Want to get an update as to all of my COVID 19 Wedding details and pictures? I’ll be sharing how our entire day went. We’ve got some really great stuff planned – all within the guidelines, and I can’t wait to share with you. Be sure to subscribe to my blog on the right hand side, and I’ll send you an update in a few weeks! 🙂
Like many others, I am one of the unlucky brides having to change my wedding plans because of COVID 19 and the social distancing rules in place. My original wedding of about 150 guests was scheduled for May 9th, 2020. We’d paid a total of about $40,000 for this one special day. Depending on where you live, maybe you’ve spent more, maybe you’ve spent less. Regardless – we’ve all put a lot of work into this one special day, and to say you’re devastated is an understatement. If you didn’t get wedding insurance, you’re unfortunately probably in for some serious work.
Let’s clarify something – this is event in time extremely unprecedented. The closest example of this was the Pandemic of 1918, in which there were no rules put in place for social distancing. The only examples we have to look at right now are each other. The only people that can understand what we’re going through are the brides facing it right now. This leads me to my first tip: Link up with some other brides going through the same thing. See what they’re doing, ask their advice, ask their experiences. This was something that I stumbled upon myself. I found a group of girls all getting married at the same venue as I, and dealing with the same issues. I can safely say it’s been a blessing in disguise. Not only have we been able to vent about our wedding venue, but we’ve also been able to talk about how we’re re-planning our weddings, what to say to our guests, and who they know that’s willing to do my wedding hair. Having this support has really been a game changer.
Let’s just clear this up to get the possibilities out of your head.
If you got wedding insurance before COVID 19 became known, you’re probably in the clear and can use the insurance benefits that you’ve paid for.
If you haven’t yet purchased, and are considering it now, check in with the wedding insurers. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t covering it because it’s a “foreseeable event”.
If you’re wanting it for the fear that your vendors may go out of business, it’s best to ask the insurance companies before purchasing. They may consider COVID 19 the protruding clause, meaning the main reason for insurance, in which it probably won’t cover you. Definitely double check and talk to them about what they’ll cover and what they won’t.
When to Start Changing Your Plans
When I first got into this mess, I was categorized with the group in which the CDC recommended all large events were cancelled for the next 8 weeks. Therefore, our venue cancelled our wedding on us. Now, brides with weddings in the next 6-8 months are having to worry about their weddings, and trying to cancel on their venue. Truth is – we don’t know what’s going to happen over the next year. Even if they allow restaurants, stores, and businesses to open back up, when will large gatherings be allowed again? No one knows. The uncertainty is a dreadful wait.
Truth is – you may not have a say on this. Every wedding business is handling this differently. Some venues may say whenever you want to reschedule, you can. Some may say they’re going to wait until further clarification from the government or CDC to give you that option. It’s important to check in with them to see how they’re handling it.
If you’re lucky enough to reschedule whenever you want, I recommend doing it now for Summer 2021. No, I cannot guarantee this date by any means. But, based off what we know now, it’s probably the best bet. Assuming COVID 19 takes on the nature of the flu, we expect the new cases to decrease during the summer (due to humidity levels). With that being said, just remember, there’s really not a totally safe date right now- unless you’re planning for 2022. If you take the risk of keeping your date, you need to be making a Plan B for everything.
What Are Your Options?
Now that we understand the severity of this situation with the unknowns, it’s important to lay out all your options.
Option 1) Completely reschedule your date – keeping every detail the same.
Option 2) Have a private ceremony with just your pastor or pastor in parents. Consider streaming via Zoom for guests
Option 3) Cancel your wedding altogether.
Let’s first talk about Option 3. I highly recommend you DO NOT do this. Most vendors are allowing people to reschedule, but not giving your money back. At the end of the day, they’ve got to stay in business, too. If you’re lucky enough to get your money back from one of your vendors, 99% chance that all of the others won’t be that flexible.
Option 2- This is what many brides are doing. You have put so much thought, time, and effort into this day, it would be a bummer to have to sit at home watching Netflix that day. This was the main reason we decided to go forward with our original date. My fiancé and I personally are having an intimate ceremony with just us and our parents on May 9th, and having a vow renewal on our one year anniversary. After our wedding date, I’ll be sure to post all the details for ideas. This option allows you to still have that day to look forward to. You can also consider it as a marriage under God’s vows. Whenever you have a bigger ceremony, it can be your commitment in front of all your friends and family. Think of it however you want. Again, there’s no right way to do this right now. We’re the trendsetters.
