What To Do If You Have A Wedding Scheduled During The Coronavirus Outbreak
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by wedding planning during COVID-19, you’re not alone. The global coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all and couples planning their weddings in 2020 and 2021 are faced with unique challenges that are totally unprecedented
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The coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has thrown into question several, if not all, aspects of daily life as we know it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by wedding planning during COVID-19, you’re not alone. The global coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all and couples planning their weddings in 2020 and 2021 are faced with unique challenges that are totally unprecedented. With wedding season fast approaching, many couples will also be questioning whether their upcoming nuptials will be able to go ahead as planned, or whether they will be forced to postpone or even cancel their big day. Of course you’ll feel frustrated and downhearted by rescheduling and replanning an event that requires as much headspace and time as your wedding day. Saying you feel disappointed about postponing your wedding doesn’t mean you don’t care about others experiencing other difficulties because of the pandemic. There is space for both.
However, like with all industries and commitments at this time, one hopes there will be leeway when it comes to the financial obligations, postponement of events and negotiating contracts given the unprecedented situation.
Deciding whether to proceed with your wedding is a question on a lot of couple’s minds right now, especially since the newly required distancing rules and the restrictions on weddings having no more than five people (being the couple, the celebrant and two witnesses). Keep in mind, the 4 square metre rule still applies. Find more information via the Government’s website here.
Check your insurance, lead with your heart—and postpone. Because, at the end of the day, all involved parties (your loved ones, your wedding vendors, our editors) want to see you say “I do” whether it be two months or 12 months from now. Due to many great vendors and suppliers, postponing has been made easy for lots of couples, as demonstrated by the discussions currently taking place in our Facebook Group ‘The Bridal Journey Covid-19 Support Group’, which now has 1,862 members. Many of our TBJ members who are also suppliers, and have been posting on our page, it seems that the general consensus is:
- Many postponed weddings are being forwarded within the same year
- Mid -2020 weddings are being postponed to the latter half of 2020
- Many have postponed weddings original planned for May 2020 to October 2020
- An increasing amount of couples that had originally planned for their weddings to take place in July and August of 2020, are keeping the same date and moving it forward into 2021.
- It appears that the end of 2020 and beginning to middle of 2021, is going to be a race for dates.
- Trying to find a new date after August, registry offices are closed until further notice, and many have already said that they will keep to a limit of 3-5 people until the end of August 2020.
– Here’s everything you need to know, from wedding insurance to letting guests know
- Keep calm and level headed.
- Employ friends and family to do the same.
- Follow CDC and local government pages.
Check with your Insurance
- First call your insurance company to explore what your policy covers and what it means for your vendor relationships. It may not cover COVID-19 but it may cover the difference in costs from vendors.
- If you don’t have insurance ensure you get it for the new postponed date.
Consult a Professional
- Speak to your planner about the possibility of a postponement and if you dont have a planner speak with the venue or caterer.
Understand the Financial
- With any change of plans comes a potential for different costs, including losses of pre-paid fees like retainers and final payments.
- Read the fine print of all your contracts that you have with the vendors. What is their cancellation policy? See if theyve missed something that allows you to receive the money you paid back outside of what’s refundable.
Plan for Additional Costs
- All the fees may change based on the season and vendors may have exchange fees based on the scope of work, whether they’re hourly or contract
Let Guests Know
- Let your guests know as soon as you’ve officially decided to change your date.
Talk to your Vendor
- Ask for three-four open date.
- Keep an open mind as there will be a lot of people looking for mid-week weddings.
- Keep in mind that wedding vendors are small businesses and they are greatly impacted by the affects of COVID-19. Many vendors are offering to credit your existing payments for a transferred date or towards other services (photo sessions, floral arrangements, etc.) if you ultimately decide not to move forward with a new wedding date.
Discuss with Hired Vendors
- Once you’ve spoken with your planner and venue about rescheduled dates and understand your vendor contracts and postponement clauses reach out to the vendors you’ve hired about rebooking.
