With many couples having already postponed their wedding celebrations once, twice, and sometimes more, many are now looking for another way to work within the restrictions. Whilst there is an end in sight, restrictions are still in place and will affect guest numbers so there are still tough decisions to be made. Understandably, couples planning weddings during the Covid-19 pandemic are looking for ways to make their big day happen and want to take matters in to their own hands as much as possible, in a pro-active way. We look at the pros and cons of a small wedding during Covid-19 and whether a virtual wedding and live-streaming your ceremony is a good alternative to postponing.
Megan and Dan, both from Bournemouth, had originally planned a big wedding for 90, but as restrictions tightened they adapted their plans. They have no regrets about going ahead with a smaller wedding: “At first we were gutted, but were determined to make it work. We will never forget the uniqueness of our day, and the photos we will have forever of us in our lockdown bride & groom masks will always be a reminder of what was happening in the world when we got married.” Nadine who married husband Jacky in London last August agrees: “It turned out to be the wedding of dreams, I haven’t once wished it was any different than it turned out to be. It felt like the perfect start into a new chapter.” So what are the options if you’ve decided that you want to get married despite restrictions? We talk to some Patchwork couples to hear how they did it and look at some ways you can make your small wedding day / livestream wedding amazing.
Shouldn’t we wait for the big wedding we’ve planned?
It’s really hard to let go of plans and dreams that we’ve held on to and hoped for. For most couples, one of the most exciting things about their wedding day is being able to gather all of their friends and families in one place, for one very special day of celebrations. The day is all about you, the couple, but it’s also about sharing that moment with those who mean the most to you, it’s about the witnessing of this huge life event, and about reconnecting with people who you might not easily be able to see at other times. Do you want to lose this aspect of your wedding? Probably not. Nadine says: “I always imagined a wedding of at least 250 people, as that was what I was used to among my family. We then talked to my parents online and soon decided that getting married was more important to us than having a big wedding.” So how can you make sure you still have the wedding you want, whilst keeping safe and adhering to Covid-19 restrictions?
Postponing (again) vs a small wedding
There is always the option to postpone until next year, and hope – as we all do – that by then the restrictions have completely lifted and life is back to normal. And if you decide to do this, everyone will totally understand why. It’s your day and you get to decide what is best for you both. There are many couples however who have already postponed multiple times and perhaps crave the certainty of a fixed wedding date rather than a never ending stream of postponements. As we have all learnt – guidelines change rapidly – and the current government rules must always come first when deciding what your wedding plans are. But for now we know that smaller weddings will be allowed well before big pre-Corona style weddings and this is the window in which you can really get creative and try out new ideas and possibilities.
Can a small wedding compare? What about our friends and family?
Few would say that there’s any replacement for having all your favourite people in one place and being able to see, touch and squeeze them. There are things we can’t change – but there are things that we can do differently – which can be exciting and quite liberating as well! A small wedding with just your celebrant, witnesses and very close family members or friends gives you the option of streaming the celebration to everyone else. This means that even guests who may not have been able to travel under normal circumstances can be with you. it might turn out to be a more inclusive event than ever!
Rich and Fiona from Bristol who had a much smaller than planned wedding experienced this first hand: “We live-streamed the ceremony on Zoom. I was a little worried that no one would be at all interested, but people loved it. We had more people at the ceremony than we would have had under ‘normal’ circumstances. People from all over the world watched – from America, Spain, Switzerland and more. People really got into it, dressed up, and popped open the bubbly!” Megan and Dan from London who also got married last year under strict Covid-19 restrictions said: “Our church put on the most amazing livestream from three different angles meaning all our guests who could not make it could still be a part of our day. Knowing friends were watching the livestream from home was amazing and so unique – everybody said it was like watching the royal wedding!”
Rip up the rule book
A virtual / live-streamed wedding is a new thing and so it’s a bit of a blank page. Traditions don’t have to be observed, you can bring in new ideas and have a bit of fun with the whole concept. Rich and Fiona agree: “I think sometimes with weddings, it’s very easy to get carried away and you end up doing the things that you feel are traditional or what others expect from a wedding. This way we could rip up the rule book, do what we wanted to do and it was amazing.” Firstly, having a much smaller wedding means that the day really can be all about the two of you. The pressure is off, the logistics are scaled right down and some of those overwhelming decisions can be put aside. Rich and Fiona felt this too – “Whilst it would have been amazing to see everyone all at once, there was something really nice about being in a really small group. It made us see what was really important on a wedding day: being together, with our family, and making a commitment to each other.”
Upsides of a live-streamed wedding
Table plans, travel schedules, guest accommodation, worrying about being able to spend time with everyone, feeling like you’ve got too many people to cater for and please… Letting go of a few of these things can bring a sense of relief. For your guests too – suddenly the whole event is simplified. No travelling across time zones, jet lag, expense, childcare or work schedules to manage. Just like magic they can be there with you and share in your wedding day virtually, no matter where they are or what their current situation is. In many ways this is the best of both worlds for you and your guests. You get to focus on each other, and be a little bit selfish and your guests get to witness and be part of all the joy safely and from a distance. Nadine and Jacky had family and friends across the globe, so this worked perfectly: “By August, Jacky’s church was used to live-streaming services so we decided to live-stream our wedding so international friends and family could join virtually. It worked out wonderfully and we had over 400 people tuning in! It was lovely to share this moment with people from our international family.”
Should we send a gift list with our virtual wedding link?
You’ll probably find (like many couples we speak to) that your friends and family will insist on gifting you in some way! Often couples put together a gift list at the last minute because they’ve been asked about their gift registry by numerous guests. Something Beryl & Sean who got married last summer in Edinburgh found out: “I hadn’t even thought of a wedding list – and when the third invited guest asked for it – I ended up googling online and found Patchwork to have the nicest non-clichéd options. I just loved the possibilities and the design and the functionality.” Maybe because times have been so tough for everyone (especially for couples trying to plan weddings in a pandemic!) you’re likely to have friends and family who want to show you some extra love and support at this time. Luckily, with Patchwork you can set up and share a gift registry quickly and easily. The complete security and flexibility of a Patchwork gift registry means that if your plans change, you won’t lose out. For Megan and Dan this was important; “we didn’t know due to Covid where we would be able to travel but Patchwork allowed us to build our own list, and keep it open and flexible, allowing us to use the contributions wherever and whenever we wanted to.”
A gift registry that “gives back”
With Patchwork you can completely tailor your page to include anything you wish, with options to suit all budgets, and in any currency. But, perhaps as exciting, is that you can also include more than just monetary contributions. You can include things on your Patchwork like a recipe for guests to download to make their own cocktail on the day, or the words to a song you’d like everyone to join in with after the ceremony. You can make your Patchwork really interactive so that guests who can’t be there in person can still join in. In this way it doesn’t feel like you are just asking for things but also giving back to your guests and inviting them to play a more interactive, meaningful (and fun!) part in the celebrations. We’ve written a piece specifically about planning a virtual wedding that involves all your guests if this is something you’ve thought about.
If you’d like to know more about setting up a Patchwork, whether you’re planning a virtual wedding, or you’d like to learn more about our wedding registry or honeymoon fund please get in touch with us via Insta or at email@example.com. We always have time for a chat!
Thanks to all of our amazing and inspirational couples for being part of this blog piece! Thanks as well to the following photographers for sharing their gorgeous images: