If you are currently engaged to be married but feeling a bit deflated about planning your big day amidst a global pandemic—don't despair. It's true that 2020 has thrown a number of curveballs, but love can still reign supreme. Thanks to technology, planning your wedding can still be an exciting and enjoyable experience for you and your fiancé.
Even before the pandemic, couples were choosing to do the majority of their wedding planning online, which isn't surprising considering the vast array of tools at their disposal.
According to the 2020 Newlywed Report by Wedding Wire, nearly 90% of planning is done online, with 75% of couples using social media for inspiration, and 64% using planning apps to get things done and manage their planning checklist.
From finding the perfect dress and choosing your wedding rings to selecting your team of vendors—planning your wedding remotely can be fun and super-convenient.
To help get you started, we have spoken to eight wedding professionals who have shared their best tips for making your remote wedding planning process as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Managing your guest list
Image Credit: Paperless Post / Paper Source
Deciding who to invite to your wedding can be a cause of stress and friction for many couples. The pandemic has made this even trickier as you may have to severely limit your guest numbers and leave certain family members off the list if they are older or have health conditions.
Thankfully, designing and sending wedding invitations, and managing your RSVPs has never been easier. Paperless Post, the go-to source for best-in-class online invitations, believes that you shouldn't have to choose between a beautiful invitation that sets the tone for your wedding and one that has tools to make the planning process easier.
"As wedding planning becomes even more difficult to navigate in the middle of a pandemic, we see a shift toward couples wanting their wedding (and the lead up to it) to feel joyful and are turning to digital tools to make a busy time easier," they say.
Digital invitations like Paperless Post streamline the process by making it simple to collect mailing addresses and follow up with guests. "As wedding plans can change quickly at the moment, digital invitations give couples a way to update guests of a new date, location, or guest count without having to play telephone," they say.
Digital invitations are also a great option for virtual weddings. "We have created online invitation options specifically for virtual weddings, so you don't have to wait to tie the knot. Celebrating safely is possible, with the ability to easily add a link to your livestream, attach a registry, and include any important details to keep guests in the loop," says the team at Paperless Post.
Pro Tip: Use Paperless Post's new Flyer option to create a wedding website which connects your guest list with sophisticated RSVP tracking and guest messaging. "Pairing a website with your wedding invite allows you to keep your invitations as minimal and clean as possible, saving all the fine details for your site. You can put any details that don't fit on your invitation on your wedding invitation website," they say.
Selecting a venue
"Planning a wedding is always complex, but add a global pandemic into the mix and it's gotten that much harder," says the team at Wedding Spot, the first website in the U.S. to allow users to search, price, and compare wedding venues.
"The health, safety, and comfort of guests is now at the forefront, and trying to address those concerns while following constantly changing local guidelines and travel restrictions are challenges that all couples are facing right now," they say.
A destination wedding may be looking like a distant dream, but that doesn't mean your nuptials have to be put on hold. Many couples are having smaller hometown weddings. Thankfully, tools like Wedding Spot allow you to get the information you need without having to pick up the phone or track down a single wedding information packet.
"With Wedding Spot, couples can search for venues by style, budget, guest count, and services offered, then price the venue and inquire about specifics directly through the site. This saves couples time, money, and most importantly, they can do it all from the safety of their own homes," they say.
What happens if you can't get in to see the venue? Thanks to technology, many venues are also now offering 3D tours so couples can do a virtual walkthrough of the space and ask questions about how the event can be best set up.
"Make the most of the current situation—safely. Make fun custom masks for your attendees, get creative with safer personalised food and beverage offerings, video conference family members who can't attend in-person and have them on TV screens to be part of your big day," says the team at Wedding Spot.
Finding the dress
Image Credit: Anomalie
Wedding dress shopping is such a momentous experience for the bride-to-be. You may have envisioned doing this with your mom, sister or best friend—but with the pandemic evolving so quickly—you will need to check if bridal stores are open and what safety precautions they have in place.
You might only be able to bring one person along with you and you may need to book into a predetermined time slot and wear a mask. While this might not be the experience you imagined, you can still make it feel special and try to remember that these measures are being taken to keep you and others safe.
If you can't go into a physical store, all is not lost. It's becoming more common to purchase a wedding dress online which can be tailored specifically for you. One such service is Anomalie, which helps brides in the U.S. and Canada customise their wedding dresses online.
"With Anomalie, brides can visualize the exact dress they are getting and consult with an expert stylist from home to confirm every detail. We have invested in fit technology to guarantee the dress each bride unboxes matches her exact measurements," says Leslie Voorhees, Co-Founder of Anomalie.
Unsurprisingly, during COVID, over 30% of brides in the United States have created an Anomalie account to visualize their perfect dress.
"Our team has created a ‘mind-reading' experience where the bride is able to browse the world's largest collection of wedding dress options and answer simple preference questions to get recommendations on specific dress details and laces," says Voorhees.
In many ways, this can open up a whole new world of possibilities, especially for the bride who wants a less traditional dress. "At a wedding dress boutique, brides are forced to choose between the limited inventory of a store. With Anomaie's digital-first model, we can magically create the perfect dress for each bride which could include unique elements like black lace, custom embroidery, purple tulle, a thigh-high slit, or a cathedral train fit for a princess," she says.
Pro Tip: Take advantage of Anomalie's tools to educate yourself on the best wedding dress for your style, size and budget. "Our tools are designed to help brides find the perfect wedding dress, regardless of whether she orders from Anomalie or not."
