Wedding Planning 101
With Governor Murphy's ban on weddings in New Jersey, here are answers to how Covid-19 may affect your NJ wedding.Read More
The coronavirus pandemic brought chaos to so many New Jersey weddings last summer, and still has some brides not sure what to do with the guest-list restrictions and prohibited dance floors, leaving some weddings for this year up in the air. Many brides aren’t sure what will become of their big day.
“What you’re doing is you’re taking something they’ve planned for over a year and you’re just saying we don’t know what’s going to happen,” says JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions in Sparta and New York. “They’re visibly upset and anxious and just the highest stress level you could possibly imagine.”
For brides dealing with postponing their wedding in the face of so much uncertainty, we called on wedding planners Gregoli; Tina LaMorte of Oh So Fabulous in Maywood; and Jenny Orsini of Jenny Orsini Events in Berkeley Heights for expert advice on how to handle the process while keeping your cool.
Take a deep breath, and know that you’ll get through this. Although the uncertainty is disruptive, try to remember the big picture. “Don’t panic. Stay calm,” Gregoli says. “You should never lose sight of the reason you’re getting married. The purpose is to marry the person you love and they’re still by your side.”
“Postponement may feel like forever, but in the scope of life, it’s really not that long of a time,” she adds.
THE NEW DATE
The smartest move financially, planners say, is to ask your venue for a new date and see if your other vendors are available. While every case is different, most New Jersey vendors are being flexible and allowing deposits to be used on a new date, without penalties, the planners say.
“For the most part from what we are seeing, we’re rallying to make it happen, vendors are absolutely being flexible with moving the deposit to a future date and brides are completely understanding they may not get every vendor with them,” Orsini says.
“Everyone is coming together to try to figure out how to still have these events at another time when it’s going to be safe,” LaMorte says.
Orsini urges brides to ask their venue for a list of possible dates, and check with the vendors. Act fast, be strategic but be prudent. Remember, other brides in the same situation are looking for new dates, and many dates in the fall and next year are also being booked by couples who got engaged after the pandemic hit.
“I promise you, that list has been given to multiple brides and they are also considering those dates,” Orsini says. “It really is a rush for the dates. It might not be the date you want but if it’s a relatively attractive date, grab it. If you don’t, someone else will.”
“It’s this weird balancing act of speed and attention to detail,” she adds.
When postponing your wedding, realize you might not get everything you want, whether it’s the day of the week, the month, the season, or even the year. Maybe you’ll take a Friday instead of a Saturday night, or have a winter wedding instead of your spring garden party. Maybe your favorite vendor can’t make the new date.
“The script has changed,” LaMorte says. “You have to be flexible and have to be willing to consider all options.” Colors, for example, can be changed to reflect a new time of year. “Things like that can all be tweaked and fixed very easily,” LaMorte says.
PRIORITIZE WHAT’S IMPORTANT
Hopefully, all of your vendors will be available for your new date. But if they’re not, prioritize what’s most important, LaMorte suggests. “If things have to change, what are some things you feel you can’t live without,” she says.
Vendors have been trying to do what they can to make it work, including hiring extra staff to be available on an in-demand date or recommending an associate to stand in for them, LaMorte says. “Everyone’s been working together to solve these problems,” she adds.
In addition to planning your big day, wedding planners sometimes become unofficial therapists. “My brides call me every day just to hear me give them a pep talk,” Gregoli says. “Every day they want to hear me say it’s going to be OK.”
If you don’t have a wedding planner, it may be time to hire one if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You can use a planner to help you re-book your wedding, and LaMorte says some are offering new pricing, including hourly, a la carte or per diem rates. “If you’re struggling right now, hire a planner,” she says. “This can be tough. It’s hard to pick up the pieces and get it going again.”
If that’s not in the cards, turn to your network, either your mom or someone helping you with the wedding. “You need to vent and somebody who’s on your team that would be your right hand,” Gregoli says. “Rely on them a little bit, maybe delegate some stuff to them. Have them make the phone calls for you so you don’t stress out about it.”
TRY TO RELAX
“I tell my brides to do yoga and meditation,” Gregoli says. She also recommends finding a way to give back by sending snacks to a hospital and reading books to kids online. “Find something else to occupy your time and you’ll feel so much better about yourself that you’re doing some good,” says Gregoli, who organized a mask-making effort. “That is a big thing I’m telling my couples.”
And once a new date is booked, brides can exhale. “There’s a big sigh of relief once we get the date secured and we move it. Everybody is so happy that it’s done,” LaMorte says. “We can all breathe.”
BELATED WEDDING BELLS
With a postponed wedding, you’ll have more time to plan, more time to save up, perhaps for a splurge, and one day soon, your wedding day will arrive, and it will be amazing.
“When this is over, we’re going to have a lot to celebrate,” Gregoli says. “The fact that we got through this and the fact that you’re still going to marry the person that you love.”