Wedding
Planning Blog

Planning your wedding post COVID-19

Expert tips for replanning your wedding and some creative ideas to ensure you get the most out of your original date items!

After months, maybe even years of planning, you and your other half were all set to get married in the first half of 2020. Flowers were chosen, stationary ordered and printed, photographers booked, dresses fitted and guests excitedly preparing to attend your special day.

And then COVID-19 hit:

The worldwide pandemic turned into a wedding reorganisation 'plandemic' with the rescheduling of dates, accommodation, vendors and endless calls to guests to keep them updated with the changes. With all the challenges faced, unfortunately, at times, your big day may have felt more like ' a crisis to manage' rather than an event to be celebrated. We get it and feel you need to take a moment to applaud yourself for all the hard work and effort you have both invested in getting to this point. Consider this an invitation to pour yourself a celebratory glass of champagne together and relax!!

So you rescheduled your wedding date:

With that in mind and your upcoming wedding now only weeks or a couple of months away we are here to remind you of all the beautiful things your wedding 'can be' rather than 'should have been.'

Now what?

With couples all across Australia continuing to have their dream wedding experience you can be confident and fully assured that having the 'best wedding ever' is still very much on the cards:

'Ben and I would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone at Gabbinbar for making our wedding day so perfect. You were all honestly so amazing and accommodating. We will never forget it and will be raving about you all forever... I think our guests will too. They haven't stopped! We had so many "best wedding ever" comments! Thank you so very much again xx'

Samantha

The good news is:

By now, thankfully, the major rescheduling decisions will be behind you. With a great venue, a team of vendors and supportive family and friends on board, you'll be able to channel your energy into making some of the finer adjustments.

It gets better:

A primary focus will be on keeping your wedding party and guests well informed in the lead up to the day and clearly communicating your expectations and plans. Items such as place cards and other signage with your previous date can be creatively repurposed, so don't throw anything out (we'll get to that in a moment). If you have a 'like for like' date postponement most of the arrangements for your florals, dress and photographer will remain the same. However, if you are saying 'I do' in a different season, then we've put together some checklists to make sure you are entirely across all the details.

You're probably wondering how best to keep your guests informed?

One of your essential covid wedding planning elements will be to keep up clear communication with guests and the wedding party in the lead up to your wedding day. Now that guests are aware of your new date and have RSVP'd, a wedding website is a great way to keep in touch and give quick and regular updates.

The more regular communication, the better:

The key to keeping your guests updated is 'over-communication' as there is a lot of misinformation floating around, which can quickly cause confusion!!

  • Start by letting your guests know all the usual details: Date, time, address, dress code, nearby accommodation options, gift registry details and whether the ceremony or reception will be unplugged (or alternatively if you have a hashtag for your day).
  • Let your guests know what expectations you have for the day, what your venues' expectations will be and what you require of them. Being honest and transparent is the best approach as you want guests to make a safe and well-informed decision about attendance. If you do the leg-work beforehand, everyone will arrive at your wedding on the same page and will be prepared for a fabulous time.
  • Give guests a detailed outline (provided by your venue) of all the safety guidelines that will be in place: Food preparation, sanitisation, social distancing etc.
  • Provide a 'Frequently Asked Question' section of your website. Not only will it avoid you repeatedly being asked the same questions, but it will reassure guests.
  • Consider assigning a member of the wedding party (perhaps the maid of honour and the best man) as the primary point of contact for each side of the family. Provide their contact details on the website and request that all enquiries be forwarded to them. This way they can field any questions or queries on your behalf, especially in the lead up to the day, and then have them only discuss with you any of the major concerns.
  • Sometimes, even despite your best efforts to notify and inform your guests about changes, there will still be family members and guests that need individual assurance and connection. Make sure you set aside time to call and connect with each of these guests personally.
  • For guests that are unable to attend, or don't feel comfortable attending, be sure to include the details for the live streaming of your ceremony on your wedding website.

