. Guys, I had a Coronavirus wedding during the pandemic! Hey don’t be scared, it wasn’t as if I was infected neither was my husband. Before I delve so fast, I just realized It’s been 5 months since my last post despite my plans to be consistent but here we are. A lot has happened in the last 4 months and I am here to update you guys about it.
Your girl is now married, grins sheepishly. Yes, I got married to the love of my life on July 16th and it’s been a fun ride ever since. In this post, I will share all the slight ups and downs we experienced as a result of the pandemic, how we adjusted and what changed. Are you planning a wedding party or you’ve had to move your wedding date as a result of the pandemic? This post will help you on how to plan a Coronavirus wedding and also guide you on how to plan a wedding even when this blows over.
How I PlanNED AND ADJUSTED FOR A CORONAVIRUS Wedding During THE Pandemic
1. Pre-Wedding Planning
I got engaged in November and I shared a bit of tea on my Instagram Debwritesblog, I wonder why you are not following me yet. And we got introduced officially in December during the holidays. It was an intimate ceremony consisting mainly of family and a few friends from both sides. As a Yoruba bride from Nigeria, that shows that both families have accepted to the union between the intending bride and groom and we can proceed to legalize the union with a proper traditional wedding.
2. Choosing a Date
The first thing all parties involved in planning a wedding needs to agree on before making any major decision is the wedding date. And when I say all parties involved, that includes the bride, groom, bride and groom’s parent and any other party whose voice counts in the family. It would be a huge disaster if a date is agreed on and it has to be changed because it’s not convenient for one of the ‘stakeholder’ in the union.
In our case, we decided on June 6, 2020 and as soon as that was agreed on, it was easier to start making all necessary plans towards that date.
Date Altering Due to the Pandemic
Sadly, after all plans had been put in place towards June the 6th, as I fondly refer to it, a pandemic struck and the country was shut down. At first, the reality did not hit home and I kept hoping by end of April or mid-May, there would be a way forward but that never happened. By mid-May, we knew we would have to change the date but we did not even know when. It wasn’t until mid-June before we knew we would have our event in July.
One of the first thing we decided on was to make it a weekday event, majorly because we knew a lot of couples would be postponing their weddings as well. It has been a season of Coronavirus wedding and a lot of couples were worried and had to choose new dates. And we were trying to avoid venue clash, not knowing event centers would still be closed up till now.
3. Select a Theme and Color
This is important as it will help in determining the entire planning scheme especially with event decorators and other planners. I wasn’t a fan of intensive colors as such and my partner was in on whatever I chose, hence, I went with orange, black and gold. For someone who isn’t a huge fan of gold, I was surprised I settled for gold and my wedding dress was even gold detailed.
For our theme, I was so excited to bring all my Pinterest Board to life and my husband and I agreed on a rustic floral vibe. Sadly, we weren’t able to do so much of this as a result of the change of plans.
4. The Venue
We started our venue search since the beginning of January because I was quite intentional about my wedding venue. I have always loved a garden themed white wedding and then a reception with all the lights and glam. Hence, this was what we had in mind while searching for our venue, we also had to take into consideration a venue that was central to both families and easily accessible.
Before the end of January, we had found one that ticked all the boxes for us and paid a deposit to secure it. That way, there’s no last minute rush on finding a new venue. And when planning for a wedding, getting a venue and securing it will make all other planning easy.
Venue Change Due to the Pandemic
As a result of the pandemic, all halls in Lagos were shut down and as at the time of writing this post, they are still not open. Imagine our dilemma in looking for an alternative venue for our event and still have all that we had planned out happen.
At first, we thought to use my parents’ living room to avoid task force issues but we thought spacing there will be limited. Alternatively, we switched and used the compound instead with strict conditions from the local police. We were told not to make any noise, this means reception is a no no, and that the numbers should be as minimal as possible. This also means we had to cut down our guest list.
We got a decorator within the town to do something that will portray a garden set up for the joining and then one for the traditional wedding. It wasn’t the best of it but desperate times calls for desperate measures.
5. Set A Budget and Choose Your Vendors
One part of me that I never get to show is how low key I am a finance junkie. Aside physically planning my life or anything I want to venture in, I always love to plan for cost implications because I detest last minute extra cost. I will legit plan up to miscellaneous and this was very helpful in planning our event.
Immediately we decided on our date, I started researching on the vendors we would need for the church ceremony, traditional party and the reception. Below is a list of some key ones:
- Alaga – Host for the traditional wedding
- DJ – For the reception
- Souvenir for guests
- Hotel Expenses
- Tickets costs if either couple have to travel from one location to another
- Event Planner
- Wedding Ring
- Band – African Parents love this one
- Also, I created a separate sheets for our outfits costs, accessories, make up etc.
All this was to help us work around a particular budget and ensure whatever we are doing falls within budget. Otherwise, we would end up going round and round in circles and won’t even know how to negotiate with the vendors. Most of the vendors were referred by friends and acquaintances and this made us get the best of deals.
Never be afraid to negotiate or ask for discount, this will really help you stick to a decent budget. And if at all the cost are higher than you plan, it’s okay to communicate with your partner, you can both have a party within your means now and then do a bigger ceremony in future while renewing your vows.
Some Vendors were Cut off
As a result of the strict policy on gathering, we had to cancel our reception plans and that made us cut loose on some vendors, sadly. This saved some cost definitely but somehow, we had to incur more at some point.
Also, we had to inform the vendors we were retaining on the new plans and dates. Fortunately, some were able to refunds us as they understood the times we are in and as a Coronavirus wedding concern, lols. We had initially planned for 350 to 400 guest size and had to reduce to like 40/50 including vendors.
