Planning Your Wedding During COVID-19 – Top Tips from Liverpool Wedding Planners
The Coronavirus has thrown the whole world for a loop in 2020, especially the wedding world. Many couples have had to postpone their weddings. This has left other couples in limbo in regards to planning their weddings for 2021/2022. How has this pandemic affected wedding plans and the whole process of planning the big event? We chatted with some Liverpool Wedding Planners to find out their perspective.
Funky Sunflower Events began in 2011 and since then they have worked on over 1000 events, a good many of them weddings. They offer a range of wedding planning services including venue finding, all-inclusive planning and management, on the day coordination and have also released the Pocket Planner, a virtual wedding planner accessed through WhatsApp and email to help and guide their couples through their journey at a low monthly fee.
Natasha McKenzie is the owner of Natasha McKenzie Weddings, mum of 3 and wife of 1. She is a wedding planner with experience in civil ceremonies, destination weddings and more recently planned and coordinated an Asian wedding, which was an amazing learning curve for her and she absolutely loved it. In fact, Natasha loves all weddings! In between planning weddings, she also makes beautiful bespoke wedding stationery which is where it all started for her many years ago.
Real Heart Weddings believe that family is everything. And during these strange times, whilst we are unable to be with our families in person as we usually would be, the importance of family support feels even more enhanced. They set up a year ago to help couples bring out the warmth of their wedding celebrations, and to really showcase the love that each couple has for their family and friends. Their celebrations aim to be informal, full of personality, and to bring together two families through the union of two very special people. Although they do plan weddings from start to finish, they specialise in On-the-Day Wedding Management. They love to see wedding day celebrations running super smoothly.
There are many 2020 weddings needing to be postponed. How are you helping your couples with rescheduling their wedding days?
Funky Sunflower: “All but 2 of our couples have been able to move their wedding days to 2021. It’s an awful situation for them to find themselves in and we are delighted that we have been able to accommodate all of the new dates. We have been as proactive as possible, keeping in regular contact to make sure they’re coping with the additional stress that it’s placing them under. Thankfully we have found that the huge majority of venues have been supportive and moved dates with no question, however for the few who have found their venue unable to accommodate them next year, we provide a free venue finding service to help them find a new perfect place.”
Natasha McKenzie: “I feel so heartbroken for all of the couples who have had their weddings postponed. Not being able to have the special day that they have planned is truly saddening.
For my planning couples, I’ve been contacting suppliers, rescheduling dates, and if there have been date clashes then I’ve been looking at alternative suppliers for them which still fall in line with their requirements. I am currently working on a Las Vegas wedding for September, so I’ve been keeping in contact with suppliers over there to see where they’re up to with restrictions and the outlook for the wedding industry there. I’ve had a Spain wedding cancelled which we’ve rearranged for a UK wedding instead so it’s been a busy time for me!
For my stationery clients I’ve made digital versions of their invitations which they’ve been able to send to all of their guests letting them know of their rescheduled date, a couple have opted for freshly printed invitations too which is nice.”
Real Heart Weddings: “We are living in uncertain times, and there is no blanket rule as to how your wedding can be rescheduled. Your wedding is as unique as you are, and will need to be addressed individually depending on the logistics of your wedding day and the suppliers that you are working with.
Of course you will feel overcome with all kinds of emotions at having to rearrange a day that you have worked so hard to plan. But take a deep breath, have a thorough read of your contracts, and get in touch with your venue and the suppliers that you couldn’t do without first (if they haven’t already contacted you). Think about what you would like to do in terms of rearranging, and be prepared to make some compromises. You will find that 99% of the time, your suppliers will do as much as they can to help you.
If you need any support with the rearranging of your wedding, I can help. I will take all of the details and contracts of your suppliers from you, find out what you would like to get out of rearranging your wedding, and will begin liaising and negotiating on your behalf. I will also then be there on your wedding day to make sure everything runs smoothly and to be that extra support if anything else changes as time goes on.”
Should we let the pandemic put us off wedding planning? Are couples still planning their weddings in this current climate?
