The lowdown on wedding planning during lockdown – no one saw this coming!
Sorry to anyone visiting my blog for travel content right now. I’m still working on travel guides as usual, but I’m also enjoying sharing some personal blogs on here too!
Some of you who have followed my travels and adventures for a while will know that last April, Macca proposed to me in Thailand. Ahhhh such happy memories!
It was day one of our holiday, I had absolutely NO idea, and the whole thing was magical. You can read more about how it all happened here. I also shared the video a few weeks ago, partly to cheer myself up on what had become a week of lows aboard lockdown rollercoaster.
By July we’d started chatting about the style of wedding we wanted to have. Country house or rustic barn? A big extravaganza or something small and intimate? City or countryside? Wedding cake or cheese course? Well cheese, obviously. You know, all the big questions!
By August we’d clocked up hours of research and made a shortlist of venues to see.
Too dark. Not big enough. Too run down. Way out of budget. Too far away. Far too grand. Too… no wait, this one is special.
I’ll admit that we actually fell in love with a venue on our first day of viewings, then ummed and ahhed so much, that we convinced ourselves it wasn’t right, and ALMOST booked another venue. It was somewhere that ticked 99% of the boxes, but a few doubts started to creep in.
Just in time, we had the head and heart discussions and went back to Plan A. It was us. It was romantic, a bit rustic and we knew we loved it. It felt special in a way that some of the other ‘package weddings that make you feel like you’re on a constant conveyer belt’ just didn’t.
Seriously, some places said you can arrive by 1pm for your 2pm wedding, and you need to be out first thing in the morning for the next couple to arrive! Goodbye romance! Logistics would be a little more complex than Plan B, but hey, we deal with complicated travel plans for a living – this wouldn’t phase us!
So, by September we’d booked a date and paid a deposit. We were back on cloud nine, feeling super excited for our wedding in a year’s time. The countdown was on.
Naturally, my attention shifted to a very important element of the day – the wedding dress. Friends had said they took ages to find and even longer to be made and delivered, so it was time to get cracking.
Every girl has dreamed of their wedding dress, haven’t they? Oh, actually, in my case no! I was so excited to try one on for the first time – I guess I’d dreamed of that part as it’s not something you have the opportunity to do unless you’re actually getting married. However, I hadn’t grown up with this image of the dream dress in my mind. I hadn’t really thought much about what my dream wedding would look like either.
I remember my first appointment at a bridal shop just outside of London. It was very posh, the shop assistant was a little snooty, and I didn’t feel particularly comfortable. My mum and sister had come along for moral support, and I was assuming we’d sip champagne while I gallivanted around in various swathes of lace, silk and tulle.
Instead, they sat awkwardly with plastic cups of water, fearful of touching or breaking anything, while I stood awkwardly in my only pair of white knickers being cinched and squeezed into the tightest, most unattractive dress I’ve ever seen. It was figure-hugging, see-through and made of stretchy lace. You could see my pants, my boobs looked like they’d been hoisted up to my chin, and my walk was more of a penguin shuffle.
The assistant insisted I try dresses in every key style to figure out what I liked. All I can say is dress one was as far away from my dream dress as I could get! The day wore on. I found a few I liked, and several more that were really ugly. I certainly didn’t end the day with that teary feeling of finding ‘the one’. And where was that glass of champers all the Hollywood movies promised?!
A few weeks later, my mum and I were on our way to yet another small bridal shop in the home counties. This experience was different. There were tears. Numerous tears. My mum sobbed as the curtain opened and revealed me in a dreamy gown. I welled up seeing her cry. Even the shop assistant who must have seen this moment hundreds of times had a little glint in her eye. I’d found it.
We were feeling pretty sorted as Christmas came around. Deposits had been paid, caterers were sorted, a photographer booked and we were looking at guest lists and numbers. Smaller details like flowers, decorations and invites were on the agenda, but we had months to go, so what was the rush?
Then everything changed. For everyone. Everywhere. I don’t know a single person left unaffected by the impact of coronavirus. Whether that’s losing jobs, cancelling holidays, or tragically losing loved ones. It’s devastating. I wrote a post about the effects on my business and the travel industry as a whole, but it’s so distressing to see how many are suffering.
In amongst all the sadness of what has been going on globally, we’ve also got the so-called ‘happiest day of our lives’ coming up. Neither of us knows how to feel, what to do, or if there is anything we can do.
It’s a day we’ve had visions of since booking the venue last September. It’s a day we’ve daydreamed about, spent hours planning, and while us being together forever will happen regardless (and let’s face it, that’s the most important part), we were looking forward to a big, fat celebration of this new stage of our lives.
We feel differently now. I won’t speak for Macca as he’s a lot more practical and sensible than me (thankfully!) but I’ve started feeling really sad about our big day. We’re in limbo right now. We have no idea if a) the government will be allowing weddings by September, b) whether there will be other restrictions in place and c) whether all our loved ones will be allowed or able to attend.
I woke up the other day after having a weird half-nightmare that we went ahead with the wedding, but that everyone was spaced out two metres apart, shouting across tables and we accompanied our wedding outfits with bizarre face masks. Imagine a wedding with no hugs or kisses? With no dancing close to others? Or perhaps without parents or loved ones who live abroad able to attend? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
For now, we’re in limbo. Thankfully we took out wedding insurance when we booked the venue, so we may be covered if we had to cancel or postpone. The insurance even includes a clause which covers an ‘outbreak of contagious disease’. Bizarre foresight – I mean, who could have predicted this?!
We’re going to wait a while and decide the next steps together. Until the UK government decide the lockdown exit strategy, and the behaviour which goes with it, we feel it’s best to leave things as they are.
So, what’s it like planning a wedding during lockdown? Well, there’s very little planning involved that’s for sure!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post! I will get back to the travel content again soon I promise, but it’s nice to share some of the here and now. Life is strange and it feels strange to ignore it. I know a few of you are facing the same situation right now, and it’s often a comfort to realise you’re not alone.
As always, thanks for reading my blog, sharing my posts and supporting what I love.