How to Work on Your Wedding To-Do List During COVID-19

Whether you recently postponed your wedding due to COVID-19, or your wedding is several months away, social distancing orders shouldn’t derail your to-do-list. While we’re at home without the daily interruptions of commuting, shopping, or hanging out with family and friends, we have plenty of found time to get our to-do list done! Today, we’ll discuss some creative ways to complete those normally in-person tasks and some benefits to doing them now.

Video Conference Calls: Any in-person meetings you had scheduled with your venue, wedding planner, or other vendors can be changed to video conference calls. This will allow you to continue with the meeting as scheduled, discuss time-sensitive items, and not worry about social distancing orders. Your venue can do a virtual walkthrough of the site, your florist can show you flower options and bouquets, your baker can show you mock-up cake designs. You name it, and it can be achieved through video.

E-sign Contracts: You may have not signed a contract yet, or your wedding professionals may be sending you amended contracts with date changes due to your COVID-19 wedding postponement. Either way, to get those contracts confirmed ASAP, request that your vendor email you the contract. You can either print, sign, and scan to email it back to them, or you can e-sign by pasting in your digital signature and then email it back to them. Likewise, your vendor can do the same and then send you back the final countersigned contract. Presto, you’re confirmed! It’ll take five minutes from your day and one big item will be checked off of your to-do list.

Credit Card Payments: Often, vendors prefer if you can pay for services in cash or check. However, you would probably have to be in-person to pay with these methods, or you would have to mail it to them, which may require a trip to the post office. In order to stay socially distant, ask if you can pay by credit card. Vendors may like this option, because they could receive payment faster. Note that your vendor may have you pay a minimal credit card transaction fee. If paying by credit card, ensure your card has a points system so you can benefit from every transaction. For example, we paid for most of our wedding on our credit card that gave us points to spend on travel. We charged every high-ticket item (venue, DJ, photographer, etc.), and with three points per dollar on hotels, the points added up fast! We ended up using those points towards our incredible six-week honeymoon to five countries around the world (my Amarvelous Honeymoon blog posts can be found here). Pro tip: I highly suggest you pay off your card each month so you never pay interest rates. If you are paying interest, then you aren’t traveling for free.

Plan your Bachelorette and Bachelor Parties: With travel bans still in place, the travel industry is hurting. Hotels, airlines, and cruises are all offering incentives to purchase travel for future dates. If you were originally planning a local hometown day/weekend bachelor celebration, then this is an affordable time to switch things up and book a travel weekend instead. If you were always planning a travel bach-bash, then lucky you, because your rates may now be cheaper! Companies are offering additional incentives upon purchase. For example, some cruise lines will offer free drink packages with your booking, or if you book a group rate with enough people, they may give you a big discount off the top of everyone’s fees, or the bride (or groom) can cruise for free. Side benefit, literally nothing makes me happier than planning vacations. If you are in a slump with these stay-at-home orders, could you think of anything happier than planning a vacation with all your favorite people?

Plan your Honeymoon: Similar to the ideas above with accruing credit card points and leveraging discounted travel rates, this is a fantastic time to begin the honeymoon planning. You may get more bang for your buck booking during COVID-19 if your one-week vacation could potentially be stretched to two weeks for the same price. Take advantage of this. For those who postponed their wedding, already had their honeymoon booked, and now it’s cancelled, you should be reaching out to all hotels, airlines, cruise companies, and excursion companies requesting either a date change, credit, or refund. If you already booked, and the trip is not affected by COVID-19 cancellations, then you can just honeymoon before the wedding! Hubby and I actually had a trip planned for early May that was cancelled. Our airline provided us a full refund, and our cruise line provided us a credit towards a future cruise. Tours and excursions that we booked are also issuing refunds. We are already dreaming of our next vacation. And like I said above, that brings us joy. Don’t let a cancelled honeymoon bum you out—plan the next one bigger and better (or the same but cheaper)!

Online Shopping: Sitting at home, socially distancing, is the perfect time to get in some online shopping! The fantastic news is that since stores don’t have anyone shopping in person, they are offering amazing online deals. You may still need items for your bridal party gifts, parent gifts, fiancé gift, décor, honeymoon… the list could go on forever. If you postponed your wedding, you have the luxury of time. Don’t jump online and purchase everything full-price. Spend some time, peruse the offerings of several stores, and save your money by buying it when it’s on sale. Hubby and I had a long engagement, so when planning my own wedding I was able to use this discount purchasing method. We found incredible discounts on bridal party day-of gifts, hotel welcome bags full of goodies, and all the items for our candy buffet. Without the discounts, we definitely wouldn’t have been able to do these extra items. Finding the sales not only allowed us to do them, but to do them all-out.

Online Shop Bridesmaid Outfits: Many dress companies offer online shopping for bridesmaid dresses. Kleinfeld Bridal Party is a favorite of mine, because the brand is trusted and the quality is hands-down the highest. They offer bridesmaid dresses in solids and prints. They also have mother-of-the-bride/groom and flower-girl dresses. Most of their dresses are under $200, plus if you use my discount code: TBSAME you’ll receive 10% off plus free shipping!! For a small fee, they also offer try-on-at-home options. I don’t think you can beat that during COVID-19 social distancing. The video below will explain how to measure at home so you purchase the best sizing needing the fewest alterations.

Online Shop Groom and Groomsmen Outfits: The online shopping doesn’t end with the ladies. For the men, we have Generation Tux as an excellent option for online shopping. I’ve actually written a full blog post on why Generation Tux is so great, which you can find here. For $139, you can have a handsome suit rental that fits like a glove. Plus, if you use my discount code: BSAMARVELOUS you’ll receive free color swatches, 25% off rentals, and free delivery 14 days prior to the event. As an added bonus, if the party has five or more renting, then the groom qualifies for a free rental! At-home-try-ons are also available, and the groom’s is always free.

