When is the last time you thought “life-as-usual” sounded as much like a fairytale as it does now? Never? Me, too.
It goes without saying that COVID-19 has brought new challenges to the table for recently-engaged couples who are eager to start planning their wedding. The good news? Thanks to technology, it’s still possible to form connections with vendors and take steps forward despite this season of social distancing and uncertainty.
Use video calls to stay connected.
You may be using video conference apps for work already. Whether you’re a FaceTime aficionado or new to video calls, this tech tool can be a wedding planning game-changer. I’m a fan of Zoom, and believe video conferencing will continue to be a preferred way for couples and wedding vendors to connect even after social distancing restrictions are lifted. What sounds like a more efficient use of time: Taking off work for several hours to attend a consultation, or hopping on a call from the comfort of your home and then immediately going back to whatever you were doing before the meeting commenced? Maintaining a healthy work/life/wedding planning balance is essential, and utilizing video conferencing when appropriate is a great way to regain a bit of margin.
The key phrase here is “when appropriate.” Video conferencing is an excellent option in the early stages of planning as it offers a quick, convenient way to look through Pinterest boards, discuss ideas, and receive feedback from your planner in real-time. Other aspects of the wedding planning process, however, still call for in-person meetings—viewing floral prototypes or doing a walk-through of a venue, for example.
Create an online planning hub.
Planning: Julian Leaver Events || Photography: Natalie Barrett || Venue: Nasher Sculpture Center
I use Aisle Planner with my clients to create a shared planning space. Through this portal, all checklists, contracts, budgets, notes, and contact information can be accessed at any time. This is a wonderful tool that brings peace of mind throughout the process. Let’s say you wake up in the middle of the night with a sudden concern or new idea—Has our room block been reserved yet? Instead of fretting until business hours roll back around, you can log into your private portal immediately to see all of your details. Later in the planning process, we’ll use the same tool to create a seating plan and layout for your reception space. Turning your wedding vision into a reality has never been more convenient!
As an added bonus, if other parties are contributing to your planning or decision-making process, you can also give them access to relevant sections of the portal. If Mom wants to help you build the guestlist and Dad wants to be able to see the budget, for example, they can each be given access to these specific areas.
Schedule a weekly call with your wedding planner.
Regardless of whether you’re at the beginning stages of planning or are ready to walk down the aisle as soon as restrictions lift, it’s important to maintain consistent contact with your wedding planner. Rather than reaching out sporadically as questions and concerns come to mind, work together with your planner to schedule a dedicated weekly check-in call. This ensures that your questions will be answered thoroughly and that your planner is able to give you the time and undivided attention you need to make decisions efficiently. To keep the momentum going, take notes and build a task list during each call. Rather than struggling to remember what was discussed, you’ll end each meeting with an organized, actionable list of takeaways.
Taking this kind of focused, “small burst” approach to wedding planning is the best way to avoid overwhelm. Planning your wedding shouldn’t feel like a full-time job. That’s why you decided to hire a planner! Think of the wedding planning process as a savings account. Dedicate a portion of your time each week to wedding planning and, before you know it, you’ll earn some interest in the form of increased personal time and decreased stress. Before you know it, you’ll have built a reservoir of trust with your wedding planner, which allows him to allocate your resources in a way that maximizes value and materializes your vision. Up next? Realizing your dream—the final step in achieving wedding planning success.
Technology in Action
Lexy and Michael are a lovely couple based in New York City. As SMU grads with one set of parents living in Connecticut, they aren’t strangers to using technology to connect with others. Just as everything began to lock down amid the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, they booked my planning services sight-unseen. Needless to say, the process of planning their destination nuptials during such an unprecedented time has been tricky. We decided to secure a date in 2021, one of my suggestions for any bride planning a wedding during COVID-19, and proceded by locking down their “Big 5”—Wedding Planner (check!), Venue, Photographer, Videographer, and Entertainment.
For photography, the couple selected John Cain based on a personal referral. Knowing that SMU was special to both Lexy and Michael and that Dallas would be their wedding destination, we were able to book the Virgin Hotel, which has an incredible contemporary vibe. For entertainment, I referred the couple to the Jordan Kahn Orchestra—Jordan’s Manhattan group fits perfectly with their New York connection! We also secured Stamped Paper Co. as their stationery provider. Because I had already met with Lexy by Zoom to conduct a Pinterest audit, we were able to present the Stamped team with a curated stationery board—which led them to quickly offer a tailored proposal and quote. Soon, we’ll be getting samples in the mail and Lexy and Michael will be one step closer to checking off their next wedding planning “to-do.”
All of this is to say…yes. Vendors are still booking! And most are booking well into 2021 due to postponements from the spring of 2020. You may feel like you have plenty of time to start making decisions, but in reality, earlier is better—especially since communication is taking 2-3 weeks longer than normal amid the current crisis. Employees at various hotels and venues have been furloughed, florists are juggling an unprecedented amount of postponements, and vendors are under a lot of stress overall. You need a wedding planner who has the persistence and pre-existing personal connections needed to secure bookings on your behalf as soon as possible.
You’ll be tempted to put off the planning process. You’ll see the roadblocks this virus has put in our way and say, “No way.” I’m here to tell you that together, we can adapt and achieve great things despite all that stands against us. Technology has given us the ability to continue making forward progress in the face of uncertainty, and ultimately remain hopeful for a blissful wedding and brighter future.
If you’re ready to take step one, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I would love to hear more about your vision and help you navigate the wedding planning process.