Wedding planning doesn’t need to come to a halt just because everything else has. Planning your wedding and gathering inspiration is a fabulous way to lift your spirits and focus on the exciting times to come.
How To Virtually Plan Your 2021 Wedding during COVID-19
During this unsettling time of COVID-19 it may seem like your wedding plans have come to stand still, when in fact there’s a whole lot of things you can do to keep the wedding planning moving. Really Emma, even in lockdown? Yes really, even in lockdown!
If your wedding was planned and ready to go but sadly postponed, all I can say is to sit tight and go with the flow, try not to overthink it or stress unnecessarily as you can’t control how this is unfolding. If you feel uncertain about something and can’t find the answers you’re looking for or even just want to go over your COVID-19 wedding plan with a planner, send me a short message and I’ll do everything I can to advise you.
If you’ve just gotten engaged and are right at the beginning of planning your wedding, congratulations - the news is slightly brighter! There are many things you can start on to keep yourself busy (especially if you’re currently on furlough and find yourself floundering through the endless days).
This is my current advice, I’ll keep coming back and updating this as we receive new updates each week.
Compiling the guestlist
There’s nothing holding you back from determining your guest list and compiling all their details while you have the time – you can download my suggested layout for this information in an Excel document here:
Wedding budget options
Financially, COVID-19 is affecting everyone. Although the dream wedding may seem worth the financial investment, take this time to have a proper think about how much you feel comfortable spending on this special occasion.
I’ve been advising couples that smaller weddings are a great opportunity to opt for quality over quantity and have an ultra-luxurious day with their closest friends and family instead of creating large guest lists which won’t be encouraged over the coming months.
Virtual venue showrounds
If you’re right at the start of your wedding planning and still searching for a venue, don’t discount virtual venue showrounds! Many wedding venues have adapted and are now offering virtual tours of their wedding spaces and grounds to couples. Some venues are taking smaller deposits to ease the financial pressure on couples.
If you’ve hired a wedding planner, they may already be familiar with your shortlisted wedding venues. A virtual tour along with your planner’s knowledge of the venue could be enough for you to feel confident to secure your booking.
Remember, as soon as you’ve got the venue nailed down after determining the guest numbers and wedding budget, many of the other items start to fall into place. Which is why you should be focusing on these three elements first. Click here to view a list of wedding and ceremony venues in the United Kingdom all offering virtual tours during this time.
Remember, as soon as you’ve got the venue nailed down after determining the guest numbers and wedding budget, many of the other items start to fall into place. Which is why you should be focusing on these three elements first.
Researching wedding suppliers
Wedding suppliers are still very much operating even though our weddings have all been postponed. If you’ve booked your wedding venue, you should request their recommended suppliers list (if they have one) and start researching your favourite suppliers. I look at both their websites and Instagram profiles. The website is an indicator of how professional the company is and Instagram profiles offer an insight into the supplier’s team, their product or service, etc.
Now is an excellent opportunity to request pricing and take the time required to compare and sort through quotes. I would recommend a minimum of three quotes per supplier to ensure you can accurately compare pricing, quantity and quality. Suppliers are not as busy in comparison to the normal pre-wedding season period, and no doubt they will be more than happy to help and quick to respond to your enquiry.
Collating your wedding playlist
If you’ve been productive enough to go ahead and secure your production company and entertainment, now would be a brilliant time to grab a bottle of wine from M&S, sit down with Spotify or Amazon Music and create your wedding playlist. This is something that is naturally time consuming and doubles up as a fabulous excuse to have a mini party with your spouse-to-be. I always recommend selecting a variety of songs to suit the different times of the wedding day.
During the drinks reception, opt for entertainment or songs that are upbeat and celebratory but still laidback enough that your guests can comfortably chat over it. I often suggest groovy lounge music if the couple aren’t hiring a band, like Goldfish, a duo originally from South Africa.
