By Indira Kasaeva
In December 2020, as we were adjusting to life post lock-down here in Dubai, I had the most dreamy proposal – my prince charming rode out in to the desert on a white horse (literally) and stood on one knee surrounded by some of our nearest and dearest. It’s now eight months in, and we’re navigating the wedding planning with partial excitement, and some worry along the way. While it's meant to be one of the most breathtaking days of your life, getting there is a long way, especially in the middle of a global pandemic. There are a couple of things to consider which I collected on my journey, and hope can ease the process for anyone out there (yes, definitely hire a planner!) .
Don't stop being excited
The world is in dire need of positive news, and surely, love is one of the greatest reasons to celebrate! People are more excited than ever about real live events, and if there’s one thing that this virus taught us it is to cherish every moment and be grateful for the loved ones in our lives. Planning a wedding is stressful, and in the current circumstances even more so, however never forget that when it comes down to the day – it will be magical, and possibly even better than you imagined. The most appreciated and rewarding aspects of our lives, most of the time, are those we worked really hard for.
Health & Safety: Testing, Rules & Regulations
A wedding is a very bright occasion, and now you have to be careful more than ever, our advice: do it when it’s safe to do so. It’s better to postpone, than to risk someone getting sick, or someone you love not being able to make it. Part of the planning is also doing everything in your power to provide the maximum safety you can for everyone. First of all, research and monitor the existing government rules and regulations for holding weddings. Also note on how often these rules change and make a call accordingly. Consider asking guests for vaccination cards, arranging pre-event testing of the guestlist and budget for that too. Another aspect to contemplate on, is having a smaller wedding which brings us to the next point…
Guestlist: Plan B
With COVID it’s best to always have a Plan B and that applies to guestlists too. The government rules are changing less frequently than before, however, it is best to be prepared for anything. Having one full guest list is the goal, however I would advise to also create one of the absolute must-haves, so come rain, storm or restrictions – you can still celebrate with those dearest to you, without cancelling all your arrangement. A small tip for destination weddings, give guests four to five months of notice to your date X. Considering the unstable flights and visa processes, that will give them ample time to create an action plan.
The venue is one of the key elements of creating an atmosphere, therefore a crucial element of the day. Depending on the date and temperatures you might be set on an indoor venue, however, if there’s room for debate, consider an outdoor option. Having a gathering of people in open air, is safer than in a closed space, whether it’s a local wedding or a destination affair. Having personally chosen a destination format, I can say one thing: be ready to budget travelling to the selected country at least twice before the set date. My take on the matter is: if most of the guestlist is already in your country – opt for a local wedding. Some guests might be wary of travelling during these times, no matter how much they’d want to be there for your special day. However, if most guests will be traveling to come to you anyway, a destination wedding is also a great option. Besides, it’s most probably the perfect occasion to explore a new city with all of your very best people!
Be Prepared…and Flexible
No matter how much we hate the phrase, these still are, “unprecedented times”, so be emotionally prepared for changes. It might be an alteration of the date, venue or vendor, as long as it’s not the husband – you’re completely fine. That’s just how it was meant to be, so accept that with an open heart. Not everything will be as you envisioned it, but look at it from the perspective, that it’s also what will make your wedding special, that’s what you and guests will remember. On the day, it’s entirely YOUR vibe that will set the tone of the wedding. If you’re happy, excited and “vibing”, as my friend Nicole would say, so will everyone around you.
Throw Away the Gift Registry
This is a personal outlook, much as everything in this story, and applies only for those organizing a destination wedding. People around the world have had it tough the past year, some more than others. You’re “inviting” your guests to spend on tickets and stays to celebrate your wedding. Yes, they are happy to do so, but you don’t really know their current financial situation. Appreciate the fact that this may be some sort of burden on them, and if anyone wants to gift – let it be entirely up to them, without a list to choose from.
Period – Literally and metaphorically
This is something that didn’t even cross my mind until my last-married friend brought it up, so sharing it as a final word of wisdom. While all the above time will consumer the majority of your brainpower and nervous system, do not forget one minor but very important detail – your period. Make sure you consider your cycle when picking a date, because we all know there are enough risks taken
Whoever is reading this, wishing you the very best on your grand day. May it be filled with love, cheer and beautiful moments!