Insider Tip: Provide another way that guests can show their support if they are unable to attend. Perhaps offer the opportunity to go out to dinner and celebrate on a different date or to catch up down the track and go through wedding photos or watch the wedding video together.

Here’s the deal with re-using your stationary:

Wondering what to do with all your original 'day-of' stationery that you've already had printed? Hold onto it. Don't throw anything out and don't feel the need to rush out and get more printed. You may want to make light of your date change and simply cross it out with a cheeky 'finally' or 'thanks Corona' written beside it. Or, if you'd prefer to make your changes a little more subtle, there are plenty of creative ways to go about it.

What can be done?

Firstly, chat with your stationer and ask the question 'What can be done?' If all of the other information on the stationary is correct, then enquire as to what methods they would suggest for covering or changing the date.

  • If the date features prominently on your place cards, you could look at covering it with a customised sticker (there are some beautiful options available), a monogram wax seal or if it's at the bottom of the place card simply have it cut off.
  • Your florist could fashion a floral arrangement or greenery garland to conceal the date on welcome signs.
  • Original guest books can be re-imagined with a new theme - ask guests to contribute their pearls of wisdom for your marriage or have them answer a set of questions like 'where do you see us in 5 years? or 'how many children do you think we'll have and what will their names be?'. The last option is to go 'as is' and make no changes.
  • Or, just have your MC acknowledge the old date with a witty quip about Corona and then move on. Not only will it be a casual nod to the reality of the postponement, but it'll remind everyone just how wonderful it is to be able to gather together to celebrate.

What to expect from your venue:

Rest easy, this should be the one area of your replanning process where you can relax and be confident that all the details and finishing touches are being taken care of for you. For continuity of care and to ensure that all the information you are receiving is timely and correct at Gabbinbar Homestead, for example, the Gabbinbar Experience Manager is specifically tasked with assisting in all of your COVID related enquiries.

The great news is:

With the changing nature of restrictions and regular updates posted by the QLD government, your venue should keep you abreast of any changes and provide you with clear and concise information that details how your wedding could potentially be impacted. Expect your venue to be across the following details in preparation for your big day:

  • Provide a personalised digital date postponement card for couples to send to their guests.
  • Always be looking for new ways to best support couples through their postponement and deliver exceptional planning and wedding day experiences.
  • Provide an online planning platform which allows you to collate and access all of your planning details, adjustments, vendor details and information in one convenient location.
  • Provide and host updated planning meetings, confirming all changes that have been made to accommodate the date change e.g., new run sheets, updates on sunset times and photo timelines, incorporating dancing alternatives into reception entertainment, offering menu alternatives if necessary, and providing updated seating plans etc.
  • Liaise with vendors before your wedding to ensure they are prepped with all the required COVID compliant details — florists, photographers, videographers, celebrants etc.
  • Live streaming of the ceremony for guests who are unable to attend.
  • Customisation of drink and food service while still providing an exceptional experience.
  • Provision of enough seating at reception and garden parties for all guests at no additional cost.
  • Facilitating TV presentations of guests well wishes at the reception who may not have been able to attend
  • Suggest fun alternatives for entertainment at your wedding in the place of dancing.
  • Supply of individual cake boxes for plattered cake to each guest on the evening at no additional cost
You may also be wondering:

Is the responsibility of your venue to be adapting and incorporating the necessary changes to ensure the success of your day? Yes, it is! In the lead up to your wedding, you should be able to be focussed on the enjoyable aspects of last-minute preparations (nails, beauty, pre-celebration dinners), not on compliance and tracking a virus!!!

How to modify your dress for a new season:

With season being one of the primary influencers when choosing a dress design or style, the reassuring news is that almost every dress will be able to be modified or accessorised to be trans-seasonal.

