How to restart your wedding planning after the pandemic

Simply put, weddings aren’t what they used to be. Before February 2020, newly engaged couples knew what to expect after popping that very important question. With the global pandemic came lockdowns, cancellations, and a whole new wedding planning landscape to navigate. If you’re starting to think about how to plan a wedding during Covid in 2021 or 2022, you’re probably wondering how things have changed and where you and your fiancé should go from here. 

Unfortunately, the wedding industry took a massive hit last year, and now that couples are starting to host weddings again, many vendors and venues have updated how they approach their business, from availability to safety precautions to pricing and contracts. Other things have changed, too, like the way you’ll invite and communicate with your guests. Not to mention figuring out how to balance all this with your expectations and those of your family members, all of whom have been looking forward to this day for a long time. Does it sound a little overwhelming already? Don’t worry—we’re here to help. 

We’ll help you navigate the new state of nuptials in 2021 and beyond. Below, we’ve compiled everything you need to know to tackle your upcoming wedding events with ease and grace, even though they might not look like you had originally planned. You’ll find ideas, guidelines, and etiquette tips so you can make informed and safe decisions for you and your guests.

Wedding planning tips for the 2021–2022 seasons 

Naturally, the pandemic has added more complications to an already complicated process. While you’re planning your 2021 or 2022 wedding, it’s important to keep a level head and tackle all of the tasks straight on, even if you aren’t quite sure how to handle them. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you get going.

Safety precautions. When planning any event during Covid, you should always check your local and state recommendations, as well as the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If you’re considering requiring all guests to be vaccinated or Covid-negative at your wedding, you can gather that information up front on your digital wedding invitations and provide FAQs on your wedding website.

Consider a micro wedding. If you or your guests aren’t yet comfortable gathering in large groups, you can keep your big day intimate with a trimmed-down list of guests. Some people choose to have family-only ceremonies, while others invite a few best friends into the mix. 

Reimagine your wedding weekend. If you’re planning an intimate wedding, it may make sense to include your guests in all the wedding weekend activities that are usually reserved for family only, like the rehearsal dinner or the Sunday brunch. After all, your guests may be taking extra risk by traveling or dealing with social anxiety after so long without socializing. They’ll feel extra welcome and excited about your big day when they are included in the weekend’s festivities.

Consider a hybrid virtual/in-person wedding. If your friends and family are uncomfortable with or unable to travel due to Covid, you may want to consider adopting a hybrid approach to your wedding by offering those stuck at home the option of watching the festivities from afar. Hire a videographer who can coordinate the virtual schedule for you. If a hybrid wedding isn’t for you, you can always share the wedding video with friends and family who couldn’t join on your special day.

Read the fine print. Before you cross your t’s and dot your i’s on those wedding contracts, take a second glance at all of the new contract lingo, especially what you’ll be accountable for if you have to reschedule or cancel. That way, you’ll avoid any surprise bills or conflict with your vendors. 

Don’t sweat it if you can’t get the perfect date. So many people are rebooking their weddings that the industry is feeling the squeeze of supply and demand. If you can’t get the wedding date you dreamed of, focus instead on what will make you happiest—your venue or your date. It will help you find perspective and keep from feeling overwhelmed or disappointed.

Weekends all booked at your venue? Try a weekday wedding. Because so many couples were affected by the pandemic, wedding dates will continue to be hard to come by, especially at popular venues. If you’re set on keeping your venue and vendors, you may have to consider a day of the week you wouldn’t have chosen before. That doesn’t mean your wedding won’t be just as special. You can arrange an intimate lunchtime affair on a weekday, and it will give your friends and family an excuse to take that extra PTO day they’ve been saving.

If you get stressed, remember what your wedding day is all about. Take it from those who’ve been in your shoes. Elizabeth Muse found a new level of clarity after rescheduling her 2020 wedding to the fall of 2021. “I have a new perspective on what is really important. Prioritize that first and everything else will fall into place eventually,” she said. “Before I was so nervous about all of the little things. My dress, the vows, who sat at what table. Now I’m just really excited to dance to some amazing music.”

Safiya Jihan Miller, who rescheduled her wedding from fall 2020 into two events—a micro wedding in june 2021 and a destination wedding in winter 2022—struck the same tone. “Have fun and take your time with wedding planning. It’s a weird time, but this is your special day,” she advised. “Honestly I’m looking forward to smiling and hugging people because it’s been so long since I’ve done that.”

