As professionals in the wedding industry, it’s safe to say that this is a first for ALL of us. With the start of the wedding season upon us and the current epidemic situation, we know that so many brides are having to think about potentially postponing their big day. We’re all collectively holding our breath, hoping this will blow over sooner than later, but if that’s not the case, let’s start looking at our options. (And of course if you’ve hired a wedding planner, he/she is the best person to consult with!)
Over here at Vanessa Lynne Photography and Courtney Lawhon Events, we are the first to admit that we are not medical experts nor can we predict the future. Despite those facts, we believe that being proactive is one of the very best ways we can spend our time right now. We aren’t here to tell you exactly what choices to make because everyone handles things (life!) differently and above all this is YOUR day.
We are here to be your friends; your sounding board for your thoughts (they matter) and to share with you the options that you do have. After working through 3 wedding postponements together for spring couples, we thought it would be helpful to share our process with you.
It’s okay to be frustrated over the things you can’t control. Let’s take a look at what we *can* control.
Perhaps your date is super special to you and it’s far enough away that some restrictions could potentially be lifted. If that’s the case and there are strong feelings behind honoring the date, have you considered an elopement style ceremony? Exchanging vows in such an intimate way and then celebrating with your friends and family on a later date (+ a small vow renewal?) sounds like the best of both worlds to us. Heck! You might even opt for a wardrobe change with this plan!
If you’re down with the idea of doing an elopement style ceremony but want to include your family in this plan, why not get creative with a live stream vow exchange? A cocktail hour is still possible! You can really have fun with this. Glass half full friends, glass half full!
Maybe the date is flexible for you, but your non-negotiable is having all of your family and friends by your side to celebrate with you. If that’s the case, let’s start looking at a more feasible date where Grandma Dorothy can travel by plane in order to attend.
If the location is the most important detail to you, is there another date that’s available? Are there additional fees associated with making a change? We have found that, overall, venue managers have been very understanding and realize that this isn’t a position you expected to find yourself in. Inquire what other dates they have available. Would you consider a weekday?! Venues often have more weekday openings and may even offer a discounted rate. We’ve done a few Thursday weddings and they were fantastic!
Re-visit your contracts and familiarize yourself with them. If you’re leaning towards looking at a new date, hop on a call with your vendors to get the conversation going and a feel for their availability. Nothing replaces good and thorough communication. We personally have never been so proud of our “friendors” in the industry and how everyone has been so accommodating and considerate of clients during this time. We are confident that hearing their voice and their recommendations will bring you peace and guide you towards making a decision.
Decide on a specific date when you and your fiance would like to make the final call. Keep in mind that if you are seriously leaning towards postponement, making that call sooner than later will take some weight off your shoulders and make it possible for more of your vendor team to reschedule with you.
We really hope you don’t have to make the choice to postpone, but if it does come down to that, here are what brides who’ve already made this difficult decision are saying:
“It’s safe to say my wedding process hasn’t gone anything like I imagined. The hardest part was just deciding whether or not to postpone. There was so much stress with the unknown. Once I made the decision I instantly felt excited. All guests were understanding and thanked us for even considering to postpone because it put them at ease.
Vendors have been beyond flexible. Every one of my vendors put 100% of what was paid towards a new date if we had to reschedule. To anyone that is looking for vendors in the Monterey/Bay Area I cannot recommend them all enough:
Venue: Hyatt Highlands Inn, Carmel CA (generously allowed to reschedule up to 18 months out)
Photographer: Vanessa Lynne (if you haven’t booked her yet, do this immediately!)
Hair & Makeup: Blush https://www.blushmonterey.com/
DJ: DJ Ayci by Ready Steady Pose http://readysteadypose.com/
Officiant: Brian Borgia https://www.weddingsinmonterey.com/officiant.html
I was glad I decided sooner than later to book the best possible date/vendor availability. Take your time to decide, but if in the end you feel in your heart it’s right to postpone too, have a good cry, a glass of wine or 3, and just do it. It’s not what you envisioned originally, but I promise you’ll feel so much better once it’s just decided and you might even love your new date more!”
“I talked to my planner when we were starting to think about postponing and was instantly calmed; I have a superhero on my side. When I came back to her after the decision was made, we went over all of our different options. Shoutout to you guys for raising awareness and having a blog post about it demystifies the scary and unfamiliar. Personally, I feel like at times like this, there’s no use in fretting over stuff you can’t change and can’t control. People can still get the day they have always wanted!! The fact that I have my planner, my venue, and my photographer on my team is such a relief. I literally just feel like we hit pause for a month while the world chills for a hot minute and I’m really happy with the decision and the process!”
We’re truly facing uncommon times and if you are planning a wedding in the middle of it we know just how stressful it can feel. Take a deep breath and remember that you’re not alone. Pause for a moment (cause we all have the time!) to reflect and appreciate the love that brought you to the planning process in the first place. And most importantly, if you have your health be extra thankful. From our hearts and homes to yours ~
Sincerely (your friends),
Vanessa & Court
This weddings, guys. Where do I even begin? When Mary first got engaged last year (while in Maui), we booked hers and Jaime’s engagement session right away (you can find their engagement session blog post here). We opted to do their shoot in the mountains in the fal since they had a pretty good idea they were doing a tropical wedding. They woke up at the butt crack of dawn (2:30 am) and met me hours before sunrise to catch the first light in one of my favorite spots. Nothing says “we trust your vision” like waking up in the middle of the night for an adventurous engagement sesh.
