Real Talk · Uncategorized

How to make your neighbourhood a community.

We all know how much this Covid period is sucking hard right now! We all feel isolated and it’s likely and understandably taken a toll on our mental health and well-being.

Here in my small Ontario, Canada town we’re allowed to socialize in groups of up to 10 people which has been great. We have a group of neighbours in our area that have become so much more than neighbours over the years and are truly some of our closest friends. Having a little community within our neighbourhood is something we always said we’d wanted when we moved in almost 4 years ago and we love it!

Do you want to live in the type of neighbourhood where kids play together in front yards and adults hang out on front porches (socially distanced obviously)? You can have that, but you might need to take steps to create it. Here are some ideas to build community in your neighbourhood…

There are days when Tyson and I will take our dog outside for a stroll down the block, and end up at an impromptu neighbourhood gathering on the sidewalk. Kids and dogs running around playing as the adults chat and catch up. Sometimes someone even says, “Hang on,” and runs inside to grab beers for all of us. I love this. It’s one of my favourite things about where we live. It’s the sort of thing you just can’t plan. But if you keep showing up and reaching out to your neighbours, this sense of community in your neighbourhood just happens organically.

Neighbourhood sense of community has been shown to be linked to so many positives: creating sense of belonging,  providing a physical and mental health boost, and even lowering crime rates. With benefits like these, we could all stand to strengthen our neighbourhood ties.

Get to know your neighbours. If you can’t name more than a neighbour or two, it’s time to introduce yourself. Even if you’ve lived in your home for a while, this first introduction doesn’t need to be awkward or a big production. Simply smile and say, “Hey, I’ve been meaning to introduce myself…”

Hang out on your porch or in your front yard. It’s hard to get to know your neighbours if you don’t ever see them. Just by being out in front of your house you can give off a welcoming vibe that encourages interaction. If we’re out in front, especially with the dog, every neighbour who walks by, even those I don’t know who may live many blocks away, still smiles and says hello before giving Winston a pat and carrying on with their walk.

Create a block directory. If you don’t yet know your neighbours, this is the perfect way to get started. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Just drop off a sign-up sheet in everyone’s mailbox and, once they return it to you, you can email the final version to everyone.

Be respectful of your neighbours. I can’t stress this one enough!! Don’t be that guy. Clean up after your dog and keep him leashed when out walking. Be aware of any disturbing noise levels that you are creating. Maintain your property and respect property boundaries. If you are that house that is continuously pumping heavy bass and loud music, you’re immediately on my shit list – be respectful!

Organize a block party. I know this might be difficult right now with Covid restrictions but you could maybe have a Drinks On Your Driveway Night. This one does involve a little work, but if you share the coordinating duties with other neighbours and keep it simple (at least that first year), this is an easy way to get to know your neighbours.

Welcome new families. You can bring a traditional baked good, but I also love the idea of welcoming newcomers by sharing your favourite local restaurants and businesses, perhaps a stack of your favourite take-out menus wrapped up in ribbon.

Celebrate NeighbourDay in April. Since 2010 Good Magazine has sponsored NeighbourDay the last Saturday of April, by providing tools and suggestions to encourage good neighbouring. You can check the website to get neighbourly inspiration from all over the globe. I didn’t know this was a thing until right now but you know next year I’ll be all over this!

Shovel your neighbour’s sidewalk when it snows, especially if it is difficult for them. If you neighbours are older or perhaps just going through a hard time with a new baby or sickness, spend a few extra minutes to clear their sidewalk too. This is no small gesture. In most cities, homeowners can actually be ticketed if their sidewalks aren’t cleared within 24 hours after it snows, even if they are out of town. Plus, you never know who will return the favour.

