The Coronavirus pandemic is a bitch! With every country enforcing a stay-at-home (lockdown), social distancing and no-mass-gathering orders, many couples have been forced to cancel or postpone their weddings until further notice. Sigh!
So, some of our readers wrote in to ask us whether they should put their wedding planning tasks on hold and if not, any ideas of how they can keep planning during the lockdown? This post is my response.
Elsewhere in the World, some couples are defying the odds to have virtual ‘zoom weddings’ online, but my Nigerian people are not wired for that kind. For my Nigerian people, if there’s no physical gathering, a crowd and a display of aso-ebi outfits, it is not a REAL WEDDING. Therefore, Nigerian engaged couples are waiting it out.
Here’s my take: Whether you have already changed your wedding date into the future or waiting for the lockdown to be over before making a decision, I think you shouldn’t stop planning your wedding during a lockdown (or postponement). Instead, use the time now to tick off some possible tasks in your wedding checklist as DONE.
Just the thought of a long list of undone wedding tasks and the fear of ‘what if I don’t get them all done on time’ causes stress and anxiety among about-to-wed brides who are planning solo (without a wedding planner). So, the more tasks you can complete ahead of time, the more peace-of-mind you’ll have.
The nationwide and global lockdown orders demanded that non-essential businesses (including wedding venues and vendors) be closed. That means you’ll have to skip planning with affected vendors until they resume.
With that said, there are other wedding planning things you can still do in the meantime while waiting at home. Now, swipe/ scroll down and let’s get you back planning!
18 Tasks You Can Do While Waiting (or Your Lockdown Wedding Planning Guide)
Whether you got engaged during the quarantine, or have put your wedding plans on hold due to the lockdown, I’ll give you ideas of wedding planning things you can do without leaving the house.
1. Do Your Wedding Expenses Breakdown
If you’ve not worked out how to spend your wedding budget, now is the time to divide or allocate that bulk money into to specific wedding expenses so that you can stay within budget when the time comes to shop and book vendors. You may also want to see featured sample wedding budgets for ideas of how other real couples did it.
I assume that anyone already in the wedding planning process before the lockdown should have made a wedding budget. If not, you can follow our steps on how to make a wedding budget from scratch.
2. Finalize Your Guest List
If you’ve not fixed a specific number for how many people to invite, it’s time to do that. You also want to divide that number between both sides of the family (bride’s and groom’s), to ensure that you don’t have more guests than you can feed or accommodate (venue).
Also, if you haven’t already written out your guest list, now is the perfect time to do so. You also want to ask your parents to send in names of their own guests so that you can write them invitation cards when the time comes.
It’s normal to have a very long list that includes everyone you know, but the truth is that unless you have an unlimited budget, you cannot feed them all or afford a big-enough venue to contain them all. So, you’ll have to delete some names.
In our guide on how to cut down a wedding guest list, I explained a simple way to know who to invite and who not to invite. The reason you need a guest list number to know the cost of major wedding reception things such as how many invitation cards to print (and the cost).
Your caterer will ask how many guests in order to know the quantity (and cost) of food and drinks to supply. Your wedding reception venue people will ask for your guest list size to know the right venue space with adequate seating capacity.
Once you’ve got your budget and guest list are out of the way, you can start finalizing details around costs and working out what does or does not fall within your budget.
3. Decide Your Top Wedding Priorities (or Non-Negotiables)
Knowing your wedding non-negotiables helps you know where to spend the most money (on best possible quality) without skimping, so you know to get by on other expense areas.
One way to decide what’s most important to you is to think back to some of the best weddings you have ever attended and write down your favourite thing about each of them that you would like to replicate at your wedding. Get your groom to also do the same.
Next, compare notes to extract all the things that you both like and then delete the ones you do not agree on or that your budget cannot afford.
Another way to determine your wedding priorities is to take our pre-wedding questionnaire for couples which has helped many couples flesh out their wedding goals and details. It’s okay for a bride to have a separate set of 1 to 3 top priorities, and the groom too.
For some couples, their top wedding priorities are quality food and enough drinks, a kickass DJ, and the best photographer. Yours could be different.
4. Create Your Wedding Mood Boards on Pinterest
Go on Pinterest and collect/ save visual inspirations that convey your perfect wedding day styling. The idea here is to use pictures to plan your wedding-everything. This exercise helps a great deal to plan a wedding that looks stylish.
You want to pin/ save images that look like: how you want your dress to look, how you want your reception seats to be arranged, how you want your bridesmaids to look, how you want your traditional wedding attire to look, and so on.
Go on Pinterest or Instagram or search this blog (NaijaGlamWedding) and pick a maximum of your 3 best looks/ images each for what you want for:
- Your reception venue decoration (colours and lighting)
- Your wedding reception seats arrangement
- Your wedding gown style. Find out the best wedding gown silhouette, necklines, sleeves and train length. We wrote a guide (with photos) on the types of figures that look best in each style of wedding gown. Be sure to check out that post.
