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How to plan your wedding during a global pandemic

Planning your wedding day was never going to be a walk in the park, which is why we already gave you our 7 Steps For Success wedding planning blog.  But wedding planning during a global pandemic can really feel like a steep uphill climb… During a storm, with holes in your shoes, and without any guarantee of a view when you eventually reach the top.  Sound familiar?  But, despite all these odds, we’ve still seen hundreds of resilient couples get hitched in Queenstown throughout 2020 and 2021.  And you can do it too!

Here are our top tips on wedding planning during a global pandemic…

© Kellie Francis

Be flexible with your wedding date

Pre-pandemic couples would set a wedding date and this was very rarely changed. Whilst we’ve always accepted that some minor elements of your wedding planning might change in the lead up to your big day, the wedding date was usually set in stone. However, as we continue to experience resurgences of Covid-19 at home and overseas your wedding date is no longer a guarantee. It’s great to have a date in the diary to look forward to and get organised for, but it’s important to be prepared for that to change, potentially with very little notice.

If you’re forced to change your wedding date due to the pandemic affecting travel and/or rules around gatherings, it’s important to be as flexible as possible. Whilst you might find some comfort in the fact that you’re not the only couple going through the stressful process of rescheduling, it does mean that your comrades are in fact your competition in securing a new wedding date. In addition, your suppliers like your wedding venue and photographer will already have other existing bookings in their calendars and so availability may be limited.

Could you consider some less in demand options such as a weekday wedding, avoiding public holidays, or opting for a brunch style wedding? This will definitely help get your wedding planning back on track quicker and give you some really unique wedding photos!

 

Be patient

If you can’t be flexible during your pandemic wedding planning then be prepared to be patient.  For many couples, sentimental dates and essential guests travelling in from overseas are non-negotiable elements for their wedding day. If that’s you then we totally get it. Queenstown is full of international imports who are all missing their friends and family around the world too.  So, for many of you in this position, it’s a case of waiting it out.

Maybe you’ve seen friends become engaged and get married while you are still in limbo. Or maybe you’ve started or added to your family whilst waiting for your new wedding date. Again, you’re not the only nearly-weds going through this and trying to get on with life as usual in the meantime.

The trick with being patient is not to ignore your wedding planning entirely. It’s great to keep collecting wedding inspiration, check in with your wedding team, and keep your guests updated. And, when it all comes together finally, we promise it will be well worth the wait!

© Kate Roberge

Read & understand your wedding supplier contracts

When engaging the services of your wedding team, be sure to read the terms and conditions of their contracts carefully before signing. If you have any questions or concerns it’s best to bring these up at the beginning so that you can talk things through and fully understand the contract you’re getting into. Some elements of your supplier contracts may be flexible, so if you’d like to make any changes there’s no harm in asking.

Covid-19 has not only disrupted the wedding plans of couples like you, it has also significantly impacted the wedding supplier businesses that bring your wedding dreams to life. Each wedding vendor will have their own policies and procedures relating to postponements, cancellations, deposits and refunds. If a wedding supplier does not provide you with any information regarding what happens if your wedding is affected due to the global pandemic, you have every right to ask.

Our Queenstown Wedding Association members have received professional and generous support from Anderson Lloyd lawyers. If you have any legal questions concerning contracts with your wedding suppliers we highly recommend their services and/or reaching out to your own lawyer for advice.

 

Reduce your guest list

Going back to the idea of being flexible, the smaller your wedding group the easier it is to shuffle around your wedding plans at the last minute if needed. A smaller guest list really will make your lives a lot easier when wedding planning during a global pandemic. Even before Covid-19 Queenstown had seen a steady increase in the number of couples choosing to elope, and our local wedding suppliers are already used to changes at short notice. For example, heli-weddings are heavily weather-dependent, and it’s not unusual for these to change date and/or time to make the most of the best weather available whilst the couple are in town.

Also, consider the position of the guests you are inviting.  They will have their own anxieties over the uncertainty that the pandemic has thrust on us all.  Whilst your wedding invitation is a loving way to show that you want to share a milestone moment with your absolute favourite people, it also has many implications for your guests.  They might need to take time off work, make arrangements for childcare, and organise travel and accommodation.  All of these require financial commitments which could potentially be partially or fully lost due to last-minute changes.

Invest in live stream video

If you have important friends and family missing on your wedding day then giving them the opportunity to tune in live online is a great way to share the experience in real-time.  Investing in a professional videographer to provide this service for you ensures high-quality coverage, avoids technical difficulties, ensures you have all the professional equipment you need, and saves you a lot of stress. Your live stream footage will also be recorded and available to re-watch immediately.

