First, let’s take a deep breath. No, seriously, the people currently sick with this novel coronavirus aren’t able to, so let’s first be grateful that we can take deep breaths and know that we will get thru this. I am here to help during this incredibly emotional time in any way I can.
2020, the year that was supposed to be better than 2019
Our world is going thru a historic time that has affected the lives of everyone in one way or another. That is to say that you are not alone in your fears and uncertainties. Personally, my mental state is a carousel of panic, anxiety, trust and hopefulness. I’m very fortunate that most of that panic and anxiety is related to my business rather than my health or the health of a loved one. Still, this sucks!
Wedding planning is difficult at best, add a pandemic into the mix…wow, talk about a shit show!
Please know that it’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling. If you’re sad that this pandemic is affecting your wedding, it’s okay to feel to sad because it is frustrating and it’s not fair, even if it’s necessary . I’ve seen a lot of shaming on social media from people expressing their disappointment of having events cancelled; whether it be weddings, sports, concerts, whatever. I just want to say that it’s okay to feel all the shitty feelings. What you feel isn’t what you do or how you act, so don’t feel bad for having whatever feelings you’re having.
Here’s something I found recently that helps to remind us of that it’s okay to feel what we’re feeling:
“A UC Berkeley study showed that people who allow negative emotions to run their course report fewer mood-disorder symptoms than those who resist them. In other words, feeling bad about feeling bad just makes us feel worse.” – Monica Chin. I recommend reading her awesome article.
With that, I want you to know what I’m here with you, you are not alone.
So, what should you do about your wedding?
First, let’s address the reality for those of you planning April, May and even summer weddings.
The CDC issued guidance on March 15, requesting the public’s compliance in limiting mass gatherings. “Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”
In some places, these aren’t recommendations but rather the law for the time being, some places banning events with 10 people or more.
Accepting that you have to postpone your wedding is an incredibly emotional task but I encourage you to please listen to the CDC, WHO, and your local and state health departments so that we can beat this virus and get back to a somewhat normal life as quick as possible.
Postponing your wedding
Once you’ve made the hard but right decision to postpone, the next step is to review your contract details and talk to your vendors. We are all in this together and being good professionals means we are going to want to work with you not against you when it comes to your contracts and payments. Most vendors, even ones with a reschedule clause in their contracts, are making special exceptions to their normal fees since this is a national emergency. I know I am, at a cost, but, still. Most wedding professionals are small businesses that will be financially impacted by all this which is why I highly encourage postponing not cancelling. Your celebration will be the light at the end of the tunnel. Postponing sucks, but your celebration will happen eventually. And when it does, you’ll appreciate it even more with this new perspective.
Begin by contacting your wedding venue to see what dates they have available for coronavirus-related postponements. Then commutate these dates with the rest of your vendor team and hopefully you will find one that works with everyone.
Keep an open mind
Just like your vendors are going to be flexible with rescheduling your wedding date, you keep an open mind that your rescheduled wedding might look different from what you originally planned. A Friday or Sunday in the fall will be just as wonderful as a Saturday in Spring. It’s okay to feel disappointed about the change, but it’s important to look at the bright side. Your favorite vendors will most likely have availability, you’ll have plenty of time to rearrange all the details, your guests will have timely notice to reschedule their travel plans, and you’re still marrying the love of your life! See, it’s not all bad.
Inform your guests
After the new date is chosen, you should communicate the date change with your guests. Begin by updating your wedding website followed by an email/text/phonecall. Just like with the vendors, your guests will understand why the date change happened and hopefully they’ll be able to attend the new date. With that mind though, be open to having a smaller guest count.
Due to travel restrictions, some areas being affected more heavily by Covid-19 than others, personal health concerns, availability and/or financial issues, some of your guests may not be able to attend the new date. Accepting this, along with other tweaks to your wedding vision is something to be mindful of. Somethings will be out of your control but the important things to remember are that this is all for everyone’s health and you will get married! Your guests will understand and those who can will gladly wait for the chance to celebrate with you; and the buildup will make for one supercalifragilisticexpialidocious party!
If your wedding is in June/July and beyond…
I encourage patience, take it one day at a time. Don’t rush to make any changes, proceed as ‘normal’, but also start to gather information about the possible “what if.” I would recommend that couples continue their planning process. If you’re nervous about booking any new vendors and want to wait, know that most couples that are postponing their Spring weddings are doing so for the fall/winter (or next spring), making that vendor list shorter and shorter. I’d recommend you go ahead and book your vendors as you were, just maybe add a caveat about the coronavirus and the possibility of rescheduling.
New information is coming out daily. Monitor the CDC and WHO announcements and track any new developments to local and international guidelines. While you’re waiting to see what the next day brings, communicate with your vendors and talk contingency plans. If the CDC or local governments extend the mass gathering restrictions, you may be faced with the same situations laid out above. Keep planning as you were while staying up to date on the news and in communication with your vendors.
If you haven’t already, consider hiring a wedding planner
This is the best time to enlist the help of a professional to help with deciding whether or not to postpone, help with the rescheduling of the date if postponement happens, understand your vendor contracts, commutate with your vendors, come up with alternative plans and timelines, make the necessary changes if there is a smaller guest count, etc, etc.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with everything that’s happening on top of having to plan a wedding, a wedding that might need altering, you should consider reaching out to a professional planner for assistance. Pass the burden on to them so to speak.
Consider an elopement
If you’ve ever entertained the idea of eloping, now is the best time to embrace this popular wedding style which I highly approve of. In the midst of this pandemic and post-pandemic which will take a long time for us to get back to normal from, an elopement is a very low-stress and low health risk wedding alternative. Once things are truly back to normal, you can throw a large party for all your friends and family and share your elopement photos and video during the party.
We will get thru this
In summary, we are all in this together. We are all doing our best help each other get thru this. Every decision is being made not out of fear, but love. Love for our friends and family, love for our vendors, love for each other. You will still get married to your life partner, and although it might not be exactly how you planned, you will appreciate it even more after coming out of this. Now more than ever is the time to focus on the good, focus on our relationships and be thankful.
Any further advice I can help with, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Stay safe, healthy and sane!