When you started planning your wedding months or years ago, a worldwide health crisis probably wasn’t on your guest list. But with San Francisco enforcing shelter in place protocol for three weeks, the United States is taking measures to slow the spread down. And, of course, outbreaks and lock-downs could effect weddings planned for the next 3-6 months. Now, you’re face with a tough decision: Do you postpone your wedding during the coronavirus outbreak or not?
We know how hard you worked to plan your special day. And we know how frustrating and scary it is to reschedule a wedding during a global pandemic—on top of social distancing and loss of work. But these tips should help make your next steps—and your ultimate decision—a little easier.
1) Stay Positive
It’s tempting to read articles, scroll through social media, and start to panic. But before you make any wedding-related decisions, silence your phone, and take a few deep breaths. Remember that you can still get married, it just might look a little different than you initially planned.
For example, if there aren’t outbreaks in your area, you can visit a justice of the peace for a small, intimate exchanging of vows. Then, after the virus is contained, you can host a ceremony and reception as planned. Or, you may wait until you can be married in front of friends and family. Before calling any vendors or venues, discuss the options with your fiance, and make the best decision for everyone—including your guests.
2) Watch the News
In small doses, stay up-to-date on announcements from the CDC, along with the state you live in, the state the wedding was planned in, and any states that guests would be traveling from. We know that’s a lot! Right now, the CDC has resources to help you determine what events should be cancelled, and they are continually updating their information.
We also encourage you to call or email guests in other states, and ask them to keep you updated on their local news. Large gatherings, like weddings, are discouraged because guests traveling to and from different parts of the country can spread the virus quicker. Even if your guests are traveling from a community without outbreaks, they may come in contact with the virus during their travels, and bring it back home. On top of that, guests might not feel comfortable traveling to attend your wedding.
3) Be Patient With Vendors
Just like you, your vendors and venues have never had to worry about an event or wedding during the coronavirus outbreak before. They’re doing their best to navigate a situation that’s threatening their livelihood. You may have already received emails from some of them with next steps. If so, that’s great! Do your best to follow the next steps they provided—that way, you know your needs will be addressed.
If you haven’t heard from your vendors, call or email with your questions. But be patient—they are flooded with calls and emails from other worried couples and event planners. Leave a detailed message or email, including your name, event date, and any confirmation numbers you have. That way, it’s easy for vendors to locate you in their system and call you back to address your concerns.
4) Ask the Right Questions
It’s understandable to have a lot of questions right now. Maybe you’re concerned about deposits, or if your vendors will even be open in six months. But vendors might not know right now if they can refund you, or how long they’ll be open. Instead of looking to them for answers, try to ask helpful questions that benefit both parties.
For example, instead of cancelling, try to reschedule for a date in late 2020 or early 2021. Many other events will be cancelling, too, so you might not get your ideal date. Or it might be a few years away! Be as flexible as you can when rescheduling your event—everyone else is rescheduling, too. Consider a week day or a weekend in an off season.
5) Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner
While this specific situation is new to everyone—including wedding planners—they’re still more agile at navigating sudden changes, cancellations, and postponed weddings. This is probably your first wedding rescheduling, but it won’t be theirs. Of course, money might be tight for you right now, especially if your wedding date is fast-approaching, and deposits have already been made. But even a consultation phone call might clear your head and give advice for your specific situation.
You won’t be the first couple to ask them questions about a wedding during the coronavirus, either. This situation is new to everyone—but everyone has the same questions. And if you’re not sure what wedding planners are in your area, you can always use our online search tool to find available planners, and contact them directly through our website.
If you had a wedding planned during the next six months, it might be time to reschedule it or severely limit the number of guests that attend. Remember, though, that you can still tie the knot—just with a crowd of fewer than 10 people, if possible. (And don’t forget to wash your hands before and after the ceremony!)