Support your neighbourhood schools. There is a reason the most successful schools are the ones where parents are actively engaged. Good schools have successful, if informal, partnerships between the administration, the parents and the community-at-large. Even if you don’t have kids at the school, it’s important to remember that the local school is also a member of the community, and can greatly impact the neighbourhood, positively or negatively. Our neighbourhood businesses frequently host fundraisers to benefit the local schools. If you can attend an event, you’re helping the school as well as getting to know your neighbours at a fun community event.

Address concerns or issues directly with your neighbour. Don’t let a problem fester and escalate. And, don’t immediately call to report a problem to the city or town without first trying to work it out with your neighbour directly.

Host a porch or driveway party. This is something we get up to pretty often in our neighbourhood. A good old fashion driveway hang out! Everyone brings a folding chair and a couple drinks to someones driveway and we just hang out. We often have new faces walk by and it’s a great way to introduce and welcome others to your little circle.

Shop locally if you live near a business district. You will not only see and interact with your neighbours at the local businesses and along the way, but you will also get to know your other neighbours—the local business owners and employees.

Coordinate a neighbourhood yard sale. Garage sale, tag sale, yard sale…whatever name you go by, this is a good way to clear out your home’s clutter and help your neighbours do the same.

Let your neighbours know when you will be out of town and ask them to contact you or the police if anything is suspicious. You don’t need a formalized neighbourhood watch program to keep the neighbourhood safe. If you ask your neighbours, they will likely ask you in turn, which helps to keep the neighbourhood safe for everyone.

Welcome new little ones to the neighbourhood. When I was growing up, every time one of the families had a new baby, the neighbours would decorate the families’ front porch with pink or blue ribbons. It was a small gesture, but a way of simultaneously announcing to everyone the baby’s birth and welcoming the baby into our community.

Share small neighbourhood gifts at holiday times. It’s rare that anyone gets anything fun in the mail these days. Why not surprise your neighbour with a holiday treat? Keep it simple…baked goods, seasoned popcorn, or even a bottle of wine will be welcomed by most.

Drive like your kids live here…because they do! I have become one of those people who yells, “slow down!” whenever a car speeds down our street, which means I’ve become my parents. But, I get it now. We all like to live in vibrant, bustling neighbourhoods, but this means people, especially kids, need to feel safe when walking or biking around.

What is it like in your neighbourhood? Do you have any good stories about neighbours that became friends? I’d love to hear your suggestions and what it’s like where you live!

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Uncategorized

WOOHOO! You’re engaged…now what?

Hello lovely humans!

For those of you who are new around here, last week I wrote about my fellow Corona-brides and this weird new world we’re finding ourselves in. Nothing has changed on that front unfortunately but what has changed is it’s officially June which means it’s engagement and the start of wedding season!!

If you’re here because you’ve recently acquired a new shiny accessory (…I mean a symbol of your everlasting love and promise to each other) then let me start by saying congratulations! This is a weird time we’re in right now but if you’ve found happiness during quarantine and you’re planning your future, I’m happy for you! Good news is exactly what so many of us need to hear these days. Leave a message in the comments and share your love story, I’d love a reason to smile!

If you’ve been engaged for some time now or if you’re an eager beaver and starting the planning process early, welcome to you too!

Now, lets talk about engagement parties. Should you have one? Do you need to have one? What is an engagement party? Those are all valid questions and the truth is, the answer is different for every single one of you. One of my newly engaged girlfriends and I were chatting about this recently – what’s good for me and my fiance might not be good for you and yours and that is OK. The decision for us to have an engagement party was a simple and quick one – we knew we wanted to have a time and place to celebrate with all our family and friends at once because we were planning a small and intimate destination wedding where not everyone would be able to come.

Engagement Party Etiquette Q & A:

Who throws the engagement party?

Traditionally, an engagement party is hosted by the bride’s family but now days, really anyone can throw it! We decided to throw our own engagement party in our backyard! This option worked best for us because we wanted to have control over the party – the foods, the drinks, the decor, the guest list, the space etc. We found that when other people are financially contributing to something, it gets messy quickly as they want to have things done their way because they are paying for it and the party often can lose focus. We know who we are best as a couple and we wanted our party to truly reflect that.

