Couples around the world have had to postpone or alter their big day during the pandemic, and creating the perfect moment to say ‘I do’ has been challenging for the wedding industry.
No matter where your wedding date falls on the calendar, there’s a lot to think about when you’re planning your big day. But if it happens to be in the midst of a crisis, you may wonder how to prepare should your wedding be affected. The wedding industry was hit hard by Covid-19, and as venues and vendors closed or went out of business entirely, many couples were left scrambling to reschedule or even cancel their big day. Wedding planner Nicci Morris of Nicolette Weddings recounts her experience of 2020.
What has being a wedding planner been like during the pandemic?
This year, Covid-19 has presented me with a roller coaster of unprecedented and unexpected challenges. Overnight, my job has gone from guiding couples through the fun and exciting wedding- planning process, helping them make choices such as choosing flowers they love, to finding myself in the middle of some downright challenging disputes between couples and their venues or suppliers. Almost every wedding on our books has needed to be postponed during the lockdown, so it has been quite a feat to move our venues and entire supplier teams over to new dates.
It has meant renegotiating prices and contracts for each one, a task I’ve juggled with home schooling my child.
How has covid-19 impacted the wedding industry?
We’ve all taken a pretty hard knock, especially since the ban on weddings, events and large gatherings was one of the last to be lifted as we eased out of the first lockdown. I’ve seen many of my colleagues in the industry close down or completely change their products or services to stay afloat during quieter times. But it’s also been inspiring to see how many small businesses have been creative and adaptable enough to keep their doors open.
How did you open conversations with your clients regarding the effect Covid-19 would have on their wedding?
I’d start by expressing how sorry I was that we had to have the conversation about potentially postponing their special day. Many of the couples I worked with were aware of the lockdowns around the world, so they were already expecting it, while others needed more time to come to terms with moving their wedding before we officially changed the date.
How have you been dealing with the challenges that come with couples needing to postpone their weddings?
It’s been stressful because I want to be the best wedding planner I can be despite being in uncharted waters. I’d say my best coping mechanism is to approach one task at a time, without allowing the total volume of my work to overwhelm me – and, of course, ending the day with a good glass of red wine to help me unwind!
While you don’t have to sacrifice your chance to celebrate, it’s time to be thoughtful
What factors have you encouraged your clients to consider when deciding whether to postpone their wedding?
In addition to restrictive factors, such as government-enforced lockdowns and travel bans, I’ve encouraged couples to look beyond their circumstances and travel restrictions when making that decision. Some of their guests may live in countries with continuing travel restrictions, and even if they can travel, they may have also lost their jobs or had their salaries reduced due to Covid-19.
Other guests may be worried about travelling or attending large gatherings with children or elderly family members. It’s a good idea to factor in your guests’ circumstances as well as your own.
How do you enforce social distancing during wedding planning?
On the day, we adhere to government- imposed rules for weddings and large gatherings: wearing a face mask and using hand sanitiser is mandatory and venues are filled to a government advised capacity to ensure social distancing. We also encourage couples to have fun with the new protocols, for example, offering their guests personalised facemasks and sanitisers emblazoned with the bride and groom’s names or wedding monogram.
What words of encouragement do you offer couples who have to find an alternative to their dream wedding?
I offer my deepest sympathies and try to express that I understand how devastating it must be for couples who’ve had to postpone a wedding they’ve been planning for a long time – in some cases, for more than two years. I also highlight that when the lockdowns and travel restrictions around the world are eventually lifted, their long-awaited wedding will bring so much joy and cause for celebration to their friends and family, who’ll be more than ready to celebrate and party!
From micro-weddings to virtual I do’s...
For many, the excitement’s been overshadowed by disappointment and anxiety because their wedding might not be what they had in mind. However, most couples, with a little creativity, can find ways to rework their celebration to make it both safe and sentimental.
Couples are organising low-key events that celebrate a sacred moment and the reason they wanted to get married in the first place: because they love each other. They’re using video- calling apps to host virtual ceremonies, so their guests can witness the event. As the wedding industry has been forced to reshape and adapt during the pandemic, its members have relied more on technology to work remotely, leading to the launch of new services that provide virtual experiences. In response, businesses are developing new technology to make it easy – and fun – for couples to plan and celebrate their big day. A virtual wedding ceremony can be a unique way for a couple to exchange vows. Whether they opt to put the entire ceremony online or just their nuptials, everyone can share their joy.
Remember: as ceremonies forge ahead this year, being an informed guest and host is crucial to reducing risk and keeping everyone happy. While you don’t have to sacrifice your chance to celebrate, it’s time to be thoughtful.
Meet the wedding planner: Nicci morris
With over a decade of industry experience and a passion for elegance, cape town-based nicci loves bringing together a perfectly orchestrated and enjoyable event. For more info, visit nicoletteweddings.com