Wedding Planning 101 in a Coronavirus Era
Written by: Elisa Yu-Shan Lion
Edited by: Natalie McCarthy
We understand that Coronavirus has changed our 2020 couples’ wedding plans as well as the immediate future of weddings. It may seem overwhelming to plan a wedding or change your previous plans, but we are here to help navigate you along the way, as we have tried to educate ourselves in every way possible.
During our COVID-19 Lockdown, we utilized our language skills to serve our local communities. Working as an interpreter for a local Health Department, I had the opportunity to assist the medical teams in contact tracing investigations, translating material and flyers for the Environmental Health Specialists (food inspectors). I was tasked to learn, and relay information learned from reputable sources such as the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and VDH (Virginia Health Department).
Working firsthand in the “front lines” of Coronavirus has provided Exceptional Events by Elisa to go one step further with assisting our clients. We feel that the knowledge gained during this experience has provided valuable tools to assist couples in navigating these unchartered waters, keep them informed of their options and updated with our current phases and how these affected their current wedding plans.
Below are some condensed steps on how to proceed with your wedding planning. We encourage you to read through these informative tips to guide those who haven’t booked their wedding planner yet; or are not able to afford the services of an experienced Wedding Planner.
- KEEP CALM:
Don’t panic. Learn from reputable sources the phase and restrictions being followed by the state where you will host your wedding.
At Exceptional Events by Elisa, we have taken the time to learn the facts of each stage/phase and how they affect each of our couples’ visions.
- STAY CONNECTED:
Stay connected with your wedding professional’s team (vendors). Don’t be afraid to ask them for guidance, nor to offer your support. We all share a common goal – bringing your wedding vision to life in the safest way possible.
At Exceptional Events by Elisa, we have stayed in touch with our talented team of wedding professionals (vendors). Together we have learned how COVID-19 is affecting our businesses, supported each other on creating new protocols to keep our clients and teams healthy and safe as best as possible.
- WEIGH YOUR PROS & CONS:
Before making any decisions regarding your wedding, take your time to weigh all your pros and cons. While current restrictions may hinder your original wedding plans; you always have options. Knowledge is POWER! Use it to your advantage!
At Exceptional Events by Elisa, we have reviewed each client’s options in depth. Our couples have made choices that keep their vision, reflect their personalities and keep their guests safe.
- UPDATE YOUR CONTRACTS:
Update your contracts with your wedding professionals as you make changes. Ensure all changes are clearly included in your updated contract. These changes can include a new wedding date, new logistics, a new guest count, and/or includes appropriate reschedule, cancellation and force majeure language. Work with your wedding professionals, and not against them. They have the same interest you have to bring your vision to life and to keep you, your guests and their teams safe.
If you can, consult an attorney. We recommend you to schedule a consultation with James T. Bacon. We have worked with Jim for the past 5 years. He can be reached via email at email@example.com and via phone at (703) 352-1300.
At Exceptional Events by Elisa, we have the honor to service our clients, the responsibility to support the wedding professionals we partner with while holding them accountable and ensuring they service our clients with the highest level of customer service. Our contracts include appropriate reschedule, cancellation and force majeure language prior to COVID-19.
- EDIT YOUR TIMELINES:
As you make your decisions moving forward with your wedding plans, and update your contract, edit your timelines as you go. You are working with 2 sets of timelines: 1) the wedding planning timeline – wedding professional deadlines (final guest count deadline, payment deadlines, etc.); and 2) your actual wedding timeline.
At Exceptional Events by Elisa, we just completed 4 photo shoot designs in 1 week. This provided us the opportunity to create new designs at the same time we tested our COVID-19 protocols with some of our actual couples. We were able to identify our strengths and weaknesses with COVID-19 protocols. Tasks are taking twice as long due to sanitizing and other safety measures. We have shared this information with all our couples and are making the appropriate changes, edits and adjustments to their time
- HAVE YOUR FINANCES CHANGED?
If your income and finances have been affected by COVID-19, remain calm. Take a moment to re-evaluate your options and your vision. Your wedding professionals want to bring your wedding vision to life as much as you want to have your wedding. Negotiation is crucial to accomplish this goal. You don’t have to cancel your wedding even if your budget has been decreased due to a loss of employment. You can reduce your guest count, adjust your design, repurpose décor and florals from the ceremony to the cocktail hour and/or reception.
At Exceptional Events by Elisa, we are creative, resourceful and “outside the box” thinkers. Helping and guiding our couples navigate these unchartered waters, includes “spending smart”, “investing wisely” and “cutting back” on unnecessary expenses.
- GO WITH THE FLOW
You have no control over your local government’s decision nor what phase your community is in as you approach your wedding day. Keep up to date with any and all changes and monitor these changes so you have time to make decisions instead of being rushed to make a decision.
At Exceptional Events by Elisa, we have bi-weekly meetings with all our couples. This way we stay in touch; and share updates that are present in our minds and hearts.
- STAY CONNECTED
Stay in touch with your venue, wedding professionals and guests. Being proactive gives you access to fresh and new information, as well as knowledge to make wise decisions.
At Exceptional Events by Elisa, we have bi-weekly calls, zoom meetings or FaceTime calls with all our couples and venues. This allows us to stay updated on current changes that may or could affect each of our couple’s wedding plans. We created and update wedding websites for some of our couples. These wedding websites serve as central locations were couples can quickly update their guests of any and all changes such as a new date, a new hotel block link and many other updates.
- KEEP YOUR GUESTS IN THE LOOP
While you don’t want to burden your guests with minutia, include them in changes that affect their travel dates, destinations, accommodations or participation. Invite them to still be a part of your intimate wedding ceremony or elopement.
At Exceptional Events by Elisa, we keep our clients in the loop of new services our wedding professionals are offering to include and accommodate our couple’s needs to keep their guests involved and part of their wedding plans. Some of our wedding professionals have added LIVE ceremony streaming so their loved ones can participate in the ceremony regardless of their location nationally or internationally.
Make time to take care of yourself and keep yourself healthy and strong both mentally and physically. Exercise, read a book, sip a glass of wine, or read a book. Don’t dwell on the negative changes we are all currently living.
At Exceptional Events by Elisa, we have kept busy trying to learn new skills, researching new trends, reaching out to our partners in an effort to support each other. Elisa has been practicing her i-Phone picture skills for Instagram, learned to braise/weld, attempting to learn calligraphy. She has also been staying physically active and taking relaxing baths while enjoying a glass of sangria more often.
How are you planning to move forward with your wedding planning? If you are looking for an experienced event and wedding planner to take command of the vendors, coordinate logistics, and ensure that everything runs smoothly, look no further than Exceptional Events by Elisa. We would love to provide you with an exceptional wedding and event planning experience! Please call us at 703-752-6287 and schedule an appointment today! We look to accommodate to each individual couple’s needs, while also maintaining awareness of safety and precautions for the foreseeable future.