When should you have your engagement party?

If you’d asked me this 6 months ago (pre-covid) my answer would be to throw your engagement party fairly soon after you get engaged. There are going to be many other festivities in your honour along the way so it’s great to spread them out. If you’re having a longer engagement or don’t have time to travel home right away, a slight delay is no problem. However, living in this covid-19 world, that might not be possible depending on where you live and what the restrictions are.

If you’re set on having something sooner than later, maybe consider a Zoom engagement party that can be put together with a few weeks notice. You can decorate your space, have party items shipped to everyone in advance, ask everyone to get dressed up nicely, there are so many options if you want to explore that route.

Do you need to send a formal invitation?

Deciding whether or not to send formal invitations to your engagement party depends on the type of event you’ll be having. If you have a little time and are hosting a seated dinner, paper invitations are an elegant option. Going more casual? Opt for an e-vite with a playful theme. The great thing about e-vites is that the design options are endless!

We used evite for our engagement party and we loved it! The design process was simple and we loved that it shows you in real time when someone has last opened the invitation and it sends you a notification when someone sends a rsvp. I’m also a big fan of Paperless Post. My main love affair with an e-vite is the rsvp time and how fast it is. Instead of having to mail something back, all your guests need to do is select one of two buttons and you’re set.

Who do you invite to your engagement party?

This one I find to be a loaded answer. Typically the rule of thumb is if you’re invited to an engagement party then you’re expected to be invited to the wedding. In the event that you’re having a smaller and intimate wedding or a destination wedding, I think that’s grounds to change the rules. Just make sure if you are doing that, you make everyone aware that you’re having a private wedding so this is the celebration with everyone who unfortunately cannot attend. The only must haves for your guest list though needs to be your wedding party! All best men, maid of honour, groomsmen and bridesmaids are expected to be there. This is their chance to meet everyone in your family and friend circles so they can better help and mingle at other events. You want your friends and family to know who you’ve chosen to stand by you and who they can go to if they need something without disturbing you and your partner.

Can you have more than one engagement party?

Totally! Having multiple engagement party is actually becoming more and more common, especially if the couple are from different places (or live far from home) and want to have a celebration with those who cannot travel. If your friends, family or coworkers want to plan something informal, like after-work drinks, you can invite a larger group without worrying about an etiquette faux-pas.

Should you include registry information on your invitation?

It is totally OK to set up a registry for guests that want to bring a gift to your engagement party  however, it’s not appropriate to include registry information in your engagement party invitation. Instead, include registry links on your wedding website if you have one or rely on word of mouth. Just remember that giving gifts, while certainly customary, is not mandatory for engagement parties.

We were not going to set up a registry at all because we didn’t want people to feel obligated to bring a gift. We were truly just looking forward to seeing everyone and celebrating together. However, once more and more people started asking, we decided to set one up. We didn’t advertise it anywhere but it spread through word of mouth and that was fine.

Could we combine our engagement party with the holidays?

Possibly, if done correctly. If you got engaged over the holidays or any other time of year, you have the option of combining your engagement party with another celebration. For your guests sake, just try to avoid holidays for which people will have other plans and will be focused on family traditions, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, or a date like Valentine’s Day when people will want to make plans with their special someone. If you decide to do this, just be mindful that not everyone will be able to make it, same goes with long weekends.

Steps to planning an engagement party:

Step 1: Decide who is hosting the party.

Whether it’s you and your fiance, your family, your BFF, or your partner’s family, just about anyone can plan (and pay for) the celebration. This is an important time to discuss and establish a budget too, everyone should be aware of this number and respect it.

If your budget allows for it, you can call in the help of a professional if you’re going all-out for your engagement party (some wedding planners even include it in their overall package).

Step 2: Pick a date.

