Uncertain Times: Planning Your Wedding During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Updated: Mar 18, 2020
Understandably, we are experiencing a lot of stress and/or unsettled feelings about the national & international crisis surrounding COVID-19 Coronavirus. Things are changing rapidly and responses to addressing this pandemic are widespread. The spread of Coronavirus is a concern and thus, in many, if not most areas, large gatherings have been banned. So how will the wedding industry respond? How will event spaces, engaged couples and wedding professionals respond and adjust to all that is going on? The short answer is… we will. For you, planning your wedding in this uncertain time, can be stressful. So let’s take a look at what you can do to navigate these waters.
Don’t Believe Everything You See, Hear Or Read - With information (whether accurate or not) available just about everywhere, you should defer to trusted resources for accurate information. By visiting The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization websites, you’ll have the latest information from trusted experts. You can also connect with the CDC via Twitter.
Relax… It’ll Be Ok - There’s no need to panic. Keep in mind that you’ve found the love of your life and all will be well. Even if you must adjust your plans, location, guest count or even your honeymoon… none of the above, are required for a great marriage. Of course, you want the wedding day you’ve planned. However, take a moment to remember what’s important. You’ll get through this!
Assess Your Situation - When is your wedding?
Within 30 Days… If your date falls within the date range of the current state of emergency in the applicable city, county or state where your wedding will take place, you must act now to develop a plan.
Within 90 Days… As we are unsure as to when restrictions on travel and large gatherings may be lifted, your wedding date may still be in the “danger zone.” Now is the time to develop a contingency plan.
Within Six Months… This is a tricky area. Popular opinion believes that you are in a “safe zone” with your wedding plans. If so, then travel restrictions & event spaces will likely be able to accommodate your plans, as-is. It would be smart however, to keep a close eye on how matters develop and could alter your plans.
Within One Year - Sit back, relax and keep your plans intact. Of course, if we are impacted by COVID-19 Coronavirus to a greater degree than expected, take action as your timetable decreases.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help - In all likelihood, you have a network of friends, family or online chat group(s). Utilize these resources. While all advice may not apply, by asking questions, you’ll get answers and quite possibly, you’ll introduce a topic that someone else has either encountered or one that should be introduced. Allow your networks to be a part of your support system!
Know Your Financial Standing - If you are feeling or will feel the financial impact of a work shutdown or reduced income, forecast and plan ahead. Plan “A” may no longer be an option if your wedding budget takes an unexpected hit. Get a new plan in the works by revisiting your wedding budget and taking steps to cut costs where possible. Sure it may be tough, but cost cutting measures may be necessary if your budget changes.
Get Down To Business - Reread the contracts you have with various vendors. Make sure you understand the deposit & final payment policies along with related refund policies. What happens if you postpone or cancel? How will your (already made) payments be applied? Any reputable vendor should amend their policies to soften the blow to their clients. There should be an “Act Of God” or “Force Majeure” clause in each contract. These clauses will protect either side from damages in an instance where unforeseeable circumstances prevent the fulfillment of a contract. You’ll want clarity in terms of what your remaining obligations are and where payments can be commuted, delayed or refunded, if needed.
Get all amendments and updates to your contracts in writing. You do not want a "word of mouth" promise to go "forgotten" in the chaos of many couples changing or altering wedding plans. What if the person who made a verbal promise no longer works there? While a phone call or text message (yes I know texts are "in writing") are OK, having an email to reference is MUCH better. Get it in writing!
Utilize Technology - An increasingly popular tool in planning weddings, technology can help you to communicate and deliver info to your guests in mass. Use your wedding website to post the latest info regarding travel, updates to your plans and so forth. This will help in two major ways…
1) You’ll have your plans in print where you or anyone can refer to it.
2) Your guests will have ONE PLACE to go for information. Believe me, it is much easier to post important info to your website or via a group messaging app than it is to field scores of phone calls, emails and text messages, individually.
Think Of Your Guests - For those who cannot travel or in instances where you must scale down your wedding plans, try to find alternate ways to include your guests. Consider posting videos, or even better, stream your wedding day (at least the important parts) via Facebook live. Those who are unable to attend will be able to tune in and enjoy your best day!
Think Of Yourself - Your physical & mental health are so very important in getting through this. You can’t be your best if your cup is half-full. So take the time to look out for yourself in whatever way works for you. Again, keep in mind that this should be the happiest time of your life. While the world we live in is certainly going through a crisis, self care is still an important part of getting through this.