Wedding planning is a heartfelt and emotional journey so I can only imagine how hard and disappointing this must be for couples whose plans have been disrupted by coronavirus. It’s truly heartbreaking to have to reschedule your wedding. Or to have those early planning stages halted by uncertainty. It’s important to recognise and grieve that loss. And it’s also important to look forward and begin to find ways to feel excited about wedding planning again. Are we ready to tentatively look at the silver linings? Could COVID-19 turn out to be a blessing in disguise for engaged couples?
Whether it’s more time to plan out their perfect big day. Or for some, this might be the chance to seize their dream of eloping instead.
Ways to make the most of a COVID-19 postponed wedding (the short version)
- A chance to reflect on your wedding plan to see if it still fits your vision and values
- More time to switch up any wedding planning details that you weren’t happy with
- If you are having a DIY wedding – more time to DIY your perfect wedding day accessories and decor
- An opportunity to elope instead – if that feels right for you
- The chance to have both a small intimate wedding and a big celebration
- Have an intimate wedding that your friends and family can witness via Zoom
This is an opportune time to look over your wedding plan and ask “is this the right wedding for us?”
Let’s have a real heart-to-heart honest conversation with ourselves. With plans on pause, it’s a good opportunity to sit down as a couple and discuss if your plans still reflect your ‘dream’ wedding. And if they don’t, then this might give you a chance to change that.
I know how easy it is to get swept up in it all. For some, you might have started planning by thinking “okay, we’ll keep it small and intimate, only our most cherished and loved people”. So you started writing a list of who those people are. And one “oh but if we invite them then we have to invite so-and-so” too many later and you realise have a guest list of 150+ people. (And yet you still don’t feel like you’ve made everyone happy.)
You tried your best to be strong and firm in your decisions but it creeped bigger and bigger. Now you might be feeling a little nervous about standing up in front of a large group people, sharing some of the most intimate words you’ll ever say. And you may be also be wondering if you’ll feel like you are ‘performing’ for others. Does this feel like a familiar story to you?
This is absolutely no judgement – it’s a common feeling and a common position. It’s really easy to be swept up in the SHOULDS and MUSTS of wedding trends, traditions and social politics. (I say this with whole-hearted love – having experienced this during my own wedding planning too.)
Two of the most common regrets from couples after their wedding is that their guest list was too big and their day went by in a blur. They didn’t have the chance to really enjoy the day fully.
If you’ve inadvertently found yourself on the big wedding party bus with no way of getting off then maybe, just maybe, COVID-19 could be the emergency brake you didn’t know you needed.
What exactly is ‘eloping’?
Let’s dismiss the idea that eloping is for runaway secret lovers or that its for people who want a quick fuss-free registry office ceremony without celebration.
So what is an elopement? The wedding industry is reclaiming the word – turning it into an alternative option for marrying couples. An elopement is choosing connection over expectation by marrying in an intimate, meaningful and highly-personal way. Focusing only on your commitment – an elopement creates a space for you to be truly vulnerable and present with each other on your wedding day. A common attribute of elopements is that they are intentionally small weddings (often just a couple + their witnesses). Read more about what an elopement is here.
The joy of eloping (particularly in Scotland) is that you can get married just about anywhere as long as you have 2 witnesses and an officiant. You can get married on the beach, up a mountain, in the city streets of Edinburgh, up in a treehouse, in a barn, deep in a cave, in a car, on a bus or just about anywhere your imagination can dream of. (I had to stop because I was starting to sound like Dr Seuss).
For couples who secretly wish they could elope or have a small intimate wedding
There are plenty of different reasons that people choose to elope – and a lot of them aren’t necessarily what you think.
- Not wanting to be the centre of attention in front of a crowd of people
- Worried they will feel ‘on show’ or as though their vows are a performance for other people
- They don’t want to feel like they are trying to make it the best day for everyone else
- Finding themselves looking forward to the honeymoon more than wedding so decided to combine the two by eloping somewhere incredible!
- There was family/social politics that would have prevented them from feeling relaxed and happy on their big day
- Valued spending money on all-out incredible adventure or experience rather than a big party event
- Wanted take the day a bit slower, cherishing each moment together
If anyone of this is ringing true for you but you feel like you’re too far down the planning journey to turn around then COVID-19 could your chance to change course. Or have your cake and eat it too (I’m mixing my metaphors all over the place here!)
Whilst being sensitive to the situation, I truly believe this is an exciting time for marrying couples. Whether you’re rescheduling your wedding or you’re recently engaged and just starting out on your journey.
There is no better time to choose to elope instead. Just the two of you (maybe with a very small handful of your most cherished people) somewhere which truly speaks to your hearts as a couple. You can have that intimacy, that connection and experience which is more reflective of who you are as a couple. AND (this is the exciting bit) you can still have an after-party, with less of the guilt and pressure later down the line. Or no party at all!
Elope instead options
- Have an elopement ceremony on your original date
- Elope later when you can combine it with an amazing trip somewhere (like, I dunno, Scotland? I hear it’s nice there)
- Elope later in a special local spot which has special significance to you
- (And for any of these, you can always have a celebration party later if you want to. Even pop your outfits back on and share a few words/photos/video from your elopement ceremony. There are lots of way you can make people feel included in your special day at a celebration) – I’ll need to write a whole separate blog about that!
Give yourself permission to retake control of your dream wedding. If disappointing friends and family was top of your worries about having a smaller, more intimate wedding or eloping then now is a good time to look at it again.
Friends and family are likely to be more understanding about the decision to elope or have a micro wedding in light of the current situation. (We’ve all had to postpone things or be disappointed about not being able to attend something or go somewhere).
Just through my own observations, this feels like a more accepting time. We’re all reflecting on our values and how we want to spend our time – I genuinely believe that makes us more empathetic to other people’s decisions.
Zoom weddings for the party-people and the people-people
Some couples absolutely LOVE the idea of a big celebration, to be surrounded by a community of their people whilst giving themselves and others a day to remember. And if that’s you, this is also a brilliant time to reflect, to tweak, and to consider how you can inject more of your personality into your special wedding event when it comes.
If you can’t wait , the other option for you is to have a Zoom wedding. This means having an amazing intimate wedding but let your friends and family share your special day through the digital magic of a Zoom wedding. This can be anywhere (doesn’t have to be in your backyard or living room) – as long as you can get a celebrant and a photographer together wherever you choose. And once restrictions are lifted, have that big celebratory party where you can hug all your friends and dance the night away.
There are lots of different technical ways to set up a Zoom wedding (aka digital wedding or micro wedding) so feel free to drop me a message if this feels like your ideal option.
If you’re interested to read stories from couples who have switched up their plans in light of COVID-19 then read this lovely article from Junebug.