In the mids of the coronavirus pandemic couples all over the world are finding that they have no choice but to modify their wedding plans. Many precautions have been put in place and we're all trying to be responsible humans and abide by those, but does it have to mean sacrificing your wedding? It can seem so scary and unfair to have to cancel, postpone, or downsize all of the plans that you've been working so hard on especially because we really don't know what this spring or summer has in store for us yet.
If you have a wedding coming up in the next six months and aren't sure what to do, I would suggest beginning to downsize, at least for now. We don't know that you'll have to cancel anything yet, but now is the perfect time to put precautionary steps in place. It's the perfect opportunity to host a more intimate wedding. Here I'll share some reasons why downsizing can be a great option for you, and how to go about doing it!
1. A More Intimate Guest Experience.
Reducing your guest list down to 50 or less will make for a truly intimate day. Think of how special you can make each of your guests feel when there aren't so many people to host. You can put more effort into creating a unique guest experience for them and really get to spend more quality time creating memories with each person.
With social distancing and general limiting of human contact being such a priority, your friends and family will completely understand why you're cutting down the guest list. If you were already feeling in-over-your head planning for 150 guests, now's the perfect time to sit down and really be intentional about who you really want to spend this special day with. Here's how:
Set aside some time to sit down together and re-assess your current guest list. Really be intentional about who you'll invite. Who are those people who you can't imagine not being there? Whose played a key role in your lives as a couple? Create categories or a ranking system to help you out.
Choose not to have children at your wedding. This can seem kind of harsh, but you'll find that for multiple reasons, this decision can reduce your guest list quickly. Many parents will choose to RSVP "no" if they can't bring their children along.
Don't allow "Pluss Ones". This can also seem harsh, but it's necessary at times. Be very clear on the RSVP cards/webpage about how many people are invited.
Take the time to call each and every one of your guests who won't be invited. Be very clear that this is a precaution and that you are keeping your guests health and well-being in mind. Again, everyone is very understanding right now and most likely won't give you a hard time for it.
2. A More Desirable Location:
Now is also a perfect opportunity to change your venue. Now that you won't need space for so many people, you can opt to hold your intimate reception at a smaller and more desirable location. There are lovely restaurants, private estates, tasting rooms/wineries, small bed & breakfasts and many unconventional places where you can now host your intimate gathering! Maybe you had your heart set on a back yard wedding, but it wouldn't accommodate your guest list. Nows the time to switch things up Here's How:
Call your venue and let them know that due to these current circumstances, you've reduced your guest count. Many venues are being more flexible on their cancelation policy, so ask what the implications of canceling with them might be. If they have a smaller space that you liked more, they might work a deal out with you.
Call other venues that you're interested in. A lot of venues have had an overwhelming amount of cancelations for this upcoming wedding season. See if any of the venues you're interested in have openings for your original date. You might find that they're offering a reduced price for new bookings because they're eager to get business rolling again.
Plan a "Destination" Wedding. When I say "destination" I wouldn't suggest any place that you'll have to fly to. I'm thinking somewhere JUST out of the way enough that it feels like a destination - about an hour or two drive out of town. This will also help keep your guest list at bay because not everyone is willing to "travel" for a wedding.
3. You'll Save Money! :
With a smaller guest list and venue, it's inevitable that you're going to be able to shave a significant amount off of your budget. Our economy is taking a big hit with everyone being precautioned to stay home and many businesses closing their doors for weeks at a time. Most of us are going to feel the financial implications of this pandemic, which means that wedding budgets are going to shrink to make room for living expenses and essentials.
You'll find that reducing the number of guests will result in a major decrease in your catering bill, decor & floral expenses, rental needs, and all of those miscellaneous items like favors and place cards. It adds up!
Other Ideas & Considerations:
Put more emphasis on what's important to you! With your now reduced guest list, smaller space, and wider budget you can now place emphasis on the aspects of your wedding that's most important to you. If wedding design and aesthetics are high on your priority list, you can focus more energy on creating a picture-perfect setting with more floral pieces, special lighting, luxurious linens, etc. Maybe you want your guests to enjoy a gourmet dinner with multiple courses or there was a videographer who was previously out of your budget that you're able to book now! You'll find that you can really WOW your guests when you have less of them.
Consider Eloping - Elopements are all the rage now! And, if you would have preferred to elope in the first place, now you have the perfect excuse. You can bring along your immediate family or close friends to be witnesses. There are so many beautiful places you can elope to (again, I suggest avoiding extensive travel"), and the intimacy and memories you make can be indescribable. If you still want to have a big party down the road, then you'll be able to wait out the pandemic and plan something in the future.
Plan a Portrait Session - This is a piece of advice that I've been giving to couples who are considering eloping, but who also want an album full of pictures to look back on. Do you ever notice how perfect the styled photoshoots in magazines look? Most event planners & Photographers can help you create your very own styled shoot! If you give them permission to submit those photos to a publication, they might be willing to cut you a deal AND your shoot could make it onto a magazine!
With the world shifting right before our eyes, we have to choose to find joy and gratitude in every situation. Your wedding should be no different! I encourage you to look at this as an opportunity to reevaluate your priorities and to create a day that's intentional and special for you! Let me know if you've begun downsizing your wedding plans and how you're handling it!
Your wedding Planning BFF,