Safiya also recommended setting time aside every week for wedding planning, so you can focus on your day-to-day life and not get too caught up in the details. “If you don’t narrow it down you can get into analysis paralysis,” she warned. 

When you prioritize the right things, like spending time with your loved ones and celebrating together as a couple, the new wedding planning landscape will be a lot less intimidating. Embrace the “new normal” for now, decide what will make you and your fiancé happiest, and go from there.

What if you’ve rescheduled your wedding?

Left: “Palmier Nouveau” by Paperless Post | Right: “Burgoyne - Oyster/Gold” by Paperless Post

Palmier Nouveau” by Paperless Post and “Burgoyne – Oyster/Gold” by Paperless Post

 

Many couples have rescheduled their 2020 weddings. If you’re in the same boat, it’s time to start navigating how to finally lock in that new date and update the cascade of little details that are affected by the change. If you haven’t read our article on how to plan a wedding after you’ve postponed from wedding planner Rebecca Gardner, take a look for advice straight from the expert. Here’s a quick list of things you should keep in mind as you reschedule:

 

If you’re using a wedding planner, check in with them. Whether you have weekly phone calls to talk about the state of your wedding planning or if you pressed pause with them 6 months ago, it’s time to start things back up again. They’ll be a critical resource navigating your vendor rescheduling and more.

“My wedding planner was very flexible and just wanted to support us as a couple. They countlessly rescheduled our vendors all while maintaining good relationships with all of them,” Elizabeth Muse said.

Get in touch with your vendors. As soon as you and your fiancé decide on a new date, it’s time to get in touch with your wedding vendors, starting with your venue. If you’re lucky, they’ll all be available on the new date you choose, but you may have to prepare yourself to contact new caterers, florists, and event spaces to ask about their availability.

Update your guests with new save the dates and invitations.  With online wedding invitations you can easily add a link to your wedding website to give guests all the details. You can also add a link directly to your registry or new hotel accommodations to give guests time to plan for your new date. Need advice on how to phrase your rescheduled wedding invitation wording? We have you covered with these change the date wording examples

Covid wedding etiquette questions, answered

Left: Bride and Groom's hands holding | Right: Add additional questions to your Paperless Post invitation

With Paperless Post, you can add additional questions to your invitations to make planning seamless. For example, you can add a question asking guests if they were vaccinated or tested for Covid.

 

With all of the fluctuation in the wedding industry over the past year, it’s natural to wonder about wedding etiquette as well. Whatever you have questions about, we’ve got answers. 

Can I require my wedding guests to be vaccinated? The short answer is yes, you can. The longer answer is you should make the safety decisions that are right for you and your loved ones. Make the final call based on the safety of everyone at the wedding. For example, if your elderly grandmother or young niece are in attendance, you may want to consider inviting only vaccinated adults or even requiring guests to mask up. Just remember to communicate your expectations with guests respectfully. In this article on how to plan a wedding during covid, we cover how to address covid in wedding invitations.

My pre-Covid wedding was going to be big. What do I do now if it will be a more intimate affair? For everyone involved, from your families to your guests to your vendors, you should be up front and honest about your new plans and why you’ve made them. 

If you’ve changed the size of your guest list so you can host a micro wedding, break the news gently to the guests who are no longer invited. When you’re honest with them about your reasons, they will understand and respect your decision, especially considering you’ve made it with safety in mind.

Additionally, while you are downsizing your wedding, make sure to check all of your contracts with vendors and confirm you’re not locked into pricing for a more extravagant affair. If you are, put on your negotiation face and have a frank discussion with them about how you can work things out. 

— What if my wedding party’s planned attire is out of style or no longer fits? 

Just like your own wedding dress or tux, bridal party styles come and go. You may revisit your wedding party looks only to  realize that, for a myriad of reasons, they aren’t right for your new wedding. Ultimately, you need to make the decision about your wedding party attire that will make you the happiest. It’s your big day! That being said, you should be prudent and take your friends’ budgets into consideration. This year has been hard on everyone, and trading in one gown or tux for another could be a strain on their finances.

What if I got married during the pandemic, but I still want to have a party? Party on! Throwing a reception after the fact can be just as special as you had hoped, and as long as your guests feel safe and comfortable attending a larger event, you should proceed with what you and your fiancé have in mind. Consider a photo wedding invitation featuring a photo from your ceremony to remind your guests of the great love you’re celebrating. 

Depending on when you tied the knot in 2020, another option would be to host a first anniversary party, instead. If you choose this route, find an elegant anniversary party invitation that reflects your wedding’s theme or your personal style. Whatever you decide, your guests will be thrilled to gather in your honor. 

