How to Plan Your Wedding with Confidence During a Pandemic

Written by Katrina Otter
It’s a brand new year, 2020 is firmly behind us.

I’m heading into 2021 by looking back at my last feature (Why We Won’t Be Talking About 2021 Wedding Trends) and reminding myself of a commitment I made – to move forwards filled with confidence, hope and the promise of all the love, authenticity and considered celebrations to come.

And it’s specifically the word CONFIDENCE that I want to focus on and talk about today as part of my first collaborative planning feature of the year.

But before I do, just a quick I’m introduction, especially for those of you that are recently engaged (a huge personal congratulations if you are) and therefore new to the pages of Coco Wedding Venues.  I’m Kat, Founder and Head Wedding Planner at Katrina Otter Weddings, and since 2013 I’ve been sharing my advice, top tips and planning experiences on the Coco blog, including our Annual Trend Reports (with the obvious 2021 caveat).

This year I’m back with a plethora of planning features in the pipeline, from social distancing at weddings to tablescapes and styling. I’ll also be giving a couple of my most popular features (from the planning archives) a 2021 refresh.

Finally (before I delve into today’s feature) I just wanted to check in to make sure you’re ok and to let you know that I’m here for you – if there’s ever anything from a features perspective that you’d like me to cover, whether that’s general planning advice or something more specific (including additional contributions to this incredibly informative series – Coronavirus and your wedding), then PLEASE just let me know – I’m genuinely here to help in any way I can (and if you want to reach out directly you can find my contact details here).

Annual introduction done, and now it’s time to talk about YOU, YOUR wedding and moving forwards with CONFIDENCE during a pandemic.

The question is, in light of all that’s passed, all the uncertainty, challenges, anxiety, fear, despair and exasperation we’ve collectively and consistently faced, and especially in light of Monday evening’s lockdown announcement, how on earth can you move forwards and plan a wedding with confidence?

With this in mind, I thought I’d share some of the advice that I’m giving my (Katrina Otter Weddings) couples in the hope that you too can move forwards with your planning journey.

Right, shall we begin?

Planning with Confidence

Prioritise

The dilemma… you want to plan, you want to book suppliers and you want your wedding to be everything you imagined it would be and so much more but standing in your way are those Coronavirus what-ifs and the fear of making (financial) commitments.

And just to compound matters there’s also the fear that you might lose out and therefore be disappointed – if you don’t book a venue now and you don’t commit to suppliers now, by the time that you feel comfortable and confident to proceed, you may have missed your chance to secure your dream venue or those suppliers that you’ve been coveting.

I get it, I really do.

IF you can then my advice here would be to PRIORITISE – choose a handful of suppliers (even just 1 or 2) that you know you can’t live without and commit. That way you won’t be disappointed (you’ll have bagged a couple of coveted suppliers as part of your dream team), you’re moving forwards (at a pace that you feel comfortable with), whilst also controlling the risks and those what-ifs.

Tweak Your Planning Timeline

If you’re nervous about making big decisions and commitments, tweak your planning timeline and action those elements that you feel more comfortable with / in control of. By doing this you’re still actively planning but you’re doing so in a controlled way that will hopefully allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment, security and assurance.

Create a Pinterest board and design concept, liaise with suppliers that you’ve already booked, put together your gift list, think about your ideal menu, create a wedding website, organise a wine tasting (my vote is for the latter!) – these are all examples of things that you might want to consider, action and tick off your planning timeline, whilst still feeling comfortable and confident.

It’s safe to say that the standard planning timeline has gone out the window, so mix yours up, move forwards and do what feels right for you.

Communicate

Communication has always been key to planning a wedding but even more so during a pandemic.

If you’re concerned about booking / committing to suppliers, then as a starting point reach out and communicate. Be honest about your concerns (please don’t be nervous or embarrassed about doing this either – we 100% understand) and start an open dialogue about your options, contracts, financial commitments (and whether or not these are negotiable) and ways to minimise risk (i.e. what happens if you need to postpone).

If suppliers are open and honest in return and their responses / your conversations fill you with assurance, then hopefully you can proceed with confidence.

And if you’re still worried or have any concerns then please don’t feel any pressure to commit – after all you’re still planning, you’re still moving forwards, you’re still considering your options and you’re still making confident decisions (not to commit).

If you’ve already booked suppliers, then maintain an open dialogue about all the things that you can still actively plan to keep you motivated and inspired.

Finally, it’s not just suppliers – remember to share and communicate your thoughts, experiences, feelings and concerns with your partner, family and friends too. They’re there to support you, to provide you with guidance and encouragement and hopefully act as a sounding board that will allow you to make informed and confident decisions moving forwards.

Understand, review and embrace your options

It goes without saying that if you want to plan your wedding with confidence during a pandemic, you NEED to be prepared and plan for the potential that your wedding may be affected, especially if you’re thinking about a possible 2021 date.

Once lockdown has lifted, and the vaccine is well under way, weddings won’t magically return overnight. There may be a gradual increase to guest numbers.

Consider (and mentally embrace) all of your options, build in flexibility, have a plan b (especially when it comes to the date and guest numbers), be prepared to adjust your expectations, play it safe, follow guidelines closely, and maintain an open conversation with your suppliers and guests.

Switch off

I don’t know about you, but recently every time I hear the news or go on social media, I seem to end up going down a destructive rabbit hole of doom and gloom. And when it comes to weddings, it’s VERY easy for both of these to become so overwhelming and all-consuming that confidence and motivational levels can hit rock bottom.

For me personally, the best thing I can do (and recommend to you in return) is to switch off. Remove (or mute) those things that end up knocking your confidence and holding you back from moving forwards… take a break from social media, delete any apps and alerts from your phone, unfollow negative Facebook groups, and don’t switch on the news the second you wake up.

Do what you need to do to stay happy, healthy and plan with positivity.

Postpone

I haven’t mentioned it yet but it’s about time I ripped the band aid off and said it… if you’re a little further down the line with your planning, perhaps you have your venue and suppliers booked, then you might be feeling exhausted by it all. If you wake up in fear, your confidence levels are rock bottom, you’re not moving forwards (and haven’t for a while) and you’re worried that your wedding won’t be able to go ahead then it may be worth considering whether postponing (if it’s an option) is the best plan to help you move forwards.

If this is the case and you do decide to postpone (to give you the confidence and peace of mind that you need) then you might find this feature helpful – Next Steps Once You’ve Decided to Postpone Your Wedding.

Hope + light

And finally (now that we’re ripped the previous band aid off) PLEASE hold on to the fact that THERE IS HOPE AND THERE IS LIGHT.

We WILL get through this.

Plan with positivity and move forwards filled with confidence and the promise of all the love, authenticity and considered celebrations to come.

As always, take care of yourself.

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