What a time to be alive! It’s still totally possible to get married right now, in the midst of a pandemic, but it’s important to think about safety of all involced.
To protect myself, my clients, and their guests, I have instituted the following COVID policies in my business:
1. I will be wearing a mask at your wedding, both outdoors and indoors. It has to be this way for the safety of everyone present. Please be patient with me as working in a mask is something I’m adjusting to, and it can sometimes be hard to hear me.
2. I cannot hug, shake hands, or otherwise touch anyone present. I know that stinks, but it’s important for me to keep my distance as much as possible. I am hugging you all in my heart! I am comfortable fixing trains, but ask that your friends or family fix your boutonniere, pin your veil, or move straps, etc. so I don’t get too close.
3. I’m currently not putting myself in the middle of crowded dance floors. I will photograph from the sides, and promise you won’t really notice too much of a difference.
4. Regarding group photos, I am currently unable to force anyone into a group photo together. I won’t be asking random groups of people to pose for photos and will only take them if they ask or I already see a group posing.
5. Please talk with your family and friends (particularly your wedding party) to gauage their comfort in posed photos. This is especially important for family formal photos. I do not know your family’s comfort level so you have to communicate that to me. Please let me know about the comfort level of the groups so that I can try to accomodate or make suggestions about possible alternative photo ideas. Note that photoshopping groups together or someone in a photo is not a part of our current contract and will incur additional editing costs. Thank you for your help and understanding.
6. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If your venue is telling you that you can have 150 people indoors while we’re in Phase 4 in Michigan (which is 10 people indoors gathering) because they’re onsidered a restaurant, changes are they are not being totally honest. I know it is hard to keep up with all of the legal changes regarding events, which is why I have been doing that for you. Please be sure that your event is following the current executive orders and guidelines to ensure the safety of all. Vendors that participate in unlawful gatherings can be fined up to $2,000, charged with misdeamonors, and have their business license revoked. I understand completely that you want to be married, and I want you to as well, but the law is the law.
You’ve spent many months (maybe years) planning your wedding. Every detail was perfect. You’ve invested thousands in your wedding photography experience. The day comes and goes, and you enjoyed every single moments. When you get your wedding photos back, what do you do with them? You look at them over and over again (maybe on a screen), change your profile photo every week, and post to Instagram for weeks. Any chance to show those lovely photos to the world, you’re on it. But after awhile, you go back to married life and move on. What should you do with your wedding photos? I want to share three simple ways to back up your images so you never lose them and can enjoy them for years to come.
The digital age is fantastic and has made sharing and storing images easier than ever. But we’ve all heard the horror stories: dropped hard drives. Fried computers. The blue screen of death. A house fire. All nightmares if you’re not backing up your images.
Backing up your images isn’t your wedding photographer’s job. Most photographers have clauses in their contract stating how long they backup images. And though many probably back them up much longer, do you really want to take a chance with all that’s left of the happiest day of your life? Probs not.
1. Download your images to an external hard drive.
One of the simplest things you can do to back up your images is to grab an external hard drive and download them all to it.
The more places your images live, the better! That’s called redundancy, meaning you have multiple copies of your images. If you download them to a USB and your laptop and an external, that’s three places. It’s not super likely that all three will malfunction at the same time.
I recommend using two external hard drives to backup your wedding images. Keep one at your house and one at someone else’s. Or if you want to be extra, keep one in a fireproof safe at your house (that’s where I keep memory cards while I’m editing!). It’s scary, but there’s always a possibility of a fire, and though you’d hope you’d grab your hard drive, maybe you won’t.
I think most external hard drives have similar ability to fail, as I’ve used almost every brand. But my recommendation is to get an SSD (solid state drive) which are much less likely to kick it. This one is super tiny and portable, or if you have more cash to spend, you can grab this fancy LaCie.
2. Use the cloud
Though it sounds super nebulous and weird, the cloud is another place you want to use to backup your wedding photos. Again, what if your house catches on fire or floods or there’s a tornado, etc. Events industry professionals are always looking for contingency plans and the cloud is a great one that’s affordable and worth the cost. Most cloud backup systems are automatic so that means you don’t have to think about it at all. Totally recommend setting up your entire laptop to backup (and those iPhone photos…you don’t want to lose those, right?).
It’s not okay to think of Facebook or Instagram as a cloud platform. Those websites reduce quality of your images. Have you ever tried to print a Facebook image? Yeah, it’s not great.
