It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has been causing mass panic among 2020 brides over the last month or so. Whether you’re set to marry this spring, summer, fall or even winter. It’s on your mind. The government is saying no to social gatherings but you’ve been planning for your wedding day for months; even years! So what are you supposed to do now? In the light of our current situation, I thought I’d sit down and write a blog for not only my brides, but brides everywhere on what they can do to stay up to date with the current happenings of COVID, what they need to be thinking about concerning their wedding, what to do if they need to rescheduled, and so on. Disclaimer: I am not a coronavirus expert – just a wedding photographer who sincerely wants her couples weddings to be able to go on as planned.
2020 was supposed to be your best year yet. It was supposed to be all of ours! January took 1,000 days and February flew by. Then we got to March and things started getting weird. On March 11th, 2020 – COVID-19 officially became a nation wide pandemic and that is when the panic started to ensue among brides everywhere. The government started shutting things down, social gatherings became an absolute no-no; so what are you supposed to do about your wedding?
Since you probably have a little extra time on your hands right now, take an hour and listen to this podcast!
Brittany is a fantastic wedding planner and owns Brittany Anne’s Events located in Morgantown, WV which specializes in wedding day rentals. She also hosts her own podcast (So You Said Yes – The Do’s and Don’ts of Wedding Planning) and in light of the corona virus, decided to add on a special episode just for brides that have been affected by it.
Stay informed by keeping up with reputable sources.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has said to restrict large group gatherings, reinforced Sunday, March 15. “Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities,” the official bulletin read. “Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.”
Basically, that says to say to goodbye to your wedding plans. So what should you do now?
First of all, remember, it’s really okay to be bummed about having to reschedule your wedding. It’s such a special day and you deserve to have it play out just like you envisioned. You’re not being selfish by wanting your day to go on as planned. I’ve talked with several of my brides on the subject and most of them tell me how sad they are about postponing but they also feel that they’re being selfish by being sad. Yes, this virus is bigger than we are and it’s bigger than a wedding. The health of your loved-ones is so important.
So should I elope or have a micro-ceremony?
If you’re a spring 2020 bride, you’ve probably already started researching your options to elope or just have a very small ceremony. This is a good option for those that may want to keep their original wedding date and plan their reception for later, when it’s safe. Eloping seems to be most popular as couples want to actually get married on their original date. 2 people, their officiant and photographer set off into the woods, by the lake, up a mountain or anywhere really; the couple says I do, intimately with no guests, take some beautiful portraits and you’ll officially be married. Some may call it what it is and forego the reception all together and some reschedule just their reception so they can still share in a special day with all of their guests.
Micro-ceremonies have become popular trend over the last few years but of course, now people are turning to them because they are necessary. Micro-ceremonies are for very small groups of friends and family; typically between 5-30 guests. You can basically have all the bells and whistles of a traditional wedding just with a fewer number of people. You can still have a beautifully decorated ceremony site, gorgeous details adorning your reception tables, and guess what… Since the number of guests has gone way down, you will have a lot more money to drop into other categories on the wedding day. Your catering budget will go way down from not having to feed as many mouths so maybe you can splurge on that pair of Bella Belle shoes you’ve been eyeing. Now you’ll only need to rent enough tables for 15 guests instead of 150. Save that money and add it to the honeymoon fund. It may not be the wedding day you had in mind but you can still have a beautiful micro ceremony and you’ll be saving some bucks in the process.
What if I don’t think a micro cermony is right for us and I just want to postpone all together?
If having each of your guests there in person on your wedding day is important to you and you think postponing might be your best option.
1. My first suggestion is to reach out to your wedding venue.
Availability is going to be even more limited as a result of all of the reschedules this year. Some brides are choosing to postpone until late 2020 and some are postponing a year or more out. Keep in mind, these postponements are coming on top of all of the couples that were already set to marry in 2021. So get in touch with your venue ASAP, even if you haven’t decided your plan yet.