(Covid permitting) The best time for your engagement party is within the first few months of your engagement. The excitement is still fresh and new, and any potential wedding planning stress has yet to kick in…hopefully! Plus, as I mentioned before, there are going to be tons of events in the near future, this is the time to relax and enjoy the moment – the calm before the storm.

3. Create the guest list.

This is the time to decide if you are going to be having an intimate party or if you want to celebrate with everyone and anyone you know! Take your budget and venue into consideration (see step number four below for more on this)

4. Choose a venue.

Your engagement party can be anything you want it to be – it can be as big or as small and as formal or informal as you’d like, this gives you endless flexibility when it comes to picking your venue. You could decide you want something super formal and host it at a restaurant or an event hall, maybe a beautiful local winery, or even your back yard.We decided to host ours on a sunny (thank goodness!) Saturday afternoon in May in our backyard. We hosted the official engagement party from 1:00pm – 4:00pm and then the majority of our friends stuck around for evening festivities and shenanigans. For us, we knew we wanted something light and fun that represents who we are so opted for something less formal – it was more about who was there than where we were.

5. Set up a registry.

If possible, you want to try and have your registry completed before sending out invitations. The catch though is that you don’t want to do it too far in advance because items you choose may go on sale / clearance and be sold out by the time your registry is shared is with your guests. Keep an eye on your registry list and make sure the items are available and you can also add and subtract from anytime.

When selecting your registry items, I recommend having a mixture of low and medium priced items. You can include a few high end ticket items but be mindful your guests will likely gift you things for a shower (if you’re having one) and the wedding so provide them with options that fit their budget for these events.

If you prefer to not have gifts at all, make sure that is worded clearly on your invitation.

6. Send your invitations.

Usually the rule of thumb is to send your invitations out about a month in advance. Personally, I don’t like that rule very much and I prefer to have closer to 6 weeks notice on an event that I really want to attend. The sooner the better in my mind  – I like to consider those with kids who need to make arrangements, those who work weekends, those from out of town etc.

Make sure your invitation includes the following information (I have received so many invitations without all these things and I hate to have to ask and stress out the bride and groom).

  • What type of event is this? Your invitation should clearly state “Engagement Party” in some form of verbiage
  • Where and when? This one seems obvious but be sure to include the address and a start time. You can also include an end time if you’d like to make sure the party wraps up by a certain time. Something else to consider is letting your guests know anything specific to the where – if it is in your backyard on grass for example, maybe let them know to leave the stilettos at home.
  • What is the dress code? There is nothing worse than being under dressed to someone’s big event. I cannot stress how important this information is to your guests!
  • Who is your engagement party being hosted by? If your family is hosting and paying for the party, they may want that to be known on the invitation. Something as simple as Mr. & Mrs. Smith along with Mr. & Mrs. Brown request your presence as they celebrate the engagement of  Jim & Sally.
  • Remember to include an RSVP date!! This date will vary based on your plans but be sure to give yourself at least a week before the event to have your RSVPs back. This will effect your food amounts, beverage amounts, seating etc. so having this is super important to a successful party.

7. Plan your menu.

Anytime you are serving alcohol, you need to make sure you are serving food as well! For an elegant evening cocktail party, maybe some passed appetizers, a charcuterie board or some specialized food stations would be great. If you’re going the route of an I Do BBQ then you’ll of course want to make sure you have your favourite stuff ready for the grill.

As a consideration, consult your guest list when planning your menu. If you know you have a group of  vegetarians, food allergies, etc. – make sure they have options!

Same goes with your beverage choices, you want to have something for everyone!

When we made our beverage menu, we opened an Excel file with all our guests imported and then went through the list and wrote in their beverage preferences to we knew how much we needed. Our theory was it was better to have something then to need something so we did go a little board but it worked out great!

Something else that I think is fun to do while planning your beverage menu is coming up with a signature drink. We always try and do this for every event that we have (big or small) and fill a large glass beverage dispenser with it and serve a welcome drink from it as guests arrive. I have tons of unique recipes if you’d like me to share some with you! My years of bartending and mixology come in useful from time to time!

