Is COVID-19 affecting your wedding plans? It’s totally acceptable to be upset, to cry, to break something… You’ve likely been planning your wedding for the past 12 months and now this stupid virus is throwing a wrench in all of your painstakingly perfect plans! Take a minute to be in your feelings. This whole situation is rough. But realize you are not alone in this. There are an estimated 40 million weddings per year. I’ll say it again, 40 MILLION. And every single person in the world is dealing with the ramifications of this virus, wedding related or not. It’s okay to be devastated.
Most importantly, DON’T PANIC. My heart is hurting for all the couples that have to make the tough decision of cancelling or postponing what’s supposed to be the happiest day of their lives. It’s a heavy decision, emotionally and financially. But worst case scenario, you still get to marry your person. That’s some significant silver lining!
Once you’ve had your cry…and a bottle of comfort wine, you’ll need to come up with a game plan. This is still a pretty darn exciting time in your life! So let’s talk about each of your options and how you can get ahead of this thing.
*Before you make any big decisions, make sure you are up-to-date on the latest CDC recommendations.
If you are planning on keeping your original wedding date:
- Reach out to your vendors with your intentions. If any of them are infected or immunocompromised and can’t complete the service, this will give you time to find a replacement. Your vendors will likely already have some options lined up. Ask what steps they are taking to ensure the safety of your guests.
- Schedule your prewedding to-dos ASAP. Including marriage license, dress fitting, online orders, invitations, basically anything that involves a third party. Expect everything to take longer than normal and plan accordingly. If you’re worried about these delays, try shopping locally for things like dresses, rings, or favors.
- Keep your guests informed but understand that some may not make it due to travel restrictions or personal health concerns. You may even want to consider minimizing the guest list and live streaming for those that have to stay home. The guests that can’t make it will be super appreciative.
- Take extra precautions to prevent the spread of germs. The wellbeing of you and your guests should be top priority so think about implementing the following:
- Set up hand sanitizer stations
- Skip the buffet and opt for a plated dinner
- Have less guests per table
- Move the wedding outdoors
- Limit hugging and kissing
- Instead of photobooth props, try a custom backdrop (like one of these!)
- Be flexible. We don’t know how long this thing will last and it’s very likely that you will have to make some last minute decisions based on things that are out of your control. Remember, your day is going to be AMAZING no matter what.
If you are planning on postponing your wedding:
- Notify your vendors ASAP. Many vendors are working with clients to reschedule but they may not all be available on your new date. If you have a wedding planner, they can definitely help coordinate with the other vendors to find a date that works for everyone. In the event that a vendor can’t reschedule, review the contract to see what their cancellation policy. If you purchased wedding insurance, be prepared to file a wedding insurance claim should you lose any money.
- Keep your guests informed. Once you have scheduled a new date with your vendors, update your wedding website, send announcements via mail, and/or designate someone to call your guests (this is great job for parents or siblings!). Understand that some guests that previously responded “yes” may no longer be available. Reach out to your invitation supplier to see how they can help. Some have even offered to reprint invites with a new date at no additional cost!
- Take extra precautions. If the virus is still traveling through the community and you are in a high risk area, continue to take all the hygiene precautions mentioned above.
- Remember, even if you need to postpone the wedding, you do NOT need to postpone getting married. Many couples are married long before their wedding celebrations with their families for a myriad of reasons. If you just can’t spend another day not married to the love of your life (or you just don’t want that marriage license to expire), have a private ceremony!
If you are planning on cancelling your wedding:
- Take a deep breath. This may be the toughest decision you’ll have to make (or it may be completely out of your control). It’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling, so just let yourself feel it.
- Notify your vendors. If you’ve already booked your vendors, see what their cancellation policy is. You may lose some retainers, or incur a cancellation fee, depending on how far ahead you are cancelling. Some vendors may be willing to apply a credit. For example, a photographer may transfer your credit to a future portrait session.
- Notify your guests. Designate someone to make these phone calls for you. You are not going to want to have this conversation with 100 different people, you’re already going through a lot. Let someone else take this off your plate.
- Consider eloping. Just because you are canceling your wedding, doesn’t mean you can’t have a memorable wedding day! You still want to get married, don’t you? If there are any vendor contracts you just can’t get out of, see if you can still use their services. Ideally, you’d have a dress and suit, a bouquet, the rings, and maybe a cupcake to share (or 2 cupcakes if you’re hungry…), a photographer to capture it all. And at the absolute least, all you need is an officiant and that marriage license. It won’t be the big party you had originally planned but I promise it will be romantic.
More than anything, stay safe, stay happy, and stay excited. At the end of the day, you still get to marry the one person you love more than anyone in the world and that’s awesome.