FS: “The very last thing the pandemic should do is put you off wedding planning. Everyone needs something to look forward to and what better than a huge celebration of love once it’s safe to do so. A lot of our couples have had isolation parties on the day their wedding should have taken place, linking up with family and friends on zoom and other platforms.”
NM: “We should most definitely not let this put us off, in fact I’ve been telling my couples what an amazing opportunity this is to plan even more into their wedding.
The modern day couples have so much to contend with, with the daily constraints of everyday life, then planning their wedding in between all of this , therefore sometimes there just never is enough time or money to go that extra mile with their planning. Most couples had paid off their wedding and had everything in place, so rearranging it has given them more time to add those extra special touches for them and their guests to enjoy.
Lots of couples are still planning their weddings and making the most of the extra time available to them right now. I recently co-launched Forever In Love Virtual Wedding Fayre on Facebook with my friend Annette who runs a wedding Creche and babysitting service. It was our first one and we were thrilled to see so many brides active on the group planning their weddings. We will be releasing a new date for our next one very soon, please feel free to join the Facebook group.
RHW: “I don’t think that the pandemic should put us off wedding planning, and perhaps this is the perfect time to do it! Through the magic of technology, we have regional Facebook wedding fairs, virtual venue tours, makeup tutorials and advice, and lots of other resources that we can use to get the ball rolling. Some of your plans (dress and suit shopping for example) might be a little difficult at the moment, but as lockdown measures are changing all of the time, your ability to plan your wedding in full will soon arrive!”
What tips do you have for couples who are rescheduling to help them stay organised and keep all of their suppliers informed?
FS: “The best advice is to communicate – we’re all here to make sure you have the best day of your life, so don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to, in order to help you through. A spreadsheet is a good way of keeping on top of your lists and you could also look at creating a Facebook group, WhatsApp group or your own wedding website to keep your guests up to date.
Try not to get overwhelmed so break down your planning into little bite sections, maybe focus on a different supplier each day and then file away your confirmation emails/documents into a dedicated folder – make sure you have a back up.
If you find a venue or supplier isn’t being supportive and helpful – or are demanding more money or a cancellation fee, then make sure you read back through your contracts and/or terms & conditions. Look for any “force majeure” clause which should include Government shutdowns.
If you’re still unsure, ask your wedding planner, or speak to a solicitor – we are offering a free advisory service and have a local solicitor who is also happy to offer some free, basic assistance to make sure you’re looked after.”
NM: “It’s really important to let your suppliers know as soon as you have your new date, this will ensure you are able to secure them for that date. Most suppliers are happy to move your deposit to the new date if they are available. If you find that there is a clash of dates then ask the supplier if they can recommend someone who can offer the same service.
If your photographer is unavailable, ask them if they have an associate who can take pictures on the day, then give them to your original photographer to edit, as more often than not couples will book a photographer for their editing skills and how they portray the finished look.
You will also need to speak to your florist, if you wedding is rescheduled for a different month then you will need to check that the flowers you originally chose are still in season, if not then your florist will help you to choose something that will achieve a similar look to compliment your wedding theme.
All suppliers in the wedding industry are still working behind the scenes are eager to be working with you all again, if you’re feeling uncertain or worrying about anything, just message them for advice, or if its for a new booking then an online or zoom consultations are really good, I know cake suppliers are still sending out cake tasting boxes to help couples choose their wedding cake.
The industry may seem to have come to a standstill but it’s very much still working behind the scenes, we are here for you.”
RHW: “When it comes to rescheduling your wedding, my biggest tip is to read your contracts in full! It’s the less fun part of planning, but possibly one of the most important pieces of advice that I have. If you’re not sure about anything, make sure it is clarified with your supplier, amended on the contract if necessary, and that you are happy with it before you sign.
Get in touch with your venue first if they haven’t already contacted you. Once you have settled on a new date with them, the suppliers that you really love and couldn’t do without should be next on your list. Be prepared to compromise! Every wedding is different, and every supplier will have a different view on how their services should be rearranged. You may find yourself going back to the drawing board if somebody is not available, for example.
Don’t forget that if your wedding is due to take place later on this year, and there are still some restrictions in place (for example – limited guest numbers), you may also need to adapt the way your big day runs to accommodate this. Keep an eye on government guidelines and reputable sources of information for the latest updates and be prepared to be flexible.”
