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A Top Planner Shares Her Tips for Having the Best (and Safest) Wedding During COVID-19

Kelley Ward, owner of À La Carte Events, shares her insights on the future of weddings in the wake of COVID-19, along with a beautiful shoot she recently did with a group of talented vendors to show how gorgeous a small (and safe) wedding can be. Read on for Ward’s super helpful tips and ideas for planning the wedding of your dreams despite this new reality.

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I regularly joke that, “We are your first line of defense,” when it comes to planning our clients’ weddings, negotiating with vendors, troubleshooting problems that may come up over the wedding weekend and so on… but in March 2020 I was faced with a whole new realm of questions from my present and prospective clients about how to protect their wedding plans. Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic the worst thing that most couples could have imagined happening on their wedding day was inclement weather or that one particular wedding guest getting a bit too tipsy! Now in the wake of Coronavirus couples are being faced to make decisions in an ever-changing situation that’s never been experienced before.

As a wedding planner I have the unique position of representing both my clients’ and my vendor network’s wants and needs, which makes planners an important liaison for “both sides of the table.” When wedding planning came to a screeching halt in March it was truly a unique position to be in.

I was faced with the duty to protect my clients’ interests and finances as well as my own business and vendor network, which was filled with companies like mine that were faced with being shut down, if not temporarily, potentially for good. Photographer Kelly Kollar shares her experience with these changes:

“The most important part of my job now is being there for my clients who are coping with the stress of postponements and making sure we figure out the best way to move forward. I have spent more days working on contract language than I care to remember, but it’s been worth it to successfully move the bulk of my weddings to 2021. It hasn’t been easy for anyone, but for the most part I’ve been encouraged by how thoughtful both clients and other vendors have been about postponements, working to find 2021 dates that work for everyone. It’s an emotional and economic issue, which is hard on many levels.”

Couples regularly come to their planner and other vendors for answers and direction, so it was incredibly difficult to provide sound advice due to the lack of information, updates, and even general understanding of how big and how bad this pandemic really is and how long our country will be affected by it. As the weeks and now months have progressed, the picture has become slightly clearer and we know that, for at least the near future or even the rest of this year, couples should expect weddings to look a lot different. Packed dance floors, cost-effective buffets, and having hundreds of guests gathered together are likely not going to be safe options for some time.

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After a handful of calls with my own clients, I realized a common thread: the proposed options from popular wedding planning outlets on how to host a wedding in the wake of Covid-19 were not well received by these couples, who were already distraught that their ‘big day’ couldn’t happen as they’ve been envisioning for months or years. The need for more creativity, more understanding, and more examples of new options for weddings became clear quickly. From that the idea was born to produce a styled shoot featuring creative solutions for hosting weddings in this new era of wedding planning.

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