8. Set the vibe.

Same thing goes with your vibe / theme – whatever you want to do, do it! Decide on the theme, the vibe, the colour, decor. It can be as simple or as outrageous as you want it to be. Remember the focus should be on you and your boo and celebrating your love so whatever you choose will only elevate that! If you’re doing a daytime thing, some beautiful floral arrangements can go a long way. Something in the evening? Think about lighting.

9. Go shopping!

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to what to wear to your engagement party. I went the option of wearing white but not everyone has to do that, you can wear whatever colour and style you want! It’s your day and you make the rules! Find an outfit that speaks to who you are and fits with the event. Your other half should compliment your outfit as well.

When I was figuring out my outfit, I had a bit of a hard time to be honest. Our engagement party was June 1st and I knew I wanted white but not many stores had switched over to spring yet so I took to the internet and struck gold at Lulus. I totally recommend you start looking there!

That’s it ladies and gentlemen!

That’s all the advice I can give you today! Let me know in the comments if you like these type of posts and you want me to share more about our experience – what we served, what we did for decorations, the playlist we made.. whatever! While you’re at it, give this post a like so I know if I’m onto something here. And, don’t forget to leave a message with your love story, I’d love to hear it! I’m a sucker for love!

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

 

 

 

Real Talk · Uncategorized

How you can help support couples with a COVID postponed wedding.

7 Do’s and Dont’s: The New Age of Wedding Etiquette.

Chances are, we all know at lease one couple who have had to postpone their wedding because of corona virus.
With the state of the world right now, it might seem trivial to be upset about ‘just’ pushing the wedding back a calendar date. As a 2020 bride myself AND a friend trying to help other couples navigate this…I can tell you there’s a lot more to it.

In the midst of the pandemic, a handful of COVID wedding support groups have sprung up all over Facebook. (Yes, I’m in a few). I wanted real feedback to better gauge what couples impacted by corona virus are collectively feeling. So, I posed two questions:

What can family and friends do to make you feel more supported right now?
What’s helped and what hasn’t?

I quickly received over 250 comments from brides in the groups  There’s a reason these couples feel more comfortable airing their grievances to strangers. A lot of them are missing that connection with their loved ones right now.

How do couples really feel about their postponed wedding?

The couples I spoke with in this weird postponement limbo are all going through various stages of grief which I think is normal and completely fair. Heck, we’re going through them over here too.

They’re sadDisappointedConfusedfrustrated, and angry.

And all the while, they’re trying their best to put on a happy face for everyone else. They feel guilty and ashamed for feeling sad about their wedding in the middle of a pandemic.

The momentum of excitement and joy leading up to the day has been replaced with anxiety and dread. Weddings take months, even years, of time and personal savings to dream up. Consequentially, postponing the wedding often means derailing other life plans…like moving in together, starting a family, buying a home, starting a new business, etc.

For some, there is a greater sense of urgency to celebrate with aging family members or loved ones with degenerative and life threatening health conditions. Obviously, their safety and security this year has taken precedence. It stings to think about what could happen between now and then.

In particular, a postponed wedding can mean a lost opportunity to include your aging nearest and dearest. I’ve also lived that experience in the last few months and that breaks my heart everyday.

How can I support my couple who had to or may have to postpone their wedding?

If you had your dream wedding, with all your people physically present, is it really fair to say “it’s ‘just’ a wedding, focus on the marriage”?

We’ve entered a new age of wedding etiquette. Those of you who are already married will agree: planning a wedding is stressful enough. But doing it during a global pandemic? Unprecedented.

2020 couples feel robbed of that same joyous experience they’ve shared with so many of their loved ones. Weddings, like milestone birthdays, graduations, and giving birth, are rites of passage. They’re grieving the lost moment…and rightfully so.

Your step-by-step guide to supporting corona virus couples.