Here are some cloud backup recommendations:
1. iCloud (50GB for .99 a month) — I use this for my iPhone photos
2. Amazon Drive (up to 5 GB with Prime)
3. Backblaze ($6 a month or $60 for the year) — I use this for my business!
There is NO excuse not to protect your images (and all sort of personal files too). Storage is cheap! Fixing a hard drive is not.
3. Invest in an Album or Prints
If you’re my client, you’ve heard me say this a million times, but investing in an album is another great way to backup your images. It’s the most expensive thing on this list, but I truly believe that your photos were meant to live in print rather than on a screen. Technology is a beautiful thing, but sometimes getting back to basics is ideal. A wedding album doesn’t require the internet and it doesn’t corrupt or crash. It lives so long as you take care of it (and it’s not in a fire lol).
There is something special about flipping through a hard copy of your wedding memories. There’s no subscription required and an album is an heirloom you can pass down. Who knows if external hard drives will be a thing? I can already tell you that USB drives aren’t a thing anymore (looking at those new MacBooks).
If you were recently married and your package didn’t come with an album, I bet your photographer offers them! I sure do, and you’re always welcome to purchase one, even a year later.
Sometimes we promise ourselves that we’ll get around to creating our own album, but allowing a professional to just take the reins (and get better quality items than consumers can!) is sometimes the best way to go. An album is an expensive investment, but you want to make sure it’s a quality item that will last. This ain’t Shutterfly, y’all.
And, of course, if an album isn’t your thing, at least print your images and display them. I love looking at the images I’ve printed and displayed of our wedding throughout our home. It reminds me of what a great day that was and how much I love my husband.
It’s even nicer if you can purchase professional prints from your photographer. I guarantee they’re better than what you can get yourself – and they’ll always be proper colors. Printers do vary, believe it or not, and your photographer isn’t responsible for knowing them all honestly! That would be CRAZY TOWN. So trust your professional and if you’re ordering prints, try to get them from the professional! Plus, it’s always nice to support a small business when you can, right?
Final Thoughts on ways to back up your wedding images
There you have it: three ways to back up your wedding images! There’s never too much of a good thing, and this adage applies to backups. In summary:
1. Remember that redundancy is your friend. 2. Don’t wait to backup your images! Back them up as soon as you can! 3. Your photographer isn’t responsible for archiving your images forever. That is YOUR responsibility. 4. Invest in hard copies of your images if you can. They never go out of style.
With COVID-19 wrecking havoc on life as we know it, many weddings and events have been postponed. Despite the circumstances, many couples are deciding to get married now in intimate weddings, saving the big party for later in the name of safety. The question that continues to come up for those considering a smaller intimate wedding NOW is: how can I make my intimate wedding special? Below are six ways you can make a intimate wedding special in the age of COVID-19.
Throw out all the rules
First things first, there are NO rules when it comes to weddings right now, except legal rules. Yes, you need a marriage license and witnesses. Yes, you have to abide by whatever legal guidelines there are in your state/county. But etiquette rules are out the window at this point.
Large weddings aren’t bad, but sometimes they can become slightly impersonal as you go from hugging one guest to the next as quick as you can. Intimate weddings are usually more personal and thoughtful. Instead of pleasing many guests, you’re usually just planning to please yourselves, making more intentional decisions about the day.
You can make the intimate wedding whatever you want it to be. If that means just the two of you reading vows with your witnesses and officiant, that’s perfect. If it means having a legit ceremony in your backyard as your parents look on, that’s great too. You don’t have to do a unity ceremony; you don’t have to toss a bouquet. You can completely personalize your day to fit your relationship and make it an incredibly personal experience.
Wear Different Attire
Though you may want to wear your wedding dress twice (umm, who else gets to do that?), maybe you can’t get your dress altered in time or you just want to wear something more casual. Either is totally fine! But if you feel like you want the intimate wedding ceremony to look a little different from the big sha-bang next year (or whenever it’ll be), consider ordering a more casual gown from Modcloth, BHLDN, David’s Bridal, Nordstrom or Rent the Runway. Note: you don’t have to wear a white dress. You can wear WHATEVER you want!
For the gentlemen, you could opt for a more casual look, skipping the tux for a suit or just sticking to a vest. Even a nice dress shirt with a tie can go in a backyard. Remember, there aren’t any rules. If you want to wear a tux and can get one, wear it!