At-Home Cake Tasting: The first time I saw a COVID-19 pick-up and DIY box was from a pizzeria. Each box contained a ball of dough and containers of sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. Everything is perfectly portioned and allows the buyer to make a single pizza at home. It was such a creative way for the pizzeria to make business, and it becomes a fun cooking project for adults and children. After that, I saw some bakeries join in and create DIY cupcake and donut decorating boxes. Using the same idea, bakeries include plain cupcakes or donuts, and containers of different frostings and sprinkles. If you have an upcoming cake tasting that is now cancelled due to COVID-19 social distance orders, ask your baker if they would do a similar concept with a pick-up cake tasting box. They would include a slice of each flavor cake, then a small container of each filling and frosting flavor option. Be sure to ask them to label each one so you aren’t guessing what the flavors are. Now that’s a tasty date night in!

Photo Credit: Sprinkles.com

Decide the Seating Chart: The seating chart can be one of the most challenging tasks. There may be a family grudge that prevents you from sitting some folks together, or you could not want to alienate a friend on a table of people they don’t know. Whatever the case may be, this is not an easy job. Your venue will tell you how many people fit on each table (usually around 10), and then it’s your job to split up the party into those groups. Once all RSVPs come in, I highly recommend you begin this daunting task. Table shape and size will dictate how many people can sit comfortably around the table, and the shape and size will be needed to decide on the floor plan. You can’t wait until the last second to do seating arrangements, otherwise your whole floor plan will be decided last minute as well.

Photo Credit: somethingturquoise.com

DJ Song Selections: Something most couples don’t realize is that there is more to do once you have selected your DJ, and your pre-wedding decisions aren’t done once the contract is signed. Your DJ will need a list of music selections. I am not referring to the six-hour playlist for the reception. I am referring to all the sound clips that will play throughout the day. For example, walking down the aisle for parents, bridal party and bride, cocktail hour music, walking into the reception for parents, bridal party, and couple, first dance, parent dance, cutting cake, speeches, final song of the night, etc. There are a bunch of songs you need to hand-select. Create a date night at home with your fiancé where you jam out to your favorite tunes and decide these final music details.

Photographer Picture Selections: Similar to a DJ, your job continues once you sign that photographer contract. You will need to supply your photographer a list of all mandatory photos you want captured throughout the day. Your photographer will use it as a checklist to ensure they are taking all of the photos you envisioned. They still have creative freedom to take the rest of the photos as they want, but ensuring the couple gets their expected photos makes for a happy couple! Don’t just think about getting ready photos with the bridal parties, immediate family portraits, full family portraits, full reception party photo to end the night, etc. Those are important to note, but it’s also important to get super detailed and request photos like “all girls sitting on the bed in hair and makeup prior to getting dressed”, “bride putting on lipstick”, “lay flat detail photos of flowers, invite, and jewelry”, “men showing off their matching socks and cufflinks”, etc. These are the kinds of special detail photos often forgotten about. In order to decide your top list of photos, I suggest perusing Pinterest. There is a lot of wedding photography inspiration to be found on this platform.

Photo Credit: Rebeccayalephotography.com

Break In Your Wedding Shoes: This is a simple one, but if you plan to dance at your wedding and not take off your shoes halfway through the night, then don’t forget to break in your shoes first. Only you and your spouse will know you were walking around your house rocking PJs and gorgeous bedazzled shoes, and your feet will thank you for it!

Finish Up All DIY Projects: It’s important to finish DIY projects early. The weeks leading into the wedding are so stressful. A million little things pop up. The last thing you need on your plate is random DIY projects that you left to the last minute. Often these projects will get dropped because you simply ran out of time, or other things that popped up took priority. If it’s a DIY you really want, complete it early.


As you can see, there are many ways you can keep your to-do-list going during COVID-19 social distance and stay-at-home orders. I hope this has inspired you to get to work and continue planning! Just because your wedding was put on hold, doesn’t mean the planning has to be delayed.

DISCLAIMER: Amarvelous Event is a member of the Kleinfeld Bridal Party Representative Program and Generation Tux Partner Program. By clicking on affiliate links above or utilizing our discount codes, Amarvelous Event may receive compensation at no additional cost to you.

How to Postpone Your Wedding or Elope Amid Coronavirus

On Sunday, March 29th, 2020, President Trump announced that the U.S. would be “extending our [social distancing] guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread” of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Two weeks ago, Amarvelous Event published a post on How to Livestream Your Wedding Amid Coronavirus Social Distancing. That article highlighted many different platforms to livestream from, as well as some tips and tricks for how to safely go ahead with a marriage during a social distancing order.

However, perhaps livestreaming your nuptials isn’t for you. In today’s post, we’ll be discussing how to postpone your wedding or change to an elopement due to a pandemic.

Full Postponement

Photo Credit: wjtv.com

Coverage and Flexibility: If you’ve been planning your special day and just can’t envision it any other way, then don’t be afraid to pull the plug and go for a full postponement! First, consult with a professional. Call your wedding planner to see if your contracts or wedding insurance cover a scenario such as a pandemic or government-issued executive order. If your venue or vendor contracts have a clause that covers you, then they will likely assist you in finding a new date, and sometimes at no additional cost to you. If your insurance has a clause that covered you, then perhaps a portion of your monies lost can be reimbursed through the insurance company. However, be understanding if the contracts don’t cover you, and be prepared to pay additional fees for any changes made.

