Wedding Planning Advice for Couples Getting Married This Year

Let’s be real: wedding planning is not all pretty lace, bouquets, and dancing all the time. Between the various people involved, orders placed, and details decided on. There are several ways for something to slip along the way.

Caterers drop the cake. Uninvited guests sneak in. Videographers record over the wedding ceremony footage. One misstepped high heel rips the wedding dress. Party-animal friends raise the bar tab. The sweet but tired flower girl throws a tantrum walking down the aisle.

Hiccups along the way, those are expected—but it’s safe to say no one expected the one we got in 2020. The worst scenario happened. Postponements. Cancellations. Non-refundable deposits lost.

With that, many couples around the world are wondering what to do next. All the unpredictable events that happened in 2020 has changed the wedding industry for the foreseeable future. There are new things to consider, so we compiled the wedding advice you need to move forward.

Below is some expert advice from wedding planners on getting married this year

a woman planning using an agenda

1. Consider all the options

“A lot of our planning is scenario-driven right now—we have a plan A, plan B, and a plan C. It’s not enough to have one plan and a backup plan, you need a contingency because there’s so much uncertainty when it comes to government rules and changing social norms.”

– Bryan Rafanelli, Founder & CCO of Rafanelli Events in an interview with Vogue

What can you do?

  • Book your wedding for 2022 or later if you’re not ready to compromise on your dream details.
  • Start talking to vendors now if you’re planning a wedding for 2021.
  • Have a plan for various gathering sizes, should they change.
  • Consider up-in-the-air traveling restrictions. Instead of a destination wedding, consider a local venue. Opt for a road trip honeymoon, or postpone your honeymoon into the future. Look for COVID-19 pandemic insurance plans that include the possibility of quarantining.
  • Read the fine print on wedding insurance policies, as some might not cover COVID-19 related cancellations.
a bridal salon owner calling a client

2. Negotiate and be proactive with vendors

“‘It’s important to understand what your vendors’ policies are around cancellation, date change, postponement, ‘force majeure’ and financial penalties in relation to any of these topics… When you have to have really difficult conversations around contracts and financial losses or penalties, [know that] it’s just as difficult for the vendor,’ says Kent. ‘Kindness and understanding is going to get you a lot further.'”

– Lynzie Kent, creative director of Love by Lynzi, in an interview with Truc Nguyen in CBC Life

What can you do?

  • Book vendors and place orders at least 10 to 12 months in advance as timelines may be longer. Many couples who planned to marry in 2020 postponed to 2021. Vendors might be all booked, including but not limited to venues, planners, videographers, photographers, bridal shops, hair and makeup artists, florists, officiants, caterers, and DJs/bands.
  • Discuss the vendor’s policies around potential COVID-related cancellations, adjustments, and postponements. For example, some venues may agree to move your ceremony up to a particular date, while others might not be that flexible.
  • Look at mid-week ceremony options, especially if you’re considering a wedding in April to September, which is the busy season for venues. Having a winter wedding in the slower months might be a solution.
  • Open up to alternative venues such as a courtyard, private residence backyard, small gallery, or marquee tent in a garden.
a bride and groom live streaming their wedding on Zoom

Photo by Amber Vickery Photography

3. Prioritize, simplify, downsize and adapt

“We’re planning multiple scenarios in terms of guest count, including various floor plans with and without social distancing in place… We are also encouraging all our clients to be flexible. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that life as we know it can change on a dime. Being nimble and having a positive outlook will go a long way in saving your sanity if you are planning a wedding or event during the pandemic.”

– Jennifer Bergman in an interview with Alison McGill from weddingbells.ca

What can you do?

  • Make the day about you and your partner because that’s what matters at the end of the day. Be intentional. Decide what parts of your wedding are must-haves, and where there’s room to compromise.
  • Give yourself room to be flexible. Keep dates off wedding favors. Start with 25 save-the-dates for close friends and family members, and give digital versions to everyone else. Choose a company that has many pre-designed wedding stationery options, great reviews, and fast shipping times, such as Botanical PaperWorks.
  • Prepare for potentially uninviting guests if restrictions change. The ones you love will understand, as these unpredictable times have been challenging for everyone.
  • Print out and use a free wedding planning binder to stay organized with all your contracts, vendor agreements, insurance policies and other key planning details.
  • Consider the option of resizing to a micro wedding, minimony, or elopement if you’re getting married in 2021. There’s less pressure with fewer people on the guest list and more assurance around meeting gathering restrictions. Plus, going smaller gives you wiggle room with your budget.
  • Expect new safety measures at the wedding in 2021, including but not limited to hand sanitizing stations, masks in groups, and/or spaced-out cocktail tables.

Planning a wedding in times like these may be tricky, but it’s not impossible. With the right mindset and balanced expectations, you’ll overcome the obstacles in your way and find joy in the process.


Browse through seed paper wedding collections by BotanicalPaperWorks.com.

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