The COVID-19 pandemic did a very good job of messing everything up. Virtual work has had its costs and benefits, but less than 10 people at your wedding? That was a low blow. If you had a microwedding (or “minimony”) in 2020 and are looking forward to finally hosting a large-scale celebration with friends and family in 2021, first of all, congrats! Second of all, you’re most likely running into some tricky situations deciding whether to repeat certain aspects of the wedding experience, scrap some parts, or even how you might have to change a few things so that they’re different from the first time you did them.
These are unprecedented times, and although many of these decisions will have to be made on an individual basis, this etiquette guide will help you navigate the process leading up to your wedding celebration.
Should we just act like this is our first time getting married?
Things are obviously a bit different now, considering you’ve been married for several months to a year, but in short, yes. When you were originally planning your wedding, what did you want it to look like? Odds are that vision is still pretty similar to the kind of experience you want for yourself and your guests now. That being said, most of your guests won’t know what you did or didn’t do at your minimony, so there won’t be many expectations. There were likely a lot of aspects of your original wedding plan that couldn’t happen due to the pandemic. This is your opportunity to make those things happen.
Ultimately, even with all of these guests that you want to entertain, it all boils down to what you want out of this experience. Don’t be afraid to redo anything that you loved from your minimony, and if there is anything you’ve already done that you would absolutely dread doing again, skip it! You could even consider showing a video from your minimony to supplement any part of the traditional wedding experience that you’d prefer not to repeat. Make sure to get everything you want out of this experience, and not the things that you don’t want. You now have the unique opportunity to edit your wedding agenda with the experience of a full dress rehearsal.
What about the ceremony? And reception?
Depending on your situation, you may be at a completely different venue with a different officiant from your minimony, or things could look very similar but with more people in attendance. This distinction may influence how much you decide to repeat, how much you change, and how much you decide to skip this time around.
You will most likely want to have the same wedding parties that you had at your minimony or planned to have at your original wedding. If you just had a maid-of-honor and/or best man at the smaller wedding, feel free to expand it. If you never had the chance to compile a wedding party to begin with, feel free to opt out of it if you so choose. The same goes for first dances, father-daughter dances, cutting the cake, etc. You can also choose to show the video from the first wedding for any of these moments if you do not want to repeat them or particularly treasure those moments caught on camera and would like to share them.
It makes sense to allow the same people to give toasts and speeches if they’d like to. The circumstances will be different, meaning the content of their speeches will naturally be a bit different as well.
Do I need to change my invitations?
If you sent out all of your invitations before the pandemic hit, it makes sense to change your invitations slightly, even if they remain consistent in tone and appearance. If you never sent off the invitations to begin with, you’ll only need to edit the date and any other applicable information (venue if it has changed), and you’re all set!
If you are doing anything that deviates from the traditional wedding experience, it is best to mention these changes in the save-the-dates, where you can be a bit less formal with your guests.
Remember — this is YOUR wedding
You’ve waited long enough for this celebration, and this is your time to live it up and have the wedding experience that you deserve. Your particular situation is going to be unique, so do what feels right for you and your partner. People will be thrilled to have the opportunity to see their loved ones again and they will be very pleased with you for giving them the opportunity. Focus on the celebration as much, if not more than, the ins and outs of the wedding agenda, especially if you are already married. Try to choose a wedding venue and/or planner who can take the stress out of the day so you can enjoy your celebration. Above all, have fun!