How to plan a wedding during the coronavirus outbreak…
My sister’s long awaited wedding is coming up fast. We have all been planning for this special event for years and are a little anxious about what is going to happen. I know she’s stressing about the whole thing possibly being canceled knowing that since this is an act of God, she will loose any deposits made. So, what do we do?
Let me assure you, your wedding vendors want your wedding to happen. The wedding and event industry is being hit hard with city, county, state and federal enforced shut downs. Those smaller events are the lifeline that the industry needs to allow the vendors to be paid and buy groceries for their families. As long as it is safe to do so, they want your event to happen.
If you are willing to postpone your wedding, or of you are forced to, then contact your vendors and ask if they will let you switch dates. I have a whole section in my wedding photography contract that provides details with how to switch dates without a penalty and in this case, I am happy to wave those penalties for my brides until March 31st of 2021, just in case. It will hurt my business. But it will hurt more to have a full cancelation. I’m sure many other vendors will agree with me.
On the phone with my sister she said, “I’m still getting married!”. If you aren’t willing to postpone the wedding, here are my suggestions on how to get married in these uncertain times…
With everything up in the air and out of our control it’s hard to know what will happen in the coming weeks and months. I watch a lot of survival shows and I’ve learned that the most important thing in times like these, where everything seems chaotic and out of your control, is to figure out what you can control. I know the world isn’t ending and we aren’t stuck on a deserted island, but we are living in a world where we no longer have control of social interactions. The government has mostly taken over this part of our human existence, at least for now. So how can our lives go on?
I asked myself two questions:
I’ll say this, weddings are a celebration about a couple making a lifetime commitment. They aren’t about decorations or dancing. They aren’t about gourmet meals or photography (it hurts to say this because I know how valuable photos are, but it is still true).
I assured my sister that even if the venue cancels the event, even if the government cancels the event, we will still have a wedding for her. The most important thing for her is that the commitment is made. She said they’d just run to the courthouse and get it done if they have to. The reality is that that may not be an option.
In fact, the courthouse is already shut down in Orange County so she actually can’t currently get a marriage license.
What can you control? You can create a backup plan so your stress is controlled. You can make sure your marriage can still be legal and you can still have a wedding.
Here’s what you can do:
Make a secondary plan. If your venue cancels your event, where can you have your wedding? Could you reschedule your reception with your venue for next year? Can you host a smaller wedding at someone’s house or at a park? Or can you get all your vendors to reschedule and talk with them about what it would look like should you have to reschedule again?
Check the laws of your state. If the court shuts down, how do you get married? You’ll need to check the laws in your state, but if you can find someone to get ordained on the internet now and pick up your marriage license immediately, then you have a legal backup plan and a way to tie the knot even if the government shuts its doors to marriages. Remember, most marriage licenses are only valid for 90 days.
Let your guests know what the plan is. Let your guests know that the event will still go on but if they are feeling sick or being asked to quarantine that you will post photos online for them to see. Or let them know that you will be postponing or canceling all together. Keep the lines of communication open by inviting them to follow your wedding information on a wedding website. Wedding websites are easy to make and free. Ask for their email addresses too so can email everyone with new information.
Have a plan for your guests to see you tie the knot. If you are doing a small wedding (less than 10 people) before the actual event with all your guests, then have a way for them to be part of the real celebration. Cell phones are great for occasions like these were you need a simple solution for sharing a video. Set up a cell phone to video your ceremony and share the video online so guests can see this amazing piece of your life.
This is also great once you are allowed to have your larger event. It will allow your guests to be part of your day virtually should they choose to not attend the event. You can also do a group zoom call where they can login and watch the live event digitally.
Be okay with not having the perfect wedding you dreamed of or waiting until it can happen.
For my sister’s wedding I explained to her that if she already has her marriage license and a friend who is ordained (she has 3), once limits on small gatherings are lifted and we can have up to 25 people together again, even if it’s just the immediate family, she can still get married. My mom and I may need to FaceTime in if they shut down all travel to California since we live 900 miles away. But she can still get married.
Her reception can get postponed, and she can still have it in the future if need be. Life may look different, but it will go on and we will plan events again in the future. They may be limited to a certain number, but they will happen.
