Looking Forward to Your Big Day

New advice for planning a wedding.

Illustration by Jasu Hu

Congratulations! Not only did you make it through 2020, but you got engaged, too! We’re all breathing a little easier now that the calendar has changed, vaccines are becoming available, and some of the world pandemonium has passed. However, as much as we’d love to leave 2020 behind and get back to “normal,” last year will shape how we think about weddings in 2021 and beyond. These trends will be with us for awhile.

Thursday is the new Saturday.

As many as a third of couples rescheduled their weddings last year due to the pandemic, including plenty here in Virginia. Some venues, photographers, and florists are booked until 2022, which is daunting to newly engaged couples just starting to make plans. But you have options. For example, if you’re willing to get married during the week instead of on the weekend, venues and vendors might be willing to work with you. If a particular date, vendor, or venue is important to you, you may have to schedule for next year or the year after. More than ever, hiring a wedding planner will save you a lot of time and trouble in putting together a team to create your dream day—whatever day that turns out to be. 

Digital is the new personal.

Even for brides who grew up in the digital era, launching a wedding website might not be your first thought after showing off the ring. In the past year, though, websites have helped many couples communicate clearly and immediately with their guests as wedding details have either changed or, thanks to coronavirus restrictions, become more confusing. Sites like Joy (WithJoy.com) and Minted (Minted.com) can aggregate your plans, guest list, RSVPs, and registry in one place and allow you to communicate with your guests in a pinch. Use your site’s FAQ to note any local restrictions or safety requirements, such as facial coverings, and put your guests’ minds at ease.

For excellent planning tools, look to the two top wedding websites: The Knot and Wedding Wire. For local vendors, the Virginia Living directory of Top Wedding Vendors is posted on our website. Apps by Zola and Honeyfund incorporate registries. And, of course, if your area still has travel or gathering restrictions, you can use Zoom to meet virtually with your vendors and even tour venues.  

Finally, consider hiring a professional videographer and tech team to create a live stream of your wedding day, so elderly, long-distance, or health-challenged guests can participate. You can even print a special invitation that lists the stream’s web address instead of the ceremony location for guests who will be attending virtually—and consider sending those guests a favor, cupcake, or other souvenir so they feel included in your special day.

Clean is the new thoughtful.

Whether it’s flu season or lingering worries about the coronavirus, having essentials available for cleanliness—such as disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer—is a thoughtful gesture. Talk to your venue to make sure that high contact areas, such as the entrance to your reception or bar, will be cleaned frequently. Clearly mark the restrooms in case guests want to pop in to wash their hands. Finally, consider plated service instead of a buffet, so people aren’t congregating, and seat fewer people at each table.

Insurance is the new must-have.

We insure our cars, homes, and health. It just makes sense to safeguard one of the biggest days of your life. Contact your local provider or peruse online companies, such as WedSafe and Wedsure. Please read the fine print thoroughly, though, as many companies have tweaked their policies due to COVID-19. Coverage can include weather, health, and venue-related issues. (If you’re planning a honeymoon, research a travel policy while you’re at it.)

There’s nothing new about commitment.

If 2020 couples have one lesson to share, it’s to focus on your partner. There’s nothing like a worldwide crisis to help you hone in on what’s truly important. Whether couples rescheduled, retooled, or pressed on with their weddings without their loved ones present, they took comfort in the knowledge that the result is the same—a lifelong commitment to your significant other—and that they could rely on each other, no matter what situations arise. 


This article originally appeared in the February 2021 issue.

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