Wedding insurance – should couples take this out so that they can cover themselves in case of further disruption? They can claim their money back via insurance rather than pursuing refunds from suppliers, does this make things easier for the couple?
FS: “YES!!!!!!!!! Wedding insurance should be an essential for anyone considering marriage. It’s a day that you will invest so much into, so why wouldn’t you want to protect yourselves.
Before you take out a policy check to make sure it includes a section on Government shutdown and force majeure.
Many suppliers are small businesses and may not be able to afford any refunds you need, or they may go out of business ahead of your big day and you’d be left out of pocket. (this is also the case when we’re not in a pandemic) so your insurance will cover you.”
NM: “At the moment insurance companies are not taking on any new applications for wedding insurance due to the Coronavirus outbreak, so if you had insurance in place then your policy will still remain active and valid to make claims for any loss incurred.
However if you have had your special day cancelled and rescheduled, but you did not have insurance in place, then please speak with all of your suppliers and try to have your deposits moved to your new date.
If your wedding is later this year or next year and you don’t already have wedding insurance in place then I would urge you to apply for it as soon as the insurance companies are accepting applications again, you just never know what is going to happen between now and then so it’s better to be covered, and make sure you read the small print to ensure you are covered for all aspects of your wedding.”
RHW: “I’m a strong advocate for wedding insurance, but really do your research and make sure you read into what your insurance covers and what it doesn’t. If you already had your wedding insurance policy in place before the lockdown began it is unlikely to change, but a lot of insurers didn’t include the cancellation of events by the government in their policies and so you may not be covered in this instance. It will also be very difficult to get wedding insurance that includes government-led cancellations now, with some companies completely suspending new wedding insurance applications for the time being.
I would still make it a priority to take out wedding insurance as soon as you are able to. Although there is a grey area when it comes to covering cancellations and postponements relating to the current pandemic, it will cover other unforeseen eventualities. When it comes to the previously mentioned government-led circumstances – your contract with your supplier is king! Check it, double check it, and talk it through with your supplier if you feel that you need to. Most will be more than happy to help.”
What can you say to couples to reassure them during this emotional time?
FS: “Don’t forget that your wedding day is just a day – your love story is the most important thing so try to keep some perspective. There’s nothing any of us can do except wait for things to ease so accept it, change your date and let your suppliers – and guests – know as soon as you can.
It’s an awful time, and, as an industry, we’re here to help you as much as you need. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, lots of questions, take advice and do something special to mark what would have been your wedding day.
This will end, we will all meet again and we’ll do everything we can to make sure we celebrate twice as hard!”
NM: “Take advantage of this time together, reflect on your journey and just imagine how amazing your wedding day will be when it finally comes around. If this virus outbreak has taught us anything, it’s that nothing else matters apart from the people you love, so just imagine the happiness and love you will be surrounded by on your special day. Plus everyone is going to be ready for a good party when this is all over so it will be one to remember!”
RHW: “I really feel for every couple out there that has stumbled on these past few months of change. Knowing how much effort goes into wedding planning, and not only that but all of the excitement, the nerves, the build up, and the joy. It’s a real heartbreaker, but I hope that you can turn it around. I hope that you can hold your chin up, take a deep breath, and get stuck in to making it work. At the end of the day, you’re celebrating your love for that one other person on the planet that you want to spend the rest of your life with – and what’s one more challenge like this to stand in your way?
There are lots of people out there (myself included) who can help and guide you through these tricky times. No matter whether everything runs as planned, is a year late, or evolves through compromise or restrictions, you WILL have a wedding day enveloped in love and support. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about!”
Thank you to Rebecca from Funky Sunflower, Natasha McKenzie, and Gemma from Real Heart Weddings for taking time and sharing their expert guidance around wedding planning in the current climate.
If you have any questions get in touch with us or comment below
If you’d like to get in touch with any of these wonderful wedding planners you can find them on their websites:
Funky Sunflower Events www.funkysunflower.com
Natasha McKenzie Weddings www.natashmckenziewedding.co.uk
Real Heart Weddings https://www.realheartweddings.com