As for the honeymoon… My sister and her fiancé were planning a trip to Italy. Clearly, that won’t be possible at this time. Even in a couple months, I would say that it is still not wise to go to Italy or other places where a large scale outbreak has happened. In a year, I’m sure it will be fine. A lot of couples wait until their 1 year anniversary to go on their honeymoon. My sister was not happy with this idea even though she knows it may need to happen. However, she doesn’t want to just go back to work on Monday. After all the stress of planning a wedding, not to mention having to have multiple backup plans for the wedding, she wants a honeymoon.
My suggestion was to travel within 600 miles from her home or within whatever restrictions the city, county, state have. (I assume that if we can have an event with 25 people that we will also not be homebound). Find a place that just the two of them can be together. It doesn’t have to be perfect or be a big adventure. It’s about the two of them finding time to be together so they can start their marriage from a place of peace and not stress.
The most important thing to remember is that a wedding is about a marriage. A honeymoon is about relaxing with your new spouse. Location, decorations, food and even guests are all special luxuries that we may need to learn to live without. Weddings and marriages will still go on. Your wedding can still happen, it will just look different and you need to be okay with that.
There is no need to stress about the things you can’t control. What you can control is your backup plan.
The only things you need for a wedding are :
The next things would be a cell phone for a video and possibly even a professional photographer, but even that would be a luxury at this point. Photos can be taken with a cell phone if need be. A photographer can capture you and your fiancé/spouse together later. It won’t be the same as the actual event, but these are special times and it’s ok to do things a special way.
Life will go on. Your wedding can still happen, you just need a plan.
If you are dreaming of a winter wedding, snow slowly falling from above creating a blanket of beautiful white along the ground, then there is one thing to keep in mind: snowy winter days are cold. Wedding dresses are often made of lace and are created for brides getting married in the popular summer months. Often they are not designed to keep a bride warm on a winter wedding day. So how do you keep warm in the cold without ruining your style?
Many people have asked, what do brides wear when it’s cold? The most sophisticated style choice is fur. Fake or real is up to you, but the look and feel is the same. Fur will keep you warm while elevating your winter wedding day look.
Here are a few stylish ways real brides kept warm at their weddings in the cold months:
One of my favorite winter wedding wear items is the white fur shawl. Call it shawl, stole, cape or shrug, this delicate item adds warmth to the bride without hiding the dress much. It also adds texture to the image with an elegant, upscale charm.
Erin chose a white fur shawl for her rustic wedding in central Oregon at Brasada Ranch. She looked gorgeous all day! (And yes, we did take a bunch of photos without the shawl too!)
Felicia had a snow surprise on her wedding day. She had hoped for snow and planned for it, but didn’t expect 6 feet of it! Luckily she really did plan ahead and not only had a big fur cote to keep herself warm, but also had a beautiful colored fur shawl for her bridesmaid. They looked gorgeous on wedding the day! I love how the colored fur pops against the white snowy backdrop.
Lindsay also got married at Brasada Ranch but chose a colored wrap for her spring wedding. With her husband wearing bright purple, it made sense for her to match. Often brides will wear white and gift their bridesmaids a colored shawl. Lindsey opted for color and had her bridesmaids wear denim jackets to tie in to her rustic ranch wedding.
Yvonne was hoping for a slightly warm wedding day and bought this winter fur vest for her chilly engagement session. I love how the texture pops off her images! On her wedding day, the wedding turned cold so she had her bridesmaids grab a blanket and her fur. They only used them for a few minutes while I was photographing the groom and his groomsmen. They definitely kept her warm for a few minutes and were great to have around!
Another option for a down-to-earth, rustic wedding is grabbing your jean jacket. I love when brides add a cowboy charm to their wedding day! Tammy brought her jean jacket to the reception on a cool summer evening. I think she only wore it for the photos with her sweet horse, but it added perfectly to their rustic charm at their causal wedding while keeping her warm when she wasn’t on the dance floor.
Chelsea chose a simple fabric jacket for her winter elopement. She even wore the jacket during the ceremony to keep warm.
Looking for more inspiration? Here are a few of my favorite warm wedding wear ideas and where to find them – just click on the link and it will take you there!
Elopements are so much fun, filled with joy and just the perfect intimate amount of friends and family!
Chelsea and Scott met when Chelsea joined her mom at a work holiday party. Scott, who normally does not attend work events, happened to attend this one. It must have been fate for the two of them to meet.
