By: Jenna Martin of The Polka Dot Paper Shop
Whether you always planned to get married in 2021 or you were forced to postpone to this year – you’re going to face unique challenges that there really aren’t etiquette guidelines in place for. We’ve compiled a list of our top favourite tips for making your invitation planning journey a little easier during this difficult time.
Tip #1: Invite Everyone
If the covid-19 pandemic never happened – who would you invite to your wedding? These people are special to you and would be invited for a reason. If you would’ve invited them despite the pandemic – you should be inviting them now. Even if there is a risk you may need to uninvite someone – remember, it is better to be uninvited, than it is to never be invited in the first place! Read Tips #2 & #3 on how to go about this safely.
Tip #2: Include a “COVID card” with your invitation
This is a card that will be designed to match your invitation suite and be included with the invite you mail out to each guest. It tells the guest a few important things: 1) we’re taking this seriously and will postpone or change our plans if needed and 2) be on the look-out for updated information, as protocols and restrictions may change. Keep in mind that not all of your guests will be checking their emails regularly and may just show up unprepared if you’ve emailed them with a new screening form or documentation they need to provide. Adding a card like this will ensure your guests are checking for updates, watching the news, and also not booking non-refundable travel arrangements if they know they could be uninvited.
This is also a GREAT place to add a live feed link or streaming website so that those who cannot attend can watch the ceremony virtually.
Tip #3: For those who you KNOW you cannot host, send a marriage announcement instead
Keep in mind that Covid isn’t affecting every region the same, and some regions have very lax covid protocols in place. If you know for a fact that you cannot host someone that you otherwise would’ve invited and you have not yet sent out your invitations – send them a marriage announcement card instead. This card will be a similar version of your invitation – just without the option to RSVP. What this tells the guest is: You are special to us, we wish we could’ve invited you. But due to government regulations outside of our control, we are unable to have you at our wedding. This is a great option to ensure no loved ones feel left out and unloved – AND also alerts them ahead of time that you WILL be married, so that they’re not blindsided when your wedding photos surface on social media and you haven’t invited them.
A marriage announcement card should be sent out at the same time as you send out wedding invitations – so that if the guests talk to one another, there’s no confusion as to where their invitation is.
Tip #4: Request Guest’s Contact Information in the RSVP card
Even if the pandemic is wiped out and your wedding can move on with zero issue: You should be asking your guests for their contact information on the RSVP card. This is something that was never done prior to covid – and proved important in the first few weeks of the pandemic. All of a sudden, couples were thrown into a massive global disaster, their weddings upturned – AND they had to spend countless hours tracking down every single guest’s contact to let them know they were postponing. This is a crazy difficult situation, and this simple step will take away so much stress if something like this happens to you. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a pandemic that throws a wrench in your plans! It is best to be prepared for ANY situation. If the church floods and you need to host the ceremony at the park, now you have a way to contact all of your guests to let them know the change of plans.
Tip #5: Set up a wedding website
Wedding websites can be a valuable tool for many reasons non-pandemic related. But think about this: Even if you’re moving forward with your plans, no issues, no protocols, nothing – you’re going to end up with 100+ people calling you the week of your wedding saying “We still good? The wedding’s still on?” Avoid this by simply creating a quick and easy website your guests can periodically check for updates. Get one free through www.theknot.com or www.weddingwire.com – as well as many other online resources. A wedding website will be a GREAT place to post a zoom link to live stream your wedding, updated protocol – or a link to download their covid screening tests, should they require that to gain access to the wedding. Until the pandemic is completely gone – this is going to be a very valuable tool to all couples getting married.
Tip #6: Hope for the best but plan for the worst.
If we’ve learned one thing in the events industry from this pandemic: it’s that things can change overnight. Heck, I personally went from having 300 weddings to plan to having 0 in under 24 hours! We NEVER know what will be thrown at us – and the surprises can be both negative and positive! Like I said before – it’s better as a guest, to be invited and then uninvited – than to never be invited at all. So invite your guests, plan your florals, buy your dress, pick out your meals, and get excited. You deserve to experience the same excitement leading up to your wedding that every other couple in years past got to experience!
Because for all we know, things could change over night, and you don’t want to be in a situation where you’ve scaled back – only to find out you could’ve had the wedding of your dreams after all. That being said – I don’t want you to go making non-refundable deposits and commitments on things that may not be possible just out of blind positivity. Make sure you ALWAYS have the back up plans in place. Choose vendors with flexible covid plans, with flexible ordering processes and systems in place to back you up in the case of an emergency change. Look at how they’ve treated past clients during the pandemic and you’ll get a good idea on how they will help you should things turn south. If this isn’t something you’re able to ascertain from their online presence – ask them: “What did you do to help your clients through the first wave of the pandemic?” Their answers will tell you everything you need to know.
Making sure you have a plan in place for restrictions, what you’ll do about your invitations, what you’ll do if you need to postpone -etc, does not mean that these things WILL happen. It just means that if they do, you will be prepared and won’t be left scrambling to pick up the pieces. Plus, this way – you can get the wedding of your dreams no matter how the pandemic plays out this year because you will be prepared for every possible scenario!
Tip #7: Hire a wedding planner.
Make sure your planner has a solid covid contract in place so that there’s a clear understanding of how your business relationship will play out during a postponement / cancellation or change of plans. A planner though, can be an invaluable resource to get through this year. They can be your creative partner to coming up with workarounds, and they have a vast network of industry professionals they can bounce ideas off of to figure out what the best plan of action is to clear any wrench thrown in your plans. You will never regret hiring a wedding planner – you’ll only regret not having one!
This blog was typed by a full time stationer who has nothing to do with wedding planning and thus no bias in suggesting this tip! 😉
I hope my 7 tips were helpful to you – I have many more where that comes from! Keep an eye out for my tips for planning day-of stationery in a pandemic, coming soon!
In the meantime, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on instagram at @polkadotpapershop
I hope that you are staying safe and healthy throughout this ordeal – and I look forward to planning happy days with you in the future!!