Hey everyone, hope you’ve all been keeping well.
A lot has happened since I last posted! The government announced its road map, and it looks like weddings will open up for Summer; which of course is incredible news – both for couples who want to say their ‘I do’s‘, and for the wedding industry that want to get back to doing what they love the most.
It has however left a gap of a few months of uncertainty for those planning to wed before then… again, couples are wondering if they can have the wedding they want, or whether they will have to start looking at different options.
So to help you with the 101 questions that you may have running through your head when planning your 2021 wedding, our amazing Unique Rebel Union community have shared some of their top tips on how to work with wedding suppliers during a pandemic, and how to take the stress out of planning.
Advice from Low Hall The Lakes…
Planning a wedding in the middle of this tiring storm isn’t going to be straight down the line, but if you don’t want to wait, then don’t. Crack on!
There is an army of super-talented, creative and highly passionate folk who have been riding this turd-coaster for almost a year now, and are ready to come up with mega plans galore. We’re over talking about what we can’t do, instead we have a million ideas around what we can do. In fact, a lot of us have spent the best part of a year thinking about what we can do, so get on that blower and see what ideas your venue and suppliers have got.
The biggest concerns we’ve had from our Low Hall The Lakes couples are what they’re going to do to fill the time if they have to reduce numbers and there’s no dancing? And how will the Lovable Old Barn look? Then we’ve had a chat and gone through a whole cahoot of ideas and layouts and all of a sudden, there’s a plan. They’re excited and we’re excited that they’re excited and hell, we’re all excited and we both know there’s options if we do have to change plans again.
On that note, if things do carry on changing, remember there’s one constant that stays the same and that we are all working towards; you two getting hitched and having the best day ever. Your venue and all of your suppliers, however big or small their role, that is our one big goal. So the more we all talk, the better. Plus you’ll be practically besties with all your suppliers on your day!
Basically get on that blower, have a chin wag, a cry if needs be, a beer and come up with something mega.
Advice from the team at Brympton House…
It’s important to really get to know a supplier and how they work before you sign on the dotted line. Sounds obvious doesn’t it, especially as supplier/wedding client relationships are key to the success of a wedding day. You want to put together a team that is batting for you, and are super flexible – a key consideration during these unsettled times with restrictions around Covid changing on a weekly/monthly basis.
So do your homework; research profiles and testimonials online; see what other couples are saying about potential suppliers and if you like what you see pick up the phone and have a chat.
Don’t spend ages grilling potential suppliers, however – they are not being paid to spend time with you at this stage and they have busy lives of their own. But do take the time to introduce yourself, tell them about the look and feel that you want at your wedding, listen to their ideas and thank them for their time.
It’s polite to let every supplier on your list know whether you are going to include them on your big day – a quick email is fine.
Read their terms before you sign. In the excitement of finding a supplier that ‘fits’ and sorting out payment of a deposit to confirm the booking, couples sometimes forget to read the suppliers terms and conditions as fully as they should. Make sure that you know what will happen to your deposit and any monies you have paid them for their services if the venue is closed because of Covid.
It’s better out than in! Research has shown that transmission of the virus is far less likely to spread outdoors; so why not build on this and host your summer wedding on the South Terrace or in the walled garden? The styling team have some fantastic images of past weddings held outdoors to inspire you…. Of course, this is really only a feasible option between May to September… but there are other covid safe planning tools you could consider instead.
Be clear as to what you want…bullet points are best. The journey to your wedding day is super exciting for the two of you and perhaps to your nearest and dearest as well, but it is unrealistic to expect your suppliers to be as engaged as you all are! Especially as your chosen suppliers will be looking after numerous couples. So don’t send them update emails or engage them in long, rambling telephone calls UNTIL you have made decisions concerning the service they provide. This is not to say that you can’t turn to them for help and advice along the way, but the team providing your evening food, for example, do not need to know the details of your bridesmaid’s bouquet!
So to get the best out of their service, keep your emails brief and to the point; layout what you are hoping will happen on the day with a plan b to cover what might happen if Covid is still around. It’s also good practise to use bullet points so that your supplier can update your file with ease.
Work on the relationship. Take time to thank them for all of their efforts during the planning process… a little bit of praise goes a long way. Like you, suppliers will have been traumatised by the effects of the pandemic both personally and professionally, and we all like to receive a pat on the back now and then.
Check-in before the big day…and then leave the professionals to do their jobs! It’s best to have a communication cut off point for your own sanity leading up to the big day! So check in a week or two before, and then leave your suppliers to do what they do best – which is to run your wedding day. If your suppliers need to alter the agreed plan because of a last-minute government restriction around ceremony numbers, or changes to the social distancing rules for example, they will get in touch with you.