Broadcast your ceremony live
There are a few ways you can involve everyone in your ceremony. You can livestream the ceremony on something as simple as Zoom. You can also (if it’s possible), get married in a parking lot and have everyone in their cars watching. Kind of like a drive-in ceremony. This may sound cheesy, but getting creative with the circumstances can not only be fun, but goes back to being intentional about your day. Maybe you really wanted as many people there as possible. Having a drive-in ceremony is safe way to do it.
Make an intimate wedding special with 15 Toasts
At traditional Western weddings, toasts are usually relegated to the best man, maid of honor, and father of the bride. Though couples now decide to have more toasts or even forgo them, a way to make an intimate wedding particularly special is doing 15 Toasts, an activity developed by gathering specialist Priya Parker. The idea is to ask those gathered to share a story around a common theme (in this case you’d probably ask them to share a memory of the couple or about marriage/love), and then end their story in a toast. The great part about this activity, other than how personal and heartfelt it could turn out to be, is that it can be done virtually. I recently read a story about a couple that was married on their front porch and invited guests to participate in 15 Toasts via Zoom. How special would it be to hear from your nearest and dearest in such a personal way!
Cut the cake and dance (if you want)
Who says you can’t do things twice? If you want to commemorate your “official” wedding day, you can still cut a small cake and have a first dance. And there’s no problem with repeating these things again when you’re celebrating with everyone. Dancing in your living room, or in your backyard under the stars can be very special, even if it’s not in front of 200 guests. I’ve been married three years and every time Josh decides we need to dance in our living room, I get a little teary eyed. For me, it’s more special than the dance we shared while nearly 100 people were watching us, but we are both introverted.
Make the day an adventure about you
Who says a wedding has to happen in a certain order or at a certain time. When there aren’t strict timelines and places to be, you can make the day completely about what you want to do. This opens up a whole realm of possibility! You can visit your first date spot, have a picnic lunch on the lake, share a drink in front of the fire pit, whatever you want. Think about what the perfect day would look like (again, just the two of you) and do it. You’ll never forget it.
If you’re sad about what’s happening in the world and how it’s impacted your wedding day, that’s okay. You’re allowed to feel that. And if you’re making the decision to still honor that original date with an intimate wedding, that’s great! There are many ways you can make it feel special, even if it’s plan B. Letting go of what you think you HAVE to do to make something feel like a wedding is the first step to feeling completely free to celebrate your nuptials in however you choose. The beauty of this circumstance is that the rules are yours to break and to make.
There is a beauty to making a day that celebrates your commitment to each other completely about each other rather than about everything and everyone else. Once you embrace that, I doubt you’ll regret getting married now. The party will always be there and it’ll feel completely different with everyone else there to celebrate you. If anything you get to have two celebrations, which doesn’t often happen. There will always be a way to honor your love and commitment, no matter the time or place.
When someone says elopement, you may think of the courthouse, a whirlwind trip to Las Vegas, or maybe even a shotgun-type wedding scenario. Elopements have definitely changed over the last few years as couples have started to redefine what a wedding is and have weddings on their terms. This quick guide to eloping will explain what the heck an elopement is and what it could mean for your wedding day.
But first, what is an elopement?
Let’s be clear: an elopement does not mean a hasty, last minute decision a la Britney Spears 2008 style. This is not a secret (though it can be). An elopement is not necessarily at the courthouse.
The definition of an elopement has shifted towards a small wedding, usually at a destination of the couple’s choosing. Many couples do visit a destination to elope, but it’s not 100% necessary. You could technically elope in your backyard. The key aspect of the wedding that makes it an elopement is that it is SMALL and it’s a chance to start your marriage completely on your terms in a personal way.
What is an elopement? It’s small.
An elopement is probably under 20 guests. Many states (including Michigan) require two witnesses at every wedding, so often an elopement at the very least has the couple, two witnesses and an officiant. If you decide to elope in a state like Colorado, you are able to self-solemnize the marriage.
You can choose to have your immediate family there or just a small group of friends. The idea is to keep the day about YOU BOTH rather than an extensive guest list. No matter what type of wedding you plan, as a host, you’re always worried about making guests comfortable. Elopements eliminate that need.
It’s centered on the couple more than traditional weddings.
It is so freaking easy to get carried away when you plan a wedding. Your mother-in-law thinks you need to have huge centerpieces and your mom says it’s not a wedding without a bouquet toss. I get it — in many cases, weddings are an industry that thrives on production.
