By Amy Bradney-George
Planning a wedding is exciting but there are also a lot of steps you need to take before you walk down the aisle (whatever that looks like for the two of you).
These days, that includes making your plans pandemic-proof, or as close to it as possible.
I got married in June 2021 and, while I count myself lucky that my partner and I didn’t have to change our date due to the pandemic, I know plenty of people who had to postpone and reschedule their weddings – sometimes more than once.
Even without that issue, there were some very big bumps in the road that we hadn’t planned for. This included a change of venue three days before the wedding, a greatly reduced guest list thanks to lockdowns, plus technology issues for family who wanted to watch from overseas.
Despite the stress and tears, our actual wedding day was magical. And I now have pandemic-wedding stories to share with my friends who also got married (or are planning weddings).
So here are some of the most important lessons I learned, that will hopefully make planning your big day that little bit easier – and hopefully fun at times!
It sounds obvious, but in practice it is hard. With my wedding, I found there were some details I was very open to changing and others that I didn’t want to compromise on. The same was true for my now-husband.
Figure out what the most important elements of your wedding day are for both of you. That way, if something needs to change, you’ll have a clearer idea of how to make it work.
Another bonus to being flexible is that people may surprise you with spontaneous ideas that add to the day. For example, our celebrant brought a beautiful box of flowers on the day, and placed them all around the outdoor area for the ceremony. It might sound like a little detail, but it made the (new) setting feel perfect for us.
Ask a lot of questions
I think this holds true no matter when you’re getting married, especially because it helps find the right celebrant, photographer, venue and team for the day.
But with coronavirus, there are five key questions to ask people, which will help you with planning (and potential worries you might have about the pandemic):
- What are the cancellation and refund policies?
- What is the COVID-Safe plan and what happens if someone in the wedding party tests positive in the lead-up to the day?
- What kind of availability do vendors have if you need to reschedule?
- What is the deadline for finalising guest numbers? Is there any flexibility, given previous border and restriction changes?
- How much experience do they have with weddings during the pandemic?
As well as helping you plan your wedding, the answers you get can help you choose the people you want to work with for the big day. If you’d like to know what you’re entitled to in case of cancellation, The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has a special wedding section here.
Have some extra money in your budget
There will always be stories of weddings that cost upwards of $30,000 (which was the average a few years ago!). I think most people go into wedding planning with an ideal budget, and sometimes that grows as the planning goes on. It’s a big day, after all.
So whatever your budget is, think about setting aside an extra 10% or more to cover any extra costs – including unexpected ones that might come about because of the pandemic.
As this is money you aren’t really planning to use, saving is a good option if you can set the money aside ahead of the wedding. There are plenty of helpful tools to help you save should you need it.
If you don’t have all the funds right now, either look at your budget and find some things to cut back on. Alternatively, you could apply for a low rate personal loan with features that help you pay it off faster, or a credit card could be a better option for you.