How to Start Wedding Planning in a Crisis

Despite our current sitution with Covid-19, social distancing and isolation, the world keeps turning, and people are still getting engaged.  If that's you, congratulations!  Please enjoy this time, and don't feel guilty for celebrating . . . we all need something to celebrate right now!

I've been fielding some questions from newly engaged couples about the logistics of planning during the shutdown of non-essential businesses (i.e. ANYTHING in the wedding industry), so I wanted to come to you with a few suggestions and things to think about:

  • YES, you should begin the planning process now!
  • 2021 and 2022 are likely to be busy years due to the number of weddings postponing from 2020, so it'll stand you in good stead to do your planning as soon as you can.
  • If it's financially possible for you to put down deposits right now, I'd encourage you to do it - keeping money flowing through the economy is the best thing we can do in tough economic times, and deposits/retainers are what help your wedding vendors stay in business!

I'm a big fan of being organized and laying out the steps you'll take in your planning, so here's what I'd recommend:


  • Setting priorities (i.e. food and beverage are SUPER important, but we don't really want to spend a lot on flowers, etc.)
  • Determining the structure of your day (i.e. traditional, cocktail-style, Sunday brunch, etc.)
  • Setting a REALISTIC budget, and sticking to it (it's important to create a comprehensive and thorough list or spreadsheet of EVERY expense so that you aren't surprised by the 'little' expenses that can really add up!)
  • Drafting a realistic guest list (write it down - don't just pull a number our of thin air!  Make sure you ask your parents who they expect to invite as well!)
  • Creating a method of organization (set up a planning binder or folder on your computer/Google Drive, and write out a planning timeline specific to your wedding)

2. START A VENUE SEARCH:wedding reception floor plan for 120 - Google Search | Wedding ...

  • Many venues have online tours
  • Do a search for photos (or ask people in a local Facebook wedding group to send theirs)
  • Email the venue to ask for packages and pricing
  • Most venue coordinators are working from home, and are happy to video conference or chat on the phone.  They also have TONS of photos they can send you, as well as floorplans and schematics.
  • Ask for reviews (even ask if there are past clients who would talk to you on the phone)
  • Read their contracts, and don't sign anything that requires you to commit to a set number of guests


  • Primary vendors can only do one wedding on your date (i.e. wedding planners, photographers, videographers, officiants [to an extent], DJs [to an extent])
  • Read reviews and look at their portfolios online
  • Set up video 'interviews' - these people will have extended 'face time' with you on your wedding day, or will dramatically influence your guests' experience, so it's important that you feel comfortable with them on a personal level.


  • Secondary vendors can do more than one wedding on your date (i.e. florists, decorators, bakers, some DJs, transportation)
  • Read reviews and look at their portfolios online
  • Ask florists, decorators and bakers for LOTS of photos of their work (give them some descriptors, like "elegant", "rustic", "modern", etc.)

5. BE CAUTIOUS IN YOUR CHOICES.  The reality is that our current situation of global pandemic is hard on EVERYONE, including small businesses.

  • Choose established, reputable vendors.  Have a conversation about what might happen if they go out of business prior to your wedding (it's an awkward conversation, but one that's increasingly happening as the ban on gatherings continues).
  • Read the contract carefully.  It's there to protect both you and the vendor.
  • Consider putting down deposits with a credit card (if the vendor accepts them).  Visa, Mastercard and American Express all have customer protection clauses to protect you if a vendor goes bankrupt.
  • Have a conversation about what will happen if gathering restrictions are still in place at the time of your wedding.  What are their postponement policies?  Can you reduce your proposed guest count?

While planning this way is definitely different than the norm, it's certainly becoming much more common, and vendors are more than happy to accommodate you as best they can while they work from home or with limited access to their usual resources.  Don't be afraid to move forward with your plans and celebrate your engagement.

If there's anything at all that we at Unmistakably You can help with, don't hesitate to reach out!

XO - happy planning!

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