How to Use Instagram to Plan Your Wedding

It’s no secret that couples can use social media when planning their wedding. But one site that stands out for its utility, wedding planners say, is Instagram.

“Wedding planners, vendors, photographers, florists and venues all use Instagram to promote their services, so couples can easily find wedding inspiration by following these types of accounts,” said Antonia Baker, an event and wedding planner in Fredericksburg, Va. “From hairstyles to wedding venues to design ideas, Instagram has it all.”

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Socially Distant Wedding Activities

Weddings with packed dance floors have become a thing of the past because of the coronavirus pandemic, especially as many states continue to limit indoor occupancy. This means couples will need to find some other creative ways to keep their guests safely entertained and engaged.

Looking for some inspiration? Here are 10 fun games and activities you can incorporate into a socially distanced wedding reception.

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The People Who Got Puppies Were in Over Their Heads

Ann Becnel, a dog trainer in New Orleans, is busier than ever these days.

“I am getting so many requests for training that I can barely keep up,” said Ms. Becnel, who got into the business 35 years ago. “It’s overwhelming.”

April Chillari, the owner of Core Canine in Northern Virginia, is in a similar position. “Prior to the pandemic I would book up three to five weeks in advance,” she said. “Now I have a 10-week waiting list.”

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Outdoor Winter Wedding Hacks

Usually when temperatures drop, couples hold their wedding indoors, away from the cold. But with social-distancing requirements and restrictions on gatherings amid the coronavirus, more weddings will be taking place outdoors this winter.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, so long as marrying couples embrace the elements. If you’re planning an outdoor winter wedding, here are some must-have items and creative ideas from professional wedding planners.

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Buying Wedding Insurance During the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic foiled many couple’s wedding plans this year, but at the same time, it has helped raised awareness of wedding insurance.

“When the pandemic first hit back in March, we were handling dozens of clients with cancellations, postponements, contract negotiations, relocations, and a flurry of questions from 2020 couples about how to move forward and handle their event in the safest and most reassuring way,” said Noelle Ahmad-Snedegar, who owns the Washington-based event-planning company Lily & Grayson Events.

“One question that we received many times,” she said, “and still continue to answer, is, ‘Do you think we should get wedding insurance?’”

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Wedding Canceled or Postponed? Here’s How to Get a Refund

Frank Dariano and Sharon Mensah had planned to marry on July 5, with 50 guests in attendance, at a resort in Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. But they canceled the wedding shortly after shelter-in-place orders were issued in San Jose, Calif., their hometown. “Our plans really went south as the pandemic started cracking down on international travel,” said Mr. Dariano, an administrative assistant at an outpatient rehabilitation center in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Things got even worse when their venue refused to refund their $8,300 deposit. “We didn’t feel it was right to lose our deposit when no services had been rendered,” said Ms. Mensah, 36, a high school therapist in Sunnyvale. When pleading with the venue led to a dead end, the couple consulted a lawyer in Canada, who reviewed their contract and negotiated with the resort for a full refund.

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Livestream Your Wedding Like a Pro

A smartphone with a strong internet connection is the only tool you really need to livestream a wedding to your friends and family. But if you want to heighten your production quality, and pull off a memorable livestream for your digital guests, you’ll need some extra gadgets.

To help livestream their May 16 wedding in Cincinnati, Jennifer Noble, 32, and David Gregory, 34, hired ChiliDog Pictures. The Cincinnati-based video production company used several cameras, a microphone and a soundboard to record the couple’s vows and first dance. Ms. Noble and Mr. Gregory, both actors who live in Astoria, Queens, said the event, which was filmed at a catering hall owned by the bride’s family had exceeded their expectations.

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How to Live Stream Your Wedding

While social distancing and restrictions on travel and large gatherings have forced many couples to postpone their wedding celebrations, some are still choosing to marry and are inviting guests to witness their union from the comfort of their own homes via live video streams.

“Live streaming a wedding is becoming mainstream,” said Vishal Joshi, the founder and chief executive of Joy, a wedding planning and technology company based in San Francisco that recently started a free live-streaming feature on its website.

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Planning a Wedding at Home? Here Are a Few Things to Consider

While many couples around the world are canceling or postponing their weddings because of the coronavirus pandemic, some are scaling down their plans and getting married at home.

Justine Roach, 31, and Hrishikesh Desai, 37, who are from Los Angeles, had originally planned to marry March 21 at Ojai Valley Inn, a resort in Ojai, Calif., before about 200 guests. The couple instead chose to exchange vows on the same day at the Beverly Hills home of the bride’s parents, with only their immediate family of six present.

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Curbing Hidden Wedding Costs

Creating and sticking to a budget can be a challenge for couples planning a wedding. The national average cost currently stands at $33,931, according to wedding website the Knot.

Unforeseen expenditures on things like postage, certain rentals or delivery charges can easily drive up costs. Event planners urge couples and their families to keep a close watch on some of these hidden or lesser-known expenses.

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