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It’s no secret that planning a wedding is scary and busy and hectic and… a lot. That’s all without the threat of a global pandemic. Coronavirus is looming over every conversation we have and affecting every single decision we’re making, and I wish that weddings were immune from that discussion, but the very nature of getting 125 of your closest friends and family together on a dance floor makes weddings a leading point of discussion within the Coronavirus universe.
So! You’re planning your biggest day, and now… this. How do you navigate wedding planning in the age of Covid? Don’t even worry babe, I gotchu! I’m gonna walk you through- step by step- how to make sure your day goes off without a hitch!
So first things first, figure out if Coronavirus is even going to affect your big day. If your wedding isn’t until summer 2021… chances are you’re safe. Keep an eye on everything, but don’t stress yourself out about something that may very well not have an impact on your wedding day. If your wedding is still several months away, you might still be able to purchase wedding insurance- something frequently overlooked, but now proving to be a useful secret weapon!
If your date happens to fall within the next 3-6 months, the first thing you’re going to want to do is check your contracts. Most of us vendors did not plan on a global pandemic shaking things up like this, so please forgive us for maybe not explicitly having a coronavirus clause. What any good contract should however have, is a force majeure or Act of God clause. This is in no way legal advice, but! That force majeure clause ought to give some insight on how easy it will be to make changes to your event. Every contract is written differently, so walk through yours with a fine-toothed comb. Do this for each of your vendors, starting with the big ones that your wedding would fall apart without: venue, photographer, florist, caterer, DJ, etc.
The other thing to check within your contracts is the rescheduling and cancellation clause. I have waived all of my rescheduling fees, and I would encourage all of my recommended vendors to do the same. If your vendors aren’t waiving those fees, it can’t hurt to ask if they would consider it.
This is that big “keep calm” thing I was talking about. Stay calm!! Remember that the very best part of the wedding is the marriage that comes after it! After determining that your wedding date might be affected and going through your contracts with various vendors, try to go for the easiest and simplest option- postpone. The wrong reaction to have would be to immediately assume that you need to cancel everything.
Only you can answer what is the most important part of your big day. There’s no right or wrong answer, because it’s about what you want. So- what’s more important? Saying “I do” and starting forever, or celebrating your love with friends and family? The reason you have to ask this is because one path will take you to keeping with your original date (we’ll get there in a minute) and one will have you rescheduling your big celebration. Either is fine as long as they’re both done safely.
So once you decide which path to take- rescheduling or moving full steam ahead (or a combination of both!). If you want to move forward, you can still get an online marriage license and conduct a Facetime or Zoom virtual verbal agreement in some states.
Some couples may want to explore the idea of having a little virtual ceremony for their friends and families by setting up an iPad or computer and putting on a little vow exchange, first dance, or cake cutting.
While these solutions can feel like a good substitute for the traditional wedding, other couples may wish to use these as a temporary stand-in and postpone their big weddings for another day, maybe in fall of 2020, or even in 2021. If you choose to reschedule, do reach out to your favorite vendors first to ensure their availability before reaching out to those vendors who you maybe didn’t quite develop a relationship with. Obviously you want to retain as many vendors as possible, but starting with your favorites will give you peace of mind going into the rescheduling process.
If you decide to move ahead with your date right now- maybe saying “I do” and being married already is the most important thing- consider an intimate elopement instead of a ceremony. This idea is already growing in popularity, even moreso now with Coronavirus upon us. Grab your partner, an officiant, and a photographer, and make a plan! If you don’t know where to start, reach out! I’ve got tons of elopement resources I would love to pass along to you!
Last but not least, take this seriously. I know you have put so much hard work and an innumerable amount of hours spent planning your big day. It can feel absolutely devastating to push your wedding back by months, seasons, or even a full year. I think an even more devastating thing would be to have your wedding day forever associated with a tragedy. Should one of your guests become sick because they didn’t want to miss your wedding day, you will never forgive yourself.
I know that is heavy and not the one of the fun things we want to deal with when we think about planning a wedding, but we’re truly living in unprecedented times. Even telling your guests “we’re still moving forward with our original plan, but we don’t expect anybody to put themselves at risk to be with us,” can put pressure on people if you’re not planning a separate celebration for when this is all over.
Your wedding is going to be perfect- whether it happens next month or next year! You’re going to get through this difficult season and you’re going to marry the love of your life. Your guests will understand and celebrate along with you when the time is right. None of the magic will be lost, and your wedding will be one for the books!
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