• Alexandria Living

5 Tips for Planning a Wedding During a Pandemic

— by Kristin Longwood, Owner and Lead Planner at Boxwood & Bloom Events

Have you ever heard a story about a wedding during World War II? Maybe a grandparent was married in a small, intimate ceremony before their groom was sent overseas. Or you have a black and white photo in a box of a beaming bride in a suit, standing next to a handsome young man in uniform. Even Queen Elizabeth II used rationing coupons to have her wedding dress made.

So the stories we hear about weddings in the 1940’s? We’ll be telling similar stories to our children and grandchildren about getting married in the Covid era. While Covid presents a different picture in our heads when we think of weddings, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You can still have the wedding you envisioned. It may be on a different date or it may have a smaller guest list. But you are still in charge and you can decide what you want. Couples are thinking outside the box and creating intimate and meaningful memories they never considered a year ago.

How do you start planning a wedding during a pandemic? Or how do you pivot from the celebration you envisioned? Here are some tips to help you create your dream wedding - pandemic or not.

Secure Your Venue

A hopeful sign that the world is over the worst of the shutdowns is that we’re seeing weddings and events being put back on the calendar. However, all of those weddings that were sadly cancelled in the Spring? They’re (happily!) rescheduled! Which means that venues for 2021 and into 2022 are starting to be in short supply. When you find a venue that you love and can envision yourself getting married or having your reception there - lock it down.

In the Washington, DC area you’re not only competing with other weddings. You’ve got conventions, political events, and organizations planning conferences and multi-day events. Don’t let your picture perfect location get away - they’re moving quickly!

Make Sure You Have a Signed Contract

Any reputable wedding vendor - venue, photographer, makeup artist, etc. - will

present you with a contract to sign before you book their services. This is to protect both the couple and the vendor. Most couples didn’t pay much attention to the

force majeure clause prior to 2020, but that’s the number one question now.

Make sure to take a good look at the contract, especially in regards to cancellations

and rescheduling. Don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions. Is there a charge to change the date if my state has a mandatory lockdown? What if the bride and groom change the venue or the size of the guest list? Communication is key to make sure everyone’s expectations are on the same page.

Check on Wedding Dress Production Times

I had a bride find her perfect dress in a magazine. She was sold before she even tried it on. She found a local boutique that carried the dress, saw it, fell even more in love

with it - then found out it would take 14 months to arrive. And this was in the

pre-pandemic world. While that is on the longer end of production time, it’s not

unheard of. And with a worldwide crisis? That may delay orders even further.

Before you commit to your perfect dress, check the production time and give

yourself a buffer. Remember you still have to account for alteration time. Can’t wait that long? Plenty of bridal boutiques have numerous gowns off the rack and ready to

be purchased and altered. Looking for an older style or even a vintage dress? There

are a number of reputable resale sites to buy a once-worn dress at a steal of a price.

Take Opinions with a Grain of Salt

Everyone has an opinion when it comes to weddings. Flash your engagement ring at Starbucks and the person in line behind you will give you advice (true story). And with weddings being rescheduled, moved, and downsized, everyone has an opinion.

There are a lot of emotions right now. The number one thing I’m hearing from couples? They’re worried they’re going to disappoint someone or let someone down. If you are following state and local guidelines, everything is fine. It’s your wedding. Have you decided to get married on the beach, just the two of you, but your great aunt is upset she can’t attend a “big wedding”? It’s okay. This day is for you. In the end, you’re preparing for a marriage, not a big party. You call the shots and have your great aunt over for socially distanced cake and champagne when you’re married. Guilt be gone!

Get Organized - and Avoid Procrastination

Remember when the band said they would play until midnight? Get that in writing - and know where to find it. Is there a waiting period before you can receive a marriage license? Make sure you know the details. You don’t want to show up at the courthouse the day before the wedding and leave empty handed. Is your work email being clogged with wedding mail? Make a filter so you can review that information later, or create a “wedding email” for easier reading. And most importantly in 2020? Make sure you know the regulations for in-person events!

I tell couples that I work with that “wedding time” is different than “regular time”. You think you have all the time in the world with a 15 month engagement, until you’re up at 1 AM, three days before the wedding, stuffing out of town bags at your dining room table. Start early, get your ducks in a row, make a budget, and get ready to plan. And if you need help, keep calm and ask a wedding planner.

Boxwood & Bloom Events is a boutique wedding planning firm based in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. We specialize in detailed planning with a touch of traditional. For more information, please visit

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