6. Guest List
I’m a huge perfectionist and I try to plan ahead for everything I do which means I can start planning years or months before. I started drawing up my guest list from February so I don’t get to forget anyone in the process.
I created an excel sheet where I have the guest list for my friends, aso ebi, colleagues, acquaintances, guest from groom’s family, bride’s family etc. And this is updated almost on a daily once we remember anyone that hasn’t been added to the list.
Change of Guest List
I guess the pandemic was busy laughing at us while we were busy making all these plans, lols, because at the end of the day, we trashed the guest list. You don’t need so much guest at a Coronovirus wedding, rather, you have to leverage on zoom. We only had to make do with guests who were within and around and a few of our close friends who were able to make it down. For the rest of the guests, we had to send zoom link to them and I was surprised to learn we had over 100 guests join us on a wedding that was done on a work day.
Sadly, I got the link so late a night before the wedding and I couldn’t get to send to all my people but was able to send to a few persons. However, we had updated most of the initial guests we had mentioned to earlier about the wedding. And thankfully, they all understood the current situation especially the aged and those coming from different cities and countries.
7. Build a Playlist
This one is very important to avoid hearing certain songs that will make your head spin on your big day. While we never got to this part because there was no reception, we had already planned our playlist with the DJ. And if you are using a live band, you also have to ensure you plan what songs you’d love to be played. Most importantly, do not forget to let them know of the songs you don’t want to hear.
8. My Wedding Outfits and Accessories
I had always told myself that my wedding outfits and accessories must be ready at least a month before my big day. Initially, the wedding was planned for June 6th and I had started communicating this with my designers and accessories vendor.
The plan was to rent the white dress, make a very beautiful reception dress and traditional outfit. My designer and I had started planning around early March for this. Consultation was already concluded and I had deposited for my reception dress. I had also booked a time and date for fitting for the white dress before the pandemic happened.
This was one of the reasons that made us change our date. Nothing was ready except my accessories. I went berserk and confused! Then I reminded myself I promised to be a calm bride, lols, and I started ‘calming down’.
I remember calling my designer and telling her to cancel all plans as there won’t be a reception anymore. And she told me that even if we are going to have a living room wedding, I should ensure I don’t compromise on my outfits. Because, few years down the line, the memories that we’d be left with of our wedding will be in videos and pictures. That was all the motivation I needed to ensure this Coronavirus wedding must be memorable.
Change of Plans
Hence, we went back to the drawing board and started re-strategizing on what to do and we came up with a two in on dress. While there may not be a reception ceremony, I would still have one for pictures and also have all of my outfits as planned.
We started making new plans towards the end of May, less than 6 weeks to the wedding. Guys, I was scared a bit but I knew God will not disappoint me so I committed everything to His hands. Bobo wasn’t even bothered because men are just wearing suits and that seems kind of easy a thing to get, right?
We had to convert the fabric we had bought for the reception dress into a wedding dress. Deebestlabels, my designer, was so deliberate and intentional about my look and she tore apart the fabric and created a 2-in-1 masterpiece you are looking at.
My traditional aso oke material was ready 10 days to the wedding, Covid delayed too because the weavers weren’t working and then the colors of the aso oke kept coming out so wrong. I wanted to cry with all the back and forth but I was holding on to that faith that nothing will go wrong.
In fact, I did not see my traditional outfit until a night to the wedding. My designer brought it herself, we did the fitting that night and she did all the necessary adjustments that same night. Fam, God was so good to us. This was how I agreed I was having a Coronavirus wedding and that I’m a Corona bride.
MY CORONAVIRUS Wedding Vendor List
Bride @debwritesblog of @debsclothier
2-in-1 Wedding dress by @deebestlabels
Asooke designed by @deebestlabels
Asooke fabric supplied by @omoaduke_official
Make up and gele by @rickies_makeovers
Hair by @hairbydayjee
Photography by @thetruthweddings
Video by @splendidshotit
Event planner: @devanceevents
Catering by @teeexotique_catering @teeexotique_confectioneries
Cake by @kemarni_cakes
Vendors sourced by @styledbyorebee
Bride accessories and shoes: @modacessoriesng
It is important to plan for your honeymoon while planning for your wedding and be extra deliberate about it. Where you want to go to, how long you want to spend, activities you’d love to indulge in and how much you can afford for the trip. It doesn’t have to be a luxury trip as you can as well honeymoon within your city, state or even your home.
As long as you both have all the privacy you want, and you are happy about it. While we had plans for this which is currently on hold as a result of the whole pandemic, we have been making every moment count from the moment we both said “I do”.
10. Transportation and Hotel
If you have vendors and friends coming from far distance, you may want to plan ahead for them. In our case, we had to move the venue home to my parents’ and this is a little out of town. Hence, we made sure that for everyone coming, we were lodged at the same hotel for ease of access and movement. And there were transportation arrangement available to move people around easily.
Based on the CDC guidelines especially as it’s a Coronavirus wedding, you have to ensure that you make provision for hygiene. Which means hand wash and sanitizers should be placed at entry points and guests masks up.
Truly, wedding plannings are never easy and to make it easy, it’s always best to hire a planner as they are more experienced at it. Although, if you feel you are very much up to the task, you can challenge yourself with it and see how well you can do.
If you need more guide or questions on how to plan a Coronavirus wedding party, feel free to ask me in the comment section or alternatively via the contact form here.
If you would want a sequel post on how vendors were managed and how I worked with each of them and had to cancel some, do let me know.
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