Hey there, friends. As quarantine goes on, and the situation with COVID-19 changes week by week, I thought I’d give some information that might be helpful for my clients, and any couples who are planning a wedding for 2020. These are suggestions from the view of your wedding photographer and other vendors, and as always, if you have questions or concerns, definitely reach out to us.
I’m breaking this up into two parts. Practical wedding advice, and practical HUMAN advice. Because let’s face it, you might be a tad stressed when thinking of planning in the midst of all that’s going on. And if you’re not planning, just in general. You better treat yo self!!!
disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, and any information in this blog post should not be misconstrued as medical or legal advice.
1. Start by discussing a backup plan with your vendors. Have a backup date ASAP.
State guidelines and CDC guidelines can change. It’s important to get a conversation going with your vendors on a backup date if necessary. The vendors you should check in with first are:
Photographer / Videographer
Your venue might be free, but your photographer may not. Or vice/versa. It’s important to discuss your plans with your vendors as a team, if possible, loop them all in by CCing them, so they can all coordinate with you. As wedding vendors, our priority is helping you, and we enjoy working with other vendors to make sure you’re taken care of. Fall is a very, very busy time for the wedding industry, and especially now with an influx of reschedules, it will be important to lock down a backup date sooner rather than later.
FOR MY CLIENTS: If you’re considering rescheduling your date, please double check this calendar for dates I’m still available, to cross reference with your other vendors you might need to contact. You can view this calendar as month or year to see which dates I’m still free for.
2. If rescheduling, consider a weekday.
If you need to reschedule and your dream vendor team aren’t available, consider a weekday wedding instead. Not only is this considerably cheaper (depending on your venue, of course), it’s highly likely that most, if not all of your vendors have availability. Again, always check in with your vendor team for their availability.
3. Consider downsizing.
If your wedding is scheduled within the next 6 months, consider downsizing. Since I operate out of Oklahoma City, I am adhering to OKC’s guidelines, and currently, there is a “shelter-in-place” order until April 30. This means I am not leaving my home except for allowed activities. i.e, I’m not photographing. Oklahoma State and the CDC until further notice are NOT recommending any gatherings, and if you must, gather with no more than 10 people. Even after our April 30 deadline, it is strongly discouraged to have any gatherings with any more than 10 people until the fall time. As I mentioned, this situation changes from week to week, but May, June July, August weddings might consider a smaller wedding day celebration. If having a large party is important, consider a larger reception later in the year, or even in 2021. The health and safety of your family is important, and we definitely want to party with everyone safely!
4. If you can’t wait to get married, consider eloping.
Eloping with just you and your partner can be really fun and really relaxed, without having to worry about a guest count. As a photographer, I encourage more couples to consider eloping and having a special, intimate celebration together. Imagine saying your vows, popping champagne, and relaxing with your partner in a favorite place with no other things going on. It’s not for everyone, I know, but it’s my favorite suggestion to make for couples who just can’t wait to get married, and don’t mind foregoing a large gathering. You can always hold a reception later this year or in 2021. If you’re considering eloping, there will be no fee to change your date (as long as I’m available), and we’ll coordinate together to determine what type of coverage will better suit your new plans.
5. Hold off until 2021.
I know this one sounds tough, but if downsizing or eloping aren’t options for you, or if your venue or your dream team don’t have any availability this fall, consider waiting until 2021. If you’re imagining a large gathering with all your plans unchanged — this is going to be your best option. Weddings in 2020 are going to be different for sure. There’s no getting around it. If you aren’t willing to budge on the plans you’ve dreamed up, I strongly recommend waiting until 2021. Currently, I’m booking 2021 weddings, and I imagine your venue + other vendors have much more availability then as well.
8 ways to connect, relax, and have fun with your partner during quarantine
If you’re under quarantine with your honey, this is a great time to spend more time on the non-planning side of things. As a couples photographer, connection, comfort and fun are most important during a session, so why not try some things to bring that out while you’re at home? This might also get you pumped up for your engagement session with me (after we’re un-quarantined, of course!)
