I am going to assume that postponing your wedding due to a global pandemic was likely not in your wedding planning binder.
All over the globe, plans and lives are being turned upside down. From labor & delivery plans, to school proms, to wedding days–things are not as we all dreamed they would be such a short time ago.
I have been in the wedding industry for 10 years. In this time, I have seen weddings postponed for numerous reasons. Based in South Florida, this reason often surrounds an unwelcome hurricane. But never have any of us faced a postponement due to a worldwide pandemic.
Whether you have already postponed your wedding, or are frantically praying over your upcoming Summer date, my heart breaks for you. All the same, it fills with an indescribable joy at the celebration I know awaits you–no matter when your wedding day ends up being.
No matter the reason, postponed weddings always end up being all the more celebratory. Be it a natural disaster, personal illness or family illness, the couple and their loved ones coming out of the other side of it, more united than ever, always makes for the most joyous and triumphant of wedding days.
I was engaged for four months when Hurricane Irma devastated The Florida Keys. In its path, it wiped out our wedding venue. Two months after that, we faced the diagnosis of a spinal tumor followed by an emergency spinal surgery. Navigating the uncharted territory of bed rest and intensive physical therapy the followed, all while anxiously awaiting the unknown reopening date of our wedding venue, our engagement was far from what we envisioned.
Newly healed and more eager than ever, I accepted a new job a month before our big day. This job required us to move five hours away from our current location. As if things couldn’t get interesting enough, let’s spice it up a bit more, right? 😉
All this to say, the decade in the industry could not have prepared me for any of these things. My bridal brain was frazzled and forgetful. Gone was the detail oriented event mindset. The only thing I knew for certain was I was marrying my very dearest friend, and goodness gracious, I couldn’t wait.
In these crazy engaged journeys, a lot of things slipped through my planning cracks. As I’ve ventured alongside fellow friends toward their walk down the aisle, I sent each of them an email with a list of things I rushed to do, forgot to do, or did not quite perfect. Not wanting them to face the same level of frazzled in the days leading up to the best day of their lives, I included all my mishaps and a checklist for them to work down through in hopes they would avoid the potholes I floored myself straight into.
Much like so many of us, I am constantly wondering how I can help others during this pandemic. The email I have sent to so many loved brides came to mind, and the rest is history!
I’m so honored to share some hopefully helpful tips in your final months of preparation. All of these things can be done whether your wedding is in 3 months, 12 months, or a new date yet undetermined.
My husband Luke and I had thee very best wedding day–covered in a level of joy that can only be credited to the adversities we overcame so soon before it. It set the tone for facing the uncharted together–and coming out on the other side of it even closer and more joyful in one another because of it. I know this is in store for you, too. I promise.
Pop That Planner Back Open
…and maybe pop some bubbly while you’re at it, too.
There are so many little bits of communication that slipped through the cracks in the final days of planning our wedding. Now that most everyone is cooped up at home and family FaceTime dates are at a peak, now is a great time to communicate key roles to those family members to avoid a litany of confusion and headache on the day of your wedding.
It’s never too early to communicate these things. Your loved ones are excited to have a role in your day, and in the spirit of being as helpful as possible, they will remember whatever it is you assign them.
To be extra cautious, in all of these things, write a Word document listing out these assignments and each day’s agenda to share two weeks before your wedding day with all necessary loved ones; from bridal party, to mom, etc. Remember: over communication is KEY!
1.) Make sure you assign seating for ceremony for the first or first two rows. You want immediate family here. Make sure you, the venue, your wedding planner and the family member know where they are to be seated. Drawing a diagram may seem excessive, but again, over communication is key. This will be reviewed during the rehearsal. The less surprises then, the better!
2.) Make sure everyone knows when & in what order they are walking down the aisle before and after the ceremony.
3.) Unplugged ceremony? Send sure your officiant a quick email to ensure he or she plans to cover this as guests are seated, and reminds them again before it starts.
