Let’s face it 2020 has been an unprecedented year worldwide and it’s forcing us to really think about who we are and what we stand for.
In the midst of all the turmoil, people are trying to continue their lives and celebrate important milestones. Events, including weddings, have taken a massive hit. It’s tough out there folks. That said, I’m not a negative person and I see 2020 as an opportunity to rethink a few things – including weddings. The fact is, for the time being, we are going to have to celebrate weddings in a different way because the government mandates it.
This past week I’ve been in touch with all the couples who have booked their wedding ceremony with me in the first half of 2021. This has been an opportunity to check in on where they are and their plans. We’ve all learnt that we need to be flexible and have alternative plans at the moment!
Having already postponed their wedding in 2020, most couples are reluctant to do so for a 2nd, 3rd or 4th time. The pandemic has shown that we need to ‘grab life by the horns’ and get on with living life to the full! Just about every couple I’ve spoken with has made the decision to go ahead with their 2020 date with however many people they’re allowed at that point and then have a big knees up at another time. Life is too short – love goes on and love is celebrated in all sorts of ways – large or small.
As many turn their attention to potentially planning a smaller, more intimate celebration, I thought it would be helpful to outline how I’ve responded to some of the key questions I’ve been asked. Note – these are merely ideas of how you might handle things – not definitive.
1. Our Save the Date cards/invitations have already gone out but now we’re faced with having to un-invite people! How do we decide who to un-invite and how do we tell them without upsetting anyone?
Deciding who to cut from your guest list and then making the inevitable phone call to tell them is such a touchy subject! I’m sure that you – the couple – will feel worse than the guests. The thing is, given what’s happened this year, I don’t think anyone will be too upset. In fact, those that really love and support you will understand. The guest list and numbers can often be a contentious issue, especially where +1’s and distant friends of family etc are involved. Could downsizing be an opportunity for you to rethink who you really want at your wedding and do things a little differently?
There are lots of ways involve your guests – whether with you in person or not – in your day. I’ll cover this later.
2. How do we go about live-streaming our wedding online for those who cannot be there?
Right now, technology is your friend! It is possible to broadcast your wedding online live so guests can join you ‘remotely.’ Before you do anything, check with your venue to ensure there is adequate wifi coverage or that you can get a reliable 4G signal from your phone.
There are a couple of ways you can broadcast your wedding online so that all your ‘remote’ guests can join you – it comes down to how much money you want to spend. In the wake of the pandemic there are now a number of companies offering services to record and livestream your wedding online.
Option 1 – Set up your own Zoom or Livestream account for free or relatively little cost. I would advise that you ask one of your guests who will be there in person to film the wedding from a phone the is Zoom compatible and then you just make sure your remote guests are online at the right time to watch the ceremony unfold.
Option 2 – I was recently introduced to Ryan and Jennifer – the fabulous husband and wife team behind Love Stream. These two have created a beautiful service to enable your guests to join you virtually through a gorgeous website that makes you feel a part of the experience. I’ll be profiling their service in more detail at a future date.
3. How can we involve our friends and family who can’t be there one the day?
Even though you may have some guests unable to be there in person on your wedding day, there are still lots of ways to include them. As a celebrant, I love creating ceremonies that include guests in creating a circle of love and support. Including symbolic elements that speak to this have the power to turn a ‘run of the mill’ ceremony into something unique.
Here’s just one of many ways you can include your nearest and dearest. Have guests submit their Recipe for Marriage to your celebrant in advance of the day and these can be read out at your ceremony as a surprise for you on the day! You can then put these together afterwards into your own Marriage Recipe book – or I can do that for you and present it to you on the day!
4. Are there any areas of the wedding we shouldn’t scrimp on?
These are just my thoughts and I’m sure there are many other ideas. I love love love good photographs and video because these two mediums are the best way to visually record your day. Make sure you invest in a fantastic photographer and videographer for the day.
Again, this is entirely personal, but if I was rethinking my wedding, I would make sure I go all out on the flowers and candlelight! Everyone has their own taste regarding flowers and lighting. As you’ll see from my branding – dark purple is a favourite coupled with natural greens and rich creams!
Receptions have to be done a little differently at the moment with a sit-down meal. Here’s where you can really create something memorable. I would think that your caterer would be open to trying new things, offering something a little special and ensuring that you have a meal which surprises and delights each and every guest.
My brother is a brilliant professional chef and I asked him what he’d do for a special meal. He suggested offering a Michelin-style multiple course tasting experience where the food celebrates love. Such a unique experience creates memories that will last a lifetime!
5. There are days when my heart just isn’t in planning a wedding anymore. How do we keep going?
Remember it’s all about you! All the wedding bells and whistles are lovely but in the end it’s about the love you share. It’s okay to have down days. Just know that the current situation is temporary. It will get better. Most of all – love hasn’t gone anywhere. Take some time out, reconnect with each other and remember what brought you to this point. And if you decide that you just want to get away from it all and elope….do it…and take your celebrant with you! 😉
A wedding doesn’t have to be prescriptive. You can do whatever you want to celebrate YOU! Could celebrating your wedding in a different way be the fuel to relight your fire!
I hope these ideas will give you some food for thought. I have lots more ideas so if you’re stumped and want to have a chat – give me a call!
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