Well here we are. We’ve made it to 2021! Over the past week or so we’ve seen lots of #newyearnewme posts to ring in the new year with more ambitious goals in an effort to say “out with the old and in with the something that’s not 2020”. And while it’s definitely inspiring to see how everyone is tackling the new year, we do think there’s still a need to find a balance between our dreams for a fresh start while still remaining grounded in reality.
Whether you’re jumping into 2021 with both feet or stepping in slowly, we need to come to terms with the reality that we’re all still navigating our thoughts and feelings around this novel Coronavirus. As much as we’d like to tell Covid-19 that they are not invited to the party and leave this virus in 2020, the bitch just won’t leave quietly and we need to be realistic about what gatherings, more specifically what Ontario weddings will look like in 2021 and beyond…
THE SHOW MUST GO ON
Though the whole world seemed to stop turning in 2020, people still got married - yes, it actually happened! Despite the constant changes on gathering restrictions and sadly, venues being forced to close, love was not cancelled. As photographers we’ve witnessed couples pave the way (keep reading to hear some Covid MVP stories!) - by still getting married in spite of all the craziness and demonstrating that no matter what the circumstances, celebrating love is sacred. Through their experiences we have learned some lessons, so here is some sound advice from your mask wearing, vaccine awaiting, wedding photographers with actionable exercises included (we are looking at you, you serial quiz takers) - we don’t want anyone reverting back to the bread baking and tik tok video making era that was early 2020.
LET'S TRY TO YOLO
THE ONLY THING TO LOCKDOWN THIS YEAR IS YOUR LOVE
Since You Only Live Once….let’s try to only plan your wedding once. By being flexible with your wedding plans and doing all the leg work now, we can work to eliminate all those pesky anxieties that may arise with the uncertainty of pandemic wedding planning. This starts with prioritizing the top five things that are important to you and your partner on your wedding day. For some, that may be the special moments you share during your vows, for others that may mean doing shot-skis with your uni pals or epic Aunt Suz. It is important to think critically about what your priorities really are and being on the same page as one another. Not all weddings have to look the same - feel free to ditch traditions that might not be important to you! Creating a day that is unique to you as a couple will be part of your story, a story that is most definitely going to be shared in your future, like c’mon you got married during a worldwide pandemic! Putting together this ‘Priority List’ will help determine whether or not you should get married (LOL just kidding), this year with some scaled back aspects or if it’s best postpone to a later date to include your party animal friends.
EXERCISE - spend some time together over your drink of choice and create your list of wants and priorities for the day, merge your lists together and refer back to this list at any point if you are feeling overwhelmed with the planning process. Be sure to share this list of priorities with your closest friends and family who are helping you with the day.
COMMUNICATION IS CARING
Communication is going to be key - through a mask of course - in every aspect: with one another, with your families, and with your vendors. If you are changing any of your original plans, all of your wedding vendors should be in the know. If you’ve been in the planning process over the past year you’ve likely seen some of your wedding vendors posting on their social outlets saying “hey we got you” “we have your back” & “we’re here for you” but truthfully we can’t possibly support you to the best of our ability if we’re not kept in the loop. As your vendors we have been invested since the moment communication began.... so be cute and keep us in the loop. Once you’ve communicated with us we’ll be in great shape to prepare accordingly for your day!
That being said, we’re more than happy to bounce around creative ideas and think outside the box when it comes to your celebration. Here are few of the main routes we’ve seen couples take;
Downsize your guest list and go ahead with your OG date! This can be in the form of an elopement with just the two of you or a micro wedding/minimony to include a small list of important guests or just 2 witnesses. Feel free to still go all out or allocate some newly freed up funds for an epic floral arch, or a wicked ceremony set up, or even go balls out on a fancy catered meal for the 2 of you or your besties!
Have a Sequel Wedding. This means having your ceremony now and then having a party when gathering restrictions ease. Spread out the fun! This way you get something special now and still get to celebrate your love later too!
Postpone your wedding all together. This may be the best option for you and your partner, and that’s great! It means you were in communication with one another to figure out what was important, bring on the shot skis and the sweaty dance party that lasts until 2am! If postponing is the route that you land on, then be sure to let all vendors know ASAP. This way they can potentially open your date up to another couple. Working with your venue and photographer to coordinate a new date will be the next steps.
EXERCISE - hit up your wedding vendors with an email letting them know your intentions for your wedding. Your email could start like this “Hey Most Amazing Human - We have completed your exercises (excellent work) and have determined our priorities moving forward are X,Y and Z. With that said we have chosen to _________. Love your favourite couple!”
Well it’s been a shit show of a year to say the least. As wedding professionals we have worked closely with more than 70 of our couples to navigate different situations and hardships that were thrown at us in 2020. We wanted to share success stories from some true Covid MVPs - it’s really refreshing to see how the wedding industry has adapted to this Covid curveball and created a space where people can be more creative and unique with their celebrations. We hope some of these trends stick around!
1. Downsize and have your wedding now!
This is also called a ‘micro wedding’.
“A micro wedding is an intimate affair, typically with no more than 50 guests. They still feature some traditions that make a wedding but on a much smaller scale”
Sarah and Sean were Covid MVPs because not only were they excited to be married, but also to start a life together. They wanted to move on with life and reno the home they brought together! They worked closely with their vendors to make their 3rd date change happen! Sarah and Sean had a beautiful day at The Broadview Hotel, who accommodated their 25 person guest list with a beautiful outdoor dinner!
Kirsti and Chris are Covid MVPs because they decided that no matter what was going on in the world that it was important for them to get married this year. They were forced to change venues very last minute, and even though they only have 30 guests there, it felt like the room was filled with people! They were the first wedding to happen at Tapestry Hall!
