Ashley Fonzo, director of sales & events at Irem Clubhouse in Dallas, answers some frequently asked questions about wedding planning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Have people become more creative with their wedding plans during quarantine?
I see more people “adapting” than being creative. They are rolling with the punches. Move the date, cut down the guest list, have a ceremony now with immediate family and a party later on your one-year anniversary. Or have a Zoom wedding with all of your guests with a party at a later date.
Are people typically postponing their wedding for months or years? How do you know if you should postpone?
I’m seeing a mix of both. If a couple has been planning their big day for two or more years, they are moving it out a month or two. If their date has significance, they really prefer a particular season, or they have a lot of out-of-town guests who they really want to be there, they are moving it back a year.
Are you seeing challenges to getting marriage licenses, invitations printed, problems getting dresses because the stores are closed, etc?
Getting a marriage license has been a challenge since all of the county offices were closed. However, now you can apply for your marriage license online! This is a great option for those who want to have the small ceremony now or a Zoom wedding with the party later. Invitations aren’t as much of an issue if you were using an Etsy shop or ordering blank stationery to create designs yourself at home. Many home businesses are still producing invitations. The delay comes with delivery. Since everyone has moved to online everything, receiving your invitations on time is more of the challenge,
Also, as a result of increased online ordering, if you haven’t already ordered your bridesmaid dresses or mother of the bride dress, you can look at online retailors for these options. White House Black Market, New York and Co., and Macy’s have nice options for you to order online. There is also another website called renttherunway.com, where you can shop dresses to rent rather than purchase. Again, it’s about adapting to the change rather than letting it defeat you. I would like to believe that if your wedding dress came in and the shop had it, they could schedule a time for you to pick it up. It would just be a matter of getting it altered, and in that case, you could order a more simple dress to get married in now and do a vow renewal on your anniversary with the party to follow and save the original gown for then!
Are you seeing brides concerned with how they will get their hair and nails done if businesses stay closed?
I think that is on the bottom of their worries list. Most know someone who can do their hair for them or they can do their own if it comes down to it. While it is a big part of the overall look, I honestly don’t think it’s a top concern.
How do you choose a wedding venue when you can’t see it in person? How do you tour and meet with staff during quarantine?
Touring is difficult right now. We aren’t able to do any in-person tours currently. We do have a video on our website that shows the ballroom and patio set for a wedding. Pictures say a thousand words and help when you can’t come in person. We haven’t come across a need for a FaceTime tour yet, but I’m sure that is not far off, and we’re able to do it if requested!
What are some ways to celebrate your original wedding date?
The original date can still be celebrated. Maybe it’s recreating your first date at home or purchasing an at-home movie projector and setting up a theater in your backyard. Since some people are still getting married on their original date and having a dinner at home, or soon will be able to go to outdoor dining venues to have a small gathering, they are having a small celebration. If you need to move all your plans to a new date, keep your original date as a date just for the two of you. Cook together, go hiking, have a picnic, order your favorite wines and have a tasting, or leave notes for each other to find when they least expect it. Just celebrate both of you as a couple.
Tips for couples who are newly engaged?
Take this as a learning experience. While the chances of having another pandemic during your wedding time is slim, it’s a good time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Understand that plans can change in an instant, and it’s a good idea to have a plan B. Take this opportunity to talk with venues about how they are handling their events now. Did they try to reschedule? Offer a refund? Or just cancel? It will give you a good idea of how they overcame obstacles and treated their clients.