They took their relationship slow and steady, taking time to get to know each other and each others family’s. When they started talking about future plans together, they couldn’t see planning life without the other one. One sunny, snowy day on a hike at their family cabin, Scott proposed.
Chelsea dreamed of a wedding that was simple, easy and small. That’s exactly what she created for her big day. Their family had already planned a ski trip in Bend so she thought it would be a great place to get married and a great date to do it with only close family around.
The day of the wedding was a warm winter Bend day. They could not have asked for better weather in February. With the family gathered around, we just had to wait for the judge. There is always 1 thing that goes wrong at a wedding, even in an elopement. This was it. The judge forgot.
It ended up being totally fine, though. Scott’s sister in-law called the judge up and he raced down the road on his bike. He was great and made everyone laugh, but most importantly was there to officiate the wedding.
“Marriage means forever and a united front for future kids” – Chelsea
Chelsea and Scott,
Thank you for letting me be part of your day! You guys are so kind and fun to be around. I hope you have the best marriage ever. I can’t wait to see your future kids!
Chelsea’s gorgeous red wedding dress was found at Lulus.
I’ve never seen a bride pin the boutonniere on the groom before. So modern!
Chelsea had a family member create this gorgeous pin for her hair.
Could you tell what formal book the judge used during the ceremony? It’s the Hitchhiker’s Guide! 42!
I come from a sign making family. My grandfather started a sign business, hand painting wood signs, over 50 years ago. My dad took it over before I was born and still runs it (he’s really hoping me and my sister will take it over). Because of growing up at his sign shop, I do weird things like touch signs to see what they are made of. I also have a huge appreciation for weddings signs.
I love how creative they can be in order to not only fit the theme of the wedding, but also give a sense of who the couple is. Signs can be used throughout the entire wedding to showcase so many different aspects of the day.
A few of my favorites are the introduction sign as guests enter the ceremony space. I also love when kids carry signs down the aisle (as my son, Noah, will be doing for my sister’s wedding soon). That being said, I’ve seen signs used in so many different ways throughout my years as a wedding photographer. There are 10 main categories of signs that I will walk you through. I hope this gives you some inspiration on how to use signs during your wedding day!
Like I mentioned, these are my all time favorites. More attention is poured into these signs than any other because they are the signs that set the mood for your guests as soon as they arrive. When guests arrive at your wedding, the entrance sign assures them they have landed at the right wedding and tells them if it’s a rustic affair, a fun and casual wedding, an elegant evening or something else entirely. Think of these signs as an extension of your wedding invitation.
Wedding entrance signs come in all different shapes and sizes. The most common wedding entrance sign I’ve seen is the wood sign with hand painted custom lettering. Maybe I love them the most because they remind me of my grandfather. Most often, they are adorned with plants.
Lindsey and Tyler chose to print a poster sign and attached it to wood. This allowed them to add graphics and make sure that the fonts matched their invitation, programs and was carried through the entire wedding.
Rather than hand painting this sign, Megan and Joshua chose to apply vinyl lettering. With the small text I think this was an excellent choice.
The “Choose a Seat Not a Side” sign as become increasingly more popular. Here are 4 creative ways that some of my recent brides have used this type of sign. It’s great when either the bride or groom have more people, if your seating is uneven (more seats on one side of the aisle) or if you just want to keep things casual.
These signs tend to be carried by the cutest of the men at the wedding. It gives the non ring-bearer boy something to carry and a way to be part of the wedding without being a flower boy (although we did suggest this to Noah). Seriously cute stuff happening with these signs!
Here are 3 examples of the Here Comes The Bride sign that I love!
Wedding informational signs are necessary for your guests to feel comfortable and to know what is happening throughout your day. They are used throughout the wedding day to guide your guests seamlessly through spaces and events.
Here a few ways you can use signs to provide information without taking away from your day.
Take One Signs
If you want your guests to do something, like take a blanket if they are cold, take a fan if they are warm or take a thing of bubbles to blow at you as you head back up the aisle after the ceremony, then a simple wedding sign can help make that happen.
Gift and Card Table Signs
These help your guests know where they should leave the gifts.
This wedding program sign told the guests what to expect for the wedding as soon as they arrived.
Guestbook Sign In Sign
Reserved Signs at Tables
If you have open seating these will allow for family members to join the reception after family photos without missing out on the best seats.