But eloping tones down that element of production, making the wedding day more personal and about what you want to do rather than what other people want you to do. It’s not wrong to want the traditional wedding day, but if you don’t want that, an elopement is a way to plan a more personalized wedding experience.
A caveat: this does not mean that an elopement doesn’t require planning. Remember, it’s not necessarily a last-minute decision thrown together by running to the courthouse (though that could be fun).
It’s about keeping the focus on getting married.
By keeping the guest list small and the celebration more limited, you keep the wedding about getting married rather than having a wedding. Let that sink in for a second. This is by no means saying that those planning a more traditional wedding are not excited to be married or don’t believe as deeply in marriage as those that elope. It just means that with an elopement, you’re able to keep your sights on what’s important to YOU and what you believe to be true about MARRIAGE. Start this new chapter on YOUR TERMS, not someone else’s.
What an elopement can look like
We have all seen the beautiful Instagram photos of elopements on the edge of mountain cliffs and on beaches overlooking the ocean. If you’re reading this, you’re most likely living in the Midwest, the area I primarily serve. Don’t be fooled by thinking you can ONLY elope in a destination wedding scenario. That’s simply not true.
Going back to what is an elopement, an elopement can be anywhere that is special to you. You could get married in a park. You could get married outside the place where you met. You could be married at your favorite hiking trail. You could have a backyard elopement. The sky is truly the limit here. The place you elope can be a place that matters to you, not a venue you’ve selected that fits everyone (though small dining rooms are commonly used for 20 person or less receptions or ceremonies).
Choosing a location is a tough decision for anyone planning a wedding. It’s the same for an elopement. But I think one of the best ways to think about it is to think of a place that is near and dear to your heart, that is meaningful to your relationship, and see if you can elope in that spot. You don’t necessarily have to have grand vistas or a beautiful sunset behind you. You can make the day more about what matters to you.
Should we elope?
This is a question I can’t answer for you, but the most common reasons for eloping are:
You hate being the center of attention. Hello this is what weddings are literally all about.
You don’t want to spend a ton of money on your wedding. Elopements generally cost a lot less than traditional weddings.
You just aren’t a fan of the big old traditional wedding experience and want to still have a special experience to commemorate your love and commitment to one another.
It’s not wrong to want a big traditional wedding. And it’s not wrong to want to elope either. Choosing what’s right for you is totally what you should be doing.
Side note – have your cake and eat it too: you can elope and have a big reception.
There are no hard and fast rules to weddings anymore. I’ve worked with many couples who have eloped and then had a reception with everyone later (this is increasingly common for destination couples who still want to celebrate at home), or couples who were married in an intimate ceremony with immediate family and then celebrated with a backyard barbecue with friends. You can do whatever you want to do. The beauty of it being your celebration is that you get to choose.
Overall advice: make it about you. The day isn’t in a box.
You don’t have to plan this grand adventure elopement to make the wedding day about you. There are so many ways you can celebrate your love.
Remember, the day is no longer in a box. There are no rules except for signing the license. You can do WHATEVER YOU WANT.
That means spending the day like your first date or stopping by all of your favorite spots in the city for photos or having a toast at a bar or eating ice cream as the sun goes down. This day is about you, what you want, and no longer has to be about what a wedding “should look like.” It’s about what you want it to look like.
Intimate weddings and elopements in Metro Detroit:
Getting married? These top Detroit engagement session locations are perfect for photos that announce the big day. With the renaissance of the city, Detroit has become a popular spot for an engagement session. With a sprawling city like Detroit, there are so many places you could visit. Here’s my top Detroit engagement session locations you’ll want to check out before your session.
1. The Belt
An iconic downtown Detroit engagement session location is The Belt, an alley filled with art, market lighting, and some cool bars you can duck into for an after session date. The Belt is a really popular spot to end a Detroit engagement session because the lights photograph so beautifully. Located just steps away from Woodward Avenue, The Belt is a quick stop and great for those who love art and bright colors.
2. Eastern Market
Heading away from downtown Detroit, just up Gratiot is Eastern Market, one of the best spots in the city to spent a Saturday morning. There are so many murals that make for excellent Detroit engagement session backdrops. If you’re a fan of eating or drinking, Eastern Market is a perfect Detroit engagement session location. Check out Eastern Market Brewing for a good beer.