Advice from Rowan at Parrot & Pineapple Photography…
As a wedding photographer it’s been tough trying to do business during the pandemic. However I also know that my clients have also been on an emotional rollercoaster with planning their wedding – actually probably more like being in a tumble dryer on a rollercoaster! It really shouldn’t be like that – wedding planning is supposed to be a fun, creative time maxed out with joyful anticipation.
I consider myself very fortunate to have managed to retain all of my booked clients as we transfer their wedding booking from one date to another. I believe that this has been enabled by open and free flowing communication from the start.
As soon as you are thinking of postponing your wedding, contact your suppliers and start a dialogue. It’s going to be much easier for you in the long term if you know exactly what is available to you, and what potential consequences are. Each supplier will have different terms and conditions when it comes to postponement. You’ll need to know what those are so you can make an informed decision.
That initial email could be something along the lines of “we are thinking of moving our wedding date from X date to sometime in 2022. Nothing is set in stone yet, but can you tell us what our options are for moving our booking with you in case we decide to do this“.
If you are set on postponing your wedding date, ask your venue for a range of potential new wedding dates. Alongside this, it’s a great idea to set up a doodle poll and ask your suppliers to mark who is available for which date. Doodle poll is completely free and easy to use and will save you digging through emails.
In an ideal world, you want to be able to take all of your booked wedding suppliers with you to your new wedding date. There are two big benefits for this, firstly you will minimise the potential loss of already paid deposits, secondly you are going to save yourself the hassle of having to find a replacement supplier for your new date.
Once your wedding date has officially moved, be sure to check with all your suppliers how the payment and contract terms have changed (i.e. when is the balance due? Is the original contract still valid, or do you get a new one?).
Check the new planning timeline for who needs what info and when (i.e. what are the new dates for getting vital info over to suppliers).
I find that using this method has allowed for a friction free postponement process – ultimately that’s what we all want!
Advice from the team at Elmore Court…
You have just made the heavy decision to move your wedding back a few months, a year or even two. What do you do next? The first step is to talk with your venue and find a date that you are happy with. There more than likely will be some compromises with either the day of the week, or perhaps the time of year- which could put you in a real panic and make you feel like you should be changing everything from colour schemes to dresses…
If you are planning to change your wedding season, try not to worry too much (we know that’s easier said than done). Your wedding suppliers are experts and the best at what they do all year round. They can help with clever ways to adapt to changing seasons without going to crazy or starting from scratch, and it could be quite fun to work with creative ideas! We’ve written a detailed blog about changing your wedding season and the kind of simple ideas which you can use to change things dramatically, with not much fuss. Take a look here!
It’s best to prepare and expect some of your wedding suppliers might not be available on your new date. In our experience most suppliers have moved mountains to make wedding postponements work; even hiring new team members so they can do more weddings, but if they can’t, the best suppliers have been suggesting a list of others they recommended in the same field and with a similar style that will hopefully be able to help. The wedding industry as a whole has really come together during this pandemic and supported each other and their couples amazingly well.
Advice from Suzie at Kushi Cars…
We were luckier than some to provide our pretty little wedding car for 3 micro weddings last year. One with 30, and two with 15 guests.
We put new Covid secure measures in place; extra cleaning, face masks, ventilation and social distancing getting in and out the car. Amazingly, it didn’t feel any less special. The buzz and excitement of a wedding day was still very much there. In fact, we’d say it felt extra special, to do something so momentous and important during a pandemic. Couples were just as happy, and possibly more relaxed without the big numbers. It’s hard to put a finger on it… intimate weddings seem to have more laughter and love somehow. And relief is in abundance too. Relief to finally get married after years of planning, and then months of will it/won’t it stress dependant on government restrictions.
A wedding is so much more than a day, it signifies a brand new chapter. Whether that’s starting a family, moving house, or taking that new job. The urge to cement your love in front of your nearest and dearest prevails. And yes, it’s sad that for now there’s no big build up – the hen/stag, or the dancing in to the wee small hours. But there’s always next year for the biggest, most badass first anniversary party, AND you get to wear your dress again. What’s not to love?!
My advice to couples would be that when they initially contact suppliers about possible date changes, tread carefully and show sensitivity because a year with little or no income has been incredibly hard. Many have taken temporary jobs to keep a roof over their heads and to ensure their business remained viable, so that they can be at your wedding once this pandemic is finally over. As a transport business, our running costs are high. Storage, specialist insurance, MOT, servicing, imported parts, I could go on but you get the picture. Be mindful, put yourselves in the other party’s shoes. Compromise and compassion for your fellow humans is key.