Another one I think is worth mentioning is the explantation sign for a totally unique and super meaningful thing you are doing at your wedding. Katie and Tony added this candle sign to explain to their guests why the candle is burning. So sweet!
I can’t move on until I’ve mentioned the game signs. Wedding game signs customize your day and let guests know that you want them to play the game. I can’t help but love the custom wedding corn hole sets!
Lastly in the wedding informational sign section, we have the directional signs. I’ve seen so many variations of these signs, including the last minute cardboard sign taped to a pole for a fancy wedding. Whoops! I think they realized on the wedding day their guests needed more guidance to the location.
My best advice for the directional signs is to drive or walk into the each location (ceremony, reception, and anything else that applies). As you go, think about where the guests could get confused or where you want to make sure they know they are in the right spot. It can be as simple as this wood sign saying “WEDDING” with an arrow. These small signs tell guests where to go and that they have arrived at the right spot.
Next, I would walk through your day like the guests will and add signs telling them where to go. This will take away any confusion for your guests and allow to them relax and have fun.
Most brides know about the Mr. & Mrs. seating signs. The hang off the chairs or tables for the bride and groom. Here are a few examples to give you some creative ideas on how to customize these signs for your wedding.
Of all the categories, this one will have the most variety and creativity. These are just a few of the signs I’ve seen at wedding receptions. I always favor the signs that truly represent who the couple is. I’ve added in a few of my all time favs here.
Kaylin and Robby come from a dentist background and loved clean teeth. With a BBQ wedding, they figured their guests could use some dental floss after the meal.
Bride and Groom initials are easy to place around the event space to customize the wedding.
This sign was made our of 3 bicycles representing the unity of dad, daughter and new mom. It was a bicycle themed wedding and perfectly customized the space for them.
I’ll admit that I didn’t think of doing a menu sign for my wedding. I’m not sure this ever would have crossed my mind. However, I did just create one for my sisters upcoming bridal shower to tell people where the alcohol is 🙂
Here a few classic and rustic menu signs to show you how you can creatively use menu signs on your wedding day.
The cake topper sign had been around for awhile now. It’s an easy cake topper that adds a little height to your cake and something more then flowers. These tend to add a modern touch to a rustic day and a classic look to a modern day, depending on the lettering used. Here a few examples to give inspiration.
The custom wedding sign that will be hung in the home after the wedding is a really unique item that will last a lifetime. I didn’t think of doing this, although my dad has gifted us a few JORDAN signs since our wedding day. The Millers actually had 2 custom signs at their wedding.
Another custom wedding sign is one that your guests can create for you. I’ve seen the custom signature sign at a few weddings. It’s a great rustic way to add some love into your home with messages from your guests.
Lastly is the Thank You Sign. At the end of the day this a great sign to have and to hold for a photo. It makes a great image to print on custom wedding thank you cards for your guests.
I absolutely love these old wood cabinet doors that Morgan and Ethan are holding. It adds an extra rustic touch to their cowboy wedding.
I hope these sign ideas help you get creative and come up with ideas that work for your wedding! I’d love to know what your favorite sign idea is. Leave me a note in the comments.
Kristan and Damien
“Marriage to me means partnership and supporting someone through whatever comes.” – Lindsey
Lindsey and Tyler said their vows on Sunday at the Sunriver Great Hall with their closest friends and family from all over Northern America. Sunriver has been a special place for Lindsey for a long time. She grew up wth her family spending vacations in Sunriver. Knowing how much this location means to Lindsey, when Tyler proposed, he chose Sunriver as the setting. Just outside the lodge at sunset, Tyler got down on one knee and asked her to be his wife. It was no surprise that Lindsey and Tyler chose this beautiful location for their wedding!
Lindsey and Tyler met through mutual friends in Washington DC where they both lived as they served our country. Lindsey worked for Senator Wyden. Tyler was an army ranger who served in Afghanistan. They have been together for over 5 years and have a sweet little puppy named Ranger who they wished could be part of the wedding day. They knew they couldnʼt bring him to the wedding so we did have him in the engagement session and he is just the sweetest thing. Here is their amazing engagement session in Arizona: https://kelliannejordan.com/2019/01/18/papago-park-engagement-session-arizona/
Lindsey had a number of different items with her to remember those who couldnʼt be with her. The ruby red necklace she wore around her neck once belonged to her grandmother. Her grandfather had given her grandmother a bracelet of jewels. When grandma passed away, grandpa broke the bracelet apart and turned each jewel into a necklace for the granddaughters. Lindsey wore this necklace around her neck and close to her heart for her wedding.
