How To Continue Wedding Planning In The Midst Of COVID-19
by Raj Desai | 3/18/20
To say these are unprecedented times is putting it lightly. School closures, toilet paper hoarding, and a pandemic that is affecting each and every single person’s way of life – it’s stressful and anxiety-inducing. And for those of you with weddings scheduled for the spring and summer, the uncertainty of the Coronavirus outbreak and what that means for the happiest day of your life can be overwhelming. You’ve probably heard about coming up with a Plan B in case bad weather strikes your outdoor wedding. But what the hell can you do during a global public health crisis? What do you need to do?
If Your Wedding Is Between Now and Mid-May
If your wedding is between now and May 10, the CDC has recommended that you cancel and postpone your wedding. Consult with your contracts and vendors to see what this means for you financially and logistically. Is there a Force Majeure clause at the end of your contract? Read it carefully to see what that means for termination of services. Check in with your wedding venue and all other vendors on future available dates for the fall or even for 2021. This can be a pain to figure out on your own, so lean on your wedding planner to help you figure this out. If you don’t have a wedding planner or day-of coordinator to turn to, consider using Dildiya’s wedding planning concierge service instead.
Getting Married After May 10th? Carry On As Planned
Although the decision to go forward with a summer wedding is entirely up to you, public health professionals are recommending that you shouldn’t cancel. Amesh Adalja, a researcher at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security says, “It’s going to be everywhere soon, and if you’re in a town or city with this virus, it may not be very impactful to cancel (your wedding).”
What Does This Mean For Your Guest List?
Gregory Poland, director of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, advises that you should not invite anyone who is from a location where the outbreak is severe, like Washington state, Iran, or China. If important family members are from any of these areas or traveling from these areas, this may contribute to a decision to postpone the wedding. On the flip side, Adalja cautions that with the rate that the virus is spreading and the inevitability that the virus will be everywhere soon, if most of your guests are from impacted areas then disinviting guests may not even be necessary.
Many guests may decide not to attend your wedding out of an abundance of caution, particularly if they’re required to travel or if your wedding is taking place in an affected area. Communicate with your guests to get an understanding of how this will impact your final guest count.
Protecting Guests From COVID-19
Your mind might jump to having guests wear face masks, but it won’t be helpful or necessary. Face masks do not protect healthy people from catching COVID-19. Here’s what you can do instead:
- Go for an outdoor wedding. Poland says that, “Ventilation and light are crucial to decreasing viral transmission.”
- Change your seating arrangements. Spreading chairs apart by a few feet can help decrease the risk for transmission.
- Livestream. Keep at-risk guests like the immunocompromised, elderly relatives, and pregnant women safe and involved by livestreaming your ceremony for them. Consult with your videographer about your option for this.
- Nix the buffet. Indian weddings and buffets tend to go hand-in-hand, but dining buffet-style can contribute to the risk of spread. If you MUST have a buffet at your wedding, make sure that guests use their own silverware to serve themselves instead of having a common serving utensil that everyone will touch.
If you’re still in the process of purchasing outfits for your wedding and your travel plans to India or other popular shopping destinations have been put on hold indefinitely, don’t stress. You’ll find that the majority of boutiques and designers are equipped to handle orders and appointments long-distance via Skype, Whatsapp, and FaceTime. And if you were hoping to find designers and boutiques during your shopping trip and have no idea where to start, check out some of our shopping guides for inspiration. For updates on designers and other vendors who are offering deals, discounts, and other methods of support during this time, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.
For any other purchases from impacted areas that may be delayed due to the outbreak – like favors, products for welcome bags, and even silk or real flowers imported from affected areas – consider shopping and sourcing them locally instead.
What About The Honeymoon?
With cities and countries moving towards total quarantines and curfews and the decisions like the one to limit non-essential travel across the US-Canada border, it’s safer to cancel your honeymoon plans now and plan to travel at a later date. Even if your destination is not on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of countries that should be avoided, you may find yourself in a sticky spot with imposed quarantines when you’re ready to travel back home. Take advantage of waived ticket change and cancellation fees from airlines on your new ticket purchases.
Should I Get Wedding Insurance?
That depends on the policy and what it covers, but be warned that most wedding insurance policies don’t cover epidemics. And according to Steven Lauro, the vice president of Aon’s WedSafe Program which provides wedding insurance, finding coverage for coronavirus now may be difficult. That’s because even if you already have a policy in place, canceling because you fear you or your guests may get coronavirus is not something that would be covered. Your policy is more likely to kick in in extreme circumstances, such as flights to your wedding destination getting canceled, your venue canceling all events without refunds, or in the event of a hurricane or earthquake.
There are certainly a lot of factors to consider while you continue planning for your wedding in the face of a global pandemic. While you may feel stressed and overwhelmed, and understandably so, the key is to approach your new circumstances with a clear head and without panicking. Lean on your wedding vendors, friends, and family to help guide you. And don’t forget that at the end of the day, in spite of the added curveball that COVID-19 has thrown your way (and we all know that wedding planning is stressful enough as it is), there is nothing more important than your health.
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