Parallel Planning For Weddings

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Darlings, we’ll start by letting you know that we are, as always, thinking of you all. We hope you’ve found some sources of strength and support over the last few days. Please, look after yourselves.

Recently, we’ve shared a number of postponement stories and we know that lots of you whose weddings were planned for the near future have found these posts useful and reassuring and we’re so happy to have helped, even a little bit.

Today’s feature is a little different because we also know that couples with weddings later in the summer or into the early autumn are also wondering what they should do. If this is the situation that you find yourself in, then this feature, with advice from one of our closed Facebook community for brides, is a valuable read.

Philippa is due to get married on 5th September, with a legal ceremony in the morning followed by a humanist ceremony and garden yurt reception. When she’s not wedding planning, she works for a national disabled children’s charity and she knows a lot about ‘parallel planning’.

Parallel planning is a great way to prepare for an unknown situation.

You’re essentially allowing two sets of plans to run side-by-side so if your wedding is later in the year, you can continue to plan for the big day but also, and crucially, set up another plan that will swing into place should you reach the point when Plan A isn’t possible. Here’s Philippa to tell us more…

Parallel planning for weddings

‘Plan for the worst and hope for the best’ is not a phrase often used with weddings, but we find ourselves in strange times. Couples all over the world are having to postpone their beautiful days, some with tears and some with a sense of relief, but what about those of us who are towards the end of the summer/ early autumn? It’s not clear at all what the situation is going to be by then, and I can see the fear creeping later and later in the wedding calendar.

My wedding is scheduled for 5th September this year, and at the moment I have absolutely no plans to move it.

For all I know, it will be a wonderful opportunity for friends and family who haven’t seen each other for months to get back together, and all the more special for it. Equally, this social isolation situation could go on and on, and we may also end up having to postpone.

Being a pragmatic sort of person, I’m not going to let this bother me. Instead, I’m learning from something that at work we call ‘parallel planning’; this is essentially planning for the best and worst case scenario at the same time, so that you are ready for both and neither catch you by surprise.

In fact, I’m now starting to plan for three eventualities:

  1. Everything goes ahead as planned on 5th Sept, and we have our small morning legal ceremony, followed by our big humanist ceremony in our yurt with all our favourite people.
  2. We have to postpone the big humanist ceremony and reception, but we can go ahead with the small legal ceremony and officially get married.
  3. We have to postpone the whole thing.

With this in mind, my fiancé and I are now going down our big spreadsheet for option 1, asking ourselves a lot of ‘if…?’ questions. For example:

  1. If we just have the legal ceremony, will we wear our dress and suit, or something different?
  2. If we have to postpone until the winter and so won’t have the flowers home grown for the bouquets, do we have the budget for a florist?
  3. If we have to postpone until next year but we can still go on our late honeymoon in December, will we still take it? Will it be a honeymoon or a holiday?

Of course, a lot of these questions have money tied into them, and we are quite lucky in that because we were doing everything possible ourselves, we don’t stand to lose much financially if we do have to postpone. This also means that we can carry on with a lot of the DIY (we’ve got a lot of time on our hands now!), so I’m still ploughing on with making table-mats, practicing my calligraphy and so on.

I’m actually rather enjoying myself, because now I’m daydreaming about 3 different events. A small legal ceremony with a full 50s swing dress and dinner with close family is very different to our full elegant English garden party!

We’re not making any concrete decisions yet, I’m certainly not going to postpone until things are clearer, but what this means is that when we do have to make a decision, we’ve already made good headway before all the tears and the emotions set in. You’ll never make your best decisions when you’re stressed or upset, so my advice is to take a deep breath now, while things are still a way off, grab your planning spreadsheet and think about the different possibilities before the pressure gets to you.


Thank you so much Philippa! Brides, join Philippa and other fellow brides in our closed Facebook group – a safe, protected space with a wonderful community of supportive  other brides all looking out for one another.


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.