3. The Dequindre Cut
This hidden gem, the Dequindre Cut is a bike and walking path leading from the Riverfront in the Warehouse District to Eastern Market. You could spend an entire engagement session on the cut, but I suggest pairing it with Eastern Market to give you some variety. The Dequindre Cut is great for a grungier, more graffiti loving couple. It’s not highly trafficked with photographers, making it a hidden Detroit engagement session location gem (shhhh don’t tell everyone, okay?)!
4. Belle Isle
Everyone in Detroit knows about the magical island Belle Isle, with is stunning conservatory and perfect sunset skyline views. Belle Isle is truly a gorgeous Detroit engagement session location. Requiring a permit for use, I think it’s 100% worth it because the island gives you so much to explore. From a large marble fountain to the conservatory to a historic casino to willow trees and Japanese-style bridges to beaches, you have so many options.
5. The Warehouse District
Much overlooked, the Warehouse District is still gentrifying and still has a little bit of the old, rundown, rough and tumble Detroit. I can’t tell you exact locations to use, but the Warehouse District runs along the riverfront. With cobblestone streets, a perfect shot of the Renaissance Center, and lots of rundown buildings with ivy, its not-polished nature is perfect for casual couples. Atwater Brewery is also a great stop if you’re into their beers. The Vanilla Java Porter is famously my favorite.
6. The Detroit Institute of Arts & Detroit Public Library
Heading up to mid-town, the Detroit Institute of Arts and Detroit Public Library are across the street from each other. One is more popular than the other (take a wild guess), but both are marble buildings with lots of character. I happen to enjoy using the blossoming trees around them in the spring and summer. Though you can’t head inside the DIA (you can at the library with prior permission), outdoors is perfect for a more elegant Detroit engagement session location. There are some ground rules about the steps at the DIA, but plan to come in the morning before opening (preferably on a Sunday) and you’ll find the entire place deserted.
7. Palmer Park
Another hidden gem (in my opinion) for those that want to use two Detroit engagement session locations but want nature and don’t want to head all the way to Belle Isle is Palmer Park. Located in the north side of town, closer to the Ferndale border and the Detroit Golf Club, Palmer Park offers a large field, an abandoned fountain, and honestly a beautiful golden hour. Almost no one bothers to use Palmer Park for engagement photos and I can’t figure out why. The tall grass, trees, and look of a field are highly sought after in the suburbs.
Corktown has changed in recent years, especially with Ford Motor Company’s purchase of the old Michigan Central Station. There once was a time where photographing the abandoned station seemed edgy but not anymore. Either way, Corktown’s cobblestone street, fun restaurants and bars, and neighborhood vibes are perfect for laid back couples. Corktown isn’t as popular as downtown or Eastern Market when it comes to Detroit engagement session locations, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less amazing. Head down to the West Riverfront Park at the end of your session for a perfect view of the Ambassador Bridge.
9. The Riverfront
The Detroit Riverfront is very long and the Riverwalk functions as a bike, walking and running path. It can get a little busy during the summer. But along the way, you can get beautiful views of the Renaissance Center, the Detroit Princess riverboat, and the Ambassador Bridge. If you make a quick stop at Hart Plaza, you can grab some engagement photos with the art in that area or head right up Woodward Avenue for more photos.
Greektown, adjacent to downtown, is a fun, colorful place for engagement photos in Detroit. The market lights are similar to the Belt but hang over a road filled with colorful shops and restaurants.
11. Capitol Park
As many head to Campus Martias, instead sneak over to Capitol Park, which is a small little park off of Griswold with beautiful lights, a Christmas tree lot during the holidays, and perfect views down Griswold of the Guardian Building. It’s usually less crowded than Campus Martias during the busy holiday season, making it perfect for a winter downtown Detroit engagement session.
12. Campus Martias
I know, I have to mention it, but Campus Martias is really a picturesque Detroit engagement session location during the holidays. All of the light displays, the huge Christmas tree, and the skating rink really do make it so beautiful for a winter engagement session. It can get crowded so if you are nervous around people, it’s not recommended or try for a weekday session.
13. Parker’s Alley
Behind the new Shinola Hotel lies Parker’s Alley, similar to The Belt but more modern. You won’t find a ton of murals here, but lots of brick and a modern feel. Stop in at Madcap Coffee if you two are coffee lovers for a drink during your engagement session.