- Your traditional wedding attire (bride)
- Your wedding hair and makeup look
- Your gele and native bead style
- Your groom’s traditional wedding attire
- Your groom and groomsmen suits, and men’s essential wedding accessories and ties (design and colours)
- Your white wedding hairstyle
- Your wedding makeup (white wedding makeup look, traditional wedding makeup look)
- Your wedding cake design
- In-trend bridesmaid dresses and chief bridesmaid dress style (colour and style)
- Invitation card design and colours
- Your wedding colour combination
Once you have these pictures of your personal wedding style, it’s easy to get the exact or something close in style. Wedding planners and service providers prefer to see pictures of what a couple has in mind. It gives them a clue about your wedding style.
Your wedding mood board is simply your wedding plans in photos, and it helps vendors know exactly your wedding vibes and likes – better than using a million words to explain. Get started on gathering style inspirations, colour combinations and your wedding reception visual styling.
WARNING: Don’t get carried away doing this. If you spend more than 2 days on this, you’re missing the point. So, do it quickly and move on to other tasks below. If you already use Pinterest, create a new board titled ‘my wedding plans in pictures’.
5. Compile Your Wedding Songs Playlist
Choose your must-play wedding songs (for your traditional and also white wedding). Be rest assured that any good DJ will play nice danceable songs at your wedding, but it’s important to let him/ her know your music style and hates.
One of the ways to make your wedding ‘YOU’ is the choice of songs you’ll both dance to, and that should not be left to your DJ to choose for you unless you don’t have any preference.
That said, make a list of your must-play songs for your DJ to play during special moments such as your wedding reception entrance, first dance, father-daughter dance, and mother-son dance.
Also, if there are any songs or musician (or music genre) that you and your significant other hate and/ or know would not be appropriate for your important guests, compile the list as your do-not-play songs.
You can find NaijaGlamWedding’s Igbo traditional wedding song playlist for inspiration. We plan to do posts highlighting more types of Nigerian white and trad wedding songs.
6. Delegate Friends and Family to Some Roles or Tasks in Your Wedding Checklist
But first, be sure they are interested and available to help out. Next, use FaceTime, video chat, zoom calls, Google Meets or your preferred video calling or online conferencing tool to inform them and meetup whenever necessary.
- To help you and your bridesmaids not cross the boundary and lose face, find everything about the roles and responsibilities of bridesmaids;
- Find out what wedding tasks to delegate friends and family, and how to; (xxx guarantee perfect)
- You need someone to run things in the background while your wedding is going on. Find out what this wedding day coordinator roles and responsibilities are.
7. Create a WhatsApp Group for Your Wedding Party (Bridesmaids and Groomsmen)
You need people to bounce off ideas, ask for opinions/ feedback when shopping for bridal attire, aso-ebi materials or choosing fabric designs and colours. You also need some close pals to just to talk with or cry to when wedding planning stress and anxiety kicks in.
So, create a WhatsApp group for your bridesmaids and/ or groomsmen. Also, make another WhatsApp group for the friends and family you have chosen to help you plan the wedding.
If some of your wedding party and close friends are married, they’ll be able to offer you tips and ideas to navigate and manoeuvre difficult or sensitive roadblocks you may encounter during wedding planning (based on their personal experience).
Your bridesmaids, groomsmen, close friends and family will happy to be there for you. Just bear in mind that they will start avoiding you if you call them all the time and risk being a burden to them.
8. Practice DIY Home-Making and Beauty Skills
Some hands-on brides do a few wedding day things themselves either to save money or just because they know how to do it. That is not for everyone, though.
If that sounds like you, this is the time to start learning and practising any of these wedding things that you would like to do yourself on your big day. Learn how to:
- Bake and decorate your own wedding cake or make cupcakes
- Make small chops for guests (samosa, puff-puff, doughnuts, chin-chin, spring rolls)
- Do your own wedding makeup
- Do your own wedding hairstyle
- Tie your wedding Gele Yourself
- Make wedding souvenir/ favour packs yourself
You also want to use this spare time to perfect your cooking and homemaking skills. Here are all our wedding DIY project ideas for you to pick and choose from.
9. Get Items for Your Wedding Emergency Kit
Purchase all the individual items that make up your bridal emergency kit and a small box or bag for them. Pack them aside ready for when you reschedule your wedding date.
10. Start Practising Your Wedding Dance Steps
Good dance steps from newlyweds delight guests – doesn’t have to be expert moves. If you’re not a good dancer, consider enrolling in a dance class or learn from YouTube wedding dance tutorials or a paid online class.
It’s fun and better to practice learn new dance steps with your fiancé. Some couples even practice choreographed dance steps in advance, and wedding guests love that.
11. Start Your Wedding Exercise Routine
Set aside specific days and times to exercise/ work out towards achieving your target wedding day body. Gyms are closed during the global quarantine observed around the World, but there are many online fitness classes you can enrol in.
Youtube also has tons of exercises targeted at different body areas. Dancing is a non-boring way to exercise, even if you suck at dancing.
I know how hard it is to stay motivated or actually see results from exercising, but some fitness experts just know how to push you. Fitness instructor, Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred is a full exercise routine program that many women (and men) say works.
