Congratulations on your recent engagement! What a fabulous time in your life that deserves enormous celebration! As the excitement starts to settle down, many of you will begin to dive into wedding planning—and one of the first steps is to pick a date! (For more guidance on what to do first, click here.)
Any other year, I’d say that whatever you were envisioning was possible, but since this is the year of Covid and all of its restrictions, especially here in New Jersey, planning a wedding in 2021 will be a little more challenging than years’ past. (Click here for the current restrictions for weddings in New Jersey.)
Many 2020 brides from last spring, summer and fall have already canceled and postponed their previous events, with new wedding dates chosen in 2021, leaving open dates few and far between. This doesn’t only affect wedding venues, but also wedding vendors as well—especially photographers, makeup artists, and bands and deejays.
But that still doesn’t mean a 2021 wedding is impossible. Many brides we talk to simply don’t want to wait, while others need to get married for insurance or other legal purposes. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and we can help you make it happen!
So here’s my advice on how to get married in 2021 if you’re just beginning the planning process now:
- Keep an open mind. The more options you’re open to, the more choices you’ll have. While top wedding venues in the state may not have a single weekend date available for the remainder of the year, smaller venues that don’t host as many events still have availability. For example, if you expand your search from just ballroom venues to hotels, restaurants, barns and bed and breakfasts, you’ll find a special place. Click here to search for New Jersey wedding venues.
- Consider a non-weekend day of the week such as Thursday or Monday. These two days allow you to have a weekend wedding event, either starting with the wedding or ending with the wedding. Tuesday and Wednesday have also become popular. Another perk to choosing a day of the week is that you’ll have your top pick of all other wedding vendors since they most likely will not be booked. We also find many wedding guests wanting to come and celebrate—a wedding during the week is not a deterrent like it may have been pre-Covid. For more on weekday weddings, click here.
- Pick a date in early 2021 if you’re not concerned about Covid restrictions. Many brides are continuing to postpone their events in the first half of 2021 due to Covid concerns, so if you’re not concerned about restrictions such as 25% capacity, no dance floor or worry of a statewide shutdown, you will find open dates from now through March for sure. Worried about planning a wedding with such short notice? It is entirely possible—and also the best way to save money and get deals on open dates.
- Keep calling for cancellations. If you truly have your heart set on one specific venue and a specific 2021 date, keep calling the venue to see if they have a cancellation or postponement. You can even let them know you’re interested and to call you should the previous reservation be canceled.
- Have a micro wedding. A micro wedding, which is typically considered 50 people or less, is easy to host according to the current indoor dining restrictions—and many of the top venues in the state are offering them at this time. They also wind up being some of the most meaningful and memorable events we’ve seen. For more on micro weddings and WHERE to have them in New Jersey, click here.
- Go with an unconventional venue. Choose a restaurant, museum, art gallery, outdoor park, theater, sports arena or amusement park for your wedding venue. These typically don’t have a large demand for weddings and will most likely have open dates. For info on some of these unconventional venues, click here.
- Host it at home. As many 2020 brides can attest to, it is completely possible to host your wedding at home. But you will need to rent a tent, heaters, air conditioner, tables, chairs, plates, glasses, etc. And you’ll also want to transform your space so that it looks wedding-worthy. We highly recommend getting a wedding planner, caterer or event designer involved to do the work that they’re skilled and experienced at to take the pressure off of you.
- Elope now and plan a huge party in 2022 or 2023. Many 2020 brides have gotten legally married on their original date and have postponed their large celebration to 2021 or beyond. You can do the same thing. Pick the date in 2021 that is meaningful to you and either get married with just a witness or a small group of immediate friends and family—and then plan your dream wedding for 2022 or 2023. Believe it or not, 2022 is already booking up, so if you want a stress-free planning process with many choices, you may want to consider a large party in 2023.
- Look in my Facebook group for couples wanting to “sell” their dates. If you’re not already a member of “New Jersey Bride Private Group,” go join it now. Many brides post dates that they’re looking to “sell”…and you can also post about dates that you’re interested in as well.
I truly believe that we’ve gotten through the worst of Covid as it affects New Jersey weddings—and that if we can get through these next six months we’ll be in the clear—but that still doesn’t mean that a 2021 wedding isn’t possible. As so many have proven, you can’t stop love…and I’m here to help you make it happen!!
Reach out at any time with questions!
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