Speak With Your Venue: If they are closed for business, then they are most likely allowing all affected couples to select a new postponement wedding date. If this is the case, then have these conversations as soon as possible. Their schedule for 2021 may already have many dates selected, and if you are just one of their many 2020 couples affected by this pandemic, then you are all competing for the few dates available. To put this into perspective, there are only 53 Saturdays available a year, so if the venue already confirmed many 2021 weddings, then you may be limited, and you may not be able to have a Saturday wedding after all. You may need to be flexible and switch to a weekday or Sunday. And if you were interested in a particular date because of the number (such as Sunday 02/21/2021), then those unique dates may also be filling up quickly.

Announcing to Guests: Being that this is a huge change from original plans, you’ll want to give notice of the change as soon as possible. Announce the change to immediate family and bridal party members. It would probably be best to do these over video or voice phone calls to be more personal. Then move on to informing the rest of your wedding guests. You can do this via call, text, email, your wedding website, or social media. Tip: If you make personal phone calls to everyone, it will give you the opportunity to check in on folks and see how they are doing during the virus and social distancing.

Digital Announcements: I know a bride that made a really funny postponement music video with her fiancé that explained the world we live in today, all the stress they are going through, and why they decided to postpone. When they posted it to social media, it nearly went viral. It’s pure gold. So if you or your fiancé have a passion for film, editing, or photography, then you can create a video notice instead of paper. It’ll take some time to conceptualize the film, actually film the clips, and edit, but we have plenty of time on our hands these days. Added bonus is that guests will love it, and it’ll be free versus buying additional paper options.

Paper Invites: You can follow those communications with a formal mailed postponement notice, or just move ahead with sending invites for the newly selected date. Minted has added a brand-new offering on their site specifically for save-the-dates for postponements. They have a full page of nice postponement invite options to choose from that will match the original invites you selected or perhaps already sent out. I have also seen couples send out kitschy COVID-19 postponement cards (followed by a formal second invite). These can be super fun with photos of the couple with masks, Corona beer bottles, or even toilet paper. I am sure you can think of a dozen images that would make your guests giggle upon opening the card. Hey, we’re making lemonade out of lemons over here. Might as well be cute while we do it. Minted and other paper invite companies have had sales to help out couples who are going this route.

Photo Credit: Minted.com

Date Stamped Décor: All is not lost when it comes to pre-designed décor items you have already purchased with your initial wedding date on them. Utilize these printed materials (welcome signs, programs, menus, etc.) by hiding the old date. You could put a new date sticker over the old date, cover it with a different sticker (custom logo, flowers, geometric shapes), cut off the date, hide the date with a frame or matting, or even hide it with foliage. Or, leave the old date and make it something that you can laugh about with guests. Everyone knows that you postponed, so no secret there. Maybe you and your fiancé get a photo pointing at the old date on a welcome sign. That could actually be really cute. Point is, don’t waste money on reprinting. There are so many workarounds, and reprinting or redesigning can be very costly. Work with what you have.

Colors: Don’t worry about colors not fitting in with the newly selected season. Perhaps you were planning a summer wedding and are now postponing to winter or spring. If you selected a very summery color, think of ways to make it work. It’s more work and expense to change all the bridesmaids and groomsmen outfits than it is to add in another color to your color board that will help everything look the season. Say coral was your initial summer bridesmaid dress color, and you planned to have dried citrus mixed into your florals. You could easily have the same coral dresses and infuse either a burnt orange or cranberry shade into other aspects of the day and it will give the coral a warmer feel. Think of changing rentals that may not have been locked in place yet such as linen selection, ties for the groomsmen, and florals. Maybe in that scenario you cut the dried citrus fruits and instead have cranberries mixed in with the flowers. Just think of your original color, pick a hue in the same color family that is a little darker (for winter) or lighter for spring/summer, and add that to your color palette.

Accessories: Don’t worry if originally purchased dresses were cut for summer with sleeveless or strappy. Add a scarf or shawl on top, and it will warm up the ladies. Going with the tip above, you could have the scarf be in the darker shade to join the dress and scarf with the new floral selection. Or go with a faux fur shawl to practically warm up the dresses.

Photo Credit: Shelterinteriordesign.com

Celebrate Your Day Regardless: Just because you changed your date doesn’t mean that you can’t still do something just for you and your fiancé on the day that your wedding would have been. You could order cupcakes from your baker in your wedding cake flavors, buy some nice flowers for the house, relax together and play board games or watch your favorite movie, or if possible visit the spot you got engaged or had your first date.

Elopement

Photo Credit: Jessicaschillingphotography.com

There could be a whole slew of reasons why you no longer want to have the big day and decide an elopement is right for you. A few that I have thought of are as follows:

  • Considering these never-before-seen circumstances, maybe all of your vendors are providing refunds. This would be dependent on the contract language as well as the kindness in their hearts. But if you are lucky enough to have this as an option, then this is the easiest out because it is at no loss to you.
  • Maybe most of your vendors are giving you refunds, and the minor sunk costs are still a better pill to swallow than the cost of the whole wedding.
  • Maybe sometime during the planning process, you and your fiancé looked at each other and agreed that this was no longer the day you wanted. It somewhere along the way spun out of control into this vision that was other people’s, not yours.
  • Maybe the stress is eating you alive and you just can’t handle it anymore. You are beginning to think your mental health is more important than this single day.
  • Maybe COVID-19, or the loss of a significant family member or friend, or another big life event has caused you to feel differently about the big public wedding.
  • Maybe by the time this quarantine is over, you are going to be craving a vacation so badly that you want to bump all wedding funds to the most epic elopement and honeymoon vacation of your dreams.

Whatever the reason may be, don’t forget that this is YOUR DAY. You will never make everyone happy, and sometimes you just gotta do you. The goal of the day is first and foremost to marry your soulmate, and all you need to accomplish that is you, an officiant, and one witness. Follow your hearts with this one.