- Send a mass email to your vendors with the dates so you can make it work. Do this in sections. Talk to primary / major vendors for example, photographer and then reach out to vendors who can do more than one wedding on your set date such as, cake, hire companies, et cetera. Here are the questions she recommends asking when contacting your vendors:
- Discuss possible alternative dates right away so that you have a back-up plan ready and don’t need to make a decision without knowing where your suppliers and venue stand in terms of availability. By looking at weekdays instead of weekends, and off-season dates instead of peak dates where you live, you’re more likely to be able to move all your plans smoothly. Find out whether your deposit (or any other fees paid to date) are transferrable should the wedding be postponed.
- Ask your suppliers whether there is a cut-off point for certain costs – for example, when your florist or caterer need to place their final order. They will work with you on a one-to-one basis and be as flexible as they can, but there may be a deadline beyond which certain costs have to be recovered if the event does not go forward as planned.
- Find out what their policy as of one day, one week, or one month before the wedding if you end up needing to cancel or postpone at the last minute.
- Discuss what their policy would be in case you end up needing to significantly reduce the scale of the wedding and just invite close family, or choose to hold the wedding ceremony but delay the reception. Would there be financial penalties for this?
- Ask what would happen if postponing or cancelling is triggered as a result of the government or local authority banning social gatherings.
- It’s ok to ask if they have any contingencies in place in the case that they cannot fulfill their product/service due to illness. Do they know of other suppliers who may be able to help? They will more than likely be part of a wider network and can recommend an alternative for your date if they become unavailable.
Choosing a new Date
- Consider availability and find a new date that feels comfortable. When are we available? when are our families available? Is the venue free? Is our photographer available?
- Be flexible
Inform Your Guests
- There is no need to redo printed invitations. We recommend a paperless post update so you can check who received the email and the system upsates you with who has opened the message.
- If you have had to postpone or cancel quite close to your wedding date and you need to notify your guests ASAP, then a call, text, WhatsApp message or email are your best options. This could be a huge task depending on the size of your guest list, so if it helps, group your messages by friends and family or ask family members to help you call around.
- Simply letting guests know that you have decided to postpone and that more details are to come will suffice. Including additional information that you are not 100% sure of could only cause more confusion at this point. If you want to, you can also include some background on why you have come to this decision. Though not normally necessary if the reason for cancelling or postponing is a private matter, the current COVID-19 pandemic is no secret!
A lot of things are very uncertain at the moment but one thing is clear – we are so excited to celebrate our wedding day with you. However, after talking it over, we’ve decided to postpone our special day until we can properly celebrate together. When hugging, kissing and dancing in close circles is allowed again we will set a new date and be in touch. Until then, stay safe.
After careful consideration, and in light of the current situation around the world, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone our wedding celebrations that were to take place on (Date). The health of all our loved ones is our priority and we want to wait until it’s safe for everyone to attend. We will be sending out more details in the coming weeks.
We are heartbroken to say that our wedding has been postponed. Rules and regulations have been put in place and we respect the situation is completely out of our hands. The health of our family and friends will always come first. We will reach out with more details once we have set a new date.
Due to high risk to the health of our family and friends, the wedding of (Name) to (Name) will not take place on (Date) as originally planned. A new wedding date will be announced as soon as possible. If any of you have any questions about your accommodation arrangements, please let us know.
- This may include your new wedding date or a simple announcement that your plans have changed and to keep an eye out for more information. If you haven’t already, this would be a great time to set up a wedding website (which you can link on your Change the Date card!) where you can provide updates to guests as they happen. Most wedding websites also allow you to contact your guests all at once through your site, which is just another great reason to have one.
Can I get married with social distancing?
If you’ve ever considered eloping, now is the time! There are no rules when it comes to weddings and shifting your plans to an elopement can allow you to celebrate your love as planned without risking the safety of your loved ones.
Couples around the world are transitioning their weddings online with a livestream of their ceremony or using Zoom or Google Hangouts to invite guests to a digital reception. Everyone can pour their own glass of champagne, your Maid of Honor and Best Man can give their toasts, and you can enjoy an at-home dance party using your favourite playlist. If you do choose to elope, remember that you can always throw the reception of your dreams at a later date when it’s safe to gather in large groups again. Planning a reception for the future can also be a good way to work with the vendors you’ve already hired as your deposit and payments may be used towards the new event.