4.) Plan with your photographer where you and your spouse will go immediately after the ceremony. Luke and I were whisked away and tucked back behind some greenery so we could hug each other and our bridal crew/immediate family. Make sure everyone walking in the recessional also knows where they are to go post ceremony. Make sure anyone who needs to stay for family portraits know they are to do so. Never assume that people will know where to go and when. Give the photographer the list of each family grouping for photos, and they’ll take over orchestrating everyone around quickly so you and your lovebird can quickly get to your bride/groom photos, and everyone else can get to cocktail hour. Win win!
5.) Assign someone to scoop up cards & gifts post reception. My mama did this one and kept them in her hotel room until we saw her the next morning.
6.) Assign someone to check you into your wedding night room and move your bags in there from your getting ready locations so there is no shuffling around after your reception.
7.) Set expectations with immediate family on the morning after. Want a family breakfast? Great! Want to enjoy breakfast in bed with your forever best bud? Great! Just make sure everyone is in the loop so expectations are set and all are at peace.
8.) Alright, in the spirit of full disclosure to help as much as possible…we are going there: undergarments. Yikes! I forgot to do this for my big day until the very last minute, and ended up super bummed with what I wore and how it looked under my gown. Order any tights, undies, bra, sticky bra, etc for both your rehearsal gown and wedding gown. Make sure you try them all on under your dress before the wedding day. The items you wear under your gowns are equally as important to any alterations you get done on them. At a loss for what to order? Send your seamstress an email and they will likely have great suggestions.
9.) Along the same lines, order some bra sticky tape from Amazon. This is great for all wedding day gals in case of any dress gaps/discomforts discovered on the day of. Trust me, you will need it.
10.) Order jewelry. Same as above, make sure you wear these items to your final fitting with hair similar to what it will look like day of so you are certain you feel exactly as you want to and deserve to feel. Earrings, necklace, bracelet…whatever you’d like! And any hairpieces, too. Order all of these for both the rehearsal and wedding day looks.
11.) Research shoes. Comfort is key! I kicked mine off 2 minutes before I walked down the aisle 😉 Sorry, mom! Because fit and comfort is so important, if you can, wait until the stores reopen to officially make a purchase. But until then, have a list of brands and fits you love so you know exactly where to shop when it’s time.
12.) Order cozy socks & attire for getting ready. This makes such a difference for all, truly. Feeling beautiful and comfortable the entire day will really help calm any nerves. I got my gals Little Mermaid socks and over-sized mermaid PJ shirts. I wore Scuttle socks and rocked my mermaid bridal sleep shirt. I felt cozy and like myself! Don’t feel pressured to rock the silk white robe you see everyone else in on their wedding day. Wear what brings YOU joy and comfort.
13.) Have someone that knows you very well compile a getting ready playlist.
14.) Think about anyone you want see before the ceremony. Be sure to tell both the special person and your photographer, and set a specific time to meet. I wanted to see my grandma before the ceremony, but ended up so rushed because I didn’t communicate properly or set a specific time. Also ensure to designate a time to give gifts to any special guests. The photos of my mom and I as I gave her gifts are snaps I will cherish forever.
15.) Assign someone to arrange for Jimmy Johns delivery or pack Publix wraps, veggies and snacks for the bridal party to munch on while prepping. This is hugely important. Make sure to pack some bottles of bubbly, too. Grab a cheap one for fun bottle popping photos. The ones captured from my big day are some of my favorites!
Make sure you designate a bridesmaid to keep you hydrated. Pack one of the workout water bottles that measure the ounces and ensure you drink x amount before your walk. Have the same bridesmaid watch your mimosa intake. I only had one before ceremony, and felt instantly loopy due to all the excitement. I stopped about 4 hours before so I was 10000% present during the ceremony.
16.) Assign someone to pray over you about 30 minutes before you walk down the aisle. This can be a sweet moment for just you, you and your groom, or for you and your full girl gang. Make sure the photographer is there for this; it is indescribably special.
