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Engaged During The Pandemic: How Future Brides Are Celebrating And Wedding Planning

  |  By Alison McGill

Photo iStock

Weddings for 2020 might be down, but engagements are certainly up! Love has been in the air since we locked down in March and we have noticed a huge uptick in engagements the last few months. If this is you, congrats! There will never be another time in your life like this one (for so many reasons!)

We wanted to know how the newly engaged were celebrating, coping and dealing with wedding planning in the current climate. These four brides shared their stories and let's just say we are so inspired by their incredible attitudes and organization. It's all about love after all.

Lisa, Toronto
Engaged May 14, 2020

What are your current wedding plans?
“We are currently planning for a September 2020 wedding. Both my fiancé and I are older and do not want to wait another year. At first, we hoped to have a wedding of just under 100 people. As we socialized this with our family and friends, we realized some guests would not be comfortable with attending. It would depend on the size of the venue and the layout of the tables and whether it would accommodate social distancing with other guests. Also, there were questions about whether all guests would be required to wear masks. We are now planning an intimate wedding of 50 people.”

How do you feel about the new intimate weddings that are the norm for now?
“I wish I had the choice and was not something I forced into. We initially thought we could invite a few friends along with immediate family until some expressed concerns of social distancing. What we've learned is everyone's COVID-19 tolerance is different. Right now, our parents are the priority. Keeping them comfortable with our decision and feel safe enough to attend our nuptials.”

Do you feel a smaller wedding will afford you the opportunity to splurge on things you may not have thought you would have?
“Not at all. At this point, we just want to get married. With the savings from a smaller wedding, we can allocate an additional funds to the house budget!”

What wedding details are important to you for your day?
“Finding a venue that our guests will be comfortable and safe which we have almost nailed down. Ideally, if our guests don't have to wear masks it will feel somewhat normal.”

What has been the best part of planning your 2020 wedding?
“I know that wedding planning can be frustrating and COVID-19 has definitely made it more complicated, but I am getting married to the love of my life and that’s what is important!”

Photography courtesy of Ali and Batoul Photography.

Rachel, Edmonton
Engaged May 16, 2020

How are you celebrating your engagement?
“We had all kinds of grand plans for the summer 2020—travel to Italy or a tour of North America to see some baseball games—but after 65 days at home, with only each other, Justin asked me to be his wife in our shared home and we drank champagne together and  facetimed our families to share our wonderful news. We recently travelled to Banff National Park to have our first post engagement celebration. We had some beautiful meals and hiked to some breathtaking views. We haven't had much of an opportunity to celebrate with friends yet— most people are still staying in their bubbles.”

What are you looking at in terms of timeline for your wedding?
“At the beginning but moving along quickly! Our wedding date is set for June 19, 2021. Since May 16th we have been hard at it. Date, CHECK. Venue, CHECK. Photographer, CHECK. Dress, CHECK. We are getting it all done in less than a year!”

Were you  concerned about dates and availability in light of the pandemic? 
“We were! Because we had been hearing about all the people with wedding dates this year rescheduling for next year, I was in contact with major vendors pretty quickly. When we found a date that worked for our preferred photographer and event space, we jumped on it right away. Our wedding is planned to be on the small side, only 50 to 60 guests. In the event that we are still in throws of the pandemic this time next year, we'd get married with only our nearest and dearest with us, or maybe just the two of us.” 

How have you navigated the challenges of wedding planning in 2020?
“Planning our wedding has been a light in the midst of all of this craziness. In the last few months, it has felt like there hasn't been much to look forward to besides the eventual opening of...everything. Having something to focus on and a date to work towards has been a wonderful thing for us. Has it been complicated? Yes, a little but it’s also a moment in time that we'll never forget. I found my dress and shopped in a mask. Hired a photographer I have never met in person. Most of my friends haven’t swooned over my ring in person But we are. While trying on wedding dresses I wore a mask the entire time.  I shopped with only my mom and sister (bridal stores are allowing 2 guests max) and there was no champagne toast when I found the one. But we're getting married and it's exciting and love filled and joyous.  We're having a wedding—pandemic or no pandemic!”