Contracts: You’ll definitely want to verify those contracts and speak to your vendors. Cancelling may be more challenging to do than a postponement. Think of how some of these vendors may have already put hours into planning for your wedding. If you cancel on them, then that doesn’t change the fact that they have already worked those hours and should be paid for it. So you wouldn’t get a full refund of the fees paid.

Photo Credit: Rencenter.org

Announcing to Guests: You’ll want to again personally inform immediate family and your bridal party, then follow with a notice to all remaining guests. You can do this in any of the ways listed above: video or voice call, paper invites, digital videos, etc.

Photo Credit: Minted.com

Future Plans: You could go ahead and do your intimate elopement ceremony and then later down the road host a full-on party. Really, that call is yours. Maybe you go low-key with a backyard BBQ, or maybe you do a full-on hall rental. But you can elope now and worry about all the rest later after COVID-19. No need to send out immediate invites with new dates. Just don’t worry about it for now. Enjoy the excitement of eloping and going against the grain!


Ultimately, this day is supposed to be about you and your fiancé. Remember that whenever or wherever your wedding ultimately takes place, it will be perfect for the two of you. Until then, try to soak up being engaged to the love of your life for just a little longer.

Disclaimer: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.

How to Livestream Your Wedding Amid Coronavirus Social Distancing

On Sunday, March 29th, 2020, President Trump announced that the U.S. would be “extending our [social distancing] guidelines to April 30 to slow the spread” of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

With this pandemic still spreading, cities going on lockdown, mandatory quarantines, and family losses, this surely is a troubling time to be engaged. Couples are facing harsh realities and having to make some difficult decisions. Hopefully, this week’s Amarvelous Wedding blog post can help: We’ll be discussing some creative options for you to move forward with your special day virtually.

Throughout this pandemic, I am seeing couples stress over the prospect of cancelling or postponing their weddings. I am here today to tell you that YOU DO NOT NEED TO CANCEL. This post is primarily for those that want to continue with their ceremony on the original wedding date and later [post COVID-19] have a party with friends and family.

Photo Credit: Insider

Yes, you read that correctly. If your wedding is in the coming weeks, then you may be surprised to learn that you can still share your special moment with friends and family on the originally-planned date while also practicing the mandated social distancing. You probably cannot utilize your originally-planned ceremony venue or place of worship, because many venues have been closed by local government. However, if your officiant/priest is willing to do a tiny pop-up ceremony outdoors (at the mandatory 6-foot distance), then you are golden to still maintain your original wedding date!

The Virtual Wedding

Below are some questions to ask yourself before you livestream your wedding online:

Who would you like to invite to your live ceremony?

Are you interested in keeping your original guestlist or changing it? Now that you’ll have a virtual wedding, do you want to invite only immediate family and the bridal party? Or do you want to open up the happiness to a larger audience, say your social media followers or the whole world-wide-web?

Depending on what livestreaming platform you select (we cover them below!), there are different ways to invite different groups of people.

The number of viewers (or households, if they all watch together) that you would like to invite determines whether or not some of the options below are ruled out. For example, an app like Google Duo only accommodates 12 video users on a single call, whereas Youtube Live allows for unlimited users.

Photo Credit: Apple

Is privacy important to you?

Some platforms allow you to send directed email links, so only people with that link can log in to watch your livestream. Other platforms allow you to be public, and anyone on the internet can stumble upon your live video. Privacy options are a good reason to choose one platform over another.

Do you want viewers to see you in a livestream manner, or would you prefer for everyone to see each other in a video chat manner?

Some platforms only allow your viewers to see you, and you cannot see them. This is great if you are on a more public platform like Facebook Live or Youtube Live, where the whole world could be watching. No need for you to see someone that you don’t know, after all. You may wonder why you would want that though. The answer is simple: The huge benefit to choosing a mega-livestreaming option (think dozens or hundreds of wedding guests) is that there is usually no limit to the number of people who can watch. If you have a huge family, then they can all log in to watch.

If you want to be able to see each other, then your options are a little more limited. Send out an invite to family and friends with the call-in details from a program like a Zoom, Skype, WebEx call. This could be really fun, because people are getting absolutely stir-crazy due to shelter-in-place at home with nothing to do. Invite guests to wear their originally-planned wedding attire and get dressed to the nines. Any reason to shower, do your hair, and get dressed these days is welcome! Let them know your plan to take a family photo (screenshot).

Does your family have the program needed to livestream?

Facebook Livestream is a great option because many people in your family may already have a Facebook account, but for other options, then just consider that if the app needs to be downloaded to their computers, tablets, and phones, then that that may create a challenge. Other options are platforms that let you send a link for the video. In that case, usually no app download or account is needed—they just need to go to the link and start watching, after typing in their name and email address.

Photo Credit: Chicago Suntimes

Do you want the video saved after the livestream?

Not every platform saves your video and comments after the livestream is complete. Some platforms don’t save at all, and others delete after a certain number of hours or days, while others like Facebook will always have the video for you to re-watch. A bonus to Facebook is the “On-This-Day” feature where you will be reminded annually of that memory. Family and friends can send thumbs up, hearts, and comments of well wishes that you’ll be able to look back on later.

What technology do you have available?

Are you planning to video from a phone or tablet? This may be important, because certain platforms are only available via mobile device. For example, Instagram is not an app that is friendly for tablets or computers. Also, consider the technology that your guests have. Some guests may prefer a computer or tablet over a phone, and this may dictate which program you select to use.

Who is going to film: Is DIY or a specialized social media livestreaming vendor?

You can absolutely do this on your own without hiring someone, but there are a couple things to consider here. When I say DIY, I literally mean you need a third person to be the photographer. You and your fiancé are getting married and cannot be the cameraman. Do you have a person to do it? If not, then especially during a quarantine, a tripod for your cell phone is great to have.

