Chances are, the idea of planning your wedding during a global pandemic had never crossed your mind until this year. 2020 threw many curve balls at us, but despite all the challenges, love is by no means canceled in 2021. In fact, it’s alive and well, with couples all over the world finding unique and creative ways to say “I do”.

To inspire you, we spoke to Blue Nile, the leading online retailer of diamond engagement and wedding rings, to share our best advice for planning your wedding remotely during the pandemic.

Keep calm and marry on

For a bride-to-be, planning a wedding is the definition of decision overload! The bride needs to become an instant expert on dozens of areas—from flowers, to venues, to guest list management, to hotel booking, and dress design.

While couples are only planning a wedding once (hopefully), they are negotiating with companies who have conducted hundreds of weddings. It is the classic case of informational asymmetry (one side of a negotiation having significantly more knowledge), which often leads to high prices and frustration for the customer.

All of this is made even more complicated during a pandemic, when it may not be possible to meet all your vendors in person prior to the big day or visit a number of potential venues. Thankfully, some simple tools can help couples navigate this tricky terrain.

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Can you buy the wedding dress of your dreams online?

The short answer is: YES! Visiting the bridal boutique may be considered a tradition, but it might not be possible during a pandemic. At a boutique, you are also limited by the styles they stock, whereas online, you have a lot more choice and freedom to find a dress that’s truly “you”.

“I started Anomalie because I couldn’t find my dream dress in a store and going to a bespoke tailor was prohibitively expensive and uncertain,” says Leslie Voorhees, Co-Founder of Anomalie. “Through manufacturing connections, I was able to make my dress directly at a workshop used by boutique brands, getting the exact dress I wanted for a much lower price than the stores by partnering directly. They made the dress to my measurements and it fit perfectly.”

With Anomalie, brides can visualize the exact dress they are getting and consult with an expert stylist from home to confirm every detail. We have invested in fit technology to guarantee the dress each bride unboxes matches her exact measurements.

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Get the perfect style and fit from home

During COVID, over 30% of brides in the United States have created an Anomalie account to visualize their perfect dress. Our tools are designed to help brides find the perfect wedding dress, regardless of whether she orders from Anomalie or not.

Our team has created a “mind-reading” experience where the bride is able to browse the world’s largest collection of wedding dress options and answer simple preference questions to get recommendations on specific dress details and laces. Brides often use this information to enter the boutique shopping experience more educated about the exact dress they want.

Often, brides find that Anomalie is the best option for them to create their dress vision. When brides are able to educate themselves through Anomalie and find their perfect dress at the boutiques, we also celebrate that! Our North Star is a happy bride.

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Don’t be afraid to break the rules

A wedding is about celebrating the uniqueness of the couple, and we love when brides rewrite the rulebook for their weddings. When it comes to wedding dresses, we often see brides want to incorporate elements that are outside of the standard wedding dress rule book.

At a wedding dress boutique, brides are forced to choose between the limited inventory of a store. With Anomalie’s digital-first model, we can magically create the perfect dress for each bride, which could include unique elements like black lace, custom embroidery, purple tulle, a thigh-high slit, or a cathedral train fit for a princess.

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Other tools for planning your wedding remotely

Apart from Anomalie, we also love a number of other clever tools that can simplify your wedding planning process during the pandemic.

When it comes to selecting your wedding vendors, our favorite service is WeddingWire, which is the largest source of unbiased reviews for wedding vendors.

Visiting multiple venues during this time could be tricky. We love the fact that couples can browse thousands of potential wedding venues and even take virtual tours with tools like Wedding Spot.

You can also take your guest list management and invitations online with one of the many digital invitation services available like Paperless Post. This gives you the flexibility to update details like your guest list, safety information, and even your venue at short notice.

Just like dress shopping, wedding ring shopping may also be safest done from home. Thankfully, there are a number of excellent online retailers like Blue Nile, who sell a wide range of wedding rings and jewelry, while providing plenty of guidance with choosing the right style and size to suit you.

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A day to remember for the rest of your life

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to learn to adapt. Though planning your wedding during a pandemic will come with its challenges, you can still make it an exciting and joyful experience for yourselves and your guests. Keep sight of why you’re doing all this—to declare your love to each other, and commit to a lifetime together in front of those who mean the most to you.