• Marea Bowser

Planning Your Wedding Amidst a Global Pandemic

What a wild couple of weeks it has been. What a crazy world we’re living in. At this point, I am sure your daily life is being interrupted in more ways than one. I pray that you are in good health and that you are finding healthy ways to cope with these new changes. As for me, I am doing everything I can to maintain morale and have a healthy lifestyle in spite of the new challenges that the virus and economic collapse have presented me. This involves moving to skype meetings as coffee shop and restaurant dining rooms are currently closed, sanitizing and washing my hands as much as possible, going for hikes with my dog to keep my immune system running and spirits high, and playing a lot of board games at home in place of social gatherings outside the house. Times are hard for all of us, but I believe that we will pull through and come out stronger at the end of all this.

I’m sure you’re beginning to wonder how these changes are going to affect your upcoming wedding festivities that are scheduled for this year. While it is very hard to predict what the situation will look like when your wedding date rolls around, I want to do my best to offer some guidance on how to prepare and what you can do now to be ready. I do not want to scare you or cause undue stress and anxiety, but I think these are important conversations for you to be having. Obviously, it is my sincere hope that your wedding will not be affected by this pandemic and everything will go according to plan. The eternal optimist in me wants to believe this is true. But I think it’s important for us to face the possibility of a worst-case scenario coming true and have back-up plans in place.

I recommend that you sit down with your fiance and start making contingency plans based on the various worst-case possibilities:

  1. If you are still able to hold your wedding (no government restrictions are keeping you from doing so and your venue has open doors) but you will have a limited guest count (older and immunocompromised guests cannot attend, or out-of-state travel restrictions prevent people from coming), will you still want to have the wedding? -> Is there a certain guest count at which you would decide to postpone (as long as 40 people can still make it we’ll still have the wedding)? - > Are there specific guests whose attendance is imperative to you (if closest friends and immediate family can attend then the event will go on)?

  2. If government restrictions or venue closures ARE preventing your event from carrying on as planned, how will you proceed? Some of your options are… -> Elope. Cancel the big festivities and opt instead for an intimate shared moment with just the two of you, an officiant, and a photographer. Or invite your ten closest people and live-stream everyone else in. Have it in a park, in the mountains, in your backyard, or in front of your living room fireplace! -> Elope and postpone the larger celebration. You can plan for a beautiful small elopement ceremony with your closest loved ones now and have a full reception as planned at a later date. This is an ideal option because many vendors will not refund your deposit if you cancel, but will allow you to transfer your deposit and any payments made to a later date, so that you’re not just losing all that money! Plus, all of your hard work of planning is not going to waste- it’s just being postponed to a later time. -> If you’re not in a rush to be married, then simply extend your engagement until a time when you can carry out all the beautiful plans you had envisioned without the virus’s interference.

  3. Reach out to your vendors and ask them about their postponement and cancellation policies. If you do decide to reschedule, it is important that you speak to each of them first to learn what dates they will be available for, so that you don’t book a date based on your venue’s availability and then learn that your other vendors aren’t available on that day. I would recommend that if you choose to reschedule your wedding, you plan for a date in 2021. Since we don’t know how long it will take for things to go back to normal, I would hate for you to optimistically schedule for a date later this year and then have to go through all the work of rescheduling a second time if things are still upended later this year.

As you are making these hard decisions of whether or not to postpone or cancel your wedding, and what that will look like, I encourage you to take a deep breath and then take time to remember why you wanted to have a wedding celebration in the first place, and what the most important elements of that are to you. Whatever choice you make, make sure it’s one that feels authentic and meaningful to you. I hope that, in spite of these unprecedented challenges, you can continue to design a love celebration that represents you well and carries joyous memories into the beginning of your lives together.

If you are an engaged couple needing guidance on the creation of backup plans due to the virus, or if you’re rescheduling your wedding and need help contacting all of your vendors and guests and transferring all of your plans to a later date, please let me know! I am here for you and want to have your back in any way possible during this challenging time. I am currently offering 20% off my hourly rate for consultations - let me know how I can help <3 We all need each other, now more than ever.

How have your lives and wedding plans been affected by coronavirus? Have you come up with a different alternative that I didn’t mention above? How are you keeping your sanity and practicing self-care if you are in quarantine? Let me know in the comments! Wash your hands and stay safe out there!

Photo by Kendall Grafton.

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