Congrats to all of you who have gotten engaged during this engagement season. And for those of you who anticipate the big asks, congrats. While things have drastically changed, please note that while this new normal might be new to you, and many of our current generation. There was a time when weddings were simply very private and only limited to immediate family and friends.
There were countless celebrities that choose to get married in the privacy of their homes or smaller venues such as restaurants, backyards, and private estates.
There were a few books written to help guide couples who chose to get married at home and have a more intimate setting to celebrate their special day. We wanted share with you some wonderful tips that can help you through the process of planning your wedding despite the current situation, safely.
We had an opportunity to engage with several planners that stand ready to help couples safely follow the guidelines on planning an intimate wedding for those who want to move forward with their plans.
One thing we would highly recommend is to find a qualified, wedding planner that is informed on the CDC rules and regulations. Have an extensive list of vendors and venues that will give you access to executing a beautiful wedding.
Our first conversation was with one of our favorite wedding planner, event planner the iconic Claudia Hanlin, founder of The Wedding Library, and here is what she had to say:
In planning future weddings, what are three tips you can give to couples in finding: a venue?
1. I think it’s important to be flexible with your date if you want to find your dream venue. With the postponement of so many 2020 weddings, venues will have fewer dates available for “new” inquiries. So when making inquiries, offer multiple dates, see the venue quickly and put it on hold as fast as you can!
2. Ask about your venue’s COVID-related postponement and cancellation policies. If they don’t have one, craft one to include in your venue contract. It’s essential!
3. Don’t delay your venue search. Most venues are creating videos or will do Facetime video calls with you to show you their spaces. Ask for floor plans and photos or arrange a safe tour you can do when the venue is empty. Once you think you’ve found your dream space, then visit it!
4. Do some research and use common sense to determine your potential venue’s viability. What happens if they shut down? Go under new ownership? Understanding a venue’s underlying financial stability is important right now. This due diligence is a big part of what I’m doing as a wedding planner right now.
What should many keep in mind when planning a wedding at home?
1. Make sure you understand the COVID-related restriction in your home town. Check your local, state, and federal rules frequently so that you know you’re not violating them. If you’re using a caterer, they will likely have a great handle on them and can share their concerns with you. Note that most professional vendors will not violate laws or compromise their safety so it’s important to “play by the rules”.
2. Think about space. If you need a tent (or multiple tents) bring in a tent company to do a survey as your first task. They will quickly tell you what’s viable and practical. A great tent plan is often foiled by an overhanging tree or not quite enough space…
3. Consider parking, valet, and transportation upfront. Where can cars park? Do you need a valet service? If there’s nowhere to put cars, do you have to provide bus transportation (either door to door or from a parking lot nearby).
4. Don’t forget about all the added vendors for a home wedding: porta-potties, garbage removal, security, valet, generators, gardeners, cook tents, vendor storage, housekeeping, electricians, lighting… it’s a lot more than a “regular” wedding!
How can we help support small businesses and local vendors?
1. Local vendors are often your best allies when working on a destination wedding. Find one that you trust (keep asking around for the best!) and use that vendor to guide you to a great team. Beware of simply trusting one source however, your perfect team is not necessarily the same as everyone else’s!
2. Don’t know where to start? Look at the social media feeds from local venues and look at the vendors tagged. When you see the same vendors associated with your favorite images, you know you’re on to something!
3. Make sure you get everything in writing — I find that more gets “lost in translation” when you’re not meeting vendors in person. Make sure if you’re arranging a site visit on a destination wedding that you make time to meet your local team and that they’re on the same page as you are!
When it comes to venues, indoor locations are very challenging if you wish to do anything during the winter months. Unless of course, you wish to have an outdoor winter wedding, and of course, our friends in the Finger Lakes, Adirondack Mountains, Whiteface Club Resort, and Mirror Lakes Inn are some of our favorite suggestions for locations and venues.
But, since we are Brooklyn-based we continue to celebrate our brilliant borough that is one of the coolest places on the planet. We reached out to our friends at Prospect Park Alliance that manages Prospect Park and The Picnic House which make gorgeous places to plan your intimate weddings with a small group of loved ones safely. “There is definitely still uncertainty about the future, but my colleagues let me know that both the Picnic House and Boathouse are currently booking weddings for 2021 and 2022. Most of our clients are focusing on 2022. We’re following all CDC guidelines to keep our clients safe.” Lucy Gardner.
There you have it. Now you have your planner and the ball is rolling. Now let us move to dress shopping, your red carpet moment. Yes, your dress will be even more important during these peculiar times. While many of us may be challenged financially, and hesitant to spend because of so many uncertainties, and rightfully so. We still want to invest in our attire because, at the end of the day, the images will last “forever”. We want to relive the memory of our special day. And we certainly don’t want to have regrets when it comes to our dress and attire.
We reached out to some of our favorite designers and asked them how they were handling appointments and working with brides during the pandemic for those who were still moving forward with the wedding, or simply planning for post-pandemic with the promise of the vaccine, which is hopeful for some form of normality. Whatever the new normal will be.
We reached out to now Brooklyn-based designer Yemi Osunkoya founder of Kosibah, and he continues to take private appointments as he has always done and can comfortably ensure his bride is able to feel at ease. He starts off with virtual appointments where he initially consults the bride on her vision and discusses design that is budget-friendly for the discerning bride with exquisite taste for details and white-glove service.
We then reached out to our French designers, represented by Wedding District, who assured us that they are all able to fill all orders placed for brides planning their wedding in 2021 and beyond. They are currently available at our friends at Designer Loft NYC. Owner Liz Sellasie assures us that her team continues to follow CDC orders and book only one appointment at a time and take all precautions to make each experience memorable while ensuring the safety of their guests and staff.
So don’t be overly despondent, the future holds hope, you just have to make sure you have your priorities in proper order.
Love, life, family and prosperity to us all.