How to Navigate Planning a Wedding During COVID-19

Amid crowd restrictions surrounding COVID-19, couples are choosing whether to reschedule or reimagine the day.

During any other time, a celebration full of friends and family would have been a given for any couple’s big day. But this year has proven to be quite different. As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic stretch on for months longer than initially expected, more and more soon-to-be-married couples are being forced to make difficult decisions about their weddings.

Illustration by Abigail Dela Cruz

While planning a wedding is stressful under normal circumstances, the current health crisis has only exacerbated the typical stressors—and added new ones. “I think it’s just been weighing heavy on people,” says wedding planner Maura Bassman, owner of Maura Bassman Events. “They have to wrap their heads around a whole new day.”

Those whose nuptials cannot go on as planned have a handful of alternatives to consider.
The first is simply to reschedule for a later date that will hopefully be safer and governed by fewer restrictions. Another option is to carry on with the original date but follow the state and national regulations and recommendations to keep everybody safe and healthy. This might mean a smaller guest list, no dance floor, and mask-wearing for attendees, but many couples are choosing this path out of eagerness to be wed. Some plans involve a little bit of both—a small, socially distant ceremony now, and a more traditional reception planned for a future date.

Bassman says that the pandemic has forced planners and their clients to rethink every aspect of the event, from the obvious (Can Grandma still come?) to the not-so-obvious (How do we make it safe to get hair and makeup done?)

Despite the obstacles, however, your special day can still be as happy as you dreamed. For starters, consult with a professional planner who can look at every piece of the big picture and catch problems early so you won’t hit a snag the week or day of. But Bassman’s best piece of advice is this: “Think about what is important for you on your wedding day, and make the decision that’s best for you.”

Safety First: Use these tips to help your big day go smoothly

  • Ask your experts. Your vendors can help you find creative solutions to unexpected obstacles and keep your big day on track.
  • Plan ahead. If you decide to postpone, consider picking a new date that’s a while away to avoid rescheduling again.
  • Read the room. Assessing the comfort level of your loved ones can help you determine the right choice for your wedding.
  • Prioritize. This is your day. Go with what works for you, using your nonnegotiables as a jumping-off point.

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