How Planners Are Managing the Marry Now, Party Later Trend

couple on light blue couch surrounded by minimalist boho florals
February 25, 2021

With COVID-19 vaccines finally available, there is hope on the horizon that weddings filled with family and friends will be a reality in 2021. But for those that have already had to postpone their original date, the desire to become husband and wife sooner rather than later might take precedence.


Many couples are opting to marry now in a small, intimate ceremony and throw a reception filled with guests in the (hopefully) near future. For many planners, this means having to rethink how they create events for their clients. Samantha Leenheer of Samantha Joy Events explained; 

“We are having to reshape our planning services and contracts for couples who still wish to marry on their original date and throw a bigger party later this year or even early next year," said Leenheer. "We are now planning multiple events but over a longer period of time and over multiple days.”

blue handkerchief in gold box with feather and wedding rings adjacent
Photo courtesy of Sam and Sola Studio

We asked a few of our pros to share how they are managing the trend of marrying now and partying later. Here are their top tips: 

Set Clear Expectations

Sit down with your couple and any other decisions makers to fully understand what their expectations and desires are for the smaller ceremony, as well as the larger party. With the help of their planner, couples need to decide if they want the smaller ceremony to be a precursor to the larger party using the same design— or if they would rather have something completely different for the ceremony. “This decision guides us in knowing which vendors we will be able to use for the small ceremony and how we need to reshape our planning services for our clients,” says Leenheer. 

Check with Vendors

Planners need to reach out to their team of vendors to make sure there aren’t any conflicts with new dates. In addition, there should be an open conversation with the entire creative team to see how each vendor will address the different days, as well as the financial impact of any changes to the scope of work. 

florals above a table setting with soft blue plates, gold utensils, and a place card that reads 'Niall'
Photo courtesy of Sam and Sola Studio


Create New Contracts

Rachel Urban of Loli Events said, “When planning, we have been allowing our clients to postpone as needed while remaining fair to our business if the scope of work significantly changes.” That means you may need to redo your contracts if you and your creative team are being asked to do more than originally planned.

Choose the Location

Leenheer explains that with a smaller guest count, couples can opt to have their ceremony in more meaningful spaces such as their parent's living room or front porch to make it special. However, if the bride and groom want to stick with their original wedding design, many venues are offering packages that allow couples to hold a small wedding ceremony with just a few family and friends, followed by a larger reception at a later date.  

couple lounging on light blue couch with minimalist boho florals and wooden backdrop
Photo courtesy of Sam and Sola Studio


Get Creative

No matter the final number of attendees, planning for a smaller ceremony doesn't have to be less meaningful, says Coralie Prats, who plans weddings for Loli Events in Paris. In fact, she explains that planners can make sure the vows are filled with thoughtful details. “Indeed, having fewer guests means you might just have more budget to spend on special gifts and details, flowers, and entertainment."


Hero image courtesy of Sam and Sola Studio


About the Author

Aisle Planner Editorial Team
Aisle Planner Editorial Team
The Aisle Planner Editorial Team is a collective of creative writers, editors, and former event pros who obsess over weddings and special events—and the businesses behind them! Drawn to the details of their design and extravagant charm of their creativity, our team provides intelligent and straightforward articles with insights, practical tips, and expert guidance in putting Aisle Planner's "Power of One" behind your business. ...