Weddings Under COVID

Weddings Under COVID 

By Janice Lane Palko 

While most everyone dreams of the perfect wedding, sometimes the world intervenes making that impossible. World War II was such a case. When the country entered the war and men enlisted to join the war effort, there was a drastic spike in weddings. According to a 2017 New York Times articles looking back on war brides, it stated that “In 1942 alone, 1.8 million weddings took place, up 83 percent from 10 years before. And two-thirds of those brides were marrying men newly enlisted in the military.” 

Weddings with all the trappings were abandoned and “Stories abounded throughout the country of small wedding cakes baked with rationed ingredients, and of brides wearing modest, nontraditional dresses, some even made of silk from the parachutes that they had saved from their grooms in battle.” 

This past year, the world intervened once again with the COVID-19 pandemic, which wreaked havoc on weddings plans. Most weddings scheduled for 2020 were either postponed or modified in some way and 2021 seems to be still fraught with uncertainty. I know a bride from my neighborhood who last fall abandoned the big wedding for a small family gathering, because “she just wanted to get married.” I know of someone else who chose to get married in a neighboring state because they had looser restrictions on the guest count. I have also heard of a few couples who got married in church and have opted to schedule a marriage celebration when we are free from COVID.  

But what if you still have your heart set on the dream wedding? How does one have a wedding during a pandemic?  

The key word is flexibility. And generally, the bigger and broader the wedding celebration the more flexibility you will need. For instance, you have more of a possibility of holding your wedding if you have a smaller guest count. Presently, indoor events are only permitted to be at 15% of capacity. You may have to wait longer to have a wedding with 250 guests.  

If your dream is a destination wedding at a villa in Tuscany, you may have to wait until next year as international travel is iffy right now. You have a greater chance of having a wedding closer to the U.S. in the Caribbean than abroad. Keep in mind, that guests may be hesitant to travel though. 

All this uncertainty can be quite nerve-wracking, but there are some tips to consider to help navigate a wedding when the world has been in lockdown. First, consider hiring a wedding planner. A planner can monitor the situation and can offer advice as well as making the couple aware of what to look for when signing contracts with vendors in light of COVID. They can also work with vendors if plans need to be modified.  

If you’re recently engaged, you may want to consider booking vendors now. There is a “backlog of brides” and once things open again, there is going to be a rush on finding florists, photographers, etc.  

While “perfect weddings” are nice, in truth, they are a bit boring. It’s the things that go wrong—the best man leaving the rings back at the house, the limo breaking down, the groom fainting—that make life and wedding interesting and memorable. Look on the bright side, 50 years from now, think of the stories today’s COVID wedding couples will have to share with their grandchildren.   

By Janice Lane Palko 

While most everyone dreams of the perfect wedding, sometimes the world intervenes making that impossible. World War II was such a case. When the country entered the war and men enlisted to join the war effort, there was a drastic spike in weddings. According to a 2017 New York Times articles looking back on war brides, it stated that “In 1942 alone, 1.8 million weddings took place, up 83 percent from 10 years before. And two-thirds of those brides were marrying men newly enlisted in the military.” 

Weddings with all the trappings were abandoned and “Stories abounded throughout the country of small wedding cakes baked with rationed ingredients, and of brides wearing modest, nontraditional dresses, some even made of silk from the parachutes that they had saved from their grooms in battle.” 

This past year, the world intervened once again with the COVID-19 pandemicwhich wreaked havoc on weddings plans. Most weddings scheduled for 2020 were either postponed or modified in some way and 2021 seems to be still fraught with uncertainty. I know bride from my neighborhood who last fall abandoned the big wedding for a small family gathering, because “she just wanted to get married.” I know of someone else who chose to get married in a neighboring state because they had looser restrictions on the guest count. I have also heard of a few couples who got married in church and have opted to schedule a marriage celebration when we are free from COVID.  

But what if you still have your heart set on the dream wedding? How does one have a wedding during a pandemic?  

The key word is flexibility. And generally, the bigger and broader the wedding celebration the more flexibility you will need. For instance, you have more of a possibility of holding your wedding if you have a smaller guest count. Presently, indoor events are only permitted to be at 15% of capacity. You may have to wait longer to have a wedding with 250 guests.  

If your dream is a destination wedding at a villa in Tuscany, you may have to wait until next year as international travel is iffy right now. You have a greater chance of having a wedding closer to the U.S. in the Caribbean than abroadKeep in mind, that guests may be hesitant to travel though. 

All this uncertainty can be quite nerve-wracking, but there are some tips to consider to help navigate a wedding when the world has been in lockdown. First, consider hiring a wedding planner. A planner can monitor the situation and can offer advice as well as making the couple aware of what to look for when signing contracts with vendors in light of COVID. They can also work with vendors if plans need to be modified.  

If youre recently engaged, you may want to consider booking vendors now. There is a “backlog of brides” and once things open again, there is going to be a rush on finding florists, photographers, etc.  

While “perfect weddings” are nice, in truth, they are a bit boring. It’s the things that go wrong—the best man leaving the rings back at the house, the limo breaking down, the groom fainting—that make life and wedding interesting and memorable. Look on the bright side, 50 years from now, think of the stories today’s COVID wedding couples will have to share with their grandchildren.