Weddings and Coronavirus: What You Need to Do
We’re living through unprecedented times as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the country. Due to new social distancing rules, this outbreak has meant the cancellation and postponement of nearly all spring weddings across the country. Brides and grooms are anxious and scrambling to figure out what to do next. If you’re one of these couples, know that you’re not alone. Below are answers to some of the common questions we’ve received from couples who are trying to find their way through this crisis.
We need to reschedule our wedding. Where do we even begin?
For starters, don’t panic. Your situation isn’t isolated. Your friends and family will understand the changes and sacrifices that have to be made. Your first step should be to contact your wedding planner or coordinator. They will have insight on the climate of your local wedding industry and can offer guided support.
Next, contact your event venue if you haven’t heard from them already. See what available dates they have for rescheduling later in the year (or in 2021). If your venue can’t accommodate a rescheduled date, you should be able to get your deposit back in full due to Force Majoure.
Once you have a new date, contact all of your other vendors and ask about postponement contract addendums. Make sure they are still available for your new date. Most companies are being flexible as this crisis is affecting all of us.
When should the wedding be rescheduled for?
We unfortunately don’t have a hard date when we’ll be able to stop social distancing. The current predictions are that the virus will be better contained by the beginning of summer. However, this is not a guarantee. It would be wise to aim for a fall or winter date (if possible). Better yet, the safest bet may be to postpone until 2021. The last thing you want is to have to postpone a second time.
How do we tell our guests that the wedding is postponed?
Communication is key. People have likely already anticipated the postponement of your wedding, so it won’t come as a shock. You can send out “Change the Date” cards once you have a new date. You can also contact each person individually for a more personal touch. Just be sure that all of your guests are notified one way or another as soon as you make the decision. Be sure to thank them for their flexibility in the matter.
Can we legally get married now and just move the reception to a later date?
This issue is complex and dependent on a few things. If you have the marriage license and an ordained person handy to perform a small ceremony (plus two witnesses), then you could go ahead and do it. Problems arise if you don’t have the license yet. Given the current state of affairs, you may have trouble even obtaining one right now. Remember, different states have different regulations and limitations when it comes to marriage licenses. The other issue is that you also have to mail in your completed marriage certificate after the wedding. During these uncertain times, it could be months before it gets processed. This would cause a delay before the legality of your union kicks in.
My recommendation is to only pursue this route if you need to for health insurance or legal reasons. Aside from that, I would wait.
What if we’ve already received some gifts?
One silver lining in all of this is that you may have already received some wedding gifts. For gifts being shipped straight to your home, keep a detailed record of who gave you what. While you may not know when your new wedding date will be, you should absolutely send out thank you notes now if you haven’t already. Not sure where to start? Check out our guide to wedding thank you cards.
How can we stay positive?
Stay flexible and keep your perspective. At the end of all this, you still get to marry your best friend. Things may not have gone exactly according to plan, but the outcome will be sunnier if you learn to roll with the punches. Be patient with the confusion surrounding all this. Be kind to your wedding vendors. They have a lot to sort through. Remember that you’re not alone and can ask for help if you need it.
Also, wash your hands.
Heidi Johnson-Coy is our resident wedding planner here at The Man Registry. When she’s not helping us create awesome groomsman gifts, she’s busy planning Kansas City area weddings at Cake and Champagne Event Planning. In this “Ask a Wedding Planner” series, Heidi uses her expertise to expertly answer our readers’ burning wedding planning questions. If you have a question for Heidi, let us know here. We’ll make sure it gets answered in a future post!