No matter how much you’ve planned for your wedding, no one could have planned for COVID-19 and the impact it would have on spring weddings around the world. If the conversation of postponing your wedding plans has come up (or is inevitably fast approaching) here are a few of the most important topics to discuss with your partner and how to plan accordingly.
Keeping or changing your wedding date
With quarantining, shut downs, and social distancing in full swing chances are that the decision to postpone your wedding may have already been made for you based on venue closures and government policies surrounding gatherings of certain sizes.
Every day is changing and we don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future so if your date is on the horizon and you aren’t sure when to start thinking about postponing, contact your vendors and see where they’re at in the rescheduling process. Vendors are most commonly rescheduling in chronological order. For example, if your wedding is in late May, but your vendors are currently rescheduling late April weddings, your wedding will not be on the forefront of their rescheduling plans as other couples are taking top billing since their wedding is coming up sooner than yours.
Getting married in quarantine is becoming an increasing trend. If you are set on moving forward on your wedding date and have someone willing to officiate, stand on the front steps or out in the street with your officiant more than six feet away to celebrate your wedding from a safe social distance or get married inside with your officiant Videoing in from their residence. Even better, all your guests can still be in attendance for the nuptials with the help of Zoom, Skype or any group streaming service. Be safe and remember that nothing is worth putting loved ones at risk in any way, shape, or form.
You aren’t required to stick to your date by any means so if you want to wait until everyone can be together to share the joy in person, postpone the celebration altogether and let your guests know that a future date will be forthcoming (or what the future date is if you’ve already decided). Be sure to let them know personally and not with a generic social media post that they may not all see.
Working with your vendors
Clear and open communication with your vendors is critical during this time, but not as important being kind. ALWAYS be kind with your wedding professionals. This is just as stressful a time for them as it is for you. If you are working with a wedding planner, reach out to them for guidance. They will oversee communication with your vendors and coordinate finding a new date that works for most or all of your vendors.
Choosing your new date
Once you get available dates from your vendors you can start to make decisions. For example, if all of your vendors but one are available on your new date, you’ll need to ask yourself if you want to find a new vendor to replace them or keep looking for a date that works for everyone (or works for the vendors you have your heart set on). Would you rather choose the date that your photographer is available or your DJ? Your caterer or your bartender? You may be asked these tough questions so make sure you talk these decisions out with your partner before confirming a new date.
If you don’t already have a wedding planner, now is the time to look into getting planning assistance. There are a few ways to go about this, keeping in mind no way is the wrong way.
Look for free/discounted advice – Many planners and other wedding professionals are currently offering advice on their social media channels for those whose events are being affected by COVID-19. Follow experienced planners who have been in the industry for a long time and/or work in an area that’s been affected by rescheduled events such as hurricanes or snowstorms.
Speak with your day-of coordinator – If you’ve already hired a day-of coordinator, reach out to them to see if they are able to help or are extending their services beyond that day. Remember, vendors and event professionals have been heavily effected and are losing work and income so do not assume that any vendor is looking to take on more work or go beyond their scope for free.
Consult a lawyer – Having signed vendor contracts for each of your wedding professionals, you may want to consult a lawyer if you are unsure of the impact COVID-19 is having on your contracts, especially when it comes to deposits and final payment in the event that you need to terminate your agreement with a vendor who is not available on your new date.
Starting the rescheduling process
Every day is changing so here are a few things you can do to keep yourself prepared.
Pay attention to the news – Watching the news can be daunting these days, but make sure you are keeping your eye on the current Center for Disease Control guidelines and your local government protocols as they pertain to quarantine, group sizes, and the opening of venues or other event spaces.
Keep open communication with your vendors – Don’t assume that once your vendor told you all the dates that they’re available, that they’ve kept all those dates open for you. If you need a week to make a decision, let them know. If you have questions, ask them. If you have a date in mind you’re considering, ask them about it.
Air on the side of caution – If it looks like your wedding date may fall on the cusp of possibly being able to be held, you may want to put the plans in motion to reschedule for later in the year. The further into the year we get, the more dates will begin to book up with rescheduled weddings.
No matter what is happening in the world, there’s one major factor that won’t change. You’ll always have each other. Whether you have a postponed wedding a few months from now, years from now or you elope and skip a wedding altogether, you will always have each other to rely on when times get tough.