How to plan a wedding in times of uncertainty
22 Jul 2020
One bride-to-be offers her first-hand advice for all those couples considering postponing their 2020 weddings
Alana Hebenton is one of thousands of brides who, thanks to a global pandemic, has had to postpone the 2020 wedding day she had dreamed of. Having been in the planning for 18 months, the plan was to marry fiancé Stuart Burnett, in Portsmouth Cathedral on July 18 in front of 100 guests, followed by a reception at the Queens Hotel in Southsea.
With a loose nautical theme and gold and navy colours, the date was chosen around the football season as bridegroom Stuart is a big Portsmouth fan.
Alana says: “We always knew we wanted to get married in Portsmouth and getting married in such an iconic building was our dream come true.
"But in mid-March when the Coronavirus 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.
“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.”
Alana and Stuart’s plan had three stages - most importantly to communicate with each other, suppliers, your wedding guests, friends and family and other online communities who are going through the same thing as you.
As their wedding date wasn’t until July they planned on keeping the same date, but created a plan b so they could act quickly once they did make the decision to postpone. They did this in June when Boris Johnson made his update saying that restaurants would re-open on July 4 – the same date small wedding ceremonies were allowed to resume. Alana says: “We knew then that we would be cutting it too fine with our July 18 wedding and it wouldn’t be the wedding we wanted. Thankfully we were very lucky and managed to keep all the same suppliers, apart from our photographer – but we’ve found a new one.”
The couple also found it important to look after their own sense of wellness. Alana says, “Planning a wedding is stressful at the best of times but even more so when you’re amidst a global pandemic. To help me de-stress I’ve been listening to regular deep mind massage audios from clinical hypnotherapist, Mark Williams, trained in helping brides cope with wedding stress.
“I really miss my spa days, so to recreate this at home, I’ve been using Manuka Doctor Manuka Honey to create an at home face mask. The recipe is very simple, mix one tbsp raw Manuka honey with three drops of fresh lemon juice and one tbsp brown sugar. Gently rub onto skin and leave for five minutes before rinsing off.
“I also light scented candles – my favourites are ones from Daisy Blue. Stuart and I also try and still make the weekends feel like weekends with ‘dates’ whether that’s watching our favourite films together, baking each other treats, going for an extra-long daily walk together or if I’m feeling brave, going for a run with him – but that can get a bit competitive!
Even after postponing their wedding Alana and Stuart were able to celebrate what should have been their wedding day last weekend. Alana says “We had a lovely day on Saturday – we went to dinner at our favourite pub, the Spice Island where Stuart proposed, I finally got my roots done and we went for a beautiful walk past the cathedral and hotel we were meant to be getting married in.
The last few months have been a rollercoaster for everyone to say the least. And while we would have loved to have had our wedding on July 18, the date we get married isn't important. The date that really matters is the date I met my soul mate and as long as I've got him I know I'll be okay.
For more about Alana Hebenton and her wedding journey including her tips for postponing a wedding visit her blog here.