Plenty of people warned you to expect something to go wrong on your wedding day. But you definitely didn’t account for an unprecedented global pandemic like coronavirus (COVID-19) being the culprit. If you’re thinking you may potentially reschedule your wedding due to COVID-19, you’ve got a whole new list of questions to get answered.
Here are some tips and options from a wedding photographer to help you wade through the process.
Should you cancel or reschedule your wedding due to coronavirus?
Coronavirus is no joke. Mixing your wedding and coronavirus? Also not a joke!
Because of the nature of this situation, no one really has a direct answer to the question, “Do I cancel my wedding due to coronavirus?” As conditions change nearly every day, you’ll need to rely on your local city or county government for ongoing news. Each city has its own set of advisories and limitations about organized events and group gatherings. (Check your city or county’s government website for details–here is Hamilton County Tennessee’s update page).
If your guest list is larger than the current limit, you will have to cancel or reschedule your wedding (more below). If your guest list is below the limit, you must decide if it’s safe for your wedding guests to be interacting as that can add to the spread of the virus.
Instead of rescheduling your entire wedding, consider holding your ceremony on the planned date but postponing your reception until later. I’m sure, once this stressful situation has passed, we’ll all need a party to recover. Can we say “post-COVID-19 rager?!?!” 😉
For OkCrowe Photography couples, I am happy to divide your booked coverage between a ceremony now and reception later to make sure you have photography at both.
Another option, if you decide to cancel rather than reschedule your wedding event, is to get married at your local courthouse. I’m happy to photograph this alternate plan. You’ll have quite the story to tell someday, and you’re going to want photos to go along with it.
What to do if your wedding venue cancels, but you still want to get married?
What if your wedding venue cancels, but you still want to get married? Short answer: you still can! If you are unable to postpone your date, you may have to get a little creative.
Like I mentioned above, you can go the route of a courthouse wedding, or you can choose another location. If you will not have a large number of guests in attendance, city or national parks, your favorite local business, or even your parent’s backyard are all options for alternative ceremony locations.
You’ll need to check with your officiant to discuss their availability and willingness to officiate your ceremony. If they are not able to accommodate, consider asking a friend or relative to become ordained. (Be sure to check your city and state’s laws pertaining to officiants and their legal validity to complete your ceremony.)
Should your wedding guests travel?
A quick word about travel before we get into other details. Several regions around the world have already enacted travel bans and limitations. If your guests are coming from high-risk areas, they may be required to quarantine or be completely unable to complete travel to your wedding.
If your guests are legally allowed to travel, they must use their personal discretion whether to travel. No one wants to potentially carry–or come in contact with–the virus. It may ultimately be best for some of your guests to stay home, especially if they have weakened immune systems.
In order to include guests who decided not to travel, consider using Facebook live or FaceTime to include them in your celebration!
How do you reschedule your wedding?
If you have decided to reschedule your wedding due to the coronavirus outbreak, this will take a little legwork, but it’s entirely possible. You’ve got this. Here are some steps to break this process down into manageable pieces.
First, start by sending all vendors an email informing them of your decision to reschedule or postpone. In your email, ask them to send you their retainer/deposit policy. While each vendor is different, most should be able to give you a contract clause or a working plan. Many vendors are now offering disaster plans. Some are allowing couples to hold their retainer until we have a timeline on coronavirus relief. Having this information in hand should help relieve some pressure while creating new wedding plans.
For OkCrowe Photography couples, I am happy to apply your retainer and any current payments towards a new date within the next 12 months, dependent on the timeline of COVID-19 and its impact. If you reschedule for a date I am unavailable for, I will send one of my trained associate photographers in my place, and I will edit your photos. One way or another, we will make sure your wedding is covered by photography and the decision to reschedule is as easy as possible!
After you have confirmed your vendors’ COVID-19 policy, you should inform your guests. Thankfully for the internet, you have several simple ways to spread the word. If you have a wedding website on The Knot, Wedding Wire, etc., posting your update there will notify your RSVP’d guests. Sharing the updated wedding website link to your social media is a great way to reach guests whose email inbox may be flooded right now. If your guests are not active on social media, text or call them directly. Ask your guests to notify other family members and friends who are on your guest list.
“Just keep swimming” -Dory
Once your vendors and guests are informed of the plan to reschedule your wedding, take a deep breath. Take another. And another.
Listen, as unfortunate and stressful as this time is, this is out of your control. These things happen, and everyone involved will understand. Whether you decide to go to the courthouse or reschedule your wedding date, you will still get married. Like I tell my clients on their wedding day when things don’t go quite according to plan: if you end up married at the end of the day then it was a SUCCESS!
My OkCrowe Photography couples are one of my highest priorities, and they may contact me directly via email or phone.
If there is any way I can make this process smoother or alleviate any concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’ll do whatever I can to assist.
Please remember I am a wedding photographer, not a coronavirus expert. I’ve been keeping my eye on credible, online resources like the CDC (not just news headlines), and I encourage you to do the same. Be as informed as possible so you can make decisions in everyone’s best interests.
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