A “Covid-Wedding” story for the ages….Gianna and Easton were scheduled to get married on March 21st (Yup, the weekend after the world shut down!) – we had planned a big, fancy day in Palm Springs and it was heart breaking and chaotic having to cancel the whole thing with so much uncertainty and confusion. That week, Gianna heard the courthouses were closing indefinitely, and they miraculously made it to the Orange County Courthouse at 4pm when they closed at 4:30 for the LAST ceremony to be performed before everything shut down (turns out they were closed for months!)
Grateful they were able to be legally married, they moved forward with planning a large reception in September near Disneyland (they are big Disney fans!) and we thought Plan B, OK, LETS DO IT! Well….the world wasn’t quite as opened up as everyone hoped and family expressed concerns about a large party, so just a few weeks before, we moved on to Plan C- VIRTUAL WEDDING.
Third time was a charm! Using almost all of the same vendors as we had originally planned back in March, we threw an elaborate dinner party for 5 / virtual wedding in Gianna’s parents backyard! After so much back and forth, disappointment and excitement, the day was sooo joyful! Celebratory and lighthearted and intimate and full of champagne and tears- the way it should be.
As a planner, this was our first “all virtual” wedding and we couldn’t have done it without our livestream partners at Second Song – these guys are wedding DJs who have pivoted into the livestream world, and they do an amazing job creating a fun atmosphere for both on-site and virtual guests. Coordinating a day like this is interesting because it is almost like producing a video shoot! We have to be aware of the cameras and the best way to interact with guests “zooming” in, but also create a fun experience for the folks that are really there!
We also had an amazing photographer and videographer on site – and honestly, because there were so few of us there- it was a great reminder that you should hire vendors that you legit want to spend time with! The vendor team (whether your wedding is big or small) becomes an important part of the overall experience of the day! Thanks to Betsy Newman and Shore and Wave for being a part of the party :)
The incredibly talented The Lavender Rose created some JAW DROPPING floral moments with Disney princess vibes.
Big perk of backyard weddings: you can have ALL the dogs in attendance. Just don’t forget to dress them up :)
Gianna and Easton still did all the wedding traditions they had dreamed of- grand entrance, toasts, dances…it was so cool to see the virtual guests getting involved all over the country!
More perks of backyard weddings: you can drink as much damn champagne as you please. And who needs a glass?
Thanks to Gianna, who shared her “lessons learned” throughout her rollercoaster of a planning process! I think these tips are so important whether you are planning a covid wedding, regular wedding, or something in between! From Gianna….
1. The most important thing is that you’re getting married, so as long as that happens, all the rest is extra. Keep an open mind, be flexible, and don’t get too attached to one idea, because you may need to pivot, and it will be less stressful if you don’t have your heart set on things like a glow stick grand exit or a 3-tiered wedding cake.
Even though it’s exciting to buy decorations ahead of time. Don’t. Wait until the month-of, because if you have to change plans you can still return stuff and you won’t be wasting time and money on DIY that will never be used. You may be super crazy busy in that month, but that is better than having 120 packets of Jordan almonds that you hand packed and labeled!
2. Even if you’re just doing a ceremony or something really small- do your hair, do your make up, get the flowers, all the things. Go as “all out” as possible within your personal limitations. Don’t think “well it’s no big deal I’ll just do my own hair or “I don’t need a bouquet”. It IS a big deal so go big and hire a professional photographer to document the day.
3. Try to make hard decisions earlier rather than later and communicate with your vendors even earlier if you think things may change. If you think things may not work out in your favor don’t wait until the week of to make that change or let vendors know in hopes things get better. Try to think ahead and give yourself a month to implement your changes, and if you include your vendors on that conversation they may have really good ideas/insight you didn’t think of. Also, by having that open communication it helps them and you out financially if you keep it honest and fair from the start.
Thank you to Gianna and Easton for sharing your day!