Marry Now, Party Later

Posted: October 21st 2020

by Belle Hutton

Marry Now, Party Later – what to consider when planning a two-part wedding

2020 has not been kind to weddings, just one of the many things Covid-19 seemed to destroy in its wake. Couples across the world have had to come to terms with the fact that their big day will not be going ahead as originally planned, a position that no Bride or Groom wants to find themselves in.

As the months pass, and we continue to become accustomed to the ‘new normal’, more and more couples are beginning to think about the options available to them. Perhaps the most obvious is to reschedule the whole day to 2021 or 2022, but for some, they have waited long enough and the most important thing is to just ‘be married’.

So, what to do? ‘Marry Now, Party Later’ - aka an intimate ceremony followed by a big blow out party at a later date.

Tatum Reid Photography
Tatum Reid Photography

It may not be what you had in mind but here are some reasons why you should consider it, and the top things to think about:

Who should be there?

Not only is a small wedding currently the safest option for your family and friends, it also means that your ceremony can be something intimate, shared only between you and your closest people. This is perfect if you’re not one for being the centre of attention, or if there are any family politics to consider. You can either pick your two-favourite people in the world as your witnesses, or perhaps you might follow the government guidelines about how many people are permitted on the day. This will include yourselves, and children, but does not include anybody working om the day (such as venue staff, photographer or registrars) This gives you some wiggle room to invite immediate family and/or close friends.

Lucie Watson Photography
Lucie Watson Photography

Party Later

Once this pandemic is over, we are all going to need a drink, (or two) and what a celebration it will be! Think about this when you’re planning – you’ve got more time to budget, and think about how to make it a really great party – whether that’s some different lighting, bespoke cocktails or a bigger band! It might be a different season to the wedding you’d originally booked, so think about simple twists in the colour scheme or the menu as a nod to the new time of year.

Kathy Ashdown Photography
Kathy Ashdown Photography

Budget

Whether you are going for a full splurge, or more minimalistic – budget is still an important factor when planning any wedding, and especially one that spans two dates! Remember both dates are important, so it’s worth considering which elements are key to you both.

You may choose a simple ceremony and throw all the budget at the party. Think about the venue you have chosen for your intimate ceremony, and how this might work with reduced numbers. Does it need some bigger flowers, a few trees or some live music to add some atmosphere? Do you want two bouquets, one for each wedding – or just one?

Tatum Reid Photography
Tatum Reid Photography

Outfits

If one or both of you like any excuse to dress up then ‘Marry Now, Party Later’ is a perfect excuse for two fantastic outfits. For the Party, you may decide on something a bit more understated in white, like a jumpsuit or a more tailored dress.

But if you are looking for any excuse to wear your wedding dress twice – we say go for it! Most people only get to wear it once, what a treat!

Kathy Ashdown Photography
Kathy Ashdown Photography

Second Wedding Ceremony

By the time your party comes around, the legal bit is done. We know in the midst of all the menu choices, flower options and hair and makeup trials, it’s easy to forget the big reasons why you’re doing this in the first place, so remember - the legal bit is what really matters

This doesn’t mean that you couldn’t host a symbolic, second ceremony on the later date – perhaps hosted by a close friend. It gives you the opportunity to exchange vows in front of all the people you love, without the legal requirements of the first ceremony. You might even hold off on the rings, so it can feel like the final step in the process of being married!


Katherine Ashdown Photography
Katherine Ashdown Photography

So, what do you really want from your wedding day? We know that the most popular answer is, of course, ‘to be married! Our best advice is to embrace the world we are currently living in, and focus on the fact that love is not cancelled; when we are through this everyone will be so excited to celebrate your love and commitment to each other.

For the latest on Government advice on weddings, visit COVID-19: Guidance for Small Marriages and Civil Partnerships

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