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Pandemic Wedding Planning 101: Tips from a Seattle Venue & Event Manager

Photos of event manager Kimball at events collaged with text that reads Pandemic Wedding Planning 101

Congrats! You’re engaged! What an exciting and joyful time. For some, wedding planning may come naturally – it could be a breeze! For most, it’s a beast (and that was before 2020). Then came a little something called COVID-19, you may have heard of it… a global pandemic that is unpredictable, full of twists and turns and sometimes makes “the beast” feel like it grew a few more heads.

But the world keeps turning, life keeps moving. You still have a busy to-do list, a job, family & friends who need you, the list goes on. You have a full and busy life and NOW you’re trying to plan the best day of your life when you’re not even sure what life will look like next month, let alone on your wedding day. AND THAT IS OK. Don’t start swinging your sword at the Hydra too soon. You’re not alone and help is just a few Google searches away. Go on, see for yourself, insert into search bar: “DSquared Hospitality Company” for tab 1, “Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes Catering” for tab 2, and you’re off to a great start.

You see, we share the same disbelief: could we still be in year three of COVID? Yes (cringe). But there is good news. Your wedding & event professionals armored up in March 2020 and if they are still around *us over here waving hello* that means we haven’t stopped problem solving since that fateful, and very strange, spring two years ago. This means you’re in good hands. Another wave of COVID? We’ve seen it, we’ve planned through it, we’ve even planned for it. COVID won’t stop us from having a ball, and it shouldn’t stop you either! Even if the guest count is currently pending.

Here’s how to think through planning your wedding, whether you’re a Type A or Type Z kind of bride/groom/fill-in-the-blank.

Be flexible, both in your vision and in your  planning process.

  • Planning now is not the same as it was  in 2019, so recognize that things have shifted and you may have to approach your event a little differently. Your vendors know this and we will always have options and advice for you, so  don’t hesitate to ask if you’re thinking of modifying your event or you  just want to brainstorm ideas (most likely, we’ve already been doing that for you). It may not be the wedding you envisioned when you were 10, and it may mean having a serious chat with the Type A version of yourself who wanted everything planned and perfected yesterday. Some good news? Through COVID we have reworked many weddings in response to health and safety mandates and have seen time and time again that Plan B can still turn into the perfect day, it can even turn into a perfect Plan A if you play your cards right.
     
  • Another quick tip on flexibility: Select a venue that offers OPTIONS. Multiple rooms, outdoor/indoor - or even a modified postponement policy if possible - that offers flexibility on dates if COVID comes a-knocking. This way you can easily transition if needed without having to completely start from scratch.

Think about which elements are most important to you.

     
  • Is it having all your loved ones present or participating? Make sure you clearly communicate COVID guidelines to your guests so everyone can stay safe (ahem, your planner will help you to stay in-the-know, lean on them!). You can also hire a live streaming service so those who stay home can share in your event.
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  • Is it having an unmasked party? Consider planning for a far-out date when fewer restrictions might be in place but remember that no one has a crystal ball! Including your vendors. If there is one thing year 3 of a global pandemic has taught me is to stop “waiting for all of this to be over.” Un-pause your life. As mentioned before, the world keeps turning. If you’re down to wait, we will wait right along with you! But if getting married is most important, release the pressure you’re putting on yourself and others to have a perfect party as if a global pandemic never existed. Masks are a good thing (!) and your planner will work with you to optimize times you can ditch them if and whenever it’s safe to do like for organized photos, a standing ceremony and even that first dance with the love of your life.
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  • Is it saving money? Then understand a wedding on a budget may not come with all of the bells and whistles a fairytale would. But that’s ok too! This is real life. Planning on a budget is just as important as planning if you’re a millionaire. Be honest with your event professionals so that they can truly understand your preferences AND your needs. That’s the only way we can get you to where you need to go!

Remember that your wedding & event vendors are people too.

  • We are also in a global pandemic! BUT we entered this industry out of a passion for hospitality, events and food! We are still in this industry (even 2+ long COVID years later) because we still love what we do, and we want to take care of you. We love watching your event shine (no matter how many transitions we needed to make). We are rooting for you and your event and while safety will always remain a top priority for all guests and staff on the big day, we still like to shoot for the stars.
  • That being said, make sure you hire a professional you know you can trust (then trust us!) so we can properly guide you.

 

Planning your wedding can be much more exciting than stressful, even now! Take a breath, put down the sword and remember that there is a world of event professionals tried and true who are waiting to work with you and will help you make the absolute most of these current times we are (still) finding ourselves in. What to do first? Hit that contact button on the top right and let’s see what we can create together!

Photos by Steven Zhang Photography

Written July 2022

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By
Kimball Gainor
Kimball Gainor
,
former
lead event & venue manager, the hall at fauntleroy & melrose market studios
,
DSquared Hospitality Company
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