12. Read a Marriage Counseling Book
While in-class marriage counselling sessions are temporarily not holding until after the lockdown, you can read a good marriage counselling book to get you prepared on how to deal with life after the wedding day, and also learn how to solidify your future marriage.
A good idea is to buy two copies of the book and have your fiancé also read it while you are.
13. Compile a List of Your Hired/ Booked Vendors Contact Information
Type it into either Google Doc, Microsoft Word or Excel Spreadsheet and share it with your wedding party and people you picked to help you. This will come in handy for those you delegated roles with any vendor or rental supplier.
Making it accessible to your planning team ensures that the person(s) you designated to coordinate your day of wedding can call up any vendor that is running late. Be sure to write down each service provider’s company name or name, phone number/ Whatsapp number, address, email.
Your wedding photographer certainly has many poses for you but if there are any you really like to recreate, be sure to make a note of those to let him/ her know at the appropriate time. We’ve got a wedding photo poses template here that you can pick and choose from.
15. Hire a Wedding Planner
Wedding planning can be all-consuming for some couples. If you can find a way to afford a wedding planner, by all means, do so. You’ll later find it to be the best decision.
Aside from making your pre-wedding months and planning journey stress-free, a professional wedding planner can hook you up with so much vendor and venue discounts that more than pays for the planner’s fee.
The best part is you’ll do no legwork of planning and on your big day, you get to waltz into your venue and be pleasantly surprised at how everything has been perfectly put together by your wedding planner.
- SEE: Wedding Planning Scenes and Lessons from a Nigerian Movie (Learn and also Laugh)
- Not Sure if Whether You Need a Wedding Planner or Not? Find Out
16. Write Your Day of Wedding Activities Timetable
If you already have an idea of the time that your church/ religious wedding ceremony would start, you can create a timetable or schedule of the day, stating the expected arrival times for:
- When each of your wedding vendor (caterers, venue decorator, DJ, etc.) and rental suppliers should arrive and set up at the reception.
- When you and your bridesmaids should get ready
- When your makeup and hairdresser should arrive/ finish
- When your photographer should arrive for the pre-wedding morning shoot
- When you should leave to the church ceremony, and so on. up till when you leave for the church/ religious ceremony.
This should be a time-by-time breakdown of who should do what and what time, on your wedding day, behind the scenes (vendors), before guests arrive, after and during.
This day of wedding timeline should be shared and reviewed with your venue and all vendors for inputs and finalization. This is the timetable your coordinator should use to follow up with the vendors on your big day.
Once you know when your ceremony is, you can start building up a schedule of when your wedding party needs to arrive to get ready, when dinner will be, how long you have for speeches etc. No idea? Use our wedding day timeline templates.
17. Book Any In-Demand Preferred Vendors
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, so many other weddings in Nigeria, the World over and specifically in your wedding state and city are being postponed to as far in advance as next year (2021) and beyond.
Many couples are rescheduling their weddings and so competing to book the same wedding vendors against the same future dates. Therefore, if you have any preferred in-demand vendor(s) that you haven’t yet booked, it would make sense to book them as soon as you can in order to get them.
- SEE: Where and How to Find Good Wedding Vendors in Nigeria
- How to Choose the Right Wedding Photographer (10 Tips)
18. Set Aside Time for Each Other
Don’t allow your wedding planning process to be a daily chore or daily discussion – that has led many couples to breakup. The lockdown itself is putting a lot of pressure on couples, especially those whose weddings have been postponed and who are quarantining together.
It’s easy to pile on more stress and anxiety if you do not care for your significant other. Your wedding is going to be only one day and it’s important to do things together to nurture and build your relationship while waiting for the lockdown to be over (and to reschedule your wedding date).
There are a few adjustments you can make in your life to make planning your wedding enjoyable and stress-free. Ensure to have date nights and priorities caring for yourself and for your partner.
Your relationship will be much better if you make out time to schedule and observe fun activities together such as couple card games, dance lessons, long walks and exercises, candlelit dinner, at-home karaoke sessions, at-home massage.
- MORE: How to Deal with Wedding Planning Stress and Anxiety
- Card Game for Couples (Our Moments) — Proven to Help Build Stronger Bonds and Better Relationships
Wrapping Up: Don’t Stop Planning After Postponement or During Lockdown
There you have it on 16 things you can do from home while planning a wedding during the lockdown, in Nigeria or anywhere in the World. You can see that there’s so much you can do aside from watching Netflix or cable TV movies.
I like to say, keep things going – don’t stop planning. Ensure to do fun things with your partner in between planning and keep wedding planning discussion minimal to avoid becoming unrelatable.
- Thinking of Postponing? Here’s How to Cancel or Postpone Your Wedding Step by Step | How to Announce Wedding Postponement or Cancellation to Guests
If you know anyone who’d benefit from the above tips, please tell them about this article. I’d appreciate your helping me share this post on social media.
That’s a wrap! I’d like to know your lockdown wedding planning story. Did you have to cancel, postpone or do a micro-wedding, or what? How did the lockdown affect your wedding and what did you do to pivot/ change plans?
Comment down below to tell me your lockdown wedding story. Thanks for reading. Now, let’s get the discussion popping.
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