If you were meticulously planning a spring or summer wedding this year but are now scrambling to change or postpone your wedding date, you are definitely not alone. After President Trump issued guidelines on March 16 asking for Americans not to hold social gatherings of more than 10 people in an effort to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, the collective sigh of countless engaged couples could be felt around the country.
According to the Wedding Report, a research firm that tracks wedding market data, approximately 27% of couples who had planned to wed between March and December of 2020 said they had already rescheduled their wedding for 2021. Nearly 26% decided to push things back to later this year and 42% were sticking to their original date.
Since the United States wedding industry is estimated at nearly $74 billion, any kind of an industry-wide cessation or postponement of activity will have serious ramifications for the many people who work in the industry. Moreover, since the CDC has gone a step further than the president by recommending the cancellation of weddings in the U.S. until mid-May, it may be time to put together a back-up plan.
While many people are dealing with life and death issues due to the coronavirus outbreak, postponing or even cancelling a wedding will strongly impact the lives of the bride and groom and their guests. The good news is that all is not lost. With a little more planning and maybe a bit more reliance on modern technology, there are some workable solutions regardless of whether you want to forge ahead with your nuptials, or you want to push it back to a later date.
Getting your wedding venue on the phone should be your first stop because their schedule will impact all of your other vendors. If you’ve booked a popular wedding destination, you might have to wait another year for another date. In addition, you need to keep in mind that some states such as Virginia have shelter-in-place orders in effect until mid-June; so you will need to check with the latest guidelines at your wedding location if it’s in a state other than where you live. The main thing is to be open about your concerns when talking to your contact at the venue, so that you know what your options are if you decide to postpone. The bottom line is that the sooner you take action the better, so you can notify both your vendors and your guests of the change.
After talking to your venue, it’s time to get ahold of your other vendors such as the wedding photographer, the caterer, and your DJ or band to see what their contingency plans look like. As small business owners, many of them will be taking advantage of recent government assistance programs to get through this period. However, they will still need advance notice to rearrange their schedules with everyone else for another date later this year or in 2021. Furthermore, you may not be able to get all of your deposits back if you wind up having to change your venue for example. It usually depends on how much work your vendors may have already done in preparation for the event. This is another reason to act as soon as possible with the utmost transparency.
Since invited guests will have questions as they try to figure out their schedules, make sure you have a foolproof way of letting them know what’s going on. A great way to do this is by updating your wedding website to acknowledge the upheaval due to the coronavirus and letting them know that any changes will be reflected on the site. Giving everyone as much time as possible to alter or cancel their plans will go long way toward allaying any questions or concerns.
Some people are forging ahead with their wedding date regardless of the epidemic. In this case, there are some creative options that can you can try if you just can’t or don’t want to put off your marriage any longer.
If you intend to hold fast to your special date, you can always exchange your vows and your rings as planned in a small, intimate ceremony. Afterwards, you can still have the reception of your dreams at a scenic venue with family and friends later this year or next when the social gathering restrictions have stopped.
This is one of the ways that technology brings us all closer together. Using one of the increasingly popular video conferencing services such as Zoom, you can ensure that all of your favorite people can still participate in your big day. Naturally, you’ll have to work through some logistics like having a good signal at your venue and making sure everyone is familiar with how a live stream works. You could even ask your guests to dress up as if they were attending your wedding in person. You never know, people may really enjoy getting dressed up, even if it’s only to show off on a live stream from their home.
There’s no doubt that downsizing a wedding will take its toll on any engaged couple. Nevertheless, the coronavirus pandemic has left everyone with little choice but to put things in perspective. Concerns regarding people’s health have to override lavish plans and large gatherings for the time being. But a little extra planning and creativity could help you pull off the big day in a memorable way, nonetheless. In the grander scheme, you will also be able to look back on it and say that your wedding occurred at a moment in history that will never be forgotten.