First step:

Always look to accessorise first over altering your dress, something which is much more easily done when transitioning from a spring/summer wedding to an autumn/winter wedding. If opting for alterations, make sure you enlist the help of an experienced tailor or ask your designer to make recommendations if they cannot do it themselves. Here are some suggestions for incorporating changes:

Spring/Summer Weddings

Start with swapping your winter shoes out for open-toed sandals, wedges or strappy heels. They ooze summer vibes and paired with a gorgeous pedicure will immediately freshen and elevate your look.

  • Exchange your heavy winter veil for a chic summer hairpiece, flower crown for a boho vibe or pearl embellished hair comb.
  • Alter long sleeves for 3/4, slit sleeves or capped sleeves.
  • Change out heavy lace to illusion sleeves with fine weight detailing and applique
  • Consider raising the hemline to tea length (between the ankle and knee). Be sure to try other dresses this length on first to make sure you are happy with the style - as once you make this alteration there will be no going back.
  • Neckline alteration - this will immediately create a summer feel. If your dress originally had a high neckline, before making any changes, try on new styles to find a neckline that you are comfortable with and will work for you.
Autumn/Winter Weddings
  • Accessorise by covering up with a bolero, dense lace or faux fur capelets, or feather stoles for the cooler moments of your wedding day (these are also great options for your bridesmaids)
  • Swap out your sandals for winter pumps or enclosed flats. Or even a pair of white embellished boots for photos and later in the evening.
  • Extra fabric will immediately 'winterise' your dress. Consider adding straps or sleeves to a strapless dress - these can be detachable so you can add or remove them throughout the day.
  • Add a cape either attached at the shoulders or the waist. Again, if detachable it can be worn for the ceremony and garden party and then removed for the reception.
  • Detachable or layered overskirts also can add volume and warmth to a slim-fitting dress.
  • Substitute summer hair accessories for a long cathedral or ceremonial veil.

Insider Tip: Most suits are trans-seasonal so for the groom or groomsmen, if need be, just consider changing the colour of their shirt, tie or pocket square to complement the changes to your colour scheme.

What about photography?

Every season has its pros and cons when considering options for your photos. Summer has long sunlight hours, spring sees gardens full of blooms, winter allows for gorgeous warm weather accessories and the changing colours of the leaves in autumn are a photographer's dream.

So lets hear what the proffessionals have to say....

As a photographer (Lucy Sheedy Photography) capturing moments and connection is my all time favourite part of a wedding day. For these moments to play out naturally and as unscripted as possible you need to allow time. This is why I feel your timeline is your wedding day secret weapon and crucial depending if you’ve made changes to your original plan. If you bank in enough time for each chapter of the day it will make things flow effortlessly. Ultimately the experience you have on your wedding day is the most important part aside from actually getting married of course!

The best piece of advice:

My best piece of timeline advice is to consider having some time with guests directly after your ceremony. It might seem really simple however it’s something I find a lot of couples completely skip over. I call this part of the day the ‘guest congratulations’. This is where you have time for your guests to congratulate you and share in your excitement having just witnessed you marry one another.

It also goes without saying adding things like a confetti toss after your ceremony and a sparkler exit or even sparklers during your first dance will always bring great photo returns. Guests love smashing you with petals or tossing confetti at you and sparklers, who doesn’t love sparklers??

Anything you can do to involve your guests and make them feel connected to you and your love story will be something they and you will cherish. If you are able to create an environment that allows people to feel comfortable and inclusive then there is so much more opportunity for genuine candid moments to play out. And let’s face it, the candid moments are the best ones after all!

So what can you do to make your guests feel that little bit extra welcome??

One way to make them feel extra special would be to pop a handwritten note at the place setting for each guest including why they are so important to you. This leads onto another suggestion to ponder, your guest list. Consider a back up list of your ride or dies. What I mean by this is to pick out a list of 30-40 people that you absolutely must have with you celebrating your wedding day. That way you are prepared for any number changes should you need to be. If you’ve had to make adjustments to your guest list this may mean your budget is free’d up a little and you could look at adding things like a keepsake wedding album. As a photographer I am of course going to tell you the best experience you will ever have with your photos is viewing them in print. An album is the ultimate photo experience.