2. Have a Sequel Wedding!
This is also known as the ‘spread out the fun’ option! Think multi day weddings.
That means you get to have a ceremony or elopement now and then have a party on a later date with all your family and friends when gathering restrictions ease.
Christine and Steve were Covid MVP’s because their main goal was to get married in 2020! They made the very difficult decision to cancel their original wedding date and instead they opted to elope with their two best friends as witnesses. They are planning to have a much larger celebration with their friends and family when the world is ready!
Margot and Till were Covid MVP’s because their main goal was to be officially and legally married! They had jumped through multiple hoops after being separated in different countries for the first 4 months of covid, so when it came down to being married they just wanted to do the damn thing! They trusted in me to help plan their day and include all the important details, as well as a few pretty ones! Margot and Till plan to celebrate with their family and friends internationally once travel restrictions have lifted.
EXERCISE - make a couple of back up guest lists with your partner (yes, we know… more lists! But hear us out) so that you are prepared for all options in the case of further lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings. Are you okay with having no one at your wedding? Maybe only 10 or 25. Best case scenario we’re able to open that guest count up to 50 people or more depending on current guidelines at the time of your wedding date.
Don’t forget that no matter which direction you choose to go, the aesthetic, timing, or how closely it followed your initial vision, these moments are your moments! Everything deserves to be documented, so be sure to include your wedding photographer to capture it all!
All our love
Jenn & Lydia
UPDATED WITH ADVICE FROM VENDORS IN THE ONTARIO WEDDING INDUSTRY
We’re so grateful to have had so many insightful and supportive conversations with our couples and other wedding industry friends after releasing this blog on navigating weddings in 2021. We decided to pull together some of the wise words and advice from our fellow Ontario wedding vendors - and clearly people are in agreement - the show really must go on! We've got advice from florists, venues and bridal studios - take a look!
Krystal Young, Owner of Snowberry Botanicals
"For so long the reception part of a wedding has taken centerstage. I feel 2021 will be the year of the ceremony! You guys still want to get married with or without the reception, So Make the ceremony personalized, intimate and over the top! Even if your guest list is less than 10! Spare no details! Plan your reception when it’s fully safe to do so. Save the stress."
Christina Marshall, Director of Business Development, Gaslight Events Company Inc
"As circumstances keep changing due to the pandemic restrictions, the key is to be flexible both from a couple side of things and venue side of things. Go with the flow, last minute changes may have to happen, reenvisioning the celebration may be necessary but your wedding will happen the way you had hoped when it is safe to do so. Your date may have to be moved, but it doesn't mean your love story changes, it just gets a new chapter or two. So have patience, most venues will be trying their hardest to accommodate any necessary changes to your date and vision, because they want you to celebrate your commitment to one another in their space ... even if the date is further away than expected."
And if you are looking at booking a wedding following a recent engagement, look at dates in 2022 or beyond, that way you have peace of mind in hopes that pandemic restrictions will be lifted completely by then
Trella White, Owner of Cellar 1852
"Be honest with yourself & your venue + vendors. The more open you are about your plans, concerns and changes the better and easier it will be for you. Keeping your venue in the dark and then making a last minute change request is difficult. We are managing hundreds of couples and dates, the sooner we know your plans and intentions for your special day, the more helpful we can be."
Robyn Scott, Owner of Blooms and Flora
"From my perspective, we’re all in this beautiful mess together. Keep your Florist in the loop about your plans to re-schedule or scale back. Give them notice of your new or proposed dates - if you have a few dates in mind, let your florist know so they can let you know their availability too. Florists will be handling re-scheduling, revisions, and cancellations differently. So check in with your florist and ask all the questions. Open communication is key and while it is likely they had a contract in-place for cancellations and down-sizing, a pandemic and utter wordly chaos surrounding a wedding date change, probably wasn’t in the fine print. I would never want my couples to have any undue or added stress on top of an already unchartered situation. It is important that my couples know that I am here to accommodate, to change, to be flexible, and make sure they get the dream florals they want - regardless of what their new wedding day looks like."
Gayle, Owner of Oh Happy Brides!
“This pandemic has drastically changed the way we live our lives. It’s taken away our ability to freely socialize, to enjoy the things we used to, and sadly it’s taken away our ability to gather together and celebrate life’s milestones. If there is one thing I recommend to ALL of my brides, it’s to still get married on your date! Treat yourself. Wear your dream dress, get fancy florals, style a cool elopement, pop the champagne and drink & eat all night with your best friend. If we can’t have our dream 100+ person wedding with a sweaty dance party, then the least thing we can do is still treat ourselves to a cool elopement. Then have the party later if you’re still into it!”
Jackie, Owner of Sixpence Bridal
"Plan the wedding you have always hoped for but have a back up plan. Be that to postpone or be open to a smaller, micro style wedding day. Remember to have kindness and understanding. A lot of vendors are also going through these challenging times!"
Jess, Owner of The Modern Bride
"When it comes to shopping for your dress, the advice we want to give our brides is to remain adaptable in your search for your dream dress! Some brides didn't expect that another lockdown would be altering their shopping experience. While they may have had grand plans of shopping with their mom, sisters and BFFs on the white couches of TMB, 2021 is starting off with different plans! We want our brides to know that we are there for them, whether it is talking dress shopping timelines over DMs, booking virtual appointments or walking them through their options. Your dress is still out there waiting for you! The process just might look a little different than you first imagined, but the end-game is the same; You get to marry your best friend in the dress of your dreams.”