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TIPS: What to keep or cancel for your wedding day

Lots of couples are forced to un-plan their wedding. We have some advice for that.

MADISON, Ohio — "It doesn't matter that your flower girl didn't throw the petal down the isle. What matters is that you're marrying the love of your life, you're marrying your best friend," says Lauren Merinar.

She is the owner of Lauren and Co. Events, a wedding planning company in Madison, Ohio. She says that advice is usually what she gives to brides with pre-wedding jitters right before they walk down the isle. Now, she's giving it to all her clients worried about changing their wedding plans due to COVID-19.

We asked Lauren for some more advice on what couples should or should not change if the big day is approaching.

First up: the wedding date. Merinar's advice is not to change the script if that date is sentimental.

"If you did have your wedding date it and it was very special to you, please go through with it," she says.

She points out lots of local venues have outdoor spaces or areas that will suit a smaller wedding just as well, and many companies are understanding if you decide to switch to an outdoor venue. With her company out in Madison, she mentions lots of vineyards in Ohio's wine country make a great backdrop. A great back-up date for a later, bigger reception could be your first anniversary.

Second topic: the guest list. Especially if a couple keeps the same wedding date, chopping it down almost isn't optional.

"I think everyone just needs to be super cautious right now and pair it down automatically," Merinar says. "I wouldn't do more than 50 guests outside. That being said, making sure it's a space where everybody is spaced accordingly outside."

So if a couple keeps a large party in an outdoor venue, that means getting rid of lots of favors one would usually see at a wedding. There are a few things worth saving for sentimental value, though.

Third topic: what, of those little things, stay...and what goes. Merinar says there are a few things to keep to savor that special day, and that are evergreen if couples move a wedding date.

"If you still had programs, keep your programs. If you had your cake vendor, still keep your cake vendor because you want that topper for your anniversary."

Merinar says all those tips apply to fall brides too. It's important to start coming up with a plan now in case things fall through. She suggests starting with your venue. See what they can accommodate and go from there.

There is a chance some couples want to scrap all their plans and go with a smaller venue and ceremony. Merinar has teamed up with Grand River Cellars to offer just that. When Valentine's Day rolled around a few months ago, many couples did not want a big to-do. So Merinar asked the cellars if they'd hold pop-up weddings complete with all the little things that make a wedding special.

See the photo below for the amenties included in her pop-up nuptials:

Credit: Lauren and Co.
Details of the pop-up chapel

Merinar says there are just a few spots filling up through October. She also says no matter where, no matter when, your special day has one component that will not change.

"No matter what, you are looking forward to spending the rest of your life with this person, and no matter what it will be special."

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