This is really how it is to plan a wedding during a pandemic

Not knowing where to start, I turned to traditional resources on how Mindy Weiss‘Wedding Book (my bridal bible!) But also Facebook COVID bride support groups – yes they are real and helpful – @betchesbrides on Instagram and their great podcast and other places on social media where thousands of newly engaged brides find solace could and laugh at this crazy, highly emotional journey.

I found rooms where brides talk about banning dance floors, reducing the number of guests (how do you politely invite someone out to your wedding?), Losing deposits, etc. It felt good to be part of a community where COVID brides have transformed each other for advice, opinions and help in seemingly helpless circumstances.

With a squad on-site, my fiancé and I started visiting venues and it was clear that most of the wedding staff were struggling to cope with the beating during the pandemic. We visited several potential locations along the California coast until we found The One: The Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. The oceanfront terrain took my breath away, but most importantly, your wedding point person? Amanda Wolters explained how they would work with us to reschedule or cancel / refund us if COVID got in the way of our wedding.

That was my biggest fear while planning: that another round of COVID would strike and we would lose our deposits if we couldn’t legally hold a large event, a situation many brides have faced over the past year. The resort’s policies – a rarity among the venues we visit – have helped us put a security deposit and confidence that we are in good hands.