Wedding Guide


Love is Not Cancelled! Planning a Wedding During COVID-19

If you're planning a wedding right now, then that means you've found yourself trying to plan during the most uncertain of times in our recent history. There's no doubt - COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in the plans of so many people. It can feel scary. You might have questions. You might be feeling discouraged. These feelings are all completely normal.

While we can't know what the future will hold, rest assured, you're not alone. There are so many couples who have had to put their plans on hold. Couples who desperately want to get married, who are having to either make the tough decision to postpone their plans or change their vision for their day.

So in effort to better understand what couples are going through right now, we've decided to catch up with one of our favorite engaged couples; Jen Marie of Love Jen Marie and Matt from San Diego. 

Our hope is that in hearing their story, you'll feel some comfort in knowing that love is not cancelled! Postponing (or pivoting) is absolutely the way to go, and couples are still making plans for the wedding of their dreams!

1) What is your wedding date? Have you sent out invitations or save the dates yet?
Our wedding date is set for October 25, 2020. We sent out our Save the Dates in February with Zola, which was such a fun experience!

2) Where do you live? And have you chosen a venue?

My fiancé, Matt and I, currently live in San Diego, but we are moving to Virginia where I’m originally from mid-June. We’ve been doing all of our wedding planning from a far! My mom actually did most of the tours of the venues via FaceTime before the pandemic started. We are getting married at a beautiful estate in Warrenton, Virginia!

3) How has COVID-19 affected your planning? Have you had to make any changes big or small? Change of date? 

COVID-19 has truly impacted the world and it has been affecting us in so many ways regarding the wedding. I have friends who were getting married in May and June and they completely cancelled their weddings or postponed for 2021.

For us, it’s already been stressful planning from across the country, but once the pandemic hit we really were thrown for a whirl. My bachelorette party was planned for late March in Palm Springs, CA.

All my bridesmaids were flying from all over the country and everything was totally cancelled. We’ve discussed doing a virtual Bach party (which I think is an AWESOME idea), but we’re waiting a little longer to see if it’s something we can reschedule for in the summer.

As for the wedding itself, because our wedding is in the Fall we are still booked for the date and everything is scheduled on time. It’s so important to communicate with your vendors. Each one has a plan if our date needs to be postponed and many have been really flexible with their policies and payment timelines. As of right now Matt and I are following our wedding timeline as if everything is happening on time. It’s hard to see into the future, everything is so unpredictable at the moment.

4) Have you booked your vendors yet? If so, which vendors have you booked? 

Yes! We are so excited to be working with a dream team! My advice for future brides is: book your photographer, videographer and venue first! Those are typically the one’s that book the quickest and are usually most important to the average bride. I spent countless hours trying to find the perfect photographer and we did! These are some of the vendors we’re booked with and they are all amazing! The next step is finding a rental company and an event planner!

5) Will this virus affect the size of your wedding? Will you downsize? Consider eloping? 

Matt and I have talked about this quite a bit recently. We definitely aren’t eloping, although I know many who are! It’s hard to predict what October will look like. We aren’t sure what the maximum amount of people in a public gathering will be. We invited 150 guests, but expected to have around 125-130 attend.

If it means we can only have a small group of 50 people or less, we will likely consider postponing the big ceremony and reception to Spring 2021. If that happens, we've decided we will legally marry with our immediate family. This isn’t how we dreamed it would be, but we have to be thankful for what we have and try to accept the way things are in a positive way! This won’t last forever.

6) When do you plan to make the last call regarding dates and changes? 

We are going to rely heavily on the help of our planner and vendors in the last few months leading up to the wedding. We absolutely will NOT cancel our wedding. I have been dreaming of a fairytale estate wedding since I was a little girl. We can’t give up now brides! My best guess would be August for any date changes. We have already begun asking our vendors what their schedules are looking like for Spring 2021, just in case we need to reschedule.

For those planning a Fall wedding, make sure you have discussions with your vendors. I also recommend having a second choice just in case your vendor no longer has your re-scheduled date available. It’s important to be prepared, it will save you stress in the long run.

7) Do you anticipate having to alter your wedding budget? 

We’ve had to re-think our spending habits and make sure that we have enough to cover the wedding. We will likely cut down on details that we don’t need like furniture rentals or certain linens. 

8) Please share a little bit about yourself, your fiancé, and your love story?

This is my favorite question! We are both self-employed which has kept us on our toes. I’m a full time blogger/influencer, branding strategist and run an online women’s boutique. Matt is a life coach for teens and young adults. He taught middle and high school students his entire career until he decided to run a life coaching business almost two years ago. Our story is such a fun one to tell and also a fairytale, meant-to-be story.

Matt and I have been together for 3 years now. I always laugh because he never officially asked if I would be his girlfriend. We were at an event one day and he introduced me randomly as his girlfriend. I was excited either way!

We met in October 2016, when I was on a work trip in LA. I was living in Northern Virginia at the time and it was my first time in California. I went down to San Diego for an extra week to stay with a friend and we met at a housewarming party. We hit it off right away, but unfortunately I had to fly home to Virginia the next morning. We talked off and on for about 7 months, nothing serious.

That following summer my best friend and I decided to take a summer trip to LA and San Diego. At the time I hadn’t even thought about really seeing Matt because we weren’t seriously talking. It was unbelievable how quickly we clicked again and how special things felt when we looked at each other.

There are times in life where you meet someone and you just have an inner feeling that you’ve known them all your life. All the butterflies come out and you feel like a giddy little girl. We ended up seeing each other each day that week while I was visiting. We had our first kiss under the Pacific Beach Pier and went on our first date at The Grass Skirt, a fun tiki bar!

By the end of the week we said “Now what? We live on opposite coasts.” We knew we wanted to see each other again. After that we spent 6-7 months on multiple planes cross country for weeks at a time to see each other. I decided to move to San Diego in August 2018 and we got engaged on July 9th, 2019! Now we’re moving back to Virginia this summer before the wedding.

9) What has helped you to stay positive during this time? 

I think one of the best pieces of advice for staying positive during this time is knowing that we aren’t in this alone. We are all going through this together and no matter what happens we still have LOVE - the entire reason we’re even planning a wedding, right? We still have the love of our life and even if that means waiting a little longer, it means we can hold on to the joy of planning and being excited a little longer too.

10) What have you learned about yourself personally during this time of great uncertainty?

One of the things I’ve learned about myself during this time is that I really can take time to enjoy the small things and all the blessings that I do have. I can’t control what is happening in the world, but I can control how I respond to it. 

It’s been a great time of anxiety. I’ve cried multiple times, I’ve been angry, but I’ve also learned to accept and love what I do have right in front of me. Love being the most important. The wedding will happen and it’s going to be magical. I have learned to be okay with things being a bit more “imperfect” than I wanted. 

Nothing in life is perfect. Don’t give up on your dreams. We will get through this together. Good luck brides, my heart is with you.

To continue following Jen Marie's story, follow her on Instagram!

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Chrissy Arpie Ott

Chrissy Arpie Ott is the founder of The Perfect Palette. Since its launch in 2008, The Perfect Palette has been the go-to color resource for couples who dream of a unique, creative and colorful wedding day.

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