If you’re having a grand entrance into the dining room, choose an energetic and lively song that gets your guests excited. This is one of my favourite moments during the wedding, when the couple bursts into the room to the cheers of their friends and family (same goes for the cake cutting if you select a song for this)
Dinner music should be similar to the reception, easy to speak over and not too overwhelming while guests are enjoying their meal. Live instruments are wonderful here as the musicians can discretely fade in and out between speeches or announcements, and there’s nothing more romantic than a saxophone crooning over the room.
And of course, anything goes in the evening – it’s your night! You can open the dance floor with your first dance or the night-time entertainment can kick in as you cut the cake. It’s up to you and is a brilliant opportunity to inject your personality as a couple into the evening.
Music is a subtle and effective way of shifting the atmosphere at an event so don’t be afraid to get creative. I’ve even had songs lined up for the shift from dinner to evening party that were scheduled to start playing at the same time as waiters came out with evening cocktails and shooters, the world really is your oyster on your wedding day.
Music is a subtle and effective way of shifting the atmosphere at an event so don’t be afraid to get creative.
Receiving supplier samples
When it comes to items like the wedding cake and stationery, many suppliers are happy to send out product samples and are taking extra measures to adhere to current COVID-19 guidelines. For example, you can receive a special delivery of four cake sponge flavours in a taster box from Malarkey Cakes. And stationers, like Dimitria Jordan, will often post cut-offs of cardstock options or unused invitations for you to see and feel in person, which means you could easily confirm their services contact free.
Complimentary video consultations with a wedding planner
After seeing how wedding suppliers are so proactively adapting to continue doing business in our new Contact Free Economy, I felt that I had to follow suit and adapt my approach to wedding planning to continue helping couples. I now offer virtual wedding consultations, and as with my normal initial consultations, these are 100% free and without obligation to book.
For wedding planners, it’s not uncommon to plan weddings over video chat. The nature of destination wedding planning often means that the couple and wedding planner are on opposite sides of the globe and plan the wedding almost without ever meeting in person until just before the big day itself.
As mentioned at the beginning of this page, I’m currently available to contact for free wedding advice and guidance for couples who are unsure of how to proceed through COVID-19 and planning their wedding.
View wedding venues in the United Kingdom from the comfort of your own home
Wedding venues in the United Kingdom offering virtual tours
Wedding venues are working hard to continue assisting their couples during COVID-19. Most are offering live video showrounds or a video consultation after you have viewed the virtual tour. Virtually browse through a selection of exquisite wedding venues across the United Kingdom.
Barn on The Bay in Northumberland is offering live video showrounds – schedule an appointment here
Birtsmorton Court in Worcestershire has a virtual tour of the venue followed by a video consultation
Botley Hill Barn in Surrey is offering live video showrounds – schedule an appointment here
Colshaw Hall in Knutsford has a virtual tour of the venue – view it here
Glemham Hall in Suffolk is offering live video showrounds – schedule an appointment here
Hayne House in Kent has a virtual tour of the venue – view it here
Makney Hall Hotel in Derbeyshire is offering live video showrounds – schedule an appointment here
Mapperton Weddings in Dorset has a virtual tour of the venue on their homepage – view it here
Shustoke Barn in Warwickshire is offering live video showrounds – schedule an appointment here
South Farm in Hertfordshire has a virtual tour of the venue – view it here
The Barn Wedding in Welshpool has a virtual tour of the venue – view it here
The Beverley Barn in Yorkshire is offering live video showrounds – schedule an appointment here
Thicket Priory in Yorkshire has a virtual tour of the venue – view it here
Thief Hall in North Yorkshire is offering live video showrounds – schedule an appointment here
Wrenbury Hall in Nantwich has a virtual tour of the venue – view it here
About the writer
Emma-Jane Aldridge: London wedding planner, plant mum and book lover
Emma has been planning weddings for couples in London, UK and Cape Town, South Africa since 2017.
As a London wedding planner who is continually inspired by a variety of design eras, Emma loves to create wedding concepts of all themes and styles for her couples, from quintessentially British occasions to glamorous and modern affairs. View more of Emma's work on Instagram.