Here’s what you should be talking with them about:
- Get an idea of what dates they have available for the remainder of 2020 and 2021.
- See if they’d possibly let you put a hold on a future date given it comes down to that.
- Ask them about their policy when it comes to your contract and the money you’ve already paid to them for your current wedding date. (Will that money be transferable to a new date, is the price you paid locked in from the time you booked your wedding – given their prices have changed).
- What happens if you cannot find an agreeable date with them and the rest of your wedding vendors.
- Basically all the things. Just ask them to fill you in on everything from start to finish of what it would look like if you had to reschedule.
But don’t settle on a new date and sign your new contract just yet!
2. My next suggestion, after you talk with your wedding venue, reach out to the rest of your wedding vendors. This includes photographers, videographers, caterers, bakers, entertainment, hair and makeup, rentals – anyone that has anything to do with your date.
You want to get an availability check from them too. I suggest settling on 3-5 dates that the venue has given you for a possible reschedule and throwing them out to your vendors. Ask them what their availability looks like for the new date to see if it’s feasible for most, if not all of them. You will probably find that your vendors will be more than willing to do everything in their power to keep your business and make this unexpected experience the best it can possibly be.
So now that you have your new wedding date…
I think you’ll genuinely be surprised just how easily things will fall into place from here. In the beginning, it may seem like the world is against you. It may seem impossible to reschedule an event of 150+ plus people. And even if some of your vendors may not be able to accommodate your new date, lucky for you, here in West Virginia, our vendor relationships run strong. I know, personally, I am able to help recommend available vendors in just about every category. The coronavirus has taken a toll on our businesses just as it’s taken a toll on your wedding. We have come together even stronger than before and we are all prepared to help brides in need!
Skip out on the personalization.
I know, I know. This is a hard pill to swallow. Hop on Etsy and you’ll find personalizations of every form for a wedding day. You can really get anything personalized these days! Although you may very much want to get your wedding date embroidered on something or printed on your signage, I think your safest bet (to be able to use these things again incase of a reschedule) would be to skip out on the personalization. Definitely still personalize things with your names! But leaving out your date will save you the hassle (and money) in case you find yourself with a new wedding date.
Do you have a wedding website where guests can check in on the status of your wedding? If not, that’s my next suggestion!
There are tons of places online to create a FREE wedding website. I’ll link to a few below but you can also just Google! A wedding website may seem like one more thing to add to your already crazy wedding planning to-do list, but in today’s day and age, it really is the fastest, most convenient way to keep your guests up to date. I also think once you get started, you’ll find it to be a lot of fun! Maybe it’ll even take your mind off of things for a while so your wedding planning experience can feel a little more ‘normal’.
Check out these sites for a free wedding website:
If you want to stay traditional, send a “Change the Date” card in the mail!
Remember, your guests have probably had your date saved on their calendars for a while. They are probably just as anxious as you are about details on the wedding. If you need to change your wedding date, send a postponement card in the mail ASAP.
My friend, Allison, from Paper Hearts Invitations is doing something amazing for couples that have been affected by the virus! Regardless of if you are a current client of hers or not. If your wedding needs to be postponed and/or rescheduled she will create a digital graphic that compliments your wedding invitation design to send to your family and friends electronically. You can find out more about her offer HERE.
An example of Allison’s work:
Remember guys. No one saw this coming. I understand that wedding planning was probably already one of the most stressful things you’ve ever had to do. And then the world added on this crazy pandemic to top it off. It might seem impossible and at times you’ll probably just feel like giving up. But I’m here for you as are the rest of the amazing wedding vendors here in West Virginia. We want you to have the best day ever and even if it’s not the exact wedding day that you originally had planned; at the end of the day when you’ve said your ‘I do’s’, when the cake is cut, when you’ve had your first dance and laughed the day away; you won’t even think twice about the day you ‘should have’ had – because your wedding day will play out just as it was meant to!