This post is for friends, family members, and even vendors, who want to support their couple but may not know the right things to do or say. I’m glad you’re here and thank you for making the extra effort to be more empathetic and mindful. They need your support.

This is also for all the couples out there caught up in the middle of this shit-storm. I hope this post helps you feel seen and remind you that you’re not alone. If you’re having trouble expressing how you feel right now, feel free to share the link with your people. Thank you to all of those who weighed in.

1. DO: validate their feelings.

The best thing you can do to support couples who postponed their wedding is offer a safe space to vent. It’s OK to be the first one to bring it up. Instead of assuming it’s too upsetting to talk about, let them have the option to divert the conversation or open up if they’d like to. Meet them where they’re at.

Validation + hope ✔️

  • “I’m sorry you’re going through this. You have every right to feel this way.”
  • “No matter when it happens, your day is going to be beautiful.”
  • “This totally sucks. You deserve your dream day just like everyone else.”
  • “I’ll support whatever decision is right for you.”
  • “I’m always here for you if you need to vent.”

Don’t try to sugar coat the situation or gloss over it with poorly timed humour. Keep it real and genuine. Acknowledge that none of us know what the future holds and this situation is less than ideal. Remind them their feelings are valid and just listen.

“Unless you are also a bride during this pandemic, you cannot truly understand the hardship and pain in this season. It means more when people acknowledge that. I also appreciate people just listening to how I feel.“

– Hilarie N. 2020 bride

The following are only a few of the comments couples say actually make them feel worse. I know most of these sentiments come with good intentions, but our culture of constant, upbeat positivity in the face of adversity is toxic. Ignoring or downplaying all perceived ‘negative’ emotions all the time undermines our mental health.

Toxic positivity (not this) ✘

  • “It’s a small problem in the grand scheme of things.”
  • “It’s about the marriage, not the wedding.”
  • “We’ll all laugh about this someday.”
  • “Think about the story you get to tell your kids!”
  • “Everything happens for a reason.”
  • “It will all be fine/ OK/ work out.”
  • “Weddings are overrated anyway.”
  • At least you have each other/ your health/ a roof over your head/etc.”

Showering silver linings on someone when they’re not ‘there’ yet can come off as insensitive or dismissive. “Someday” has not yet arrived for a lot of these couples- they are still living through it. And no empathetic statement has ever started with the phrase “at least.”

For someone on the receiving end, hearing things like this can make you want to punch a hole in the wall and just scream.

It’s more than OK to be grateful for what we have and sad for what we don’t. There is no right or wrong way to feel right now. 

“’At least you still get to get married.’ This statement comes with such great intentions from our loved ones BUT it just continues to remind me that our wedding day won’t be the day we dreamed of. We’ve postponed our reception, but are planning to move forward with a much smaller ceremony. Yes, I’m stoked to marry my partner, but I’m sad about postponing our party and not having all of our loved ones physically present at the ceremony.”

–  Dominique M. 2020 bride

2. DON’T: offer unsolicited advice or opinions (unless asked)

I wish this went without saying, but this is THE golden rule when it comes to weddings…ALWAYS! However, planning or re-panning a wedding during a pandemic only compounds this.

I guarantee you, your couple has spent months, pouring over the best way to move forward. Some have already paid for their wedding in full and would stand to forfeit thousands. Others who have already postponed may be mentally preparing to do it all over again.

There are a lot of alternative wedding planning ideas circulating the web right now. While I applaud those couples hosting zoom weddings or taking photos with masks, please respect that it’s not the right choice for everyone.

Unless your couple is directly seeking advice from you, please refrain from sharing opinions about what you would do or what you think they should do. Let’s keep the focus on them.

“Telling us not to worry doesn’t really take the worry away. Yes it is ‘just’ a celebration, but at the end of the day, it represents a lot more. It was meant to be the beginning of a new chapter which impacts life plans at different scales depending on relationship singularity.”

