COVID-19 has been the culprit of many canceled or postponed events, but as things begin to open back up, the joyous events are happening again.

When it comes to wedding planning, there are many moving parts, and COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions only make it more confusing.

There are many unique and creative ways to make a wedding safe and successful at the same time, even when the circumstances may not be ideal.

Use BBB’s tips to help plan a wedding that is both successful and safe:

Follow government guidelines. Don’t go with your gut feeling when making important decisions on how to keep your guests safe. Visit the website for the CDC, and read Considerations for Events and Gatherings and Travel During COVID-19 for guiding principles to help you make wise decisions for you and your guests.

Come up with a “Plan B.” Despite your best laid plans, things may still go awry with ever-changing restrictions. Come up with a plan B you really love. For example, many couples have chosen to have a tiny backyard wedding with immediate family members while planning a larger gathering for later. Other couples, who don’t want to skip the big wedding, have decided to get legally married now and celebrate later or simply postpone their wedding to a future date.

Always read the contracts. Reading contracts is critical during a pandemic. reminds brides- and grooms-to-be that in today’s fluid situation, it’s important to check with vendors and venues to find out what the cancelation and rescheduling policy is, when you have to make the decision, and whether your deposit will transfer over to the new date.

Order everything you need well in advance. The pandemic has affected shipping times for many companies, so if you’ll be doing the bulk of your purchases online or at stores that need to place an order, start early. Experts recommend ordering wedding dresses, for example, at least six months early, which will allow plenty of time for a return, exchanges, and/or alterations.

Go virtual. One way to keep your guest list large without endangering anyone’s health is to host a virtual wedding. Virtual parties are gaining in popularity as the pandemic drags on and can be a fun and safe way to celebrate your marriage with the ones you love.

Stay positive. The pandemic hasn’t been easy on anyone, so if you start feeling down when you have to change your plans yet again, know that you aren’t alone. According to The Knot’s Official Guidebook for COVID-19, 35 percent of couples who had upcoming weddings have postponed to 2021 or later. Remember, your wedding is just the beginning – you still have plenty of meaningful milestones ahead that you will be able to celebrate with all your friends and family.

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Marjorie Stephens is president and CEO of the BBB serving Northern Indiana.

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