What To Do If You’re a 2020 Bride Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Joe Cady Olivia Johnson engagement picture
Our engagement picture!

If you’re reading this there’s a chance you’re planning on getting married in 2020! Or you were. First, congrats! Second, don’t panic. Like you, I’m also a 2020 bride, or at least I was. At the beginning of April, my fiance Joe and I decided to put our June 20, 2020 wedding on hold until June of next year.

It was a very tough decision, and I surprisingly didn’t shed too many tears. Yes, there were some tears shed and perhaps a day where I did have a full-on hysterical wedding-related crying session that luckily got resolved.

Joe and I have been together since college, and after college we spent five years in a long-distance relationship. After five years in Cleveland, Joe moved down to Cincinnati and we started our new chapter living in the same city. We always knew we’d get married, but wanted to do things on our own time.

We got engaged in March of 2019 and immediately started planning everything out. As of March of this year, everything was pretty much secured when the coronavirus changed everyone’s lives. The process of postponing ended up being somewhat smooth for us, but there were definitely still speedbumps along the way.

I’ll admit that I’ve never been one of those girls who has been planning her wedding since she was little. I always knew I wanted an elegant wedding and that my dream would be for it to take place in June. Other than that though, I didn’t really have any other requirements. I had been casually adding images to a wedding-related Pinterest board for the past seven years just because I thought everything was so pretty and it would be nice to have some inspiration when the big event happened.

I only say all this because I’ve considered myself to be a pretty laid back bride-to-be, but even for those of us who’ve had a more casual approach this situation has been very stressful. Hopefully reading this can help you navigate your situation if you’re in a similar position right now.

Also, there have been some great online resources I’ve relied on the past few months. The “wedding planning” subreddit on Reddit has been incredible for seeing what other brides are doing right now. The Knot has a COVID-19 resource center for the latest updates and advice for couples planning their weddings.

Wedding planning during the coronavirus pandemic
Kristin Brown Photography

Change of Plans? What To Do Next:

1. Assess your 2020 date based on your state’s current orders and restrictions

Are you a summer bride? Early fall? Based on all the research I’ve done, it seems most people I’ve seen with these dates have postponed.

As I’m writing this (I started writing this post on April 2), Ohio Governor Mike DeWine mentioned they are not regulating weddings and funerals. He did, however, mention that wedding receptions must follow same rules of no more than 10 people in a space. It sounds like some people were bending the rules and still attempting to have sizable receptions, which is dangerous for everyone involved.

2. Pick a Backup Date

Sit down with your fiance and determine a backup date you are both happy with. I’ve seen some beautiful winter weddings, but we both agreed it’s not our favorite time of year (major understatement for me). Joe knew how much I love June and he said he’d also like to keep our wedding in that month, so we decided on June 19th, 2021.

If you’ve also already selected your flowers, decor, and bridesmaid dresses think about if that color palette can be used year round or if it’s season specific.

For us, the time of year and our venue availability were the most important factors. My color palette is very bright, vivid and colorful so it also would have felt out of place in a different season.

  • When selecting your date make sure it’s far enough out where the date seems feasible. I know in early April when we decided to postpone, some people thought we were crazy for making the decision so early, but we were trying to be realistic. As much as we would have loved for everything to be cleared up by then, it just didn’t seem likely or safe.

3. Call your vendors to check their availability

Once you have your new date call your vendors and make sure they can make the new date work. As I mentioned, our venue was important to us so we secured that new date right away and then contacted our other vendors after that. I would suggest this method if your venue is a top priority for you, too.

Luckily every single vendor we had secured for our original date was available for our new date. On top of that, all but one of our vendors were really great about understanding the situation and seamlessly securing our 2021 wedding. Again, we still have all of our original vendors, but I wasn’t crazy about how one of them handled the situation and probably would have found another vendor if we hadn’t already put down a pretty big deposit that we would not have gotten back.

I don’t want to paint an unrealistic rosy picture because I have read stories online about brides who were not so fortunate. Some venues are only allowing couples to rebook days on a Friday or Sunday, and some simply aren’t even considering a date change until the date gets closer to asses the situation then!

4. Read your contracts

This is a good time to suggest you read over your contracts. Again, from my experience a lot of vendors are in the same boat as us brides and their worlds have been totally upended by the pandemic. Most will want to keep a good relationship and make sure everyone wins. However we all know it’s not always a walk in the park, and you may have some bumps in the road as you navigate this process. Reading your contracts will give you a full understanding of what you can and cannot ask for with your vendor, and what your options are.

5. Tell your guests about your change of plans

Postponing until next year? Continuing with a small, family-only ceremony on your original date? Let your guests know! Whether it’s a “change the date” card in the mail or a Paperless Post email, chances are your guests are wondering what the plan is. Let them know early enough so they can adjust their plans as needed and put the new date on their calendar if that’s the route you’re going!

I can be a procrastinator and one area of wedding planning that actually proved to benefit from my procrastination was invitations. I put off getting our invites designed and handled right away, but this miraculously ended up working in our favor. We never ended up ordering any, so we, fortunately, didn’t pay for invitations that no longer pertained to the situation. The only thing we really needed to do was send out new “change the dates” to people.

Hayley Paige Wedding Dress on Fashion Blogger Olivia Johnson of Baubles to Bubbles
Chapel Lane Photography

6. Take a deep breath and enjoy the journey

Saying that what the entire world is going through right now is stressful would be a major understatement. Our worlds were completely altered in the blink of an eye. While navigating through this uncertain time I have been grateful that I’m in good health and still have a job. Sure, not having the biggest event of my life happen when I thought it would is sad, but things could be much worse. In trying to find the positive in all this, I’ve actually been grateful that we have been given the gift of more time.

I’ve dealt with some health issues this past year and because of it I didn’t really enjoy the time of being engaged and planning out all the events that come along with it. I’ve finally been able to get some of my health concerns addressed recently and feel like I now have a second chance to enjoy this special time. Everything is already planned and now I can enjoy the extra time of being engaged and spending quality time with Joe. When I say quality time, I mean every waking, working hour is spent inside our condo for the foreseeable future!

At the end of the day we will still be getting married and spending our lives together. This situation has allowed us to grow closer as a couple and realize what matters most in life. Maybe your dream wedding has been postponed, cancelled or completely changed. No matter your circumstances, take a deep breath and trust that everything will work out exactly as it’s supposed to!


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