Maximise golden hour:

An accomplished photographer will work with you and your venue to curate a timeline that suits the season and allows for maximising the all important golden hour and capturing the best moments of your wedding day.

Spring: Spring can provide some pretty perfect wedding temperatures and lovely long timeframes for taking photos. If you have a garden wedding scout out locations prior with your photographer that will take advantage of the gorgeous spring blooms. Make sure to have hayfever tablets on hand in case yourself or any of your wedding party have a reaction to the extra pollen in the air.

Summer: Summer is a photographer's dream with lots of florals available and light that can last well into the night. Longer light allows more opportunity for romantic couple shots but may mean you might have to duck out from your reception to catch the sunset. While warmer weather means you won't have to rug up in the evenings, it can also mean make-up and hair deteriorate quicker so be sure to have someone available to help you do any little last-minute touch-ups before your photos.

Autumn: Like Spring, Autumn can provide comfortable temperatures, but with the light fading slightly quicker. The hero of Autumn weddings are the jewel tones hues in the gardens as deciduous trees begin to change colour.

Winter: The most significant consideration for a wedding in winter will be the golden hour and sunset time. With the sun setting earlier in winter and the light fading quicker, your timeline will need to reflect this. The outside temperature will also be influential. Ensure that you and your fiance and the wedding party are adequately prepared for being outside for an extended period of time in the cool of the evening (a welcome opportunity to layer up with beautiful faux fur shawls, boleros and capelets).

Do I need to rework my color palette?

Metallics and neutrals are mainstays within every wedding palette - and components that are relevant all year round. Gold, rose gold or silver can be styled for every season as can whites, blush, beige or ivory. If you had previously chosen a dominant colour that was more seasonally specific such as burgundy for winter or pastel for spring, transition this to become an accent colour. For autumn and winter weddings look for ways to add texture and depth in your styling with the use of coloured table runners, napkins, moody coloured candles or luxurious velvet ribbons around your bouquets. For spring and summer, crisp white linens paired with metallic elements and greenery will complement any accent colours and bring a 'freshness' to your styling.

Do I need to change my floral arrangements?

If you have a 'like for like' postponement date, then there will be very little you will have to organise when replanning your floral arrangements in terms of floral availability. While flowers like roses, babies breath, lisianthus and carnations are available all year round, the majority of flowers are seasonal. Unless you choose imported varieties, which can be a costly road to go down. So what does it mean if the wedding you were planning for in May, will now be in the warmer months of November or December?

Don’t worry there are still plenty of options available to you:

Focus on the original 'feel' you wanted to create and work with your florist to see how you can re-imagine and work in new florals to compliment your theme and style. You don't have to worry about rethinking your entire colour palette or scheme. Stick with your favourite base colours and then adapt it from there and have them be an accent now, rather than the focal point. Get creative together and look at past samples and arrangements your florist has crafted and tie in the elements that will work for you. For winter weddings incorporate some moodier tones or for spring weave in some lighter and fresher features. Seasonal greenery will be your friend here!!

The great news is that every season has floral 'heroes,' which means that no matter what time of year there will still be plenty gorgeous blooms available for you to choose from. Here is a roundup of the seasonal favourites:

Summer Flowers: Bright, bold, tropical colours will usher in the summertime vibe. Dahlias, Delphinium, Gardenia, Peonies, Proteas, Snapdragon, Hydrangea and Scabiosa. While these flowers may love the sun, be sure to arrange with your florist and venue to have them stored appropriately on the morning of your wedding to avoid wilting or drooping blooms by ceremony time.

Autumn Flowers: Consider adding in twigs, berries or feathers for a boho touch Double tulips, Freesias, Bouvardia, Cymbidium Orchids, Hyacinth, Chrysanthemum. Autumn sees foliage change and the introduction of beautiful jewel-toned hues which you will want to take advantage of.

