With the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, the world has become hopeful regarding the future of public life and events as we move into 2021 and beyond. But much remains uncertain about what 2021 weddings will look like, and if you’re an engaged couple or wedding professional, you undoubtedly have many questions. Here, we’ve laid out some questions and best practices to consider as you prepare for your 2021 wedding: 

If your wedding is in the first half of 2021

Health professionals expect that restrictions on gatherings will remain in place through May 2021 at the earliest, or until the vaccine is available to the general public—whichever happens first. 

With that in mind, if your wedding date is between now and early May 2021, ask yourself if you are ready and willing to make the necessary changes and compromises to your event to keep that date. Depending on your state and local mandates, this may include a reduced guest list, mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing, changes to your reception floor plan and dining options, etc. 

Take a look at the ordinances currently in place for your wedding venue’s city, and assume nothing will change between now and your wedding date. Are you happy to proceed with those restrictions in place? If not, it’s time to talk to your wedding venue or planners about postponing your wedding to a later date. 

If you are considering a postponement, keep in mind that this is an unpredictable, evolving situation with no guarantees; your secondary date may also be bound by similar restrictions. This is a decision that only you and your spouse-to-be can make for yourselves, so take the time to think through all the possibilities and repercussions (such as non-refundable deposits, unavailable vendors, change in season, and so on) before making your move.

If your wedding is in the second half of 2021

We all hope that COVID-19 will be a thing of the past by June 2021, but the fact remains: We just don’t know how quickly or effectively the vaccine roll-out will occur. If your wedding date is in June 2021 through December 2021, our best advice is also the most maddening—wait and see. 

We understand how frustrating it is to be told to wait, especially when it comes to your wedding, but in this case, it is the most moderate course of action. In the meantime, it’s important to ask yourself some questions about your wedding date, possible restrictions, and the compromises you and your partner are willing to make moving forward. 

Consider sitting down with your partner and talking through the following questions, as they pertain to your current plans for your Summer 2021, Fall 2021 or Winter 2021 wedding: 

  • How much are you willing to reduce your guest list, if necessary? Which guests are you willing to cut from your list, and who are your “VIPs”? 
  • What’s the lowest number of guests you’re willing to have at your wedding?
  • How does vaccination, or lack thereof, affect your plans for the guest list? Would you like to require proof of vaccination for guests to attend your wedding? Would your opinion on the matter change depending on mask requirements or lack thereof?
  • Does your venue have enough space and flexibility to accommodate social distancing, if still required at the time of your wedding?
  • If masks are still required, are you willing to proceed? Consider the possibility that masks may be required on the dance floor during your reception.
  • Are you willing to alter your dining plans from a buffet to a plated meal, if necessary? Does your budget allow for the possible price increase as part of that chance? 
  • If you are considering moving your wedding date, can your budget accommodate the associated expenses? Consider elements such as nonrefundable deposits, vendor availability, printing and sending new date cards, etc. 
  • Think about your “non-negotiables” for your wedding. Perhaps you have your heart set on maskless wedding party photos or a family-style meal. How are those elements currently affected by COVID-19 restrictions, and how much are you willing to alter your plans or push your date in order to keep them? 

You may not have all the answers to these questions yet, and that’s okay! The important thing is that you have these conversations with your partner and your wedding planner, if applicable, so that as decision time approaches, you’ll be as prepared as possible. As you develop your plan, remember to stay flexible where you can and to keep your venue and vendors in the loop as needed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, either: We are all working through this strange, difficult time together, and most venues and vendors will be happy to provide you with whatever answers they have! 

Finally, we recommend doing your best to stay informed about the status of vaccinations in your state and/or the state in which your wedding will take place, as well as the current restrictions, mandates and guidelines for those states. The website for your state’s Department of Health is a great place to start when seeking out reliable, up-to-date information on coronavirus-related restrictions and best practices. 

The world of weddings—and the world at large—has changed so much over the past year, but one thing has stayed the same: Our promise to you. The Earle Brown team is committed to providing you with a safe celebration environment for your wedding, and to leading your event planning process with compassion, transparency and flexibility. We’re available to you whenever you need us, ready to answer your questions and guide you toward an extraordinary wedding day, no matter the circumstances. 

Thank you for honoring us with your continued support and trust during these difficult times.

We are hopeful that 2021 will give us many reasons to celebrate, and we look forward to welcoming you with open arms and open doors.