Navigating the nuances of wedding planning is stressful enough as it is — Now, couples have to add the CDC, the World Health Organization and the coronavirus to their concerns. Ahhh! And, this is not something we can ignore and pray for the best — Wedding gowns are getting delayed, fears are escalating and guests are cancelling. So, what should you do if your wedding day is approaching?
You have two options — If your wedding day is within the next couple of months, you have two options — You can cancel and postpone your big day, or you can move forward. Whatever direction you choose, make sure it is the right choice for you. Here are our recommendations for your next steps —
OPTION 1. You decide to cancel and/or postpone your wedding —
- If you decide to cancel your wedding, take a beat first. Before you start making calls, have a heart-to-heart with your fiancé and your family. This decision may be made because of circumstances beyond your control, but it is still an emotional decision. Discuss the facts, potential new wedding dates and how you intend to proceed. But, most of all, make sure that you have support as you move forward with this decision.
- Next, check the cancellation policy of your wedding-related contracts and your wedding insurance policy. Find out if your wedding cancellation is covered in your wedding or event insurance. If you need to cancel or postpone your honeymoon, check your travel insurance policy before you cancel your trip. SIDE NOTE: If you secured your insurance after mid-December, you may have secured your wedding insurance a little too late to get coverage. Contact your insurance agent for clarification.
- Then, check your wedding vendor and venue contracts. At first blush, you may think that your contract’s Force Majeure clause gives you an “easy out.” But, you may find it more challenging than you think to prove the obstacles related to COVID-19 make it “impossible” for you to meet your financial obligations. Here is the good news — We are seeing venue contacts and suppliers proactively working with their couples to help navigate them through this difficulty. Your deposits may be non-refundable, but there definitely may be room for flexibility.
- Work with your wedding planner to cancel your wedding or rebook your wedding date. If you don’t have a wedding planner, recruit the assistance of a trusted family member, friend or a member of your wedding party. This is lot to handle and you shouldn’t go through this process alone. Once you have support, communicate your plan with your wedding vendors —share your new wedding date options with them to see if any of those new dates work. **This is not the time to “ghost” your vendors.** Keep the lines of communication clear and open so everyone involved can know how to proceed.
- Notify your wedding guests. Contact all of your wedding guests and let them know you intend to cancel/postpone your wedding. — Start with the guests who have to travel to your wedding. I am not a fan of mass e-mail communication, but I recommend starting with a mass e-mail (or text) to ensure you get the word out as quickly as possible. Then, pick up the phone and call your guests. This is a daunting task, so utilize the help of family and friends to help you spread the word. If you are simply postponing your wedding, you don’t have to return wedding gifts.
OPTION 2. You decide to move forward with your wedding —
- If you decide to move forward with your wedding, meet with your wedding planner first. More than likely, your wedding planner has already met with your wedding vendors and developed a game plan for taking care of your wedding day while addressing concerns related to COVID-19. If your wedding planner hasn’t met with your vendors yet to discuss a plan, request a meeting to discuss next steps. So, what should those next steps be? I noted some of them below for you —
1. Contact your wedding vendors. Let them know you intend to move forward with your wedding. Then, talk them about the plan they may have in place to take care of your wedding amid this crisis. If they don’t have a plan, chat with them about safety first, then steps all of your vendors can take to help put your wedding guests at ease.
2. Ask Vendors to “relax their rules” tied to your guest count. More than likely, some of your contracts are tied to a specific guest count. Ask your vendors if they can “waive” those contract requirements. For example, if you booked a block of hotel rooms for your guests that included an attrition clause, ask your hotel contact to waive that attrition clause given the circumstances. The same goes with your caterer’s food and beverage minimum and the rentals you’ve probably already paid for.
3. Work with Your Wedding Vendors to Create a Comforting Environment for Your Guests. You cannot guarantee safety, so don’t even promise it. But you can create ways to make your guests feel cared for. For example, create a “guest comfort station” filled with packets of lavender scented hand sanitizer towelettes in individual packets and moisturizing lotions in individual packets. If your wedding is taking place outside, remember to include individual packets of sunscreen lotion and insect repellent too. If you think your guests might be concerned with the bare hands of your wait staff, ask the caterer to have your servers wear white gloves during dinner service — This calms the concerns about the bare hands and it gives your wedding an elevated “white glove” feel. If you want to add a little levity to the overall feel, have a welcome sign printed that says something similar to, “Welcome to Our Hands-Free Wedding! We are all about blowing kisses today!”
4. Communicate Your Plan with Your Wedding Guests. None of this means anything if your guests don’t know your wedding is still taking place. So, let them know that your wedding is taking place. And, give them some comfort by letting them know you and your wedding team are working to create a wedding day that is welcoming, fun and comforting.
Regardless of the choice you make, make sure that it is a decision that feels good and comfortable to you. Do you have any feedback? If so, leave a comment on our instagram page.
Love and Soul Always, Kawania