What time of year should you schedule your wedding?

Left: “Rio Novo (Invitation) - Gold” by Crane & Co. for Paperless Post | Right: “Strawberry Fields” by Stephanie Fishwick for Paperless Post

Rio Novo (Invitation) – Gold” by Crane & Co. for Paperless Post and “Strawberry Fields” by Stephanie Fishwick for Paperless Post

 

While contemplating your new wedding date, you should take public-health guidance and weather patterns in your area into consideration. If you’ve moved your wedding outdoors, spring through fall will be the best time to have predictable weather. 

If you’ve rescheduled your wedding, remember that time of year may have an impact on your original plans as well. For example, Elizabeth Muse changed her wedding timing from spring to autumn. With the change, she also updated her floral plans to have access to in-season flowers. “We’re keeping it easy with the same overall plan and color scheme. I’m excited to dig into what’s seasonally available in the fall. For instance, swapping spring peonies for fall garden roses.”

2021–2022 wedding ideas

Now that you’re ready to take on the new lay of the land, how will you approach all the little details of the big day? We’ve got some ideas that adapt well to every type of 2021–2022 wedding, with an emphasis on smaller, outdoor weddings that can accommodate every guest’s comfort level.

Wedding venues

Are you struggling to figure out a wedding venue that will tick all the boxes for you and your guests while giving everyone ample room to socially distance or mingle at their pleasure? From more reasonable destinations to your own backyard, outside-the-box wedding venues will help you stay Covid-friendly. When you get in touch with your preferred venue to discuss rates and dates, remember to ask about their Covid policies, from hygiene to safety to capacity and cancellation clauses.  

Local “destination” weddings

Did you have your sights set on a destination wedding, but you’ve decided to take it back a notch due to Covid? If traveling to far-flung lands is off the table, you can still find amazing destination wedding locations not far from home. To keep things easy for your guests, try to find a venue that’s within 3 hours of where you live. That way, those who would prefer to go home after the reception will have the option to do so. We’ve got a few ideas of where to look for a unique location for your local destination wedding. 

Beach – If you live on the coast, a beachfront wedding could be easier than you think if you’re willing to travel to a public beach or book a venue with beachfront property. 

Farm – Many farms offer event spaces, particularly in vacation hot spots like Virginia, Vermont, Oregon, and California. A flower farm in the spring or early summer would make for stunning wedding photos, and you wouldn’t have to invest as much in floral arrangements—the scenery is all the decor you need.

Winery – Consider a winery in the late summer or early fall to enjoy the scenery during harvest time. The plus side? Wineries have liquor licenses and many serve food already, so your catering and bar vendors will be taken care of. 

Left: Photo of a vineyard wedding venue | Right: “Napa” by Felix Doolittle for Paperless Post
Napa” by Felix Doolittle for Paperless Post

 

Ski resort – Do you live near the mountains? Ski resorts make for stunning weddings where you can say your vows with views for miles. Your guests will have fun traveling to your ceremony on a chairlift or shuttle.

If you’re ready to travel, or you’re still dreaming of traveling when things open back up, you should take a look at all the best destination wedding ideas of your dreams.

Outdoor wedding venuesLeft: “Shanghai Garden” by Rifle Paper Co. for Paperless Post | “Spring Orchard” by Felix Doolittle for Paperless Post

Shanghai Garden” by Rifle Paper Co. for Paperless Post and “Spring Orchard” by Felix Doolittle for Paperless Post

 

Backyard – An intimate backyard wedding cuts out the cost and the stress of other wedding venues, and it adds an extra layer of love for the hosts, whether they are your parents, a favorite aunt, or your best friends. For Covid, make a safety plan with the hosts to help them feel safe as you plan an event in their home, whether it’s requiring everyone to stay outdoors or requiring everyone to be tested or vaccinated.

Botanic garden – Even in the best of times, botanic gardens tend to fill up rather quickly for popular wedding weekends. This venue could be just the ticket if you’re opting for a weekday wedding with a smaller guest list. 

Public park – Stake out your claim on a picturesque bridge or large group pavilion and throw a casual wedding in your local park. Before you send your invitations, check with your local parks department, as some will require you obtain a permit for your ceremony. 

Sculpture garden – While getting married inside museums or galleries is off the table for now, you can still incorporate your love of art into your ceremony with a wedding at a local sculpture garden. You’ll capture dramatic wedding photos surrounded by the great works of the venue’s sculptors. 