14. Cass Avenue Viaduct
For art lovers, visit the Cass Avenue Viaduct for a bright backdrop and beautiful golden hour light. Location on Cass Avenue in New Center, just down the street from the Fisher Building, the viaduct is a great stop but try not to park illegally (parking is a little weird in this location). As for Detroit engagement session locations, this is a great spot for rainy day engagement sessions since indoor locations in Detroit are dwindling.
Deciding between Detroit Engagement Session Locations?
When you have so many options, it’s hard to decide where to go! The important thing is to choose not the “coolest” location but the location that you identify with the most. If you’re planning a Detroit engagement session, get in touch with me!
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep across the world, I know these are stressful and uncertain times to be planning an event. Are you deciding to postpone your wedding due to coronavirus? Read on for everything you need to consider before you make a decision.
First, I’m sorry this sucks so much. I’m here to help you navigate this process. It’s important to know that you don’t have to decide everything in one day. Your wedding wasn’t planned in a day, so rescheduling doesn’t have to be planned in a day either. This is a process.
Second, I implore everyone to stick to government and CDC guidelines and mandates. It’s important to comply with these and keep in mind the health and safety of everyone during this time.
First, it’s okay to feel emotional about postponing your wedding.
Before you start, know that it’s okay to mourn the wedding you thought you were planning. It’s totally okay to feel upset and grieve it. Feel that and take some time there, but don’t unpack there. Don’t land and stew in that grief forever. You will get married and no matter what the day looks like, you will be marrying the love of your life and that’s going to mean everything, I promise.
Should we postpone or cancel our wedding? What to know before you decide
As a wedding vendor, I would ask you to not cancel your wedding. Many times, retainers you’ve paid can be moved but not refunded, even due to something like coronavirus.
For many vendors, that up-front retainer covers many of the up-front costs before your wedding. For example, planners do 95% of their work before the wedding. Some vendors may be able to work with you on refunds if you cancel, but it’s important to be flexible and remember that this is no one’s fault and we are all living through it together. Remember that many of your vendors are small businesses. They aren’t corporations with large stacks of cash and investors. They’re small human-owned businesses.
Rescheduling or re-imagining what this day can mean for you and your partner doesn’t mean that your wedding is ruined. Just because plan A may not go right doesn’t mean plan B can’t be equally amazing, just different.
Sticking to government guidelines & what that means for your wedding
I’ve reviewed government plans to re-open the economy, and though there are no specific dates, the overall sense I’m reading and hearing from the industry is that large events will be one of the last things to return to “normal” mostly for health and safety reasons. COVID-19 is incredibly contagious so this only makes sense from a public health perspective. We all want our friends and family to be safe and healthy, no matter what.
Even if events are allowed to continue, there may be social distancing or other guidelines in place that venues have to follow by law or for safety reasons. For instance, there may be masks required or only a certain number of people allowed in the building. For many, this is not how you envisioned your wedding. And that’s valid.
This doesn’t mean your wedding has to be postponed or cancelled at this time. It just means that it’s not a bad idea to be thinking about a possible plan B if you need to use it.
Developing a plan B: being proactive, not reactive
When deciding to postpone your wedding due to coronavirus, the most important thing is to be proactive rather than reactive. Being proactive and having a plan does not mean you will have to invoke that plan. It means you don’t have to react and become more stressed than necessary if you are forced into a decision. Remember, we want to be proactive, not reactive. When it’s time to make a decision, you’ll know. And you’ll feel more equipped to move forward because you’ve already been thinking through a new plan.
Are you deciding to postpone your wedding due to coronavirus? Questions to ask yourself
You probably never predicted this would happen to your wedding. Me either. Who would? But before you make any type of decision, there are some questions that you should discuss with your partner. There are no wrong answers, only what you and your partner feel is the right thing for you, and you should think about them and discuss. Everyone feels differently and everyone has different situations. I’m happy to work with you on any decision you feel is right for your wedding.
1. If you keep your date (and it’s legal to do so), are you okay cutting your guest list down if necessary? Possibly to 50 or less guests?
2. If you keep your date, are you okay with having your wedding if older folks or immo-compromised people do not want to come or others can’t travel due to bans?
3. Are you okay with possibly getting a non-Saturday reschedule date at your venue? Can you be flexible with your date and your vendors?
