As we enter our third lockdown, I’m honestly in disbelief that we’re still dealing with the pandemic. My heart hurts for so many people. Couples, small business owners, front line workers, parents, children. The list goes on.
We’ve all been affected so so much by the pandemic. And, for the most part, I haven’t really acknowledged it on the blog or on social media. Mostly because I can’t find the words to express how I’m feeling. Whenever I sit down to write something about the pandemic, whatever I say never feels right. So I just don’t say anything.
But today, I want to talk about the pandemic.
I know that so many of you, especially couples, are struggling. Whether you’re a 2020 couple who has already had to postpone your dream day once (or more). Or you’re a 2021 couple, constantly watching for any developments and struggling with the decision of whether to go ahead with your big day or wait until next year. Or you’re a 2022 couple, not even sure if it’s worth starting to plan your wedding because of the uncertainty of everything, this post is for you!
Recently, I sat down with Georgia of State and Co. and asked her some questions I thought might be helpful to couples planning their weddings. Here is our conversation!
First, tell me a bit about yourself! How did you get started in wedding planning?
I’m Georgia Kaustinen, Owner & Lead Planner of State & Co. Events in Thunder Bay.
I’ve been in love with weddings for as long as I can remember. I grew up surrounded by party supplies, balloons, costumes, weddings, and flowers because my mom owned Helium Highs.
My education in the wedding industry began in Toronto at George Brown College where I graduated from the Special Events Planning program and apprenticed with wedding planner Melissa Andre.
For me, wedding planning is the definition of “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”.
What was your experience like last year working with your couples and the restrictions?
The 2020 wedding season was an experience no one could have planned for.
As a wedding planner, I always consider the worst-case scenarios and risk management for my clients.
Usually, this means preparing a rain plan, but the pandemic impacted weddings completely. I felt it was important to support my clients however possible.
The restrictions on events were constantly being updated to reflect public health measures, and I helped my clients understand how that would impact their wedding plans personally.
Every couple is different; some chose to postpone their wedding and others moved forward with the best possible celebration given the circumstances. Last season, I planned celebrations with guest counts as low as 14 guests, and some as high as 100 guests.
What should a couple do if they’re considering postponing their wedding because of the pandemic?
The 2021 wedding season will possibly have some restrictions in place, especially for Spring and Summer weddings.
If you are considering postponing your wedding to 2022, first review your vendor contracts and determine whether you will lose deposits by postponing and find out how much notice is required for a postponement decision.
If your vendors will allow you to tentatively hold a 2022 wedding date and delay your decision, it’s important to take that step as soon as possible.
The most challenging aspect of postponing your wedding is finding a postponement date where all your current vendors are available.
What should a couple do if they’re waiting to decide?
If you are waiting to decide whether or not to postpone your wedding, set a decision deadline and, although it may be difficult, allow yourself to let go of any stress until that deadline approaches.
When it’s time to make your decision, weigh all the information and make a personal evaluation with your partner.
What are some good ways to include guests who can’t physically be at your wedding?
For friends and family who aren’t able to travel or attend due to guest count restrictions, a Zoom link for the ceremony is the perfect way to include them.
For one couple, we set up an iPhone & tripod at a place setting for the bride’s brother who wasn’t able to travel. I loved that solution because the seat at the table represented his presence at their wedding reception.
He was able to be a part of their wedding day and listened to speeches and special moments live using technology.
After you’re married, I recommend sharing a wedding announcement & photo to inform guests of your marriage and let them know they were missed.
What is the plus side of having a smaller wedding from a planner’s perspective?
A smaller wedding is more intimate and often less stressful. I’ve found that couples are able to be more present for the wedding experience.
By hosting fewer guests, couples can have one-on-one interactions with all those present. Being able to gather in small groups is such a meaningful experience especially in light of the pandemic.
As a planner and wedding designer, smaller guest counts allow for a greater budget to be spent on décor, flowers, wedding favours, and other design details.
If your original wedding plan had a flower budget for 30 tables, you might now be able to budget for the Pinterest-worthy flower arrangement since you’ll have fewer tables.
Also consider renting specialty chairs, gold flatware, charger plates, and other décor items to elevate your table design.
What advice would you give to couples who are just starting to plan their wedding for 2022?
Have fun with the planning process & enjoy the feeling of being engaged!
The 2022 wedding season is likely to be busier than usual due to postponements. Once you’re ready to start planning and have a wedding date in mind, reach out to venues and vendors as soon as possible for availability.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, contact a wedding planner for a consultation. Most importantly, try not to stress; your day will come together one step at a time!
Lastly, what advice would you give couples dealing with the uncertainty of their wedding and restrictions?
I’d start by saying it’s so unfortunate that you are experiencing your wedding planning under these circumstances.
My advice is to sit down with your partner and decide what is most important to you about your wedding day. If you can’t imagine sacrificing any aspects of your ideal wedding plans due to possible restrictions, a postponement is likely the best decision for you.
If you’re determined to move forward with your wedding date, remember that your wedding will be an unforgettable, perfect day no matter what restrictions might be in place.
A huge thank you to Georgia for sharing her thoughts and experiences. This can be such a difficult time and I think I speak for all of the amazing wedding pros in Thunder Bay when I say that we’re all here for you.
Any questions you have please feel free to reach out to me or any of the other amazing wedding professionals. I’ll admit I’m still constantly trying to navigate the ever-changing landscape during the pandemic but I’m happy to help in any way that I can.
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