Alana Hebenton and her fiancé have been planning their big day in Portsmouth for a year-and-a-half, before COVID-19 hit and cast a shadow over their dream wedding. Here she shares her journey and tips on how to keep calm and marry on!
Alana and Stuart got engaged in November 2018 and are due to tie the knot at Portsmouth Cathedral followed by a reception at The Queens Hotel, Southsea on 18th July, 2020. Everything's planned, from the loose nautical theme with gold and navy colours, to the four bridesmaids, bridesman and pageboy. "We always knew we wanted to get married in Portsmouth and having the ceremony in such an iconic building was our dream come true," says Alana. Then the global pandemic struck and the country went into lockdown, threatening their dream wedding.
"About a month ago, when the virus updates began to increase on the news and more and more events started to get cancelled, my thoughts turned to the wedding and I started to panic," she admits. "The dream wedding that I'd spent the last 18 months (and 31 years) planning could potentially not be happening.Thankfully, after a few conversations with Stuart I felt a lot better as we came up with a plan to get through this crazy situation together. "
Create a plan B
- Keep in touch with your suppliers to see if you can go ahead with your planned date. If you can't, what happens? Will you get a refund? Do they have insurance?
- Keep your guests updated about your plans and let them know as soon as possible if you have to reschedule the wedding.We included an additional note with our invites outlining our COVID-19 plans.
- Share your experience, join Facebook forums where you can talk to other brides going through the same stress. Talk to friends and family – I've had a lot of teary calls to my mum and video chats with my hens which have really helped to put things in perspective. Don't forget your fiancé either – I couldn't have got through it without Stuart, reminding me why we are doing all this.
As our wedding is in July, we 're still currently hoping it will go ahead. However, we are conscious that nothing can be certain and even if we aren't in lockdown other wedding preparations like my hen do, booked for May, and Stuart's stag do are in jeopardy.
- Will your suppliers honour your deposits for new dates? If not research potential new ones.
- Talk to your maid of honour and best man about your pre-wedding celebrations – can they be rescheduled? Would you be happy to have them after the wedding?
- Explore staycation opportunities for the honeymoon or mini-moon,
- Most importantly remember the date you get married doesn't matter, as long as you get through it together.
Planning a wedding is stressful at the best of times but even more so when you're in the middle of a global pandemic!
Stay-at-home date-night ideas
- Look after yourself, have a home spa day, make your own face mask and light some scented candles.
- Try to make the weekends feel like weekends and make time for 'dates', whether that's watching your favourite films, baking each other's favourite treats, going for a daily walk or run together.
- Have a travel themed dinner – if your favourite place is Italy get out the pizza and play some cheesy Italian tunes or if you prefer France create a cheese platter or fondue.
- If you have a garden, enjoy a romantic picnic outside.
- Organise a games night – beware if you're the competitive type though!
- Plan your dream trip for when we're finally let loose.
For more of Alana and her wedding journey, visit her blog here