Coronavirus and Wedding Planning - A match made in... ?
Updated: Mar 16
OH MY GOD THE WORLD IS ENDING
(or maybe it isn't. Yeah, probably not.)
But it does feel that way right now, doesn't it? I know the sudden cancellation of all my work and social plans caught me off-guard. At least in how quickly we went from "hey, this virus thing is crazy huh? Funny meme about beer!" to "everyone stay inside, hoard toilet paper, Ahhhhhh!" (seriously though, how much toilet paper do we need? Surely not 240 rolls of it...)
In light of all that's happening, I wanted to address, both seriously, and with optimism, what COVID-19 might mean for upcoming wedding plans. Things feel a little uncertain, but it's ok to look forward with hope!
What do we need to anticipate?
For those of you with a wedding in the coming weeks, months, or even years, there are a few major things to think about:
1) Will everyone be able to attend?
Between travel, and the concern for particularly vulnerable people (parents? grandparents? older friends and relatives or those with preexisting conditions?), for the near future some guests may not be able to attend your full wedding. This may make it a no-go, because you won't get married without mom or uncle Marty there, but it also may mean a few other things. There ARE options for those who don't have travel restrictions making it a non-starter:
Having a smaller ceremony, on or before your scheduled wedding day, allowing those who are most important to be present for your actual marriage, without exposing them to a large group of potentially contagious people. You can add on a separate private ceremony in advance, or simply restrict the guests that you invite to the ceremony you've planned. You can still hold your reception as planned, but changing up just the ceremony allows for a happy medium without losing out on all those wonderful touches you've been planning for months or years!
Live-streaming - The number of couples adding plans to live-stream their ceremony and/or reception has skyrocketed. Some people are adding videography all together, having not planned to have it originally and now seeing the value in having a video to share with those who can't make it from overseas, or due to health concerns!
Postponing - Lots of companies - myself included - are very open and understanding about the situation we're all in. Talk to your vendors about rescheduling. They may wave some fees (I myself am allowing date changes for no added costs at the moment). It's not a guarantee, but you won't know until you ask! No one wants to have to do this, but if you know you won't be able to enjoy your wedding day under the current restrictions, then make the call!
Elopement - if you don't already have a venue locked down, or a date planned, and this is something you've been considering anyway, maybe this is the sign to go with your gut! Elopements can be a beautiful way to celebrate your love intimately and personally. You can have a photographer and filmmaker capture the day, and share that with loved ones. And then you can still have a big party later if you want when things have calmed down and there's less stress or pressure!
2) How do we keep everyone safe?
The CDC (and every facebook and instagram meme) has been telling us to wash our hands. This is still the best advice we have right now.
Talk to your venue, but spreading hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) dispensers in convenient locations is another great way to encourage guests to keep germ-free. You can also talk to your DJ and event staff about limiting calls for dances and games that require close contact with strangers.
Limiting your guest list, and holding events in large open spaces. As much as you worked to keep your guest list small, you may need to double those efforts in order to keep everyone safe and still be able to gather with your dearest and closest love ones.
Instead of having ushers escort guests and hand out programs to each person individually, have programs be distributed to seats in advance and have ushers simply direct guests to their appropriate seats.
3) Should I cancel? What happens if I do?
The "should I" part is becoming less and less of an option for those of you with large weddings in the immediate future. Whether you postpone or cancel, in places where limits on gatherings are in effect, is up to you and what you think is best for your circumstances. While many may have a strong opinion one way or another, only you know what is best for you and your circumstances, and keep in mind if you do hold your event, the same will be true for your guests. BUT this does bring me to something for which I'm a big advocate:
WEDDING / EVENT INSURANCE
Though obviously none of us foresaw this particular pandemic, getting insurance can be a massive relief if/when you have circumstances arise that force postponements or cancellations. You never want to have to choose between keeping your family safe, visiting a sick loved one, or ignoring a government-ordered quarantine and your wedding day. And you never want to have to lose all that money by choosing the (obviously more important) family/loved ones. If it's not too late, considering getting it for your wedding.
4) Can I still plan my wedding for next year?
Obviously, I'm not a soothsayer, but the answer is most likely: YES.
For some of you like myself, right now your job will be taking you out of the house less and you'll actually have MORE time to plan without the hours spent commuting or in meetings that could have been emails. The good news is, this will eventually end, and it's ok to be optimistic and find things to look forward to!
You can still look at venues and vendors and plan and dream and cook up all the great ideas you have. If you know you don't want to put down deposits now due to job or other uncertainties, that doesn't mean you can't still think ahead. Reach out to preferred vendors, speak to them about how you're feeling, express interest. Most people, especially in the current climate, will be happy to put you on first-refusal, meaning if they get another inquiry for your date they'll let you know before booking another couple.
That when, when things start to go back to normal and you're ready to pull the trigger, you're one quick step away from locking things in rather than starting a whole new inquiry process right as your job is getting crazy again.
What else are you thinking about? How can I help you plan? Call me, let me know! If you're feeling good and making plans, check out my timeline planning guide for tips on keeping your day running smoothly!
Keep your head up, I promise we will get through this together! Stay Happy, healthy and hopeful.