Practical advice from the founder of Planories, Meeta GidwaniI know, I know, you’re probably burned out by all of the COVID coverage. Dealing with everything pandemic-related is bad enough (Zoom meetings, I’m lookin’ at you) without having to figure out how to reschedule and re-plan a major event like your wedding. I got married four years ago, sans a global pandemic, and back then I felt like I had no clue what I was doing when it came to wedding planning. Throw COVID on top of it? Forget about it! And because many of you may have chosen to forego a wedding planner to save some money, I thought it would be a good idea to talk to an expert who can give you actionable guidance. Enter Meeta Gidwani, a full-time biomedical engineer who is also the lead wedding planner and founder of the New Jersey-based event planning company, Planories. She has been working diligently with her clients since March when the situation began to worsen in New York and New Jersey. Most of her clients’ weddings have been rescheduled for new dates in 2021, although there are still some taking place at the end of this year. If there’s anyone who understands how overwhelmed you might be feeling right now, it’s Meeta. Thankfully, she’s got your back with some practical tips and uplifting advice on how you can navigate wedding planning in the face of COVID.
Contact Your VenueFirst thing’s first – if you’re leaning towards postponing, you gotta find a new date: “Couples should start by contacting their venue to find potential alternate dates. Once they get that information, they should narrow it down to the top two or three dates and reach out to their vendors to see which date works for all of them or the majority of them. If there is an option to move the events outdoors, I would also suggest looking into that as well.” Once you’ve got the big picture items handled, like confirming a new date with your venue and all of your vendors, then you can zero in on the details.
If Social Distancing Becomes The NormIf there is one quality about Indian weddings that I find to be ubiquitous, it is the complete absence of the elements that define the buzzword of 2020 – ‘social distancing.’ Aunties in your face, haldi in your face, vendors in your face…you get the picture. According to Meeta, “If social distancing becomes the new normal, a lot of factors will be affected, but there definitely are creative solutions!” So what exactly needs to happen to maintain social distancing at your wedding?
- “Outdoor weddings and events will probably become more common,” Meeta says. You don’t have to be the medical professional your parents always pushed you to be to know that being outside is safer than packing your guests into an indoor event space. Talk to your venue to see if they have outdoor spaces available.
- Talk to your caterer and venue about what food service will look like, and be prepared to say goodbye to the Indian wedding buffet as you know it. Meeta offers some alternatives to the traditional buffet and suggests “…having the catering staff serve the food so there are less people touching the serving spoons. Smaller stations that are in different areas may have to be set up instead of one long line of items. Another option would be to have family style entrees delivered to each table.”
- Think about creative solutions for seating arrangements. “In terms of seating arrangements for ceremonies, more room for standing could be included in addition to spaced seating, so the guests feel comfortable. For the reception, typically the round tables at weddings have 8-10 guests and this will most likely be decreased.”
- Figure out how to help your guests reduce the spread of germs. “…Masks and gloves may have to be included for guests, and couples can get them in fun colors and patterns that match their décor themes. Hand sanitizer distribution would have to be incorporated whether it be as giving personalized bottles in welcome bags, setting up stations, or having staff pass out bottles on fancy trays.”
Take Advantage Of The Extra TimeThe most important thing you can do with the extra time added to your wedding planning timeline? Use it! “This is the best time to keep planning your wedding! You have even more time to focus on items you wanted to but had given up on due to time restrictions, such as DIY décor for smaller events. You can work on personalized favors for your guests, such as homemade candles. You have even more time to practice and perfect dance choreography. Set up fun virtual dance sessions with your cousins and friends. Furthermore, you can continue to look at reviews of vendors online and set up calls to discuss details. Brides, you can still work on designing your perfect outfit virtually with your designer or set up virtual appointments with some boutiques.” To say that the situation you’ve been put in sucks would be putting it very mildly. But just like you’ve figured out how to adapt your day-to-day activities and life, you’ll figure out how to adapt your wedding to life in a pandemic as well. The best advice from Meeta to you? “Please remember that love and relationships are not cancelled. We will all get through this together! The most important part is that your loved ones are healthy and safe during this difficult time.” And if you’re still struggling with what to do about your wedding and how to do it, reach out to Meeta at Planories. “Planories is there for you! Even if you are not one of our couples, please reach out with any questions or concerns you may have. We would love to help answer them to the best of our abilities. Also, if there are couples who are currently looking for a coordinator or planner, please contact us and we can share more information with you regarding our packages. We are also helping organize remote weddings, bridal/baby showers, and other events.”
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