It’s March, and the wedding season is just starting to pick up. But something else is rapidly expanding as well – the Coronavirus (or COVID-19). As a professional photographer in the wedding industry, we are now experiencing many couples expressing anxiety over the outbreak, and rightfully so. As if planning a wedding isn’t stressful enough for a bride and groom, adding a pandemic into the mix adds a myriad of other concerns and stresses. We at Three16 Photography have put together a list of suggestions for “ How to Plan a Wedding During the CoronaVirus Outbreak ” because after all, you may be asking yourself questions like:
and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, standard wedding insurance doesn’t cover cancellations due to anxiety over a global health crisis. But there are things that you can do to not cancel your wedding despite the chaos of the Coronavirus outbreak. We’ve created some helpful tips to assist couples who are in the planning stages of their wedding and worried about the effects of the virus on their big day.
Should we postpone or cancel the wedding?
Depending on what your vendors have in their contracts, you may end up losing your whole payment if you choose to cancel. We highly recommend not canceling your wedding, but instead, keep the date (and being extra cautious!) or reschedule it for a later date once COVID-19 dies down. There’s always the option for a courthouse wedding, and then just having the reception on a future day.
Of course, the flexibility and availability of your venue and vendors is a huge factor to take into consideration. Because most wedding venues are booked at least a year in advance, you may end up needing to postpone until 2021. This leads to the next point…
Ask your vendors A LOT of questions.
Don’t be afraid to call up or email your vendors to ask what their policies are for changing the date due to the Coronavirus. Confirm with your venue and vendors whether they have a flexible date change and if they have fees for doing so. Most vendors’ contracts include acts of God, but more than likely, don’t include policies on this sort of issue.
However, when you book with Three16 Photography, we guarantee availability except for major holidays. We also want to assure any current clients or people that are considering booking with us, that we can reschedule your wedding date for up to 16 months after the original date with no fees and no problems! Just be sure to let us know at least two weeks before your original wedding date! We’re all in this together, and we want to make things a little less stressful for our couples amidst the CoronaVirus crisis.
If you’re getting married in a high-traffic public space, like a golf club, community building or church, ask what their cancellation policy is, as well as their cleaning procedures. They may not even be allowing gatherings in their space anyway. In which case, it may be necessary to find a new venue.
Another concern might be that some wedding venues have a minimum guest count for certain spaces. Talk with your wedding coordinator/planner and see if you can negotiate with the venue if your guests keep declining.
A different kind of wedding favor.
Provide hand sanitizer and face masks for your guests for extra precautions, and maybe keep a stash of Clorox wipes off to the side. Assure your guests that you’ll have these necessities handy if need be! Also, if everyone’s wearing face masks, people won’t feel as embarrassed or uncomfortable to be wearing them, if that’s a concern.
The show must go on!
If you’re choosing to keep your original wedding date, contact each guest and let them know that it’s still a go! If you’ve decided to postpone, once you’ve confirmed with your venue and vendors that you can reschedule, contact each guest and let them know your plans. Whether it be a confirmed later date or postponed until later notice. Communication is key.
Local is better.
Keeping the wedding local will definitely help with guests not backing out. The guest list count might go down if a lot of people need to fly in and/or stay in hotels. If guests are still declining with regret, you can always do a Facebook Live video during the ceremony and speeches.
If you’re concerned for the safety of yourselves and your guests, we definitely discourage destination weddings for the time being. If you’re still dreaming of a destination wedding, there’s always the option to choose a later date.
Also, shopping for locally made wedding gowns can help a lot with the wedding dress search. Many bridal gown boutiques are experiencing a delay in production because many of their factories are in China. So, to avoid falling in love with a dress that won’t have time to make it into your hands by the wedding day, find locally produced wedding dresses or purchase right off the rack. Call a bridal shop in your area and ask if they have options to take it straight home off the rack.
Consider communal-use items and self-service stations.
You may want to avoid items like a guest book, or a self-serve coffee station at your wedding. Items like this mean that a lot of people will have their hands on them. You can always just include hand sanitizer near these stations, but for increased safety, you can do away with a guest book and ask that the caterer include servers to serve at the coffee station. Also, try avoiding self-serve candy bars and dessert tables, and definitely no chocolate-dipping fountains. Instead of large bottles or pitchers for drinks, choose individual bottles. As far as dinner goes, we advise skipping out on a buffet and instead opting for individually plated options instead. Although they’re often a bit more expensive, it will be a safer bet!
Encourage guests to keep hugging, kissing, and handshaking to a minimum. You can even have your DJ or Officiant make an announcement to remind guests of this throughout your celebration. Also, ask your venue or planner if they can create more space at the tables. For instance, if the round tables typically include 10-12 chairs, ask for them to only include 6-8 chairs. The more space, the better.
Reschedule the Honeymoon?
If you’re not planning on a destination wedding, but you are planning on a honeymoon in a far-off place, it might be a good idea to postpone or change up your destination. Although airfare is currently at an all-time low, it might be less stressful to wait until things have died down to go on your adventure.
Like noted previously, if you have already purchased insurance for your wedding, it’s likely that there was nothing in the original contract that covered something along the lines of the Coronavirus. But if you’re still in the beginning planning stages and in need of insurance, ask the insurance provider what their policies are!
Wedding insurance is a good idea in general and doesn’t typically cost a ton depending on the coverage you choose. But especially amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, insurance is a must!
In order to protect yourself from losing out entirely on your investments, avoid cancelling your wedding at all costs. If need be, reschedule. Don’t be afraid to ask guests who’ve been exposed to Coronavirus to stay home. If you’re planning for a wedding later this year, or beyond this year, we definitely suggest to still move forward with booking the big vendors such as your venue and wedding photographer.
Most importantly, stay safe and use wisdom!
We hope that this blog on How To Plan a Wedding During the CoronaVirus Outbreak helps you make some crucial decisions amidst this pandemic. If you’re looking for a flexible wedding photographer for your wedding, Three16 is here to help. We won’t charge a rescheduling fee if your wedding date is postponed for up to 16 months from your original date, and we also guarantee availability on any day (except major holidays).