How do you keep planning your wedding during COVID-19

I wanted to write this blog post to reassure all the brides out there who are having to adjust their wedding because of COVID-19. I read an article last night of commonly asked questions from brides during this crazy season. If you want to read it, you can find it here: Top 18 Questions Couples have about Coronavirus. I agree with every single thing that is written in this article. I also want to add some info to this.

  1. Vendors that can only offer one wedding a day should be priority. There are lots of vendors in the wedding industry that can serve more than one couple per weekend. These vendors include florists, caterers, most DJ’s, bakeries, calligraphers, HMUA teams, rental companies, and probably even more that I’m not thinking about right now. If you don’t have the coordinator there for day of coordinating, they can also take on multiple weddings. Or if the coordinators have a big team, they can do multiple weddings a day. Some photographers and videographers will offer associate photographers/videographers that will work for them, but if you want THEM to be there, they can only do 1 wedding a day. And the biggest is the venue. Majority of venues only take one wedding a day. If you are having to reschedule your wedding, reach out to your venue, photographer, videographer, and coordinator first. Ask them to send you ALL the dates they have open in the time frame you’re wanting (i.e. August-December). Compare them all and try your hardest to pick one that they are all open.
  2. Be as flexible with your reschedule date as possible. Trust me when I tell you that vendors would much rather reschedule than they would like to cancel. If you give them a range of months that you could get married and compare all the dates they have open, it’s much more likely to reschedule with all your vendors vs. just a few. This is so not ideal in anyone’s world, but the best thing for your vendors is to reschedule with them and you still get the wedding of your dreams!
  3. Keep Planning. If you have officially pushed back your wedding date, or maybe your original date is in May, June, or July… my biggest piece of advice is to keep planning. Think of it this way… now, all of your vendors have ample time to focus even more on you because they are stuck at home with a bunch of weekends open! Also… now you may have more time to do more DIY things for the wedding where you wouldn’t have had time before. Or you have time to look around for a local artist to do some DIY things for your wedding that you may not have had time to do before. More time is never an enemy!
  4. Getting legally married. In some cases, couples need to be legally married this month even though they may not be able to proceed with their full wedding. Couple things about this… in Knox County, they are giving marriage certificates out until the end of March at the downtown courthouse only. They aren’t performing ceremonies there, but you can still hire an officiant to make it official. One pro to this is that you can wear your wedding dress twice. You also get two wedding days. And you could still have your photographer come out with your parents and do an elopement style ceremony in the open air where everyone stays 6 feet from each other. You can still postpone the big wedding and reception and celebrate with all your people after this virus has passed. But if you need to be married for whatever reason (military, illness, green card, etc…), that can totally still happen if you live in Knox County.
  5. Look at it from your vendor’s perspective. I want to preface this with a statement. I do not want this to sound harsh in any way. I’m not writing this paragraph to make ANYONE feel bad. As of now, I’ve had to reschedule 4 weddings. Thankfully, each of these couples reached out to me ahead of time to see what days I had open before choosing their reschedule date. I wanted them to do this and I’m so so so thankful that they did. This is not being written to any of my couples! You guys are AWESOME! However, I know so many of my photographer friends who are already booked on the reschedule date or their couples are totally canceling everything. So I wanted to shed some light on how that is impacting all of your wedding vendors… not for sympathy or to guilt-trip you… I just want to educate those that may not understand the repercussions of totally canceling their wedding. Almost all the vendors that I work with on a wedding day will be small businesses. And by small business, I mean most of them will be sole proprietorships or single-owner LLC’s. Some of them have staff, and most of that staff is family. A few of them have a larger staff that may not be family, but each of those employees heavily relies on that small business’s finances in order to provide for their own families. So… when you cancel your wedding instead of postponing it… you are taking some (or all) of that income that puts food on the table for each of your vendors. Chances are, the majority of people that you’ve hired for your day are full time and this is their only source of income. And if it were just you, it wouldn’t be a massive deal… but when it’s 3, 4, 5… 10 people doing the same thing… that small business owner may be filing bankruptcy at worst or shutting down at best. I’m sure you have all seen “support small business right now… spend your money with small businesses” on social media right now and this is why. Most of us will have in our contract that your deposits are nonrefundable and some will have it also where any payments you made after the deposit are also nonrefundable as well. This is not because we don’t like you or because we are mean and hateful… it’s because that cash that you paid to us to provide a service to you has been spent on food, medicine, mortgages, daycare, etc… which is why we have it being “nonrefundable” because we know it’s not there to refund. I know some of you will have to cancel. It makes no sense for you to reschedule and your only option is canceling. I hate that you will lose your deposits… I really do, but you did sign a contract acknowledging the fact that the money you were paying was not refundable. So please, please do not send ugly emails to your vendors chewing them out because you want your refund back. Please do not write them a nasty review because you didn’t get your deposit back after signing a contract stating your deposit was nonrefundable. This is our livelihood. This is the only means we have to provide for our families. I’m not saying don’t ask… you can totally ask… but if the answer is no, tip your hat respectfully and walk away knowing that you may have paid their mortgage for a month or bought a couple week’s worth of groceries.

Please know that this blog post is coming from a place of just wanting to help. Help couples planning a wedding and help my vendor friends. I sincerely hate this for all the brides and grooms out there that are having to reschedule. I also hate this for all my vendor friends that are suffering from it. It just sucks all the way around. But let’s be compassionate and understanding and react with grace instead of anger because this is a new territory for everyone. Again, I have to reiterate that my couples have been AMAZING and I’m SO thankful for that. This isn’t directed toward any one person, just stories that have been shared in groups that I’m in on facebook and through texts from some of the dearest people. Lift each other up and try to look at it from the other’s perspective. We all just want what’s best for everyone :-).

And like I’ve done in the other COVID-19 blogs… you can always turn to Jesus for refuge from the crazy.

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.” Psalm 46:1-3

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Knoxville, TN wedding photographer

I'm Amanda May and I'm pretty stoked that you're here. I'm a three on the enneagram, a smiler when things get awkward, and I would love for you to get to know me more over on my about page.

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