5 ways pandemic weddings are actually kind of awesome
Start by acknowledging how terrible this is.
You’re in a literal pandemic. There’s no vaccine yet. The week I’m writing this, many U.S. states are a few weeks into reopening after months of shutdown – and infection rates are surging.
And you’re going to throw a wedding?
Absolutely yes. But not the way you thought. So start by letting go: This isn’t what you first imagined. Change is hard. It’s sad. It’s scary. So admit that.
Then – remember change brings unexpected blessings, too. Here are 5 ways I’m noticing pandemic weddings can be better than the more traditional kind.
1. Intimate moments. Intense memories.
Until there’s a vaccine for the new coronavirus, weddings in most places will be limited to 50 people – and since outbreaks could recur at any time, keeping to 10 or fewer guests is an even safer bet.
That may not be what you imagined. But take a moment to imagine it now.
What’s it like to say your vows somewhere romantic with no microphones, no complicated setups – just a few close friends?
It’s intense. It’s the kind of thing you won’t forget, the kind of thing you’ll talk about for decades. And that’s just what a wedding should be.
2. More flexible. More personal.
Pre-pandemic, planning a wedding celebration meant deciding if you were a “hotel” or “loft” couple, whether to serve fish or chicken, and what colors you should go with in your bouquet.
You can still decide all those things if you want. But with a teeny, tiny guest list? You’ve got a whole lot more options too.
Get married in your favorite nature spot – even if it’s in the middle of nowhere. Have a “progressive” wedding, with your vows, first dance and dinner at three different places. Go all-out, over-the-top extravagant on your first meal together. Throw a tiny dance party in your pajamas.
Pandemic weddings are microweddings, which means you can do things that would work with 150 guests. Once you say goodbye to “big,” you’ll start to realize how fun “tiny” actually might be.
3. Less expensive - by a lot.
Here’s the other thing about a tiny guest list: It can mean a smaller budget, even if you go all out.
The average pre-pandemic wedding cost $20,000 in the cheapest states, and close to $50,000 in urban areas like New York. Our company’s in Chicago, where our clients typically spent around the average for the state of Illinois: $40,000.
When we launched Huge Little Wedding, we decided to plan complete celebrations for a quarter of that - under $10,000. It works – because when most of your guests attend online, they get to enjoy your food and décor choices without you having to buy so much of everything. In a pandemic economy, that savings is a win.
4. Prolonged togetherness.
For most, the bummer of pandemic weddings is that you can’t share your joy with a wide group of friends and family. It’s unsafe to travel, and unsafe to get that many people in one place for such a long time.
But couples are finding other ways to involve a wide list of loved ones in the celebration, from massive first anniversary parties to services like livestreams or group video chats. Our own Huge Little Wedding service takes the element of sharing one step further, creating a wedding experience your guests can attend on their own schedule. It lasts 7 days instead of one, and you keep video of the party afterward – which means your friends’ and family’s love reverberates for even longer.
5. Proof that love is stronger.
Call me corny, but for me the greatest thing about pandemic weddings is the way they affirm life and love so loudly in the face of something deadly and depressing. We’ve been running stories of pandemic weddings on our Instagram feed with the hashtag “Love Conquers Covid.” Every time a couples sends me their story, I feel more upbeat about what us human beings are capable of.
You can do this. You can reinvent your wedding. It won’t be what you imagined – but in some ways, maybe it could be more beautiful still.