There are also companies that specialize in wedding livestreaming. They too have options to DIY where they send you all the tech to use. Or you can hire them to come and film the event for you. You can also consider your already-planned photographer and/or videographer. Perhaps they have experience with livestreaming?

How much are you willing to pay for a livestream?

There are many platforms that are totally free of charge. But if you’re willing to pay for the service, then you may get more benefits like additional viewers, or the video gets saved. For example, if Zoom seems like the best option for you, just note that the free option only allows maximum 100 people for a 40 minute call. But what if your ceremony is running longer than 40 minutes? Does the call drop? Talk about unneeded stress! Probably worth it to spend the extra $14.99 for the month subscription to have unlimited call timing.

Photo Credit: The Day

Is it important to you to have multiple camera angles in your live video?

You may be familiar with livestreaming as being from only one camera angle, and that truly is the most common type, but you can actually stream multiple camera angles. There are vendors that have the software and the expertise to help you broadcast a multi-angle live stream on Facebook Live or YouTube Live. These vendors set up multiple cameras, and during the live video they use the software to control which camera (usually a cell phone) is showing live. An example of this software is Switcher Studio.

The Comparison

Below is a chart of websites, apps, and companies that offer livestreaming options. I have listed my favorite options closer to the top and my least favorite on the bottom. You’ll notice some are only designed for a few people to call in at a time. While I don’t find those suitable for a wedding scenario, I wanted to still include them, in case you are familiar with that particular live video company and you were wondering the max number of people allowed.

PlatformMax Number of ViewersAbility to Save VideoSpecial Notes
Facebook LiveUnlimitedYesViewers don’t need a Facebook account to watch
YouTube LiveUnlimitedYesViewers don’t need a YouTube account to watch
WebEx100 (free)YesViewers don’t need a WebEx account but may need to install a plugin or app
Zoom100 people for 40 minutes (free)No$14.99 monthly subscription for 100 people and unlimited time, URL link email invite
TwitchUnlimitedNoVideo is deleted after 2 weeks
Instagram LiveUnlimitedNoDeleted after 24 hours unless you add as a highlight, broadcast up to 1 hour
Skype50YesRecording available for 30 days and can be downloaded
WhatsApp16YesMust click record button to activate feature
EventLive.Pro5 people for 40 minutes (free)Yes$50 one-time fee for unlimited people and time, private invite to guests
Facebook Messenger50NoAll users will need to download the additional Messenger app
Discord50NoIncreased to 50 people during COVID-19
DacastUnlimitedNoFree 30 day trial available, event pricing based on data needed for call
FaceTime32NoMust have Apple products
Snapchat16NoFun filters on top of photos
Google Duo12NoNo text chat during video call, need to have a Google account to use
Google Hangouts10NoSometimes video is not synced between users
Bunch8NoMobile only, more suitable as a platform for shared gaming
Houseparty8NoMore suitable for party games with shared screen and video
Instagram Co-Watching6NoMobile only, serves as a screen sharing video call
Squad6NoMore of a screen share all
Line4NoMore suitable for one on one video 
Twitter Periscope3NoDeleted after 24 hours
Marco Polo2NoMore suited as a back and forth video like a radio
Signal2NoMust be a Signal user to video chat
Viber2NoMinimum data speed needed for app to even load
I Do Stream50YesStarting at $199, email a link to viewers
Gotowebinar25YesNeed to select recording option prior to call, $109 annually
Livestream.com5Yes$75 per month
mystreamingwedding.comUnlimitedYesNo viewing limits, starting at $2,500 for 2 hours, professional videographer

Steps to plan your virtual ceremony:

  1. As a couple, weigh out the pros and cons of changing to a virtual wedding. Once you are sure that you want to continue with your initially-planned wedding date (and save the party for later) then continue on.
  1. Contact your officiant and ensure they are still available, able to accommodate a change of venue, and are not sick themselves. If they are, then perhaps they can recommend an alternate officiant?
  1. Organize your technology, and ensure that you have selected the right livestream platform for you. You’ll need to decide this prior to informing guests of the change—that way you can have answers to their questions. You’ll be ready for the who, what, when, and where (I’m sure everyone will understand the “why” though).
  1. For immediate family and bridal party, a phone call or video call is best to inform them of your change in nuptials.
  1. Follow that with a notice to all other wedding guests. You could do this through a call, text, email, update to the wedding website, or formal card in the mail. Keep in mind that if it’s short notice, mail service has been a bit slower during COVID-19. You may not have the time for mail.
  1. If you are choosing a platform that is live for the world to see, then consider inviting your online social media network who may have not originally been invited to the wedding and would otherwise not have been able to share in your special day. Give them the day and time to log in and catch a livestreamed feed of your nuptials.
  1. Send out a reminder email or social media post the day before and the day of your ceremony. We don’t want there to be any reason why someone forgot. Most of us are quarantined at home and looking for something to occupy our time. But it’s so easy to get sucked into HGTV rerun after rerun and lose track of time.
  1. Prepare. It’s still your wedding day! You’ll want to look and feel the part. Pamper yourself at home and get all dolled up for the occasion. If you want to save your initially-planned super formal wedding attire for the big party post COVID-19, then find something else in your closet that is suitable. Probably by now you had a bridal shower or other bridal event and have another white outfit, or you could go colorful and just wear something you love.
  1. Have so much fun, because it’s your day! And every year on this anniversary, you will remember the unconventional wedding that all your loved ones were still a part of. It’ll be the most memorable wedding anyone has ever seen (in part because it was memorialized and recorded on the internet).

