Adjusting a wedding for COVID-19

April 10, 2020

One of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with since the breakout of COVID-19 is what to tell my soon-to-be married couples. How do you begin adjusting a wedding for COVID-19, anyway? With so much uncertainty in our world, I haven’t known what to say. First, I went directly to them, which was the right thing to do. Once we chatted and I looked into the advice of others in the wedding industry, I found that we’re all sort of thinking the same things. I learned a lot in the past couple of weeks and felt like it would be crazy not to share this advice.

So if your wedding date is coming up and you are hanging onto the latest Coronavirus news and wondering what to do, here are a few tips to take into consideration.

First of all, don’t panic!

Maybe you’ve gotten past the initial shock that the entire world has shut down. As I’ve been working through my own fears of what could happen, I’ve realized that change is inevitable, and we’ll all have to adapt as this virus changes.

Your wedding should be one of the happiest days of your life, so start by taking a moment to pause and breathe, and know that you’ve got a ton of people on your side—including me!—who will support your decision, no matter what it is.

In the meantime, if you need an extra boost of morale, here’s a great series from Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos, whose “The Happiness Lab” podcast is currently focusing on how to maintain well-being during this pandemic.

A groom on his wedding day

Understand what restrictions are in place

If your city or state has placed restrictions on gatherings, you may want to consider something more intimate. After all, for the safety of your family and friends—particularly those who may be immunocompromised or have illnesses that could harm them if they end up with Coronavirus—a smaller event can be every bit as wonderful.

My biggest piece of advice is to clearly communicate with your guests and family members. Use all of the tools you have at your disposal—text messages, phone calls, social media, your wedding website—to keep everyone informed. And if they can’t be there, start looking for technologies like Facebook Live or BoxCast so they can watch it from the safety of their own homes. I promise you, the joy they feel on your day won’t change, regardless of where they’re watching it! And you’ll still have tons of photos from your photographer, who will happily capture even the most intimate of weddings if that’s what needs to happen. I’ll be right by your side, even if I’m wearing a mask!

They key here? Stay flexible. If Plan A doesn’t work, you can create a solid Plan B. Keep up to date with the news and latest information from the World Health Organization to know what your steps should be.

Know your cancellation policies

This has been such a tough challenge for brides, grooms, and their families—and for good reason. Who could have planned for COVID-19? If you’re thinking of adjusting a wedding for COVID-19, start by reviewing any contracts you’ve signed with vendors to familiarize yourself with their cancellation policies. If you’ve signed a contract, you’ve likely already paid a deposit, and while COVID-19 was an unforeseen issue not covered in a contract, keep in mind that your vendors have already put time and money toward your date.

If you choose to cancel your date, ask your vendors and your photographer about exchanging dates, all while keeping in mind we are already booking into 2021. Try to stay flexible—even considering weekdays and Sundays to stay as close to your original date as possible. And keep in mind that we’re all in this together. We want to share in your joy, too!

A bride and groom kiss on their wedding day

Look into wedding insurance

If you haven’t already purchased insurance to protect your big day, it might be time to consider doing so. Some agencies will not cover Coronavirus-related cancellations, so don’t waste the money unless they agree to it!

And finally…

Don’t forget, I’m here for you. So if you have any questions or need additional advice about adjusting a wedding for COVID-19, I’m just a call, text, or email away. I promise you’ll make it through this. And just imagine the story you’ll get to tell your kids and grandkids someday. You’ll still have amazing photos to share and the endless love and support of those who were on this journey with you. And just think about your future! When you’re starting from here, you have nowhere to go but up.

In other words, despite this hiccup, you already have such a beautiful life you’re sharing together. It’s only going to get better as you weather this storm together.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

— Vivian Green

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