As I write this post, its been a week since my husband (ah!) and I tied the knot. It’s unbelievable to look back and think about everything we did while also feeling like it’s been one big blur. A few weeks before the big day, I asked my followers on Instagram for their best wedding advice, and I got some amazing insights. In the spirit of paying it forward, I’m now sharing some of my advice and tips for planning a wedding during these crazy times, and beyond!
A short background story. My husband and I got engaged in April 2021. This was just before the vaccination roll out was ramping up in Canada and there was unfortunately a great deal of unknown in terms of numbers and ‘waves’ and, people were only starting to gather in larger groups. Some of the considerations we had to keep in mind while planning were:
- Cultural wedding – do we want to have an Indian wedding? Which events will we have?
- Timing – do we get married this year or wait until the next year?
- Guest count – based on our timing, what would a realistic guest count be? We didn’t want to be a super spreader event!
- Location – my husband and I live in Montreal and Toronto respectively so there would be travel considerations for family and friends
- What will Covid numbers and vaccination rates look like?
After much debate, we decided that we would hold off on throwing our Indian wedding until next year but get legally married this year. We figured that by 2022 there would be more certainty around vaccinations, larger gathering capacities, and frankly, it would give us more time to plan.
And so comes my first tip of planning a wedding through Covid – be open to doing things differently and what works for you as a couple. Whether it comes to the dates, the events, the numbers – align on what you want with your partner first and go from there.
Next up comes the planning process. It can be all consuming, overwhelming, emotional and literally take up all your time. Create time boundaries that you will allow yourself to focus on wedding planning. I could let hours go by researching, responding to emails, updating my excel tracker. My husband would often have to take my computer out of my hands to make me stop! To-do lists are obviously super helpful, but track the bigger items only and use notes or post-its to capture details and ideas you have.
A second part of the planning process, and very important in the weeks leading up to your wedding – stick to your routine and support your immune system. Not only did we both get head colds two days after our wedding but personally, I didn’t work out, my appetite was negligible and I was sleeping terribly. Looking back I wish I had stuck to my routine of morning walks, made a firm meal plan (smaller meals/snacks), took additional supplements and focused on my sleep routine. Believe me, unless you take the necessary steps you will be absolutely EXHAUSTED and drained once it’s all over.
We held a small civil ceremony on October 10th with our immediate families and after dinner, we invited some close friends to join us for drinks all while keeping our numbers small, manageable and comfortable. The wedding was EXACTLY what we hoped it would be. Although we are just as excited to have our Indian wedding next year, we had a wedding in the style that we have grown up seeing. We got to recite our own vows, exchange rings. sign our legal documents and share a first married kiss! So, embrace your traditions and cultures but don’t do things because you feel you HAVE to. Plan for and incorporate things that resonate and are meaningful for you and your partner. As we go into planning our Indian wedding, we’re taking a deep look at the various cultural rites and their meaning to make sure that we resonate with what’s being performed and that we believe in what’s being said. I also hear a-lot of “well, ‘so and so’ did it that way”, or “it’s always been done that way”. It doesn’t matter. This is your wedding and it should be unique, meaningful and special to you.
Take advantage of Covid and keep your celebration small and intimate! This was the resounding piece of advice we got from our friends after we got engaged, have a small wedding! Although we will be having a “bigger” wedding next year, it thrills me to have been able to have a small, intimate ceremony with the people we love the most. Our approach to our Indian wedding will be much of the same, it will be bigger but with intimacy, intention and purpose. We want to feel like we are celebrating with the people that we see as being part of our future, not people we feel obligated to invite or return an invite to.
Expect to be disappointed. Not what you probably were expecting to hear but it’s the truth. Whether it’s your family, friends, your partner and even yourself, it’s hard not to have expectations on this big day which inevitably means there will be disappointment. The best way to manage is to really appreciate the people who do show up for you and make an effort and keep the bigger picture in mind. This is a once in a lifetime moment for you as a couple and it’s natural to expect the people around you to feel the same way. Empathize but know that you are justified in feeling disappointed, sad and even hurt.
Stay in the moment and know that the little things that may have been missed or gone wrong, no one will notice but you. Appreciate this this a huge day for you and your partner and take time for just the two of you, away from the chaos to take it all in. Oh, and take LOTS of pictures! Even though you’ll more than likely have professional ones, the pics you and your loved ones capture are just as precious.
If you got this far, I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that some of this advice is helpful. We’ll be starting the process all over again for our wedding next year so I’ll definitely need to take some of my own advice in the next little while.
Till next time!