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When planning your wedding, you might envision hiccups to include difficult napkin choices, seating plans and bridesmaid dresses. But until 2020, no-one had foreseen the biggest set back to the wedding industry in our lifetime so far – a global pandemic.
While we postponed our summer 2020 celebrations in favour of ensuring we would pose no risk to our would-be guests, I won’t lie to you and say that it wasn’t a difficult decision. At the point of deciding, weddings were allowed to go ahead with 30 guests (before it was lowered to 15) and David and I discussed at length what we should do and the implications our different options would have. In the end, having paid (not insignificant) deposits for our original number of guests – and with many of our immediate family deemed ‘high risk’, we took the decision to postpone for a year.
If I’m totally honest I found the decision really difficult and I spent the next few months silently grieving (if that’s even the right word) for the year 2020 should have been. Becoming a wife, potentially starting a family and entering the next chapter of our lives. As someone who thrives from control and structure, having this huge ‘unknown’ hanging over our heads was really starting to take its toll. I soon realised that staying silent wasn’t the answer and after many tearful conversations with David, we agreed that whatever happened in 2021 (and however many guests we could or couldn’t have) we would get married regardless. The day is about our love – and not a big party – after all!
I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing the rapid rollercoaster of emotions that many would-be 2020 brides have felt. I often felt guilty for feeling sad when I knew how lucky we were that our loved ones were healthy. And yet I felt angry (at who, I don’t know?) that the exciting and exhilarating build-up to our big day had been stripped from us. We didn’t know if we were getting married from one day to the next, so any excitement I did have for it had almost completely disappeared.
But almost half a year on I feel like I’m in a place to share a few tips on how to bring back the magic to your wedding preparations. Whether you’re planning a small celebration or still pining after your original plans (I know the feeling), there are still some activities you can do to enjoy being a bride-to-be in 2021…
Regardless of whether you’re planning a smaller wedding or a larger one for the future, stationary is a really lovely way to engage with your guests and create something tangible that they can interact with from the comfort of their own home – even if they’re attending via Zoom. Pre-COVID we designed our invitations with Norma & Dorothy and had the most wonderful (and stress-free) experience printing our invitations for both evening and day guests.
We chose a design, provided our text and they sent us over a professional proof to approve. When they arrived we were blown away by how stunning they looked (I may have even had a little happy cry) – with quality card, twine string detailing and printed stickers with our initials on, framed by a floral wreath design. We also had our wedding sign and guest-book made up with the same format and couldn’t wait to incorporate these lovely personalised pieces into our day. I would recommend them in a heartbeat for all things wedding stationary and can’t wait to use our printed items next year instead!
Virtual Hen Do’s
Nope, they’re not the same – but having cancelled my hen do last spring my beautiful friends and family surprised me with the next best thing – a virtual one! We took part in a Zoom cocktail making class (and enjoyed quite a lot of cocktail tasting too – which after months of no drinking, was quite a shock to the system), all wore printed t-shirts and took it in turns to host quizzes. The lovely thing about it was that when we do eventually have our wedding (or even a big party in a few years time, when it is eventually safe to do so), everyone will have already ‘met’ and know a little bit about one another! We’re hoping that this year we might be able to do something in-person, just more local than we’d originally hoped.
One thing we did on our original date to mark the occasion was to organise a couples photoshoot with one of our wedding photographers. I bundled myself into a giant pink dress, persuaded David to iron a shirt and we found a nearby wheat field to take some snaps in. It felt special to mark the day, even if it didn’t look how we expected it to. And we absolutely cherish the photos Kaye took! If possible (depending on the rules at the time), I’d really recommend getting all dressed up and organising an outdoor shoot with your photographer. In a decade or so, you’ll be pleased that despite the turmoil you still celebrated!
Are you a 2021 bride? How have you been bringing back the magic to wedding planning this year?