COVID 19 has impacted so many aspects of our lives and weddings are no exception. Chances are you know someone who is or was planning a wedding for 2020. Maybe your friend had to postpone their date to 2021, maybe they are keeping their plans hoping that things get better by the end of the year, or maybe they can’t make any decision until closer to their wedding date so they’re in a holding pattern so to speak. None of those options are ideal but it’s the unfortunate reality for couples. There’s no doubt that whoever is planning a wedding right now is feeling sad, bummed, and anxious that everything they had planned and hoped for won’t come into fruition.
During this time, having support from friends and family is even more needed and appreciated but our usual feel-better-hugs or take-them-out-for-a-distracting-dinner-and-drinks isn’t an option. This summer I was not only going to photograph many amazing weddings, but I was also supposed to be a maid-of-honour in one and a guest in others. Seeing how my clients, friends and best friend have handled everything has given me some perspective on how to be the best support system for those who are planning weddings right now. These are just a few small gestures you could do to show your support and help make a difference in your friend’s life:
Take Something off Their Plate
If you’re able to help in any way then offer to. Ask your friend what you can help with and if they seem super stressed by the question you can be more specific. Sometimes asking vaguely can add to the stress of planning and they’re more likely to thank you for offering but not take you up on it cause it’s even more work to delegate. So if you’re really good at design, maybe you can offer to help with some signage or the seating chart design. If you’re great with Excel, maybe offer to create a spreadsheet for them to track different date options with vendor availability. Or if you have no idea where to help you could even offer to help research the steps the couple needs to take when postponing their wedding.
Check in on Them
This one will probably come pretty naturally since we’re all taking more time to message friends and try to virtually catch up. But being very specific when you reach out can be super supportive. Specifically asking “how are you feeling with wedding planning?” or “what new wedding updates do you have?” can go a long way when your friend most likely feels very alone with their thoughts and feelings.
Let Them Vent
Yes, there is incredibly sad news pouring in daily. Yes, there are people in situations far worse than yours might be. And yes, when keeping some perspective, venting about a wedding can seem insensitive right now. Your friend knows all this too. They’re probably so torn and feel guilty for even stressing about their wedding that they’re cautious about even bringing it up. Let them know it’s ok to be sad about their wedding. That their feelings are valid in this moment, and everyone’s stresses are relative to their situation. Don’t tell them things could be worse. Don’t shun off their feelings like they don’t matter. Just listen and let them vent it out in a safe space so they can move through their feelings instead of suppressing them.
Give Them Advice if They Ask
It can be tempting to chime in with your opinion on certain topics but in this case, try to refrain from sharing yours unless your friend has asked you specifically. You might feel passionate about travelling or postponing weddings but try not to bring it up unless it’s asked. No one knows what they right thing to do is other than the couple planning their wedding so also remember that they might ask for you advice and not take it and that’s ok. It’s their decision and it was probably a difficult one to begin with.
Be a Distraction
Planning a wedding can take up a lot of time in a usual circumstance and this is heightened even more now. Chances are your friend is thinking about their wedding and the ‘what if’s’ constantly so being a happy distraction for them in a sea of uncertainty would be greatly appreciated. Set up a virtual games night with House Party. Organize a virtual wine tasting with your friends. Binge-watch your favourite show together through Netflix Party. Or just set up a zoom chat and catch up – just the act of organizing something that is different and that can take them out of their own head can be helpful.
If your friend has had to move their wedding date it’d be nice to recognize the original date and celebrate it in some way. You can offer to set up a zoom chat with a bunch of friends, put on your formalwear, pop some champagne together, and share some laughs. Or you could drop off something for them to celebrate with whether that’s some champagne, a nice treat, or even some flowers. Or you can take a video of yourself showing off your best dance moves and send it to your friend saying how you’re ready to light up their dance floor when it happens.
In the end, if you’ve taken the time to read these ideas then you’re already being a great friend with the right intentions. Just being there (virtually) and showing understanding and compassion is the best you can do. My heart goes out to everyone who is in going through this right now – to plan a wedding under normal circumstances is extremely stressful and difficult so to add in the uncertainty of the situation right now is extreme to put it lightly.