4. If it is legal and possible, can you possibly hold a small ceremony on your original day with a small group (possibly 10 or less) and postpone the reception if you had to? Or just have your small ceremony and do the big wedding later? How do you feel about that?
5. Ultimately, do you want to continue with the wedding you’ve planned or are you willing to be flexible in order to get the most important things to you? What are the most important things that make your wedding YOUR wedding?
What if we want to get married no matter what?
To get married, the number one thing you need is a marriage license. Many county offices in Michigan are not issuing licenses at this time. If you can get a license, you have some options if you’d like to go ahead and be married as planned.
Stick to social distancing and event guidelines. Health and safety should matter in your decision.
Livestream the event. You can share a live video of your ceremony on Facebook Live or Zoom.
Cut a cake, have a first dance, whatever you want!
Provided I’m allowed to work, I’d be happy to photograph this for you!
Practical things you can Do After You Decide What’s Right For Your Wedding
After you think through these emotional questions, there are some things you can do at a practical level to proactively prepare and not react to the coronavirus situation:
Examine your contracts to see what the policies are for rescheduling or cancellation. Contracts are still in effect even though there’s a pandemic. You can also reach out to vendors for their COVID specific policies, as many vendors are being more generous with their rescheduling policies during this time. For instance, mine are here.
Contact your venue and find out what dates are open. Ask their policy for rescheduling. Some are only rescheduling weddings 30 days out. Others are allowing couples to hold dates. Go into the conversation with them with a headspace of flexibility. We all want to take care of you, but there are only so many days in the year and this year was a huge wedding year.
Take the open dates and use this spreadsheet to stay organized. Make sure to make your own copy! Reach out to your vendors (one email is okay) and give them the dates. Ask them which they’re available for. Mark this on your spreadsheet. You’re aiming to keep your team in place so finding the day with the most agreement is best. Again, go into this with the headspace of flexibility. You hired these people for a reason, you want them to stick around!
Decide on a plan B date (keeping in mind everything you have decided about what you want your wedding to be and your vendor team’s availability). See if the date can be held for you (it’s really vendor dependent on that. Remember, we are all trying to survive this too).
Decide when you will make a go or no go decision. I would recommend at least 30 days prior to your wedding date in order to give yourself time to inform who need to be informed.
What Happens If We Decide to Go Ahead with Plan B?
Expect your vendors to have you sign rescheduling agreements and maybe new contracts for your new date. It’s industry-standard practice to do this and you want the legal backing of a contract for the new date. Inform them, ask for guidance on what’s next, and quickly get back to them.
Let your guests know you’re postponing. This will likely be difficult, but know that the people you’ve invited to your wedding love you and your partner. They want what’s best for you. Ideas to help you communicate with your guests:
Catch them up on the process and let them know you’re making a decision that’s best for everyone.
Clearly communicate the decision. Do not worry about being ashamed about what people think. If they don’t support you, they’re ridiculous (honestly).
Explain the details you’re sure of and leave out other details. Tell them you’ll keep them informed.
This is when a wedding website works well. You can also record a short video to email to guests and post on social media, or you can send an email. Many couples are using this as a chance to send fun re-save the date cards in the mail as well. Here are some ideas! Whatever you decide to do, know that you will be supported.
What if my wedding is in the fall of 2020? Should I postpone now?
There is no way to be entirely certain of what will happen over the next few months. None of us are sure where we’re headed. The waiting and uncertainty are very difficult, I know. I feel the same way, as do probably all of your wedding vendors.
For those hosting weddings in the fall, there’s also no harm in coming up with a plan b if that makes you feel more secure and if your venue will let you hold a date. Some are allowing it and others are not. If they are not, it’s still okay to go through the guidance questions above to decide what you want this day to look like.
At the time of this writing, I don’t think there’s a reason to move your fall wedding yet, and most of your vendors will probably tell you the same. But things can change quickly in this fluid situation. This is why being proactive rather than reactive is key.
Deciding to postpone your wedding due to coronavirus: married is what matters.
At the end of the day, if you are deciding to postpone your wedding due to coronavirus, I promise I will do everything in my power to make this a positive experience as possible. I’m here for you, no matter what happens or how you decide to tie the knot. I’m here as a sounding board or for advice, as always. If you need help or just need to vent, I would be happy to chat with you on the phone or help in any way I can. That’s why I’m here.
Married is what matters. At the end of the day, a marriage is what a wedding is all about. No matter when you get married, you can always celebrate.