Fast forward to their wedding day and the warmth of Maui literally couldn’t have been more of a contrast to their chilly and mountainous engagement session (thank you, Jesus!). They said their vows surrounded by their family and closest friends, then ran off with me for some portraits out on the jetty. As is pretty typical for Maui, the most spectacular sun began to set and so began the onslaught of many happy dances.
They wrapped up their evening with the kindest words and, *cough*, roasts from others and boogied the night away on the dance floor. My most sincere congratulations, Mary and Jaime! What an honor to photograph your PERFECT day.
Venue: Olowalu Plantation House
Wedding Planning and Coordination: Tropical Maui Weddings
Wedding Dress: Lulus
Videographer: Ryan Flinn
Grab your tissues, friends. This one might have you feeling all the feels. Mid-September along the west coast, just south of Bodega Bay, Caitlin and Casey made it all official in some serious style. With rolling hills, scenic views of Tomales Bay, and a restored farmhouse, the Straus Home Ranch was truly the perfect backdrop for their perfect day.
Every single detail of the day was well thought out and perfectly executed. It’s not often wedding days go off without a hitch, but I can sincerely tell you that this was one of them. It was a non-stop party with all of their favorite people flying in from all over to celebrate with them and I was overjoyed to be a part of their day.
These two (along with their amazing planner, Jessica, with Joyeux Events) sure know how to throw an unforgettable party. I can promise you, I’ll never forget this unbelievably perfect day.
Wedding Photography: Vanessa Lynne Photography
Fully Planning and Design: Joyeux Events
Venue: Straus Home Ranch
Florist: Venn Floral
Makeup: Stefanie Fritz Makeup Artistry
Videographer: Shutter and Sound
DJ: DJ Funklor
I’ve know both Danielle and Curtis for many years now and earlier this summer, they had booked a family session with me. As the date was approaching and we were emailing back and forth to finalize details, I get a response from Danielle saying, “Soooo….. call us crazy but we’re sorta kinda kickin around eloping in like 3 weeks.” The second she sent me that, I literally laughed out loud because I’ve been secretly hoping for that email for a long time. She sent me some dates and, crazy enough, I was available only three weeks out in peak wedding season! From there, we knew it was meant to be and got right to work, jumping on the phone to talk location, timing, details and get her lined up with a solid plan.
Both Danielle and Curtis love Loon Lake and so we figured that was the perfect place to hold the ceremony and casual bbq reception. The day couldn’t have gone smoother and you honestly wouldn’t have known that it was put together in less than three weeks!
After the wedding, Danielle shared some of her insight and her overall experience with planning an intimate elopement in such a short time, in the hopes of encouraging other couples to ditch the expensive wedding 10 months out and make it happen now:
“We’d been kicking around eloping for the past couple of years, but always came up with reasons not to… we want to have a “real” wedding… we want all our friends and family to see us get married… we thought we wanted all the traditions of getting engaged, planning a big wedding, etc.
But one day we were talking about getting married and I said, “let’s just elope while my sister is here in a few weeks” and Curtis said “ok, I’m down!” And this time we actually did it!
That night I emailed Vanessa and she was actually available on the date we chose. I had always told Curtis that Vanessa would be our wedding photographer.. So her randomly being available during busy wedding season made it meant to be.
The next day we went down to Folsom and got rings (the jeweler was so excited for us that he made a custom ring for me in less than 2 weeks!) and things just literally fell into place from there. We picked our favorite lake for camping and the ceremony, my best friend is a caterer and wanted to do the food, I found my dress at a local shop in downtown Placerville for less than $200, and we found the boys clothes on clearance at Men’s Warehouse and H&M… we told only close family and friends but still had around 40 people there because Curtis’s family is huge.. but it was a perfect day. It all came together so perfectly and was so “US.” That was the best part. It was so totally exactly how we are.. easygoing, not showy.. just in our favorite place with our favorite people.
Vanessa couldn’t have been a more perfect match for us as our photographer. I’ve known her through mutual friends and followed her on Instagram and always loved her work… but her personality and style just meshed so well with ours that it made our day even more easy and fun. I have a feeling she’s like that with all her clients because she’s just that good at what she does. She takes the setting she’s put in with the people she is working with and just does her job seamlessly and with so much confidence that you feel comfortable right from the start. “
Catering: Savour Catering
Ceremony Arch: North Forest Designs
Makeup Artist: Mandi Johnson
Venue: Bride’s Childhood Family Home
Planning and Coordination: Shannon of Tin and Twine
Catering: Hannibal’s Catering & Events
Rentals and Decor: Shannon of Ritual Rentals
Dress: Grace Loves Lace
Bridesmaid Dresses: Lulus
Photography: Vanessa Lynne Photography
Florals: Katey Prock
Makeup: Alexa Dias Makeup
Hair: Katie Blake
Nail Artistry: Nails by Taylor
When Lauren and Jason first contacted me about photographing their wedding, they had originally planned to do a destination wedding in Kauai. They had a tentative plan but after talking through it, they decided to keep it close to home (quite literally!) to make sure all of their loved ones could attend. Lauren envisioned a full on boho wedding and, boy, did she nail it with every single detail. Shannon, the creative genius behind the styling and decor, brought Lauren’s vision to life perfectly.
It was so incredible to photograph their big day and meet all of their favorite people. I’ve always said that my kinda brides are the ones that can go with the flow and take whatever is thrown their way with grace, and Lauren did just that. I couldn’t have asked for a sweeter couple. Lauren and Jason, you two deserve THE WORLD and I am so dang happy for you. Sending you my love!