Some challenges with live video nuptials:

  • Some of the video options above require you to download a program prior to use (some examples are Zoom and Skype). If you select one of these programs, then advise your guests to download the app a day before your call, so they can ensure they know how to use the technology and don’t miss the ceremony.
  • Sorry, Android users, but you won’t be able to use Apple’s FaceTime app, and unfortunately there isn’t a native FaceTime-like app for Android devices. You will have to download a third-party app in order to livestream or video chat.
  • Sorry, Apple users, but sometimes if you don’t have the newest and most updated phone, tablet, and version of iOS, then you won’t be able to access the larger Group-FaceTime calls.
  • For those readers that are all about Instagram, it would be possible to do your video as an Instagram Story, but it will break up your main video into a bunch of smaller clips and then delete the videos after a short period of time, so this may not be the best idea if you want to look back on the video down the road.
  • For couples with elderly members of their family that may not be tech-savvy, being that we are in quarantine and can’t help them set up these programs, they may miss the video. However, if you pick a platform that saves the video after, you can always play it for them once life goes back to normal. And, as mentioned above, there are options where all they have to do is click a link, and it will open your livestream wedding on their browser.
  • Ensure that your WiFi strength and speed, or your 5G/LTE cell reception, is good in the ceremony area. Test the live video before the event to ensure that your camera can withstand the bandwidth demand. Keep this factor in mind for some of the options below too. The larger companies (Facebook, Microsoft, etc.) will usually have more than enough server capacity to host your wedding online, if you plan on a few dozen people joining by video.
  • In order to make your video accessible to as many friends and family as possible, you may decide to open it to the public. Bear in mind that that also opens it up to exes, co-workers, and even media/news outlets. Being public, there is a chance that your nuptials go viral.

These other tips can compliment your live video nuptials:

  • Drive-By Wedding Receiving Line: You can combine a virtual wedding with the in person component of a drive-by receiving line. This one is for families that live in the same area. Announce the exact location of your outdoor nuptials and then state the time of the drive-by wedding receiving line. Post ceremony, you and your partner will stand on the sidewalk and get live in-person well wishes from each family that drives by in their vehicles (maintaining safe social distancing). I recommend you keep your live video going, as the entire receiving line is super personal and a great memory to have.
Photo Credit: Daily Record
  • Hire a Photographer and Videographer: Don’t forget that photographers and videographers can social distance too. You already had them booked for your original wedding date, so you know they are available. Due to these crazy pandemic circumstances, they will most likely allow you to forward your full payment to a new date and then give you your package at the future selected dates. However, it doesn’t hurt to give them a call and see if you can hire them for an hour or two while you do a brief ceremony and photo shoot with your new spouse. You deserve this moment to be something you can look back on later. It will pay to have your day memorialized professionally.
  • Postponement Invites: Discuss options with your wedding planner, venue, and vendors. You’ll need to pick a new date (far enough from COVID-19) that works for all parties. After the date is selected, be sure to send out a postponement invite with the new date. Minted has curated a full section of their invites specifically for wedding postponement notifications. You can access that page here.
  • Refresh Vows: When it comes to the actual day of the party, you have the option to do a dinner followed by a party, or you can also opt to repeat vows in front of everyone before you get down to dinner and party. You are technically already married, but that’s a fast and sweet way to give your guests a reminder of the best part of your wedding ceremony.

I hope you found these tips on how to have your virtual ceremony now and party later by utilizing a livestream service. There are so many digital platforms available to allow you to continue on with your wedding ceremony amid mandatory social distancing. If you are engaged and weighing out all your options, just remember it’s about you and your fiancé getting married, having fun, and being at peace with the decision you ultimately decide to go with. Happy planning!

Disclaimer: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.

Planning an Event During an Epidemic

Over the past week, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has rocked the U.S. and the globe, and regrettably many lives have been taken. It has shaken communities, the healthcare industry, and even the events industry. Everyday, it seems like the restrictions on events become more stringent with continued reductions of attendees, recommended postponements, and even cancellations. At a sobering time like this, it’s important to follow the advice provided by experts and elected officials, try to stay calm, and practice preventative actions.

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First and foremost, from our family to yours, we hope that everyone is staying healthy both physically and mentally during these challenging times. I truly never thought Amarvelous Event would be writing a post about planning an event during an epidemic, but this is where we are in the world. Of course, couples plan for what they think is a worst-case scenario, such as rain, but literally no one plans their wedding with an epidemic contingency plan in mind.

Let’s first appreciate a few things… No one could have planned for this. You are not alone. It’s no one’s fault. It’s just unfortunate. The main goal of the day is for you and your significant other to get married, and you can still do that.

Disclaimer: Some content below is courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

On March 15th, 2020, the CDC provided the below information for getting your mass gathering or large community events ready during the coronavirus disease.

Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include weddings, conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.

Therefore, the CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks beginning 3/15/2020, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.

Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.

On March 16th, 2020, the U.S. President mentioned during a press conference that events should be kept to under 10 people.

Clearly, there can be discrepancies in attendance recommendations between federal, state, and city officials. Definitely keep an eye on your local municipality as well as the CDC’s website for up-to-date information in regards to mass gathering guidelines.

As painful as it is to discuss, there are times when considerations for postponement or cancellation may be the best choice:

  • The overall number of attendees: Larger gatherings (for example, more than 250 people) offer more opportunities for person-to-person contact and therefore pose greater risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • The number of people attending who are at greater risk of more serious illness after contracting COVID-19: Older adults and persons with severe pre-existing health conditions are at increased risk.
  • The density of attendees within a confined area: Based on what is currently known about the virus, spread from person-to-person happens most frequently among close contact within 6 feet.
  • The potential economic impact: Consider impact to participants, attendees, staff, and the larger community.
  • The level of transmission in your local community and the level of transmission in the areas from which your attendees will travel: To better understand this risk, consult with your local and/or state public health department.