Managing your vendors
According to Wedding Wire, on average, couples hire 15 vendors for their wedding day. From flowers to your venue and music, "That's 15 different relationships and processes with each of those vendors that last for months," says the team at Aisle Planner, the wedding planning platform for event professionals. "No matter how detail-oriented and involved the couple might be, the level of complexity in wedding planning is undeniably overwhelming," they say.
For this reason, many couples choose to use a wedding planner who acts as a single point of contact for the bride and groom, and the vendors. Prior to the pandemic, couples may have met with their wedding planner and vendors multiple times in the lead up to the wedding. This is now being done mostly via video conferencing, which is an extremely effective way to keep everyone in the loop.
Technology like Aisle Planner also gives wedding professionals, such as planners, caterers and venue coordinators, a major advantage when planning weddings remotely. "We have the ability to organise the details, keep every stakeholder informed and on the same page, and provide access from anywhere, at any time," they say.
Kourtney Perry, the Founder of online wedding magazine 7 Centerpieces, also encourages couples to take advantage of all the virtual and online tools vendors are making available to their clients. "We're in a new era of wedding planning and vendors are bending over backwards to appease potential clients," she says.
For example, "bridal salons are offering virtual wedding dress appointments where brides can 'try on' wedding dresses by viewing a bridal salon employee wearing the wedding dresses they are considering, says Perry. "This is a client's market right now and wedding planning couples should definitely take advantage of it," she says.
Pro Tip: Communication is your number one priority, explains Aisle Planner. "Save yourself the stress of unnecessary phone calls, texts, and emails, and find a solution that allows you to centralize your communications and share in the work while also helping to keep your details organized."
Choosing your wedding rings
Shopping for wedding bands is something that many couples look forward to doing together. Depending on where you live, you may be able to visit your local jewellery store to try on rings, but if you can't, there are plenty of other options open to you.
Blue Nile offers a huge variety of wedding rings for women, wedding rings for men, and couples wedding ring sets, in a range of precious metals, all of which can be purchased online and safely delivered free of charge to your door.
Not sure which size to choose? Use our online ring size guide, printable size guide, or order a ring sizer to be delivered to you. From classic metal bands to diamond encrusted eternity rings, there are styles and options to suit every taste and budget.
Communicating with your guests
Image Credit: RSVPify
During these uncertain times, plans may have to change with very little notice. Communication is really critical in keeping your guests up to date in the lead up to your wedding.
"Having a wedding website and online communication tools in place are vital for ease of sharing changes and health and safety information with guests," says RSVPify, a leading software provider for event registration and management.
"Using an online RSVP is a great way to gather email contact information so you have an easy way to reach out to guests en mass. And wedding websites can be updated regularly to reflect the most current information so guests can check back regularly to stay in the know," they say.
Pro Tip: "We've found that events that communicate effectively have higher response rates. Communicate safety precautions on your website and emails to reassure guests that measures are being taken to protect them. Sharing updates and precautions give guests the opportunity to confidently make a decision as to whether to attend."
Taking your wedding online
More couples are choosing to take their wedding online as a way to include guests who can't attend on the day. "Virtual weddings, especially interactive ones (not just a stream of the event), make the couple feel at ease knowing that their guests are going to equally enjoy the wedding safely at home," says Wedfuly, who works with couples to provide an engaging and professional virtual wedding experience.
Whether you use a third party like Wedfuly to host your virtual wedding or set the tech up yourself, make sure you communicate clearly with your online guests. Let them know what time to join, how they can log in, how long the ceremony will run for and whether you'd like them to stick around for celebrations afterwards.
And don't forget to test your set up a few times before the big day—we all know how technology loves to fail us at the most inconvenient moments!
Pro Tip: If you haven't already considered it, think about hosting a virtual wedding. "I know it's not a fun topic to tackle, but giving guests alternative options to attend your wedding will give them an even greater appreciation for you and your situation. Plus just because you go virtual doesn't mean you can't keep your registry live for all," says Wedfuly.
Staying on top of your to-do list
Image Credit: Love By Lynzie Events & Design
Even if you intend to use a wedding planner, there are still a number of plates to be spinning at any one time. Now all of this organisation can be managed from home using any number of online tools and apps. These range from simple checklists to fully integrated platforms which connect you with your wedding planner and vendors.
"Some online tools have the benefit of a central hub for couples wedding planning experience allowing them a one-stop shop to organise all the details of their big day," says Love by Lynzie Events & Design, an event planning agency who use Aisle Planner. "It allows both parties to keep the communication streamlined and keeps the conversations going even when the planner or the couple is offline."
Pro Tip: Use a wedding planner to help de-stress your big day. "Now more than ever, couples are navigating uncharted waters. In these uncertain times, planners will help guide you through postponements, problem solving, and planning for social distancing—ultimately, taking some level of stress off of your plate," says Love by Lynzie Events & Design.
Dealing with stress and uncertainty
One of the biggest challenges for couples who are planning their wedding remotely is the uncertainty. "Everyday the severity of this pandemic waxes and wanes, making it extremely difficult for couples to make concrete wedding plans," says Kourtney Perry from 7 Centerpieces.
Pro Tip: "To alleviate some of this wedding planning stress, couples should focus on aspects of wedding planning they can control with some level of certainty, like invitation selection and menu choices, then be extremely flexible on the wedding planning aspects that they cannot control like state-mandated venue capacities and guests' travel arrangements," she recommends.
Thanks to technology, your wedding planning journey can still be a fun and enjoyable experience for you and your partner. One of the positives to come out of these challenging times is that people are often being more patient and accommodating. Whether it's your family and friends, or vendors, keep people in the loop with your plans and they're sure to be supportive of whatever you decide to do. It's your special day after all.