17.) Write a welcome/thank you speech you two can deliver together on the night of the rehearsal dinner and the wedding night. Quick, loving, and sincere words from the bride and groom go a long way.
18.) Create a slideshow of photos and videos of you two throughout the years. This is great to have on loop during your rehearsal dinner. If you decide to do this, make sure you have the proper USB/plug in/HDMI. Confirm with your venue what you have is accurate. We did not, and the slideshow I worked tirelessly on was never seen because of it.
19.) What are guests going to sign? Be sure to have it prepped and with necessary sharpies or pens. Get more sharpies than you think you may need. They dry out quickly.
I recommend picking something you can display in your home. Luke and I got an antique oar from a shop in Ohio. It’s on display in our living room, and we still smile walking by those dearly loved names each day.
20.) What photos do you want displayed? Get them printed and in frames for the card and memorial table.
21.) Get a Bible you want present at your ceremony. We got one from the same antique shop in Ohio we got out oar guest book from. It sits in our room and nearly brings me to tears every morning. It is the first thing we moved into our new home. It is SO special to us.
22.) Book your hair & makeup trial. This can be stressful, so set it up to make it fun & encouraging. Bring one or two kindly opinionated (but not aggressively opinionated… 😉 ) dear friends or family members. Bubbly helps, too. While you wait for salons to reopen, research hair and makeup styles. Save them to a Pinterest board.
23.) Book your manicure & pedicure appointments now. Make sure to include anyone else who has confirmed they want to join you. I promise, it is never too far in advance. Learn from my mistakes 😉 I was such a shambly bride!
24.) Make a list of items for your day of and night of bag. Makeup wipes, razor, special lipstick, perfume, etc. Pack separate bags to make it even easier to transition from your getting ready location to your wedding night suite.
25.) If you have anything special you want photographed for detail shots, make a list of it. This can be sweet letters from one another, family heirlooms you will wear down the aisle, antique champagne flutes, etc. Send this list to your photographer so they have them listed on their daily agenda, too. Don’t forget to bring your full wedding invitation suite and ring boxes.
26.) Write each other letters. Set the expectation now if you two will be exchanging gifts, and if so, set a budget for one another so no one overspends!
27.) Select your key songs. This includes your processional songs, recessional songs, and any first dance songs. Communicate these songs with your band or DJ. Your band or DJ also likely has some sort of “do not play” and “definitely play” type of list for you two to go through. Ask to see this and complete it in advance. They will appreciate being able to tackle work ahead of time, and you will be grateful it’s checked off your list! Most importantly of all, turn your kitchen into a dance floor and whip those dance moves out with your spouse to be. The goofier the better!
28.) If writing your own vows, now is the time to get them tackled. If going off of a format from your officiant, send them an email and ask to see the different options so you can make a decision on any specifics you want included or excluded from your ceremony.
29.) Create thank you cards to be inserted into each guests napkin. Order favors and any gifts you plan to exchange with extra special loved ones. Write out any cards in advance.
30.) Remember: this day, and every day before, God has already been to. He has already walked each moment and paved it out for you–perfectly and all according to His plan. All. Will. Be. Well. You just have to show up and enjoy. Let yourself be free. This is something you will never regret–allowing yourself to forget the frills and just be free with your husband, totally lost in everything and everyone around you. Be captivated by the presence of the Holy Spirit surrounding you both. You are beautiful. You are beloved. You are soon to be married!
Lifting you in prayer, sweet brides and grooms. Sending you the biggest virtual hugs. You’ve got this. You’ve got each other. Your day will be all the more joyful once this pandemic has passed us.
The most radiant of rainbows always show after the worst, most unexpected storms.
All wedding photos captured by the one & only: Love Letters Co.
Need a bit more lovin’, sweet brides? I’ve got you! For more bridal advice, dive in here: Don’t Burst My Bridal Bubble: How To Rock Your Journey To The Altar & every bride is Beautiful.