Your Dream Wedding/Elopement is still possible!

Yes, you read that correctly. Over the past year, a lot of couples have faced some tough challenges with changes to dates, locations, vendors, guest size, event restrictions, and more. However, being in the wedding industry, and operating through most of COVID-19 during 2020, there are some things that we noticed were taking place. Weddings were more intimate and the people that truly mattered were usually the ones present. Gone were the large weddings last year full of guests that couples may have only had minimal interactions within the past years.

I must say, we are not trained medical professionals, so please exercise judgement and follow CDC guidelines while planning and enjoying your big day!

Here are 5 tips to ensure your wedding/elopement is as good, or better than you could have ever dreamed of.

1.) Focus on what truly matters, each other! COVID-19 has definitely taken a toll on the world, but why does it have to take a toll on your love and how incredible it feels to spend the rest of your life with your amazing partner in crime. I reflect back on our own wedding of less than 25 guests pre-COVID and most of my memories are of my beautiful bride to be. The pictures documented everyone in attendance and other elements we may have missed, but what's engrained in my memories of that day is my wife and our future together. It was incredible to see family and close friends pull together last year to see love continue to conquer and prevail. We heard multiple times from our couples how amazing their families were, helping guide them through uncharted waters that no one really had an answer for. We loved witnessing the laughs, and how each and every guest in attendance meant so much to the couple. In larger weddings you tend to have a lot of different groups bunched together within the wedding, but through all of last year, it was on tight cohesive group engaging with one another. Stop caring what other people do for their wedding, or what your friends, family did etc. Do what YOU want to do. Is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with across from you? Yes, so enjoy that!

2.) Have a back up plan. More predictable days seem to be ahead of us, but that doesn't mean things can't change quickly. One example from last year comes to mind. A couple was getting married at a beautiful venue on a Saturday, and were told that Wednesday the venue had to shut down due to an outbreak. What did they do? They had a beautiful ceremony in the backyard of a home in Bellevue. We photographed multiple weddings last year that were at someone's house, an Airbnb, etc. Not only can your venue change, but a vendor can as well. We hope everyone stays healthy and safe, but people in the community are at risk to catch COVID-19 and must quarantine. A quarantined vendor can't attend your event. Vendors that have multiple people as part of the operation tend to be a safer pick. Dual shooters, multiple people at the flower shop and other vendors. Most vendors we have come across have done the right thing and helped out the couple getting married. Make sure to ask ALL vendors about how they handle COVID-19. Example, if my wife and I get COVID-19, we have back up photographers that we can refer people to, or the couple can make their own selection. We also are more lenient with our contracts. Did the venue get shut down forcing the couple to reschedule? We are going to reschedule with the client as long as we aren't already booked. Look for vendors that run a tight ship, but are also empathetic to scenarios out of their control. In times like this we all need to pull together and help each other out. It's challenging enough navigating weddings through this pandemic, so look for vendors that are there to support you and help see it through.

3.) Determine what matters to YOU most. Depending on your County, State, Country, everyone has different COVID-19 guidelines to follow. Guest size, receptions, ceremony lengths etc. have all changed during the pandemic. Enforcement is a bit different from venue to venue on when masks are worn, social distancing, and other COVID-19 guidelines. As of right now in King County (Washington) is in Phase 2. However, per the website, the state evaluates each region's status every two weeks and can move back to Phase 1, if the criteria isn't met. As of right now there is a 25% capacity and dancing is prohibited. Can you do without a lot of the guests you thought about inviting? Probably. Is there a way you can host a zoom meeting during your ceremony and everyone that isn't invited watch? Absolutely. One of the weddings we photographed did exactly that. They had a 50" TV screen on a stand behind the back row. After the newly weds talked to the guests in attendance, they both walked up to the TV and talked to the people that zoomed in one at a time. Let's be honest, a lot of guests that are invited to large weddings don't show up regardless. Utilizing technology makes it convenient for people to be a part of your special moment.

So dancing is prohibited right now. Can you and your new life partner find a private place somewhere and have an intimate and romantic first dance as husband and wife? Yes! Don't get caught up in what you think is "normal". Your day is what you make of it. Do the things most important to you

4.) Embrace it, and have fun with it. COVID-19 is here and who knows how long for. Has your love stopped? No, so the show must go on! We loved how couples utilized Pinterest and other sites to come up with fun creative ideas for props, gifts, and more. One bride made matching masks for the entire wedding party, and it makes for some amazing photos to document what happened that day. Most venues, back yard weddings, etc. have a fun sanitation station that looks elegant, yet is fun to showcase the moment. COVID-19 sucks, there is no doubt about that, but our attitudes about the moment and what could have been don't have to. We encourage couples to find fun and creative props, masks, stations, photos, videos and more to make more fun memories.

5.) Enjoy the savings, or invest more in a particular vendor. What is one of the upsides to having a smaller more intimate wedding? Less guests to pay for! You can pocket the money and save it, wait for travel restrictions to loosen up and have an amazing honeymoon, or invest more into a particular vendor you care about. Maybe you are really into fine wines or spirits, and that money can go towards top shelf refreshments. Now you can pay the videographer you weren't going to have before, or you can spend more money on the dress. It can be hectic at times, but the extra money you can save can be worth it. Think of which vendors matter the most to you, and take some of the money you saved and upgrade them!

Hopefully these tips help put your mind at ease while planning your wedding or elopement!