Golf course – Tee up a great event at a local golf course or country club. While many golf courses offer indoor event spaces, you can book a terrace overlooking the green where your guests can admire the water features while taking advantage of the venue’s full-service catering. 

Family-only wedding venues

Photo of an arrow sign reading "wedding" on a stone wall.

At home – If you’re hosting a micro wedding with just a few family members at home, we’ve got small wedding ideas for making it all come together. 

At church – If everyone you’re inviting is vaccinated, you may be able to book an intimate ceremony at your church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship. Check with your religious leader for their latest policies. If indoors isn’t an option, you could inquire about a courtyard or other outdoor space.

2021-2022 Wedding Themes

Raspberry Blossom” by Stephanie Fishwick for Paperless Post, “Malacca” by Paperless Post, “Hand Painted Peacock – Double Peacock” by Bernard Maisner for Paperless Post, “Treasured – Medium Gold” by Kelly Wearstler for Paperless Post, “Santa Fe” by Paperless Post, “Dip Dye – Antique Pink” by Paperless Post

 

Like other aspects of your wedding plans that have had to adapt to the new landscape, your wedding theme may deserve a second look. If you had your sights set on a large wedding at an indoor event venue or you previously went all out with an exotic destination wedding, you may have to go with the flow and adjust your theme to suit your new venue. 

That’s what happened with Safiya Jihan Miller. Her wedding was originally going to have a tropical theme to match her epic Jamaican destination wedding. When plans changed and she decided to host a micro wedding near her home in San Francisco, she wanted to take advantage of her new wedding date to lean into a new theme—Juneteenth. 

Left: Custom Juneteenth wedding invitation for Safiyah Jihan Miller by Paperless Post | Right: Inspiration photo of Safiya Jihan Miller and her fiance surrounded by rocks.

Custom Juneteenth wedding invitation for Safiya Jihan Miller by Paperless Post

 

“Now that I’m doing the micro-wedding on Juneteenth, we are asking guests to wear African attire or attire that celebrates the African diaspora like black, green, red, or yellow to pay homage to Jamaica,” she said. “I have a feeling people have been sitting on some totally amazing outfits, and I’m so excited for it.”

Need some inspiration to jumpstart the creative juices for your new wedding theme? We have a few ideas up our sleeves:

Whimsical garden

Lush botanics

Modern tropic

Exotic decadence

Rustic chic 

Modern elegance

Eco-friendly

Modern prairie

No matter what theme you land on, make sure it reflects your and your fiancé’s personalities and tastes. That way, you will be reflected in the design of your big day, from the invitations to the “I dos” to the first dance.

Did you elope during the pandemic? Announce your wedding, instead.

Left: “Split Square” by Paperless Post | Right: “Just Married Getaway Thank You” by Rifle Paper Co. for Paperless Post

Split Square” by Paperless Post and “Just Married Getaway Thank You” by Rifle Paper Co. for Paperless Post

 

When Covid hit, not everything in life came to a screeching halt. Some couples decided not to put their love on hold just because their wedding was. Maybe you were one of the couples who went forward with a courthouse wedding or an elopement. Or, maybe wedding planning during a pandemic wasn’t for you, and you’re planning to elope this year. No matter your situation, you can opt to announce your wedding, instead. Paperless Post has beautiful wedding announcement cards you can share with all of your loved ones who couldn’t be with you on your special day. It’s also a great way to announce your private ceremony and tease a reception you’ll plan at a later date when you feel like the time is right.

Invitations that adapt with your plans

Engaged couples have had to be so nimble and adaptable to all of the curve balls that have been thrown at them this year, from lockdowns to vendors disappearing overnight to the ever-changing guidelines from health officials. You can easily sidestep the anxiety of updating your Save the Dates and invitations when you choose to go digital. Thankfully, Paperless Post’s beautiful designs and easy-to-use platform make choosing and creating your wedding invitations simple, fast, and fun. No matter what you decide for your 2021 or 2022 wedding, if you have to make any changes to your plans, you can send your guests up-to-the-minute messages and answers to their questions with our tools.

With our Upload Your Own feature, you can choose to use the same design as your original invitations with the added functionality of our easy-to-use platform. 

When you’ve chosen a wedding date, browse our wide selection of wedding designs. You can even get printed designs through our exclusive print partner, Paper Source. Because life happens, if you need help with a custom wedding change the date design or wedding postponement card, you can contact our Support team to help.

 

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