– Elizabeth R.  2020 bride

3. DO: honour the original postponed wedding date.

Even if your couple has picked new dates for their postponed wedding and/or events, they will still be sad for awhile. Especially when those dates come and go. All of those pre-set calendar countdowns are quiet reminders that this really isn’t happening.

Let your couple know you’re thinking of them and are still excited to celebrate with them. They could really use a healthy distraction or pick me up from you right now.

Free Ideas to Support corona virus Couples

  • Call or Face-time them to chat
  • Acknowledge change of date invites and RSVP asap (whether or not you plan to go)
  • Organize a drive-by parade
  • Share/tag them in old photos
  • Send voice memos or videos of your well wishes
  • Coordinate a Zoom Happy Hour

Going the Extra Mile

*** PSA: The financial burden of the pandemic has affected us all differently. Don’t feel guilty or obliged if the following suggestions are not within your means. Words of affirmation or some form of quality time (social distance style) will do the trick! ***

  • Write them a thoughtful card
  • Deck out their car or doorstep in fun decor
  • Have take out delivered or drop off baked goodies
  • Send a care package or flowers
  • Order a wedding registry item early
  • Make them something special (photo album, cake topper, etc)

“When our bachelorette trip was cancelled, my Maid of Honour arranged a surprise virtual hangout with our whole wedding party. One bridesmaid had a bottle of nice champagne delivered. Another sent soft pretzels because the bachelorette was supposed to be in Philly. When my shower was cancelled, my mom brought over a “preview” of the drinks and apps she is planning on serving when we can reschedule. All of these gestures meant so much, but really what mattered was the acknowledgement that this was super shitty.”

– Sara J. 2020 bride

4: DON’T: complain about inconvenience or change of plans.

>> Whatever you do, RESIST THE URGE TO MAKE THIS ABOUT YOU. <<

Couples are facing very limited options right now. Here are just a few examples of the roadblocks they’re hitting with a postponed wedding date. (Hint: it’s not as easy as you may think).

Even if the venue doesn’t cancel FIRST, weddings are going to look very different this year. It’s likely social distancing, sanitation rules, and public mask requirements will force concessions on almost every detail of the wedding day. Fair to say, these are not the kind of images your couple wanted to mark this milestone.

Depending on where you live in the world, some venues are also requiring couples to scale down their guest list by 50% or more to keep their 2020 date.

The hardest part of wedding planning is choosing the guest list. Please be understanding if your couple opts to move forward with a smaller ceremony (with or without you). These decision were made out of necessity, not any ill will. I promise they’re as bummed as you are.

Limited Vendor Availability and Dates.

With all spring and summer weddings being postponed right now, 2021 dates are getting booked faster than ever. Venues often book 1-2 years in advance, which means most weekend dates are not even an option. (Prepare to attend a lot of weekday weddings next year!)

Many couples have found themselves in the unfortunate predicament of either ‘riding it out’ and hoping for normalcy or not being able to secure a new date with all their original vendors. Depending on the vendor, a postponed wedding date may also come with additional rescheduling fees.

Travel Restrictions and Mandated Quarantines.

If the postponed wedding requires travel, of course it’s a drag for you to re-book your flights, hotels etc for new dates. But right now, no one is more inconvenienced, emotionally and financially, than your couple.

It’s a strange year for destination weddings. Couples are wary of borders shutting down, mandated 2-week quarantines upon arrival, or even getting stuck at their destination indefinitely. Some guests may not even be able to secure a passport this year.

“I was supposed to be getting married on November 6, 2020. But with all the speculation of this coming back in the fall and my venue only having 1 date open next July, we postponed out of an abundance of caution. I am sad but ultimately feel it was the best decision.”

– Lisa A. 2020 bride

5. DO: check in on them.

You might think it’s better to ignore the situation because you’re scared of causing hurt or building more tension. But your silence can feel a lot more like indifference.

