach wedding dress and suit shopping during Covid:
- Start your search online. Find brands, designers, and styles you love and create a shortlist. Our Essential Guide to Bridal Wear and our Ultimate Guide to Menswear are the perfect places to start.
- Then, find a bridal store or menswear shop that stocks these styles. Contact them via Guides for Brides using the “Request an Appointment” button to suggest a date and time that suits you.
- Before you visit, let the stylist know of your preferences, especially if there is a particular gown or suit you’d like to try on.
- Read our guide to wedding dress shopping during Covid before your appointment to know what to expect on the day.
- Attend your appointment with confidence, you’ll likely know what you are looking for and because of the preparation, it is also likely that you will find the right look for you!
- Your appointment gives you the opportunity to discuss outfits for your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Some boutiques and menswear shops offer an online measuring service that may be easier than getting a group together for a fitting.
5) Save the Dates and other Announcements
While you haven’t yet confirmed a venue or date, or don’t know how many people you will be able to invite to your wedding, you can use our wedding announcement pages to advise your friends and family of your plans so far. It can be an effective way to encourage them to keep possible dates free without you needing to make the commitment at this stage on who you are going to invite to the big day.
As your wedding day approaches, these pages also provide a great way of allowing open communication with your guests, keeping them informed about any changes to your plans, where they can find accommodation near your venue, and provide them a link to your online gift list.
6) Wedding Fairs
In the early stages of wedding planning, many couples like to browse wedding fairs to get to know suppliers and learn more about their chosen venue. During certain local restrictions, wedding fairs will not be able to go ahead. Many fair organisers are getting around this issue by organising virtual wedding fairs or taking part in our Wedding Fair Live events.
When they can go ahead, the experience will likely be very different. Read our guide to wedding fairs during coronavirus to ensure you know what you can expect and feel prepared.
Where can I find advice while I am planning?
This year, more than ever, it is important to use trusted suppliers from a trusted source. Guides for Brides have successfully matched several million couples with their venues and suppliers over the past 25 years and the evidence is there for all to see in the form of 1000s of reviews, almost all 5* (unlike some websites, we show all reviews, not just the good ones!).
Follow us on Facebook, Alison does weekly Live videos that will keep you up to date on any changes to weddings and wedding planning in the UK during the pandemic.
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