Coronavirus and Your Wedding
(The Government updates daily, this information is based on updates as of 25th March 2020)
These past two weeks have definitely been amongst the most challenging our industry has seen. What a time to finally start my blog posts – a time of uncertainty, anxiety and disruption. However there is no other industry I would rather be amongst in times like these as the support is undeniable and the flexibility and incredible understanding from suppliers, albeit a moving feast right now, is there in the gallons!
Following the Government’s announcement on 23rd March 2020 which confirms that all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies will immediately be stopped, I have had to have some difficult conversations over the past two weeks with all of my couples due to celebrate their weddings this summer. I have been both a shoulder to lean (or cry) on, as well as the professional that they so desperately need to guide them through these uncertain waters.
My couples have all been incredibly pragmatic and understanding as we have unravelled our options with venues and suppliers, who are all equally trying to work-out how to manoeuvre down this challenging road.
With months in the planning, emotions running from the highest of places dropping to the lowest, this time for anyone organising a wedding is not easy. You also have the health, emotions and anxiety of your guests weighing on your shoulders and I wanted to share some advice that has helped each one of my couples through this time.
If you are working with a Wedding Planner, all of the below will be handled for you however if you planning this yourself, you can take some great steps to ensure you are handling this as efficiently as possible.
What shall I do first?
Firstly, try not to panic. I understand this is extremely uncertain times however we are all in this together. It is important to try to remain as level-headed as possible – everyone in the industry wants you to get married, your wedding WILL happen, you just have put a little work into the new and updated plans.
Will my wedding insurance policy provide cover ?
Read through your insurance details to understand what you are covered for. Each policy provider has slightly different terms. Wedding insurers are dealing with a vast number of enquiries at the moment but many of the key providers are now able to provide key notes of what is covered and what isn’t covered within their policies, along with FAQ’s, on their websites:
It is essential to check with your insurance provider, that if you postpone your wedding, the policy will still be valid on this new date.
Keep the Communication - Communication throughout this time is key:
Contact your venue to understand your options, and any updates they are providing, in addition to reading your venue contract. Explore potential new dates that the venue has(if an option and if your deposit can be carried to the new date. If there is flexibility to provisionally hold a new date, ensure you understand any lost deposit implications or new terms.
Contact your suppliers, in addition to reading through all supplier contracts, to understand implications if you are postponing your wedding. Suppliers are trying to be as flexible and reasonable as possible. They ALL want your wedding to be amazing, some are juggling more stress than others at this difficult time so please do try to be gentle with them. Discuss their availability in relation to your new potential date and the best way to move forward with them. All suppliers have empathy and will do the very best they can.
Contact your Celebrant / Registry Office / Church to ensure they are available on this new date. If you have had your banns read in church, please do check with them if these need to be read again in relation to your new date. If you are having a civil ceremony, you will be required to give notice a second time. If you are having a celebrant-led wedding, please do check for availability as key dates for 2021 may have already been secured.
Contact your guests. Wedding guests will be getting in touch – even in this uncertain time, communication with them is vital. Lean into the best way to communicate with your guests – only you will know this. Whether it’s a phone-call, message, website update or Paperless Post, you decide what is best for your guests.
As a guide and for efficiency you can lean on digital announcements and updates. If you have a wedding website, post an “update” announcement on the home-page.
Do touch base with your stationer to see if they are in a position to offer a digital announcement in your wedding stationery style that you can send out via email.
Alternatively, I would suggest sending a short message via email to share what details you know – the below might be helpful:
OH NO - It looks like our wedding plans might be changing!
We were very much looking forward to our wedding on (DATE), however things are changing very quickly with the Coronavirus and as this situation worsens, we need to take a Plan B approach. We will keep you updated with our progress as we appreciate lots of you have also arranged travel and hotel accommodation. All our love
What if one or more of my suppliers isn’t available on our new date?
This may well be the case, but do not panic. Firstly, check your contract in relation to cancellation terms. Is your supplier in a position, in the current climate, to offer a partial refund / cancellation fee? Some suppliers may be able to offer flexible terms and others may find themselves in a very problematic place if all of their weddings cancel this summer. I know this will not be easy and will have its frustrations however please do try to offer some understanding where possible.
Most suppliers have a wonderful bank of other trusted supplier friends who they can recommend, so do ask. Our industry is full of the very best, most creative and passionate suppliers and there will be another fabulous supplier to help bring each detail of your wedding to life if your current supplier is not able to.
What should I do next?
Once you have secured your new wedding date with your venue, ensure you communicate with all of your suppliers to amend this new date in their diaries. Make a list of any suppliers that are unable to confirm your new date and when the time is right, explore new options and enjoy this process once again.
At present as this is all a moving feast, you may well wish to sit-back and ride out the next few months in the comfort of your home, with lots of leisure time to add to those Pinterest boards!
When the time comes, send out an updated Save the Date (perhaps an e-version!) to update all of your guests. But for now…stay positive, stay safe and stay in touch…
Have you considered hiring a Wedding Planner?
If you don’t have a Wedding Planner, and you are thinking of postponing your wedding or if you’re finding this whole process overwhelming, this is the moment to reach out and explore your options - I would love to hear from you. If you need invaluable guidance when rescheduling your suppliers, and a better understanding of all of your options, I’d be delighted to hear from you…
Please remember…the date doesn’t matter, YOUR WEDDING WILL BE AMAZING!