Wedding Planning Tips

Planning a Wedding in the era of COVID-19

There has been a lot of information in the media about weddings that have been affected by our current quarantine, stay at home orders, and social distancing to combat COVID-19/Coronavirus.  While there is still so much unknown about the path forward and what our future looks like, we all know that life is still happening.  People are falling in love, weddings are being planned, families are growing.  Good and wonderful things ARE happening, even in the middle of all this uncertainty.

Our time at home can be both a blessing and a curse.  We finally have time to tackle that list of projects (like planning a wedding) but aren’t sure how far in the future we can reasonably make plans, or what those plans might need to look like.

My forward to all of this is that it’s okay.  It’s okay to plan, and it’s okay to wait.  You need to do what works best for you and your family during this time.  For some of us, that’s keeping to a routine, keeping ourselves busy with projects that we can do from home, getting things done, trying new hobbies and recipes, and working to establish a new normal.  For others, it’s hunkering down and checking out.  Turning off social media and the news, napping a lot, binge watching tv or reading a mountain of books to check out of life.

Personally, I go back and forth between the extremes, sometimes during the same day.  If you ever had an Intro to Psych class or covered psychology basics during your time at school, you are probably familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  Well, we’re all near the bottom of that pyramid right now.  Thankfully, if you are reading this post, like me, your most basic needs are met.  You have the food you need, a safe home, and are in decent health.  You also likely have fear that those needs may not be met in the future (even if the concern is short term, like the ability to get the food you love or any cleaning products during this time).  Those fears affect your ability to function on higher levels, which is why you feel like you can’t find motivation or focus.  I call it Quarantine Brain.

All of that to say that if you don’t read anything else I write, or if any of it adds to your anxiety, just refer back to “it’s going to be okay.”

That being said, here are the things I’m starting to see, and my thoughts as a wedding vendor, on what we might be looking at.

2020 Weddings are Rescheduling to 2021

2020 was already a busy year for weddings.  A lot of couples really wanted that nice, round number for a wedding date.  MotionWorks was fully booked for the year, and many of our other wedding vendor friends were as well.  This means more weddings affected by the current stay at home and quarantine orders.

“Fully Booked” for us does not entail having a wedding every weekend, and it’s very rare that we ever accept back to back (Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun) bookings, which has left us plenty of availability to all of our couples hoping to reschedule.  This is not the case for many other vendors, especially venues.  Venues need to book weddings near to capacity during the busy season and are sometimes not able to offer other Saturday dates.  Now that all of the March and April (and for us, most of May) weddings have rescheduled, couples are considering weekday weddings, and some are pushing their weddings back to 2021 to be able to have the wedding they envisioned.

This means that 2021 will book up much quicker than expected.  If you are able, reserve at least your venue date ASAP, then move on to reserving the vendors you most want to work with.  Prioritize the things that really matter to you, and think about the rest later.

A New Normal for Weddings and Events

I love a small wedding.  I love a big wedding.  Most of all, I love working a wedding that is exactly what the couple has dreamed about.  This part is by far the hardest for me to write.  It’s a thought that has been crushing my heart for the past few weeks.  I cry just about every day thinking about it.  I know all my couples are thinking about it.  So I’m just going to say it.

Large events may not be possible for some time to come.  

I know.  It’s crushing.  Especially if you are planning a wedding, and the most important thing to you is being surrounded by your family and friends.

Big weddings take a lot of flack in the media.  They’re painted as extravagant, over the top affairs without meaning.  As someone who has worked weddings for almost a decade, from tiny weddings with a handful of people, to these large events with hundreds of guests…..I don’t see it that way at all.

Maybe we’re lucky in that our clients are choosy with their guests, even when that guest count is several hundred people.  When I’m working these big weddings, I don’t see a room of random people, just there to party and enjoy the food.  I see people celebrating love.  These guests are deeply invested in the couple that they are celebrating.  I’m a fly on the wall, and get the opportunity to see everyone come together and share stories about these two people growing up, meeting, and falling in love.

As our culture has evolved, weddings are a timeless holdover of a community coming together to celebrate love and life.

So that’s why it is so hard to consider that even once our stay at home orders have been lifted, large events may not be permitted for quite some time.  My incredibly introverted heart loves seeing people come together to celebrate.  I hope that I am wrong about this point, but I think it’s an important one to consider (one that many event experts are already making plans for).

Travel May be Affected

Like large gathers, travel is something that may be restricted for awhile.  Even if allowed, your friends and family may not be comfortable traveling, or may have pre-existing conditions that require them to continue to isolate longer than the rest of the population.

If you are in the early stages of planning and considering locations, this is something to think about.  A destination wedding might not be a good idea if you were planning a large number of guests, or those who might have a hard time traveling.

We already see a lot of local weddings for couples who grew up and have family here in WV, but no longer live here.  This will continue to be a good option: a young healthy couple who are able to travel, planning a wedding in a location where their grandparents and parents will not need to travel.

Wedding Video is More Important Than Ever

Your wedding will be amazing and memorable, regardless of any virus or the circumstances around it.  It will be an occasion that you want to preserve to rewatch for year to come.  Having a great video (and photos, happy to recommend some awesome photographer friends for your wedding) is the best way to do that.

Video is also a great way to share your wedding with loved ones who can’t be there in person.

If you’re anything like me, video has gotten you through this hard time.  From binge watching some amazing tv and movies, to video chats with friends, to Zoom meetings with our extended family and community groups….video has added connection and normalcy during a time of isolation.

Personally, I’ve hugely enjoyed seeings videos from our couples; both the videos we created at their wedding, and the ones they are creating on their own, at home.  It brings me a huge amount of joy to hear that couples are re-watching their wedding films.  Those films are a great reminder that life is good, love conquers everything, and the world is beautiful.

At MotionWorks, we’re doing our part to help couples share their wedding, just as soon as it’s safe for weddings to happen again.  We’re expediting the ceremony edits that all of our couples receive so that those can be shared within a week of the wedding, and have begun offering streaming services whenever possible.  We also have an elopement package available for local weddings with small guest counts.   We are working with all of our current couples and reserving back up dates for their 2020 weddings, but are accepting bookings on non-reserved dates for couples who now need to add a video to their wedding plans.

We are also currently booking 2021 dates, and have begun offering gift cards for those of you who have family that would like to contribute toward covering the cost of your wedding video.  Contact us today for more information about booking a wedding film with MotionWorks!

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