Winter Flowers: Deep and rich tones are readily available in winter, but keep an eye out for florals like blushing bride which add great texture to bouquets. Anemones, Ranunculus, Phalaenopsis Orchids, Jonquils, Blushing bride, Camelia, Iris, Oriental lilies.

Spring Flowers: Indulge in beautiful pastel shades like pink, peach, purple or cream Arum lilies, David Austin Roses, Hellebores, Jasmine, Sweet pea, Tulips and Snowball Viburnum. In Spring lingering winters or cold fronts can delay the flowering season or impact the fullness of your blooms. Be sure to check-in with your florist a few weeks before your wedding day to ensure your florals can still be locally sourced.

If you are committed to sticking with your original design still and wish to use imported flowers, ensure your florist has adequate time to source them. To help with budgeting prioritise your bouquets and then buttonholes before moving to table settings or arbours. Consider incorporating more greenery to compensate for the price of imported florals and discuss ways with your florist that arrangements can be repurposed throughout the day.

Insider Tip: Be sure to remember with the selection of new season flowers to keep the accent tones that compliment your bridesmaid's dresses.

With all this in mind, what else do I need to focus on?

Now that we’ve talked about all the important practicals involved with organising your wedding, let's take a moment to return the focus to the purpose behind this day you have spent so much time planning and organising. Marrying the absolute love of your life!!! Don’t forget amongst all the phone calls, emails and changed seating plans to take time to linger in the excitement of all the wonderful moments you about to share and experience together. Visualise laughing and relaxing with your bridal party as you get your hair and make-up done on the morning of your wedding. Walking down the aisle and seeing the person you love waiting at the altar. Cutting the cake together to the cheers and applause of family and friends. Refresh yourself with the knowledge that the challenges you have navigated to this point are a testament to the strength of your relationship and that your replanned wedding can and will be everything you have dreamed of.

Just like so many other couples have found….

‘I recently held my wedding at Gabbinbar. I cannot thank the team or recommend this venue highly enough. Nothing is too hard for them. They go out of their way to make not only your actual wedding day, but the whole planning process as easy as possible. They are all so lovely, helpful and professional. All of our guests were raving about the service and the immaculate grounds, not to mention the food. It is second to none! If I could relive my wedding day, I wouldn't change a thing. We knew from the moment we drove down the enchanting driveway on our first site visit that this was the venue for us. The atmosphere is magical and you are made to feel as though it is your home. I was genuinely sad to leave this place. I will forever be grateful to the amazing team at Gabbinbar for making my wedding day so memorable (for all the right reasons). I would have been lost without them.

Jessica - August 16th 2020

‘The team at Gabbinbar are amazing. The venue is stunning. The level of service on the day was exceptional. The food was exquisite! Planning a wedding during these COVID times was not easy, but the team at Gabbinbar made it so much easier and were there to answer all of our questions and concerns. Their staff are true professionals. All our guests said that this was the best wedding venue they had ever been to. I couldn’t agree more. Gabbinbar is the pre-eminent wedding venue in Queensland, if not Australia.’

Dan - September 1st 2020

‘I am still in awe of this venue even after being married here. With the uncertainty around COVID we had to reschedule our wedding and change our wedding plans multiple times, but this was never a problem for Gabbinbar. The planning team were always super helpful, calling to check in on how things may effect our wedding or if they could offer us a helping hand. I was skeptical with the COVID safe plans in place that I wouldn’t be able to have my dream wedding- but it turned out exactly how I wanted. They had a plan in place for everything! I was treated like a princess from the time of booking the venue to the day of my wedding. Nothing was to hard for them. The food was amazing, the staff were so genuine and friendly and the venue itself- stunning! Guests are telling me it was the best wedding they’ve been to!’

Kelly - September 20th 2020

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