Unless they tell you they don’t want to talk about it, assume it would mean a lot to hear from you. Don’t be afraid to bring it up first. Because the last thing you want to do when you feel like crap is initiate a conversation to talk about your crap. (Am I right?)

We all speak different love languages. If you’re not a big talker, maybe you can send your couple something sweet or write a heartfelt note. If you’re not a good gift giver, offering to help with a wedding related task can go a long way too. (More on that below).

“Our wedding was so close and the second we rescheduled, everyone stopped talking about it. It’s just hard to get excited anymore. With our original date approaching, not having anyone check in has been the most hurtful.”

– Allie V. 2020 bride

6. DON’T: ask too many logistical questions.

Honestly, the last thing your couple needs right now is to be bombarded with questions about their plans. Especially logistical questions that cause more work for them. This is a quick way to ramp up anxiety and stress.

Weddings have so many moving parts. Your couple is essentially back to square one with their planning: trimming the guest list, revisiting their contracts, lining up vendor availability, re-booking events, travel, appointments, etc.

Give your couple time to process what they’re going through. Needless to say, they are asking the same questions as you, but on steroids. Trust that they’ll send you updated information as soon as they can.

“I’m chronically ill- the stress of planning the first wedding, then changing it to adapt to restrictions, then cancelling was so tough. I’m not sure I’m ready to pick myself back up and plan another wedding when the world is still in chaos. I don’t mind people asking if we are going to have a reception, but trying to narrow down a time frame when we’re only just getting back to normal is hard.”

– Regina W. 2020 bride

7. DO: offer specific ways to help.

“Let me know how I can help” is always a kind sentiment…but does it actually help? It’s a passive phrase that is unlikely to lead to any sort of action from either party. Coming up with ideas on how to delegate tasks has the adverse effect of creating more work for your couple.

In this situation, it will probably be more helpful to be pro-active with suggestions. Offer to take on tangible tasks or favours. Re-frame the question to, “Would it be helpful for you if I ____?

Struggling to come up with ideas? Here’s a short list of ways you can support your couple right now. Crossing anything off their to-do list right now will be a relief.

Actionable Ideas to Help Couples Affected by corona-virus.

  • Field and answer follow up questions from guests
  • Plan a virtual happy hour or game night for rescheduled bachelor/bachelorette parties
  • Help design/come up with verbiage for change of date invites or website
  • Offer to store their wedding decor or the dress
  • Research/refer new vendors (if they lose some with a date change)
  • Honour original payment dates for wardrobe/accommodations/etc (if you can swing it)
  • Start a DIY wedding project to work on together for the new date

“It’s a difficult time for everyone and all of us are not the best versions of ourselves, regardless if one is a bride or not. I think what would be helpful for me is to simply check in. Ask how we’re doing navigating through this loss, ask how one can help, and just listen. Offer love and support like one would at any other time, without soliciting unwanted advice/relatable thoughts, because the reality is, no one can really relate unless one is also a COVID bride.” 

– Jamie D. 2020 bride

postponed wedding = opportunity to strengthen relationships.

To all of the couples out there who were forced to postpone or cancel their weddings: I am so truly sorry. Give yourselves the grace and space right now to sit with your feelings. The way you process this experience is personal, but take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.

You are loved, you are deserving, and you are strongYou got this.

And to everyone else out there, thank you for going out of your way to be there for your couples. I understand supporting loved ones is a form of emotional labour, especially in the middle of a pandemic. You’re an amazing friend/family member/co-worker/person.

(It’s also important to acknowledge that not everyone has the capacity to hold this kind of space right now and that’s more than OK too. 

While social distancing forces us to be apart, we can take this opportunity to slow down and strengthen our relationships with each other. It’s a scientific fact that connecting with loved ones boosts our mental health and bolsters resilience. And we need love more than ever to get us through this. By spreading kindness we can also do our part to spread health.

If you are a fellow COVID bride or a great friend to one, let me know in the comments.

As always, don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.