Many wedding videographers have further expanded their offerings to better meet the needs of couples planning their wedding day during the pandemic.  Firstly, you can opt for a short wedding trailer video that acts as a teaser of what’s to come from your full highlight film.  This is usually delivered within a few days of your wedding so that you can share some of your wedding action sooner rather than later.  And secondly, there’s the ceremony edit video which is essentially your whole ceremony beautifully edited rather than just the raw footage.

Remember that asking a friend or family member to live stream your wedding ceremony gives them a huge responsibility. They will likely be terrified of not getting it quite right or letting you down.  Also, it’s harder for someone to be present and enjoy the experience of your wedding day if they’re tasked with looking after the device linked to the live stream. We’ve all been through a lot since the pandemic began, and your guests will be really looking forward to an opportunity to relax and let loose.

© Shotover Wedding Films

 

Include friends & family from afar

Wedding planning during a global pandemic unfortunately means that there will no doubt be some special guests missing on your special day.  But, there are many ways you can include missing friends and family on your wedding day wherever you or they are in the world.  Just because your VIPs can’t be with you in person, doesn’t mean you won’t feel their love and support.  And similarly, you can make sure they know you are thinking of them and wish they were with you.

Some examples include: video calling with them, choosing music that reminds you of them, asking them to record a speech that you can play at your reception, or giving them a wave on the live stream video. Even the smallest gesture along these lines can make a big difference to experiencing your wedding day without the people you’d always imagined sharing it with.

Be confident in your wedding team

Choosing the right team of wedding suppliers has always been an essential part of wedding planning, but the pandemic has made this more important than ever.  When seeking out your wedding vendors you’ll want to consider many things including their quality of work, the vibe they provide, their availability, and how they fit in your budget.  But now, trust and communication are absolutely vital.

If the pandemic throws you a wedding planning curveball you’ll want to know that you can rely on your wedding team to respond quickly and calmly.  There’s absolutely nothing worse than feeling left in the dark during your hour of need.  In fact, having the right group of wedding professionals on your side not only increases your chances of a successful wedding, but you’re also more likely to enjoy the overall process.

If you’re trying to do your bit at supporting local business in the wake of the global pandemic, then you can apply that to your wedding planning too.  Shopping locally to the area where your wedding will take place is the best way to secure a team with the local knowledge to help your wedding day go to plan.  Luckily, Queenstown already boasts an array of amazing wedding vendors to cover everything from getting glam, making it legal, and styling up a storm, to fabulous photo & video, planners & packages, and engaging entertainers.

You can explore our local Queenstown wedding supplier directory here.

 

Elope now & party later

Talk about the best of both worlds! Covid-19 might be forcing your hand to elope (or taking it willingly), but if you’re still keen for a huge party then this can always come later. Again, this is not a new thing for couples getting married in Queenstown as many have already opted for an intimate ceremony here followed by a larger reception back home even before the global pandemic kicked off. It also means you get to wear your wedding outfits at least twice, so if you like a bit more bang for your buck then you’re definitely winning.

Splitting up your wedding ceremony and wedding celebrations could help financially as it gives you more time to save for the expense of your reception. Or, there’s the option to really splurge on yourselves for your intimate wedding day and then take a more “no frills” approach to your post-elopement party.

Consider using your separate wedding reception as a chance to showcase your wedding video for the first time. Be sure to check in on deliver timeframes with your videographer first and allow a bit of a buffer. Or, you could opt for a secret elopement and plan an engagement party where you reveal the big surprise!

© Kellie Francis Photography

Be kind

This means being kind to yourselves, to your partner, to your friends and family, and to your wedding suppliers.  Everyone has been affected by the pandemic, its impacts are not always obvious to the outside world, and we are all dealing with the consequences of Covid-19 in our own ways.  The global pandemic has posed challenges for couples and wedding businesses alike and so it’s important to communicate honestly and respectfully at all times.

Self-care is incredibly important when you start to feel the stress of wedding planning during a global pandemic.  Whether it’s taking a long bath, exercising off some nervous energy, or sounding things out with a friend, finding a way to ease your anxiety without beating yourself up is key. 

And, don’t forget about continuing the self-care once you’ve arrived in Queenstown for your wedding. There are plenty of ways to pamper yourself, from getting lost in nature, getting your heart pumping with an adrenaline-fueled activity, or simply taking it easy by enjoying a day at a spa.

 

At the Queenstown Wedding Association our talented members are the wedding professionals you will need for your Queenstown wedding planning.  And we have been supporting our members through the difficulties of this global pandemic through community, education, and resource sharing, with hopes to keep our industry thriving throughout the hard times.  We hope you found this blog post helpful and supportive to you as a couple planning your Queenstown wedding during this global pandemic. 

Just remember to keep calm, and carry on planning your Queenstown Wedding! 

 

Ready to rock your wedding planning?

© Kate Roberge

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