If you are still on the fence on whether you should postpone or cancel, then you could take these actions with your wedding planner to decide:

  • Stay calm, and pay close attention to what official resources are saying.
  • Review the existing emergency operations plans for your venues.
  • Review your wedding insurance to see if it covers a health crisis.
  • Review all vendor contracts.
  • Have venue staff clean frequently-touched surfaces and objects daily.
  • Change food options such as table set appetizers, buffet, or family-style, and switch to butler-passed hors d’oeuvres and plated meals.
  • Display signs (physical and/or electronic) throughout the event to provide frequent reminders to guests to engage in everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Prepare yourself for worst-case and best-case scenarios.

If you feel that you can potentially continue with your event, then below are some everyday preventive actions that you and your guests could take to stay safe.

Prior to event day:

  • Commit to staying home when you are sick, except to get medical care. You could message all guests a brief note, via email or a private facebook wedding group, to thank them for still coming under the circumstances and to verify they are still comfortable with attending. Kindly and respectfully tell folks as much as you want them to be there, and appreciate that they too want to be with you, that if they are sick, they should stay home and you will understand.
  • Acknowledge that older adults and persons with severe underlying health conditions are most susceptible to the virus and may no longer be able to attend your event. Consider offering to post a live feed of the ceremony to social media for guests that cannot attend. This will allow them to feel special and included, and it will allow you to not be so sad they couldn’t make it (while giving you peace of mind that they are less likely to be exposed at your wedding).

On event day, prior to ceremony beginning, you could have the officiant begin their intro noting these best practices to be mindful of that evening:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away. It would be a nice touch if each guest was provided a small personal pack of tissues on their ceremony seat. You could also have a nice tissue box on top of each bar. I am literally envisioning a bedazzled rhinestone tissue box. You guys, that would be beautiful and yet functional.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. It would be nice to offer really lovely scented soap available in each restroom. Consider making several 60%+ alcohol hand sanitizers available at the ceremony, cocktail hour, bar, and tables. Your guests will always appreciate a hand sanitizer station or cute ushers offering hand sanitizer.
  • Utilize social distancing, the elbow bump, or a wave over handshakes, “high-fives”, and kisses, which are often ways that COVID-19 can be transmitted from person to person. Ditch the receiving line and go straight into the party! If there was a way to reduce the number of people per table, to avoid the maximum and literally dining elbow-to-elbow, then that would be great. Have your DJ also make notes throughout the night to leave some breathing room on the dance floor. Maybe have a larger dance floor or a larger room with more space between tables, if available and your venue is flexible.

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I hope that you and your families can find strength in this challenging time to make the most difficult decision on whether you will postpone, cancel, or proceed full steam ahead with your wedding planning process. It is definitely not a choice to make lightly. Remember to lean on your experts. Your wedding planner is there to support you and guide you through the process. You are not alone. If you or someone you know is in this troubling scenario and looking for a planner to guide them through the process, then Amarvelous Event would be happy to provide a free consultation to the couple. Please feel free to contact us at AmarvelousEvent.com/contact.

Disclaimer: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.

15 Reality TV Shows to Watch During Your Engagement

If you’re engaged (or just love weddings and love) and are looking for some stress relief or a dreamy love story to carry you away one night a week, then look no further. The below list contains the top 15 wedding related TV shows that will carry you through your engagement. These shows will take you through dating, proposals, bachelor parties, cake selections, dress selections, weddings, and, most importantly, communication. There are many lessons to be learned, bridal inspirations, and binge-worthy content. So what are you waiting for? Cozy up with your fiancé and a bowl of white cheddar popcorn (a personal favorite), and pick a series to watch.

Disclaimer: Videos beyond this point may have adult language and content.

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90-Day Fiancé

TLC is seven seasons into 90-Day Fiancé, a show that tests if an international long-distance relationship can stand the true test of making it in real life. Utilizing a fiancé visa (K-1), the show brings the overseas participants together for the allowed ninety days to see if they can continue to grow their love in that time. If they decide to not get married before the 90-day visa deadline, then their partner will be repatriated to their home country. This show follows couples as they work through difficult topics of language barriers, cultural barriers, and family drama. There are also spinoff series on TLC that show where the couples are now—so if you were rooting for any favorite couples, then be sure to check in on them now!

Video Credit: TLC

Bachelorette Weekend

Ok, so your wedding planner is taking care of the wedding, but who’s taking care of planning your bachelorette or bachelor party? If you’re headed to Nashville, then Bach Weekend could be. They are a Nashville-based company that creates once-in-a-lifetime bachelor and bachelorette experiences. This show follows the day-by-day behind-the-scenes of this specialized event planning company and what it takes to pull off an unforgettable full weekend affair in Nashville. This show provides great inspiration for couples, best men, and maids of honor. And if you didn’t plan on picking Nashville for your bach bash but would someday like to visit, then a lot of the activities that the show books are totally things you can do when you’re in town. This CMT show had one full season in 2018, and it is unclear if there will be a second season. However, episodes are available online and are really worth a watch.

Video Credit: CMT

The Bachelor/Bachelorette

A favorite reality TV show of mine is the ABC Bachelor and Bachelorette franchise. With the two seasons taking up most of the year, you have plenty of content to keep your Monday nights well occupied. The Bachelor airs from winter to early spring and is just about to complete season 24 (as of this writing). The Bachelorette airs from spring to mid-summer and is going into its 16th season. Although the drama and fighting over the same person can sometimes be a lot to take in, I do love the awesome contestant wardrobes and their incredible world travels. If true love is found, that’s a bonus.

Video Credit: ABC
Video Credit: ABC

Bachelor in Paradise

Bachelor in Paradise (or “BIP” for superfans) is an ABC spinoff of The Bachelor/Bachelorette. For five seasons, ABC has brought together castaways from the main two series to cohabitate in a Mexican mansion on the beach and see who can fall in love. The show tests the relationships each week by introducing new castaways into the mix. Hubby and I actually enjoy this show together, as it is often hilarious and contains an even mix of men and women. BIP surprisingly has a pretty high success rate too, since there are quite a few marriages that came out of Mexico. The show runs from late summer to early fall on Monday nights.