1. Date Night In
Make a night for just the two of you. Order in your favorite dish. Treat yo self. You might be surprised at how long it’s been since you had a meal together without other distractions: TV, phones, etc. Enjoy a meal together with your TV off and your phones AWAY in another room. Since we’re stuck at home, and not much goes on during the day, chat about something that made you happy today, or ask how your partner is doing. When is the last time you looked your partner in the eye and asked how they were feeling? Use this time to connect and talk, distraction-free. You might be surprised how fast time flies without phones.
2. Cook something together
If your house is anything like mine, one person is cooking and the other is working/cleaning/doing other things elsewhere. A few times this last month, my husband and I have cooked up a meal from scratch together, and it’s been a real joy. We chat, dance in our kitchen, consume the wine we’re supposed to be using for cooking — it’s fun. And it allows us to make really gourmet meals we wouldn’t otherwise make.
3. Make a playlist with songs that remind you of your partner.
Since we can’t make mix CDs anymore — darn — sit down and think of songs that remind you of your partner. Some of mine include Heavy Metal Drummer by Wilco, Ms. Fat Booty by Mos Def, I could Die for You by Red Hot Chili Peppers, just to name a few. Not only is this pretty endearing, but it might be interesting for your partner to hear what songs remind you of them and see their reactions to them. For me, specific songs bring up fun memories with my husband, and music is a pretty big part of our lives. Give it a try! It might even lead to a great wedding day playlist for the two of you.
4. Chat about ideas for your engagement session, and check out a few of my engagement session blog posts for inspiration.
Okay, so this is a bit of a plug for my work — BUT, like I mention in my planning guidebook, it can be super helpful for you BOTH to look at engagement sessions to gauge what it might be like. Take this extra time to chat about locations that are significant for you both — maybe the place you met, the place your proposal took place, or just a place you’ve both enjoyed visiting together throughout your relationship. Nothing is really off limits here, from breweries, to bowling alleys, to hiking trails, to coffee shops or even fast food joints. Getting on the same page for your upcoming session will not only ensure you’re both comfortable, but will get you excited about hanging out outside together again!
5. Camp indoors. Or your backyard!!
If you’re anything like my husband and I, we super love camping and being outdoors. Make a fort in your living room and melt s’mores in the microwave. Sleep in the living room if you can’t camp outside! If you can go outside, pitch your tent (wink wink, my couples) in the backyard and go all in. If you have a fire pit, make use of it. If you’ve got a grill, cook dinner outside and make like your house doesn’t exist. Sleep outside for a change! (when it’s warm, of course. Oklahoma has a habit of RAPID fluctuation.)
6. Practice your dancing
If you plan on having a first dance together at your wedding, now is probably the best time ever to get your practice in. My husband and I are both great dancers — by ourselves — but the first time we danced together I felt like I had two left feet. He is really good at classic, organized dancing — think box step — I’m more of a move my entire body to the music and my feet do whatever they want type dancer. So dancing together took a ton of practice on my end. Plus it’s fun just to be close and to laugh together. Soon enough you’ll be wowing your guests with your quarantine-learned dancing skills.
7. Movie night / sleepover
So I’m dying to do something like this. Remember when you were younger and a sleepover consisted of every possible junk food imaginable? On your next grocery run, get some TRUE nostalgia snacks. (but limit yourself, here!!!) This is also a funny way to get some perspective on your partner’s likes, dislikes, and fond childhood memories. As an example, I had no idea that my husband absolutely hates chocolate covered raisins, whereas I love them and always ate them growing up. They are the perfect movie food to me. And as for Lil’ Debbie Honeybuns, he loved those as a kid and I was more of a Hostess Ding Dong gal. Anyways, it’ll be fun to get cozy, make some popcorn, get in your jammies, get your nostalgic snackies, and watch a nostalgic movie. Crossroads starring Britney Spears, anyone?! Snarky movie commentary optional.
8. This one came directly from my husband.
”Party pizzas and load up Law and Order: SVU.” Sounds like a date, my friend.
Any of these wedding tips helpful? Did you try any of these connection activities out? Or do you have any suggestions on other bonding activities for yourselves? Let me know below!
Thanks for reading,