Just Got Engaged? How to Start Planning Amidst COVID-19

Newly engaged and planning your wedding? Find out how to start or continue planning a wedding during the coronavirus outbreak.

By Deanna deBara

bride and groom kiss after wedding
Photo by Transier Photography

If you’re recently engaged, chances are, you’re feeling a little conflicted right now. On the one hand, you’re excited about your engagement and planning your big day. On the other hand, with everything going on with COVID-19—and what that means for your upcoming nuptials—you’re also likely wondering how to best proceed with planning.

This is a confusing time for everyone, especially if you’re trying to coordinate a large-scale event, like a wedding, amidst all the uncertainty.

First of all, your wedding will be wonderful—no matter when it is. Second, we’re here to help! Let’s take a look at how to move forward if you’re trying to plan a wedding during the coronavirus pandemic—whether you’ve been planning your wedding for a few months, a few weeks, or just got engaged and aren’t sure if or when to start planning.

If you’ve been planning your wedding for a few months:

If you’ve been planning your wedding for the better part of 2020, you may already have dates picked out and/or vendors booked—if not for your actual wedding, then potentially for wedding-related events, like your engagement party, bridal shower, or bachelorette party.

If that’s the case, here are a few steps you’ll want to take as you continue to do your wedding planning:

  • Get in touch with your vendors if your wedding is in the near future. If your wedding date (or any wedding-related events) is in the next month or two, you may need to reschedule. Get in touch with your vendors to talk things out and see what your options are. Also, make sure to postpone any wedding-related shipments (like wedding decor or bridal party favors) to make sure they arrive at the right time.
  • Get in touch with your vendors even if your wedding isn’t in the near future. Even if your wedding isn’t quickly approaching, now is still a good time to touch base with your vendors. Just keep in mind that wedding vendors are getting a lot of cancellations and rescheduling requests right now, so if it takes them a while to respond, don’t take it personally. Patience is key!
  • Continue planning—just be prepared to be flexible. If you’re already well into the wedding planning process, there’s no reason you can’t continue planning. It’s just important to be aware of the current situation and how that may impact the planning process (for example, longer response times for vendors)—and be willing to be flexible and patient as you plan.

If you just started planning your wedding a few weeks ago:

If you’re just getting started with wedding planning, good news: There’s no reason to stop. But there are a few things you’ll want to consider as you move through the planning process:

  • Vendors may have longer response times—and less availability. With so many people cancelling their upcoming weddings, many vendors are overwhelmed right now, so it might take them longer than normal to get back to you. And because most of those couples are postponing their wedding to a later date, vendors may also have less availability than they normally would. The more flexible you can be with your dates and lead time, the easier it will be to connect with and book wedding vendors.
  • Non-essential businesses are closed in many areas, which may impact your wedding planning. Many cities and states across the US have ordered all non-essential businesses to shutter their doors until further notice. So, if you were planning to go tour a wedding venue, do a tasting at a local restaurant, or try on wedding dresses at a wedding retailer, it’s going to have to wait until after things normalize and businesses are allowed to reopen.
  • Consider having a longer engagement. The truth is, we’re not sure how long the coronavirus pandemic—and the accompanying social distancing and COVID-19 travel restrictions—are going to last. If you want to play it safe (and haven’t already booked a wedding venue or wedding vendors), consider having a longer engagement and pushing your wedding a bit later than you originally thought it would be. The more time you give yourself to plan, the more likely it is the coronavirus pandemic will be more under control by the time your wedding date arrives.

If you just got engaged and haven’t started planning yet:

If you just got engaged, you’re probably excited to start planning your wedding. And there’s no reason you can’t get started right now. You just may need to adjust your strategy a bit.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re just starting to plan your wedding:

  • Start with the vision. With everything happening right now, it may be challenging to lock in vendors or a location. So, this a great time to focus on the vision for your wedding. What’s your wedding color palette? What kind of menu do you want to serve? What kinds of venues do you want to explore Get on Pinterest and start looking for inspiration. Crafting the vision for your wedding is something you can do on your own, in your own time, from the comfort of your home. It’s the perfect way to plan your wedding under the current conditions.
  • Don’t schedule anything (or at least anything in person) too soon. You probably want to celebrate your engagement—but with social distancing and travel restrictions in full force, doing a big, in-person celebration just isn’t possible right now. Consider pushing any engagement celebrations out at least a few months. Alternatively, if you want to celebrate now, schedule a virtual engagement party with your loved ones from a safe distance.

Tips For All Couples Planning—At Any Stage

No matter where you are in the process, here are a few steps you’ll want to make wedding planning easier, more enjoyable, and less stressful for everyone involved.

  • Don’t panic. With so much uncertainty, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and scared about how the coronavirus is going to impact your wedding. And those feelings are totally valid and justified! Just try not to panic; while things are uncertain at the moment, they will eventually normalize—and you will get to have the wedding you imagined. It just might be a little further in the future than you anticipated.
  • Practice compassion. This is a tough time for everyone. Make sure to practice compassion throughout the process, whether that’s compassion for yourself (for example, if you’re feeling sad about having to push out your wedding date or adjust your wedding planning process), your partner, or your wedding vendors.
  • Be flexible. The more flexible you can be with your wedding planning during this time, the less stressful it will be. Things are changing and evolving every day, so as much as you can, try to go with the flow and adjust your planning as necessary.
  • Find a supportive community. Chances are, you have a lot of feelings around what’s going on and how that’s impacting your wedding and wedding planning. But you don’t have to shoulder those feelings alone! Finding a supportive community of other couples trying to plan a wedding during coronavirus can help you feel less alone. Plus, it can be a great way to get new ideas on how to navigate the wedding planning process during these unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances.