Planning a 2021 wedding during COVID

Yes, the future is uncertain. But it’s okay to still want to plan your wedding! 

If you’re newly engaged and feeling a deep sense of disappointment or despair due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I want you to know that you are certainly not alone and I understand. Like everyone in the event industry since the pandemic hit, I have been working like a madwoman to assist my clients in every way I can. 

2020 keeps throwing curve balls, and I assure you, baseball (or sports in general honestly) is not my calling. But I keep on swinging, and so should you.

Just because we live in very strange times doesn’t mean your entire wedding planning process has to be put on hold. You can still work on wedding planning and enjoy the excitement of the engagement season. Just do so  without making huge commitments. 

It’s okay to still love love and to want to plan a wedding. 

After all everyone needs something to look forward to! 

Bride and Grooms walking away from the alter just married in Pebble Beach. Bride is holding up a bouquet of green and white flowers in one hand.

Photo By Brandon Scott

First, give yourself permission to grieve the loss of the engagement and wedding planning experience you thought you were going to have. I have spoken to so many people that had their epic wedding and engagement plans turned on their head. Understandable, many don’t feel like moving forward. This year has been the most nauseating roller coaster I have been on in a long time, scratch that, Ever. 

However, we must keep moving forward!  Here are some planning ideas to keep your spirits up and to make sure you are ready when the time comes. 

On that note…

What can you be doing right now to stay on-track and inspired? If you’re going to be shut-in at home for the next few months or are working from home for the foreseeable future, just know staying focused can be HARD. With that in mind here are some wedding planning steps that you can do in small doses that will help greatly in the long run. 

  1. Explore your wedding day vision

Your wedding day vision is all about dreaming. Instead of panic-booking vendors or feeling stuck in analysis paralysis, dive into the dreaming about possibilities. I suggest doing this on Pinterest! Collect images of color palettes, artwork, food and beverages, floral arrangements, tablescapes, textiles, stationery, and travel destinations that resonate with you and feel reflective of your love story. 

Keep in mind that sometimes the best inspiration does not need to be wedding related, once I had a wedding theme completely designed around a Monet painting the couple saw in a museum on one of their first dates. 

Bride with large classic white bouquet surrounded by 4 bridesmaids in Mauve long dresses with bouquets of eucalyptus and other greenery.

Photo by Barkis Co

Find what resonates with you as a couple and create a board that will serve as inspiration. At the start, don’t put limits on yourself. Pin everything that catches your interest. You can audit your board as you move along in the process. 

Start by doing this over the course of a month. When finish, take a short break (about how long?), then revisit your board. Now you can start to delete ideas that are no longer relevant, and make notes on the pins you do like. Be sure to clarify what you like about each image. For example, do you like the color, texture, floral arrangement or just feeling of each image. 


2. Create a list of priorities


In several of my blog posts, I advise couples to create a list of priorities very early in the process. Setting priorities helps guide you and solves a dilemma when you are stuck. Now is the perfect time to sit down with your love and sort out those priorities. 

I suggest sitting down and talking about what you really want from the wedding. Try and make sure you are both on the same page. 

To help get you started, here is a list of questions to consider: 

Do you want your wedding to be intimate or grand? 

What aspects of your wedding are most important to you? For example, are you most interested in the ceremony, the party, the band, the food, or the setting?

What aspects are not so important?

What items are you willing to splurge on? (Photography, videography, a wedding planner to save you time, energy and money) 

What elements would you like to save money on? (Full bar vs beer and wine only, style of meal service)  

couple kissing at sunset in Spanish Bay pebble Beach. Bride is holding a bouquet of yellow and cream flowers.

De Joy Photography


3. Scheduling phone calls with potential KEY vendors


Although some in-person meetings are off the table for now, your potential wedding vendors are just a phone call or video chat away. The best news? We would love to hear from you during this time. We WANT to hear your story and remember what it is that we love about our jobs. As a wedding planner, there’s nothing I love more than helping people and making connections. 

Now that most events for 2020 have been postponed or cancelled due to COVID, we’re more available than ever before to provide you with information and join you in dreaming about your fabulous wedding day. 

Book Key vendors early: Wedding planner, venue, officiant photographer, videographer

Due to postponements this year,  2021 dates are going to fill rapidly. Securing your key vendors now ensures that you don’t have to stress as 2020 comes to a close and your dreams of wedding planning becomes more real! If you aren’t set on getting married in 2021 or if you are really stressed about getting married in 2021 due to fears of COVID flaring up again, consider booking a venue and a planner for 2022 and then taking a little break. Most wedding planners will be happy to start planning a wedding up to 12-18 months in advance. 

Some advice on vendors: before signing on the dotted line, make sure that each vendor clause includes language that clearly identifies their postponement policy in the event of a pandemic resurgence. A wedding planner can help you navigate pandemic related risks. Also, should the need arise (which we all hope it won’t), we can help you handle postponing without the massive headache so many couples encountered in 2020. 

Wedding party toasting at the end of a toast from the best man at a wedding at the Vineyard House in Carmel Valley.

Photo by A Tale Ahead Photo

Since we are all living in these “unprecedented times” (how sick are you of that phrase?) I understand how scary and uncertain planning a wedding can feel. The fear of planning a wedding then having it derailed is heart wrenching. But you aren’t in this alone. If you just need someone to talk to about planning and how to move forward lets talk! I always offer couples discovery calls to help them identify what they are struggling with and ways to overcome it. Contact me and let’s chat! I would be honored to help you navigate this time and help get you to the big day!


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