Video Credit: ABC

Bridezilla

Although I despise the word “Bridezilla,” this one made the list for comedic stress relief. WE TV has coined Bridezilla as the name of their popular 12-season (and going!) reality TV series. The show follows real brides through the dramatic and exhausting wedding planning process. The stresses can become a lot, and the brides meltdowns, family feuds, and social media wars will help you see that the stress you are experiencing in your own wedding planning process may not be as bad as you think it is.

Video Credit: WE TV

Cheapest Weddings

I love a deal, but these couples take cheap to the next level. Getting sick of your ever-increasing wedding budget and overly-inflated wedding price tags? Well, these couples have vowed to plan their weddings as cheaply as possible, and it IS possible! Tune in to catch some tips and tricks that could bring your costs down. This show ran for only one season in 2016. It’s actually really wonderful, and I wish that it would be brought back. All episodes are available for watching and download on Netflix.

Video Credit: Australia’s Seven Network

Disney Fairy Tale Weddings

I’m sure every girl has had a Cinderella dream with the ballgown, castle, and prince. Well, in 2017, Disney released two TV wedding specials: Disney Fairy Tale Weddings and a holiday-themed episode called Holiday Magic. It was so well received that in 2018 they released a six-part TV series with a new couple per episode either having a vow renewal or getting married at one of the Disney properties. In February 2020, season two began airing! There are many venues available on the Disney properties, and although this show gives us all the Cinderella feels, its main objective is to showcase the Disney magic and possibilities of having your affair at one of their properties. This one is a definite must-watch for any Disney lover. And for those of you considering a Disney wedding, click here to read our blog post on Magical Disney Wedding Venues in Florida.

Video Credit: Disney

Extreme Engagement

Extreme Engagement is a Netflix original series that follows a newly-engaged couple around the world for one year. They travel to eight destinations in total and go on a series of adventurous excursions that test the limits of the relationship. Do they have what it takes to stay engaged and guarantee a travel partner for life? This series is for the travel-philes and definitely one I am going to have Hubby watch with me.

Video Credit: Tim Noonan

Four Weddings

Who doesn’t love a little competition? This TLC show has four brides attend each other’s weddings and vote on certain criteria to ultimately determine the bride with the best wedding. The winning couple wins a fantastic honeymoon getaway. The best part of this show is that you get to see four weddings in under an hour. Lots of inspiration. The show has been uber successful, making it to season 11.

Video Credit: TLC

Love is Blind

A brand-new Netflix original reality series that tests the theory of love being blind. The women live in one house, and the men live in another. They go on dates to these pods where they can hear each other but not see each other. The only way to progress is to fall in love and propose, sight unseen! Couples that do get engaged move on to a week-long trip to Mexico where they have the opportunity to vacation with their newly-betrothed. Then they head home to meet the families and continue to plan their weddings that will take place later that month. Talk about an accelerated timeline! Of all lessons learned in this series, I’d say communication is number one. This would be a great series to weekend binge with your fiancé.

Video Credit: Netflix

Married at First Sight

Going into its 10th season, this Lifetime series is the true test for a romantic. Do you have the guts to get married to a complete stranger? The series follows five couples in the reverse stages of a relationship. They start with a marriage, go on honeymoon, move in together, and then work through the trials and tribulations of daily life and getting to know their partner. The goal of this show is to push participants to be open, be accepting, foster good communication skills, and work through issues with their new mate. After several weeks together, the couples have a choice to remain together or get divorced.

Video Credit: Lifetime

My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding

TLC had a popular British documentary series that told the story of Gypsy culture in the UK. Since then, they released a spinoff series that takes a look at the American Gypsies and their extravagant wedding celebrations. The unconventional practices, high emotions, layers upon layers of tulle, and sparkly tiaras will provide you with some well-needed binge-watching and decompression during any stage of your wedding planning process.

Video Credit: TLC

Say Yes to the Dress

Every year, thousands of women flock to the iconic Kleinfeld’s bridal store in Manhattan, New York City, to find the dress of their dreams. TLC is in their 18th season of this wedding dress shopping show where women try on dresses until they find the one and ultimately “say yes to the dress.” The show has also had several successful wedding dress shopping spinoffs in Atlanta, the UK, and Australia. There has also been a special bridesmaid version for four seasons. All episodes are available on TLC’s website.

Video Credit: TLC

Say Yes to the Dress America

The newest TLC spin off of “Say Yes to the Dress” is the America series where Randy Fenoli hosts a bride from each of the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. He helps them all find their dream dresses then ends the season officiating a joint wedding ceremony in the middle of Central Park where all 104 people say “I do” at the same time.

Video Credit: TLC

Wedding Cake Championships

The most creative food item at your wedding will be your cake. This is about the only item you will get to design with a chef. The Food Network created a championship-style show fully about wedding cake design. They invite several top cake designers to a bake-off to see who can design and cook the best-looking and tastiest wedding cake for actual soon-to-be married couples. The show began in 2018 and will return in June 2020 (if renewed for season three).

Video Credit: Triunfo Creek Vineyards

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BONUS VIDEOS from TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates for your sheer enjoyment:

Video Credit: TLC
Video Credit: TLC

So much TV and so little time! But the primary goal here is for you to have some shows that help you de-stress (while still being productive). During your own wedding planning journey, you will have wedding on the brain all the time, and this can be an extremely stressful time as a couple. So allot some time each week for yourselves to relax, learn something, and gain wedding inspiration. Happy planning and binging!

Disclaimer: Any brands listed above are not sponsors.