bride and groom

Questions to Ask While Wedding Planning in 2021

If you’re wedding planning in 2021 – whether you’re recently engaged or re-starting after hitting pause last year – you’re sure to have a lot of questions. After all, wedding planning can be confusing at the best of times, and that’s without a pandemic in the mix! But while COVID-19 has certainly created lots of challenges, the good news is that there’s a lot that couples can learn from last year’s experiences. Here are some of the most common questions I hear from those who are wedding planning in 2021, along with answers!

How many guests should we invite to our 2021 wedding?

As we move forward through 2021, micro-weddings are still likely to be the norm for a while. For one thing, a smaller wedding means less of a headache if restrictions are tightened. But it’s also an opportunity to celebrate your marriage with a close-knit group of friends and family. Plus, if all goes well, you can always scale up (assuming your venue allows). If you’re still dreaming of a big wedding but are worried about planning one this year, the best policy is either to plan a minimony now and a so-called sequel wedding in 2022 or 2023 or to create your guest list in tiers. Start with the people you can’t imagine NOT having with you, then gradually increase the circle. That way, if you need to downsize, you’ll know where to cut your guest list.

Blue and gold wedding invitation

How should we handle save the dates and wedding invitations?

‘The earlier, the better’ has always been the policy when it comes to save the dates, especially for destination weddings in Ireland. That way, guests have time to make all the necessary arrangements. However, changing restrictions thanks to COVID-19 have definitely changed the rules. Now your wedding invitation timeline really depends on your individual circumstances, such as the size of your guest list and how many of your guests are local. Generally, it’s still a good idea to send out save the dates at least five months before the wedding. For the invitations, you may want to include a card noting that you are monitoring the situation and will notify guests of any changes. A wedding website is also a must to keep everyone informed.

Should we be booking vendors early?

In a word: yes! As things open up, 2021 and 2022 are set to see many more weddings compared to a typical year. All the couples who have had to postpone their plans have rescheduled, as well as all the newly-engaged pairs ready to wed. If you don’t want to be disappointed, it’s best to lock in your key vendors as soon as possible (up to 15 months out is becoming the norm).

Bride entering church as planner holds wedding dress.

Do I need a wedding planner for 2021?

Hiring a wedding planner is always a good idea. But wedding planning in 2021 is especially complex. If there was ever a time to hire a planner, it’s now! A wedding planner’s job is to coordinate logistics and vendors, assist with budgets and contracts, design the event (if relevant) and bring that vision to life, and be your advocate. Right now, it’s also especially important to find a wedding planner who is on the same page when it comes to COVID-19 regulations. That way you know your guests’ (as well as your vendors’) safety will be a priority.

How do I include guests who aren’t able to attend my 2021 wedding?

No matter how many precautions you take, some guests may still not be able to attend your wedding, or may not feel comfortable doing so. That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your wedding, but there are ways you can make them feel included. One of the best options is to live-stream the event, so they can view it in real-time. It also makes hiring a videographer even more important, as videos will be extra precious to older family members like grandparents. Send them a copy together with a favour or slice of cake and a handwritten note.

Can I still plan my honeymoon?

There’s still a lot of uncertainty around travel at the moment, so you might be wondering whether you can still plan your 2021 honeymoon. The answer is yes, but with plenty of flexibility thrown in. For example, you could plan one local honeymoon now with a second later on in a far-flung destination. (Check out my list of COVID-friendly Irish honeymoon destinations here!) It’s also a good idea to work with a professional travel agent and purchase comprehensive travel insurance to cover you in case of any last-minute adjustments.

Virginia Park Lodge wedding reception with twinkle lights

Of course, things are still in flux at the moment, so this is the best advice based on the way they currently stand. It’s always important to do your research on the latest restrictions and safety guidelines and talk to your wedding vendors. But for now, I hope this helps with your wedding planning in 2021!

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Doreen Kilfeather, Christina Brosnan, UNIKEYE Wedding Photography, Brett Harkness