Lindseyʼs other grandmother had a special handkerchief made for Lindsey to catch her tears of joy. Lindsey also wore her grandmotherʼs garter around her leg as her something blue, borrowed and old.
Every detail of this wedding was elegant and classic with a touch of nature! I know Lindsey loves nature, but I donʼt think she expected as much nature as she got at her wedding. They say itʼs good luck if it rains on your wedding day. It started to rain just as we were photographing family photos. Thank goodness we could find refuge at the lodge. It only sprinkled a little during the ceremony, but everyone got an incredible lightening show just behind the bride and groom. I love lightening so it was a blast to see the storm in the distance with bolts coming down around us. It sure seemed like God was excited to see Lindsey and Tyler get married!
Jewish wedding celebrations are so much fun! There are so many amazing traditions that fill the wedding day with joy and love. Tyler was so excited to see his bride before the wedding. Through the day everyone could see how happy they both were, not just to finally be married, but to be surrounded with the most important people to them. Everyone had a blast celebrating!
Lindsey and Tyler, you two are so perfect together! We truly enjoyed getting to know you two and Ranger and canʼt wait to see what adventures you will go on next. Have an amazing time in Italy on your honeymoon! We wish you guys a lifetime of love and joy!! – Kellianne
Katie and Tony’s garden wedding in Independence, Oregon was filled with pink flowers, grey accents and a ton of fun! Seriously, the whole wedding party had a great time taking photos and hanging all throughout the day. The Green Villa Barn & Garden in Independence, Oregon was the most amazing setting for a fun-filled garden wedding.
The day started in the little white barn in the middle of the gardens where the bride and bridesmaids got ready. Katie was surrounded all morning with her best friends, sister, mother and mother-in-law. Everyone was so excited to be part of her day!
We decided to do their first look in the middle of the garden which was tricky but perfect. After taking a ton of photos with the flowers and the vintage lamp post I had to move them onto the swing. I just love their beautiful photos on the country swing with the mossy tree hanging low overhead. So amazing!!
After a few bride and groom photos we headed down into the trees. Katie had mentioned that she loved the tall trees with trunks showing in the photos and wanted a photo with them. After taking Katie and Tony down into the trees, I realized that this was the perfect spot for the wedding party photos too. I hadn’t seen it before because it was actually the parking lot. Seriously, who would have thought that the parking lot would be the best place for photos? We even had someone park in the middle of the grass when we left to grab the wedding party. It’s ok, they moved the car for us so we could capture beautiful wedding party photos!
The ceremony was held in the middle of the amazing garden greenery in a gazebo. Inside the gazebo was chandelier to give a touch of elegance to the ceremony. The flowers placed along the gazebo perfectly framed Katie and Tony as they said their vows. It was so sweet to see both moms tear up!
After the ceremony we were able to pull the extended family aside under a large willow tree to quickly capture some great family photos and allow them to get back to celebrating.
The entire wedding was about casually (yet beautifully) hanging out with friends and family and just enjoying each other’s company. Everyone had fun playing lawn games and dancing. I just love the custom Corn-hole game that was made for their wedding. They are going to love that for years!
I love these simple invitations the Katie made using their engagement photos from Black Butte Ranch. They are the sweetest couple and their love really shows through in their photos! Here’s their engagement session in case you missed it: https://kelliannejordan.com/2019/04/25/black-butte-ranch-engagement-photography-or/
Katie and Tony, no one deserves a perfect wedding filled with joy and love more than you do! I hope your wedding was everything you wished for! Thank you so much for letting us be part of it. Your friends and family are absolutely amazing. Josh and I know you guys are going to have a happy marriage!!
I love when brides wear flats on their wedding day! This pair by Kate Whitcomb even had a little sparkle!
The girls had so much fun with taking photos and hanging out before the wedding! It was so nice to have a place with air conditioning to get away from the heat. Although it was hot, it actually seemed to be the perfect summer day for a wedding.
This photo above was pretty much perfect when I shot it. I even stopped to show Katie and she loved it! I think she may have doubted me for a second since they were standing in dirt and weeds with some random farm equipment right next to us, but it really was perfect! I love how the leaves are gently framing Katie and Tony!