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  1. Tuesday, September 1, 2020

  2. Wednesday, September 2, 2020

How Wedding Planning Changes in COVID Times

Get tips from renowned Chicago wedding planning expert Jane Himmel on how to get creative with wedding plans during a pandemic.

Planning a wedding in normal conditions is stressful, but doing so in the time of a pandemic takes things to a whole other level. We’re here to help provide some guidance for those who are in the midst of planning their big day while also navigating this “new normal.” 

We spoke with local wedding planner Jane Himmel to get her take on planning a wedding in the time of COVID-19. Shake off your pandemic planning woes and try to remember you’re not alone in this struggle. Life and love goes on. 


Shifting Your Nuptials 

21c: This pandemic has forced many couples to cancel or rethink how they want their day to look. Have you worked with any couples who decided to reimagine their day – maybe swapped their big wedding for something a little more intimate or kept the date and opted for a virtual-only celebration? Very early in the pandemic, couples were having their ceremonies with just their officiant and photographer to document the day.

JH: I had a couple that made the decision to cut their guest list and then divide the wedding to two different nights. Each night met the guidelines that were in place at the time and the bride was able to wear her stunning dress twice! Some couples had a very small ceremony on their original date, with the plan of celebrating with a large event in 2021.

21c: How do you help your clients decide if they should move forward with their wedding plan? What “rules and regulations” have you recommended to keep guests and vendors safe?

JH: It is important to be realistic about the situation and acknowledge that there are some things that we have no control over. Maintaining the safety of their guests, vendors and themselves is the first priority.

21c: How do you think wedding vendors are feeling about working during the pandemic?

JH: The pandemic has decimated the wedding industry. While our industry professionals want to work and miss their work, they don’t want to put themselves or their families at risk.

21c: Have you gotten a sense from wedding guests of increased anxiety around attending? If so, how are you advising clients to help reduce this?

JH: As most larger weddings were postponed, there have been few instances where someone has communicated their anxiety about attending a wedding. I would advise my clients to be empathetic and let the guest know that all precautions and mandates are being followed.

21c: Many couples are having to reduce the size of their guest lists – either because of social distancing regulations or just the concern of having larger groups together. What tips do you have for reducing the guest list?

JH: Reducing the guest count is every couple’s challenge, even if we are not in a pandemic! Think of your guests in a concentric circle, with the smallest circle being your immediate family. The next circle will be friends and extended family. Each circle has its own “identity”. If you invite one person from the next circle, you are opening the door to a whole other group. So you have to be careful!

21c: What information do couples need to communicate to guests about their wedding in the age of a pandemic?

JH: Couples need to keep their website up to date. Post all changes on the website, send emails to the guests with a link to the website. The most important thing to communicate will be the date, particularly if invitations have already been sent out. Keep in mind that online information does not take the place of a formal invitation.

21c: Capturing the big day when masks are involved. Are you finding that couples are leaning into having photos of their wedding with masks being very much a part of it? How have you been working with photographers to navigate the new challenge of capturing their special day while also keeping everyone safe?

JH: Since so many weddings have been postponed, this has not been a huge issue. With smaller events, photographers can take quick photos without masks, and guests can replace their masks after the photo. The smaller weddings have been proactive in providing disposable masks, custom masks, even blinged out face shields.

21c: What are some virtual ways to include friends and family who cannot attend in-person?

JH: ZOOM was invented just in time!! Many of the photographers and sound professionals have live streaming capabilities, which is another way to have your guests be a part of the event. 


The Most Important Thing 

As couples globally are facing the COVID-19 pandemic, taking the right actions and navigating this ever-evolving scenario is proving to be challenging for many. If you’re just starting to plan or you’re now in the phase of having to postpone (or renavigate) your wedding, realize the good news: you can still have a wedding and celebrate with your loved ones.

Make a big statement with an intimate wedding and book our Micro-Wedding Package.

> Learn more about saying ‘I do’ with 21c Chicago