Photography courtesy of Ali and Batoul Photography.

Krista, Toronto
Engaged June 2020

How are you celebrating your engagement?
My engagement happened on a surprise weekend getaway to Prince Edward County. It was very intimate and perfect. We have been celebrating with intimate gatherings with our closest family and friends.”

What are your current wedding plans?
“It is challenging to know what timeline will be safe to plan a wedding, especially when looking at a destination wedding which is definitely something we would love to make happen. Right now, we are focused on Fall 2021 or Spring 2022.”

Are you concerned about dates and availability in light of the pandemic?
“I haven't run into any availability issues so far when reaching out to venues but it is because I am contacting smaller venues from out of town.”

Are you prepared to go the intimate route if you have to or do you want to hang on for a time that you can have a larger gathering?
“We always wanted to have a more intimate wedding so am happy to do so!”

Wedding planning is a lot to take on in a normal climate, do you feel it's a little more stressful and complicated in 2020?
“Our biggest challenge is choosing a date and location which is often the first step. I feel like I am at a standstill for the time being because am nervous to select a date with the climate so uncertain.”

Photography courtesy of Ali and Batoul Photography.

Grace, Toronto
Engaged July 12, 2020

How are you celebrating your engagement?
It is especially difficult with COVID-19 to really make any larger plans even as we see restrictions loosen. My now-fiancé’s family are all in Toronto, which has been great as his parents and Nonna went out of their way to put a family dinner together complete with champagne and balloons to give us a real moment of celebration. My parents live in Ottawa which has been a bit disheartening knowing we will not be able to celebrate with them immediately in person. Luckily, I have had the opportunity to have some individual one on one celebrations in backyards with friends. Now because of the pandemic, I am getting a special moment with each of my closest friends where we can celebrate and reflect on just our memories and stories of how we have gotten to this day. Rather than just one moment shared with everyone all together. However, I do plan to see how we can celebrate with a larger group as we have moved into the next stages.”

When are you planning your wedding for?
“We are planning to do a two-year engagement and look to get married in the summer of 2022. My friend gave me a beautiful leather planner and I am eager to start filling it up with ideas. I have had a number of venues in mind, looking at what is opening back up and their current reopening plans. I hope by 2022 we will be able to have a larger wedding with all our friends and families.”

Are you concerned about dates and availability in light of the pandemic?
“Absolutely there is some concern; there have been so many cancellations due to COVID-19 already that will impact our own timeline. Being engaged—even just for this short time—has already shown me while this time is so exciting, there is so much planning to be done! I can’t begin to understand how difficult it must have been for couples who had to postpone their wedding. So, while I know bookings may be tight, I also feel extremely flexible because those couples deserve to finally get the special day they have been waiting for.”

How are you dealing with any wedding planning stress and expectations at the moment.
“After meeting Jonny it didn’t take me long to start thinking if I get married one day, I really hope it’s to this guy! I would be lying if I said I didn’t fantasize about what our wedding would look like, but a global pandemic was never a factor when I was debating between old-Hollywood or modern-industrial style venues. I know it is still early days, but it’s hard to know when a good time is to start thinking about things. Planners have great breakdowns for timelines but, there are no guidelines for our current situation. I want to make sure we have a beautiful day to celebrate but don’t want to put the health of anyone involved at risk. There are definitely a lot of new factors to consider that can feel stressful and I just want to make sure I implement them all correctly. I think that luckily, I can remain in the excitement phase a little longer while also ensuring I have the right knowledge in ensuring safety of our guests and venue staff. At the end of the day, to me this day is about him and I committing to a lifetime together through any ups, downs, and hurdles that may come in our way.”

This article was originally published on Aug 06, 2020

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