We are living in a very uncertain and unprecedented time. Currently, this pandemic is shaping and constantly changing our lifestyle (at least for the time being) - the way we live, the way we work, and the way we interact with each other and things are still continuing to change. This is a stressful time indeed. We know many of you are struggling with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects your wedding plans - it can be extra stressful. And if your wedding or wedding-related events are just around the corner, you probably have a ton of questions. Whether you are having your wedding at home or overseas, there are countless things to take into account surrounding COVID-19. As you navigate through the difficult decisions that need to be addressed, including postponing or canceling your wedding, we are here to inform you on some frequently asked questions by other couples and what they entail.
Recently, various governments announced that weddings are allowed again, while this is great news for the wedding industry, many couples are unhappy and disappointed about the conditions. Under the new guidance, social distancing of 1-2 meters between individuals should always be observed, always wear face masks/ coverings, and less than half of the venue’s capacity will only be used. Other further restrictions include no food and drinks to be consumed as part of the event (meaning no wedding reception), and sanitation and hygiene is paramount. A lot of couples have made the decision to cancel their wedding at the earlier stages of li\ockdown. However, those who were holding out to see if restrictions will be dropped later now find themselves in a difficult position and are thinking of postponing the wedding. If you are one of these couples, then you would naturally have a lot of logistical questions.
We are here to help you navigate through this ever changing situation and support you in every step of the way. Here we’ve answered some of the most asked questions we know are on your minds so you can solve this labyrinth of a predicament.
Should we postpone?
The biggest question every couple is probably thinking right now, should we postpone/ cancel the wedding? It is important to note that there really is no ‘right’ answer to this question. It is a highly complicated question and deciding whether you should move forward or postpone your wedding is a personal decision where you and your partner should both arrive at. Consider all the variables before deciding.
- Timing. If your wedding is planned for 2020, then there is still time to see how this situation changes before deciding what to do. But if your wedding is just right around the corner, the need to make a decision probably feels more pressing. Here are the things that you should know about the current situation. The CDC recommends canceling or postponing events with a guest count of 10 or more people for the next few weeks.
- Location. Is your wedding going to be held at or near a coronavirus hotspot? Is the place where you are planning to hold your wedding under strict restrictions? If so, moving forward with your wedding might not be possible under these circumstances.
- Travel. It would be very difficult to travel especially abroad. The CDC has recommended people to avoid non-essential travel. Plus, countries are closing borders, and flights are getting cancelled. If you are planning on a destination wedding, the logistics of getting to the location might prove challenging (or impossible).
So, should you postpone? It truly is a personal decision between you and your partner. If your wedding is planned for the next few months, it’s important to understand how the coronavirus and the restrictions that are in place could impact the festivities—and, more importantly, the health and safety of you and your guests.
Here are other frequently asked questions by couples:
Can you have a civil marriage for legal purposes and then be married in the church at a later time?
Absolutely! If you are really set on marrying the love of your life this year, you can always opt for a civil wedding then have a lavish wedding when the COVID-19 pandemic passes. This is more true for couples who need marriage certificates for legal purposes.
We just got engaged—where is the best place to start planning a wedding with COVID?
It varies greatly on the country and city that you live in and the regulations that are currently in place. But we highly recommend that you choose an outdoor location. COVID-19 is less likely to be passed to another person outdoors. Whether you have a wedding ceremony in a farm, in a backyard, vineyard, or beach, you can always play it safe for you and your guests.
What is the best way to let our guests know of the postponement?
Every possible way is the best way. As long as every invited guest - especially those who RSVP'd yes - is informed. If you postpone, you should immediately tell your guests. Email? Call? Message? And if you have a budget, send beautiful cards and mail it. They would greatly appreciate the effort of you letting them know.
Micro wedding tips?
Since you have shaved down your guest list, you might find yourself more flexible with the wedding budget and therefore can spend more on the ceremony itself. Spend more on the decor and think about how you can improve your experience and your guests’. Splurge the money you have allotted for the wedding reception on other things. Now that you have way fewer guests, astonish them! This is the best time to go all out with your wedding ceremony. Upgrade the elements of your wedding ceremony. That wedding dress that felt too pricey and out of reach? You can now afford that! You can even get the wedding photographer that you really liked but didn’t have enough budget. This is a great opportunity to refocus your wedding elements.
What are considered "safe" venues right now?
The immediate thing that comes to mind is the outdoors! Spacious, constantly flowing air, and open. Think about gardens, vineyards, , backyards, rooftop decks, the beach, and even mountaintops! Anywhere that you can ensure that everyone is socially distanced from one another and can minimize risks.
How do we try and ask for a refund over cancelled weddings from our vendors?
If you do decide not to move forward with the celebration, you will need to have a difficult conversation with your vendors to figure out a way to solve this predicament. We suggest that you review the contract that you signed and see what your options are for cancelling, and what the subsequent fees are. But ultimately, the key to these negotiations is empathy. It is obvious that you want your vendors to empathize with your situation and to work out a solution. But you should also have empathy for their situation as well. They rely on these events for their livelihood and with weddings and other events being cancelled or postponed left and right, they’re also in a tough position. So work out a solution where both parties can agree with and benefit from.
Should early January 2021 weddings be pushed back?
If you envision to host a wedding that looks closer to the ‘normal’ wedding then we do recommend pushing back the celebration until local agencies can provide more freedom. Otherwise, we suggest that you consider having a micro wedding celebration with your already booked wedding vendors.
When is it too late to postpone?
The latest we think of holding off to postpone would be about a month (or more), this is when you are supposed to send your wedding invitations. With that said, you should also have a backup plan in place if ever the date confirmed works for all your vendors and most of your guests.
Will indoor weddings be permitted in the near future?
From the trend that we are seeing, indoor weddings are highly unlikely to take place in the near future. This is the best time to take advantage of great outdoor wedding venues and all the beauty it has to offer.
Can we have an elopement and have the party later?
This might be the best idea for now! You can even have ‘better’ wedding photos if you choose to have elopements. You can focus more on each other, improve your relationship, and spend more time with each other. Enjoy the moment with each other now and party later with your family and friends when it is safe to do so.
How to plan a 2021 destination wedding?
For your international destination wedding, be sure that you and your wedding vendors are all in agreement when it comes to cancellation policies, fees, refunds, and rescheduling due to possible travel bans. You should also consider domestic destination weddings - you would be surprised that there are stunning locations that you can elope in your local area. You should always be aware of the changing regulations and restrictions in your area and the place where you wish to elope in.
Should I still have bridesmaids?
If there’s one thing we learned during this COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that less is more. So we would recommend that you can have bridesmaids support you from afar. They would still be celebrating with you, they can be seated in the first or second row but this time it’s a little more intimate for you and your partner.
Is it totally irresponsible to have a wedding right now?
You really shouldn’t feel like being irresponsible for having a wedding during this time. If anything, this is the perfect time to get married because this pandemic has shown us how valuable our relationships are. This is your moment! But it doesn’t have to be huge and expensive. It just has to be romantic and genuine.
Postpone or scale down?
The answer is both and neither! Confused? Do what feels right for you and your circumstance. But be aware of COVID-19 restrictions and always follow safety protocols.
How can we make our at-home wedding extra special?
Think of all the things that are sentimental to you and your partner, things that have meaning in your life, and what spaces reflect you. Your favorite tree in your backyard? Sounds like the perfect place for your wedding ceremony.