Hi there brides, grooms, and soon-to-be married people!
I know we are living in some strange, scary and uncertain times. It’s a bleak time to be alive, and an even bleaker time to be planning what should be one of the happiest days of your life. When you got engaged months ago, when you set your date, you couldn’t have had any idea that we’d be here today and now you’re probably scrambling to decide whether you should wait-and-see, reschedule for next year, or just put your wedding plans on hold indefinitely. Deposits may be hanging in the balance, you don’t know if your vendors will be available for a potential new date, and you probably have a ton of questions and worries because let’s face no one ever wrote a “Bride’s Guide to Wedding Planning During a Global Pandemic”.
As a photographer who’s photographed dozens of weddings, I’ve been wracking my brain the past few weeks trying to think of ways to help my clients and future clients who are in the midst planning or having to reschedule their wedding during the Covid-19 outbreak. I think there’s really two big options for couples right now: reschedule your wedding for sometime in mid-late 2021 or 2022 or scale down your 2020 wedding to an elopement/micro-wedding.
First let’s look at rescheduling. Rescheduling for 2021 is a great idea. It says to your guests, we care about you and your health and we want to make sure nothing is stopping you from attending our wedding. By not cancelling on your vendors you’re helping them (many of which are small businesses, family owned, mom+pop type ventures) to stay afloat during a time that is incredibly difficult for all businesses, and especially so for small ones.
Some ideas and tips about rescheduling your wedding:
1. Aim for mid-late 2021 (i.e June onwards). This gives time for the creation of a Covid-19 vaccine and hopefully a return to normalcy. Be aware though, that you may still have to reschedule. No one knows with any certainty what the next year/year and a half will bring.
2. Reschedule sooner rather than later! Your vendors may not have your new date available if you wait too long as other couples are rescheduling and vendors likely already have bookings for 2021.
3. Got the perfect venue, photographer, DJ, or florist? You may have to pick a reschedule date based on your must-have vendor’s availability and find replacements for those vendors who aren’t available on that date. It can be annoying and frustrating, but we all have to be flexible right now. Scheduling further out (i.e. 2022) may help negate this, but again don’t wait too long to book your faves!
4. Many vendors are offering incentives right now for couples who choose to reschedule instead of cancelling. There are tons offering discounts and extras!
5. Remember if you cancel completely, your vendors may keep some or all of your deposit depending on your contract. Reschedule when possible! It’s good for you and good for your vendors!
Pros of Rescheduling:
You aren’t stressing as you wait-and-see if your wedding is going to be able to proceed as planned or if the world will still be on Covid-19 lockdown when your date approaches.
You have breathing room to perfect your wedding plans while you’re working from home/sheltering in place. Get even more creative with your vision, theme, color scheme, favors, decorations, etc. and truly have the wedding of your dreams!
Your guests won’t be stressing as to whether you’re still going to have your wedding or not and if they should risk attending even if shelter in place orders and limits on gathering are lifted by your wedding date. Your guests shouldn’t have to choose between being present for your wedding or their health, especially your older guests and those with health conditions that weaken their immune systems.
Your vendors will love you if you reschedule with them instead of cancelling. You’re helping to keep small businesses in business and that is something to feel good about!
Finally, your guests will be SO ready to celebrate, party, and lift you and your spouse-to-be up with mountains of love and joy when we can all finally gather together again without worry of spreading illness! Emotions are already supercharged on wedding days, you mark my words, they are going to be absolutely electrified, insane on the other side of this pandemic.
Cons of Rescheduling:
Having to wait another year or longer to marry the love of your life.
We can’t know for sure when the world will return to a sense of normalcy. You may have to reschedule again depending what the world looks like in a year.
You may lose out on vendors that you really, really wanted due to availability. On the bright side, there are many wonderful and talented vendors out there that you may not have considered otherwise who would love to have you as a client and who will go above and beyond to make your wedding day absolutely perfect!
Ok, so what if you don’t want to wait another year or so to tie the knot? Maybe you’ve been engaged for a year or two and you’re more than ready to take the plunge into married life. Maybe you want to make sure certain loved ones who are ill or fighting cancer can witness your marriage. I totally get that waiting and rescheduling a year+ out is not the right solution for every couple. So let’s talk about elopements and micro-weddings.
Ideas and tips for scaling back your wedding:
Make sure you hire the right photographer to take lots and lots of photos of your ceremony as well as beautiful and artistic portraits of you and your new spouse afterwards. I know I’m totally biased as a photographer, but I truly believe with every ounce of my being that photography is the most important aspect of your wedding day because when it’s all said and done this will be how your family and friends as well as any future children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and other descendants attend your wedding day! Leave them with something beautiful to live your day through! At Katie and Doug Photography, all of our packages include a sharable, private online gallery where you and your guests can view and download all of your wedding photos from anywhere in the world. We also tend to average 100+ fully edited photos per hour of photography coverage and offer small and short packages for couples who are eloping or having very small events. Head over to our contact page (www.katiedougphotopgraphy.com/contact) and let’s talk about photography for your elopement or small wedding today!
Consider live streaming your elopement ceremony. You can DIY with a cellphone and a tripod or see if your photographer or videographer might be able to offer you this service. Going forward Katie and Doug Photography will be offering an add-on option for live streaming for a small fee. Contact us today to see if live streaming might be a good option for your wedding! Live streaming would start 20-30 minutes before your ceremony to give your guests time to get set up, logged in, and comfortable. This is a great way to be together and present when you can’t physically be together.
What if your venue is closed? If your venue is closed due to Covid-19, try finding an outdoor venue. Some ideas are your backyard, parents’ backyard, a park, a garden, or one of the MetroParks in the Detroit area. As of this writing, many parks remain open although facilities such as restrooms, playgrounds, pavilions, and park offices are closed so take that into consideration as you’re planning your elopement. You may not need a permit/reservation if your event is super small, you’re not bringing in chairs or other seating, and if you’re not using a specific site/pavilion/building/facility, etc. I found this to be the case when Doug and I eloped in Rocky Mountain National Park last October. No permit, no fee, and we could get married at virtually any location within the park as long as we weren’t interrupting foot traffic on the trails. Always call or email your potential venue to be 100% certain that you don’t need a permit or reservation.
What else do you need for an elopement in Michigan?
You will need your marriage license, 2 witness who are over the age of 18, an officiant (pastor, minister, judge, etc, or you can have a friend or family member get certified/ordained online to perform your wedding). That’s basically it. The rest is up to you, although I would highly recommend a photographer and/or videographer to capture your ceremony.
Finally, consider eloping this year and throwing a big party/reception next year. This way you can get married asap without missing out on celebrating and partying with your family and friends. Book a reception hall, cater, DJ, order a cake and see if your photographer and videographer can work out packages for you where they shoot 2 or 3 hours for your elopement and then another 2 to 4 (or more) hours for your reception at a later date.
Whether you’re rescheduling your wedding for a later date or changing your plans to a small elopement, Katie and Doug Photography is here for you! Don’t hesitate to reach out through or our contact form or give us a call! We’re happy to help you with rescheduling, booking a future wedding or planning photography for your elopement and offer wedding planning advice during this difficult time.
Take care and be well,
Katie Doug Photography