You were in the 'bliss' of planning your wedding and felt like you were almost there when BAM! You know- what-happened. Unfortunately, almost one whole year on and we still don't know when weddings as we knew them are likely to happen again. So, do you hold on in the hope that your 120 guests will be up and dancing by the summer, do you postpone and take a guess that 2022 will be back to 'normal' or do you alter your plans for a smaller 'do? If you are thinking of the latter option, here are some tips for scaling back your wedding but without having to compromise.
The emotional rollercoaster.
Hands up who feels like they've been through a mangle? The first thing to do is to try to look at the process of scaling things back with a really productive mindset and with as much perspective as you can muster. The more logically you can move forward, the less heart wrenching and stressful you will find it.
So, when we talk about scaling back, what does it actually mean? Basically, it means reducing your guest numbers. This will then impact other things: the number of tables, the amount of flowers the entertainment, the amount of food and drink and the all-important budget. What it doesn't mean, however, is having to compromise on what a wonderful day you will have. Instead, you will need to consider how best you can work with the amazing suppliers you have booked and how they can make adaptions to cater for the changes you need to make. If you have a wedding planner or stylist, this is when they are worth their weight in gold. You do not need to worry on your own. Tell them about your worries and they will be able to help take the stress and anxiety of decision making away or certainly help to ease it. Just be open and honest. Remember it's our job.
Here comes the trickiest part....
Scaling back your bridal party and grooms people
This might seem like the worst job you will have to do. You may have all your best mates or siblings in the important roles but now restrictions in place mean that you have to scale back to just one or two of them.
Traditionally, you would have a maid of honour and a best man. You may feel that opting to go with tradition here helps your crew to understand, prompts less fall out and makes things easier for you. However, some couples have wished for a larger group of their besties taking equal roles. The best and only way of dealing with this is to go with your gut instincts. Other ways of dealing with this awkward scenario is to include them remotely in some special way or even do away with a bridesmaid or best man altogether. If they love you, they will understand.
Scaling back your guest numbers
How can you tell people that they aren't important enough to make the final cut?! How can you stop any fall out? The most important thing for you to remember (and we can sort of thank the pandemic for this) is that even if someone cannot be there in person they can virtually, and still be part of your day. Talk about the reasons behind your decision - it's not personal - you are being forced to. Again, if they love you, they will understand.
Scaling back the Ceremony
This bit is easier. Depending on the type of ceremony you have, this may not change that dramatically, other than the number of people in attendance. During the previous lockdown, the Government advice was to keep ceremonies as short as possible with no singing, readings and plenty of hand washing. There may be different restrictions moving forward and numbers may be raised. My best advice is to try to keep up to date with guidance and speak with your celebrant, religious leader or planner for guidance on what you can do.
Scaling back your Wedding Breakfast
That means less tables, less food, less need for a huge cake, and perhaps less decor. The first thing to do is to speak to your planner or coordinator (if you have one) or your representative from the venue about how you can reduce the number of tables and any layout changes. You may decide to have one long table where you can sit together for example. Consider if you will be in the same space as originally planned. You may need to think about the size of the space and think about how you can make it seem less vacuous and more intimate, such as finding ways to hang an instillation from the ceiling to make the room appear smaller and cosier. You can still create an impact with decor design. Perhaps consider using the budget you would have used on your table flowers for some cool looking statement piece? A wedding stylist will be able to give you some good tips for this.
As you may have less guests it is likely that your food budget will be lower too. Can you use this as an opportunity to make dinner even more special? Maybe you were opting for a sharing platter and now can afford to repurpose some budget to give your guests a three course meal? Was your original plan to have a three-tier dream cake? Talk to your cake maker about keeping the design the same and reducing it's size, creating some cool individual cakes or even opting for a one-tier statement cake instead.
Scaling back your Photography and Videography
You will need to consider how long your day will actually be as there are restrictions on the celebratory element of a wedding. The order of the day may change and you might have to shorten or even sadly do away with certain parts of the wedding such as the drinks reception. However, there are ways to stretch out the timings of your wedding breakfast, such as adding more food or incorporating a cocktail hour for example. First dances are still allowed but it may happen earlier than anticipated. So, what you will need to do is have a chat with both your wedding photographer and videographer about how the change of timings will affect their costs and time allowances. Talk to them about when they will be needed and what it is important for them to capture. What is important to remember is that this is your wedding day and it is vital that it is documented.
Scaling back your wedding Stationery
Depending on where you are in your planning journey you may have already sent out your Invitations or Save the Dates. If you haven't at this point, chat with your stationer about the best ways to alter what you have or how it can be changed. If you already have your stationery printed but because your numbers may dictate you 'uninviting' guests, can you re-purpose them? You could always send them as they are but add in a note to let them know that you will be streaming the day or that there is a change of date. Some stationers will alter save the dates free of charge because they understand that things are out of your control. Whatever you do, don't throw them away. Lots of guests love a bit of nostalgia and like to keep wedding invitations for posterity.
I really hope that this has been useful. If you need any help or advice about how to scale back your plans, do get in touch.