Option 1- This is probably the easiest safest option in terms of planning, although you’ll still have to deal with the uncertainty and safety of the future. If you go with this option, make sure you check with your vendor new terms of agreement. Are they going to charge you a fee if you have to reschedule again? Are they willing to even work with you if the date has to be rescheduled a second time? Know the specific details before signing ANYTHING moving forward.
Other considerations to think about when deciding how to move forward:
- Think about your guests needs. Are they coming from a state in which they’d have to quarantine for two weeks ahead of time? Are there a lot of people over 65? How many are traveling from out of town? Unfortunately, you can’t just think about your location. If you want everyone to participate, you have to think about everyone else’s situation as well.
- Will you be able to get everything done by your new date?
- For example, can you find a dress before your date? Are you okay with not doing things that are typically done in person?
- Are you okay with not having a bachelor or bachelorette party?
- If you want an intimate wedding, are you able to find someone to handle your beauty needs? This is a challenge I’ve come across. I’ve had to accept that I’ll have to wear glue on nails, but thankfully found someone willing to do my hair.
- If you want to have your guests watch via Zoom, or Facebook live, do you have the equipment to do so? We’ve decided to use zoom Zoom, but even with the professional version, we have a 100 person limit. Therefore, we’re setting up two computers for our guests to watch. Are you willing to pay for a professional version? What resources do you have available?
Read Your Contracts
This is extremely important before you make any moves. Most likely, your contracts won’t say anything about a pandemic – because no one had foreseen this. But, there may be a force major clause. Meaning if there’s an act of God, you may be able to get out of the contract.
Get a Lawyer
If you are considering trying to get out of your contracts or wanting to do something different than your venue suggests, I highly recommend getting a lawyer. In this crazy time, lawyers are your best source of insurance. They’ll let you know if your vendor is being unreasonable, and what the options are. From personal experience, I can tell you that a lawyer has been our biggest security blanket. Our venue has been completely unreasonable as far as when I can reschedule. Therefore, having professional law advice as to how to proceed has been comforting knowing that I have someone on my side that will stand up for us. Not only that, but your vendor will take your considerations much more seriously knowing you have one involved. Yes – it’s more expensive than insurance. But you’re also getting a lot more for your money. The few thousand you have to pay is often a very small fraction to get all your wants and needs navigated and taken care of.
Tips for Working with Your Vendors
Like I mentioned earlier, they’ve got to stay in business too. So.. work with them. Be kind – because they’re dealing with just as many issues as you are. The best case scenario for all parties is to have the same amount of money exchanged, but negotiate on the services. Can they split up your services between two dates? Will they reschedule? With that being said, stand your ground when need be. If they’re not willing to renegotiate or work with you given that there’s a pandemic going on, don’t let them just take your money. In my experience, working with the companies to renegotiate has been a bit more challenging than renegotiating with the smaller businesses. I truly believe the way businesses handle themselves and their business now will establish their reputation going forward. Work with them at all possible costs. If not, don’t let them take advantage of the situation.
Notifying your Guests on Your Change of Plans
There’s no proper ettiquite for this, but it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep them updated as you can. For me, I notified all my guests via text that although our original event has been cancelled, we’re working out further details and will let them know. Now, we are sending out updated invitations. I wouldn’t bother them more than 2-3 times, but keeping them updated allows them to cancel any travel plans they’ve made. If you want some good ideas as to what to say, here’s a few ideas I’ve found:
- “Love is Contagious, but so is Coronavirus”
- “Let’s Try this Again..”
- “Nothing can stop love”
- “New plan, same vows”
- “Change of Plans”
- “We do Redo”
- “Love is Patient..”
- “Just Roll with it”
Etsy is your best bet to finding rescheduling invitations that brides are now using. I’ve seen multiple invitations in which there is a corona bottle, a mask, or a roll of toilet paper on it. I love that because it lightens up the mood a bit. When writing whatever it is you want to say to your guests, remind them that their health and safety is the most important aspect of this wedding. If they need to stay tuned for further details, explicitly spell out how. It may make sense in your head, but this can easily get confusing when sending out to hundreds of people. So make sure your details are as clear and simple to understand as possible.
How to get a Marriage License
Every state is different, but here in Texas, you’re supposed to get one 45 days before your ceremony. If you’re having a small wedding, you may find this to be a bit trickier than normal. In Texas, you can get a marriage license from any county within the state. Therefore, it’s best to call a few counties and see what their policies are. For me, I was able to call Cooke County, they emailed me the paperwork, and I sent it back to them. Once received, they mailed us our marriage license. Not every county is doing this, and truthfully it was harder to search online because the rules are constantly changing. Your best bet is to pick up the phone and just call a few.
Should you wear your wedding dress if you have a private ceremony?
This one is completely up to you. There is no right or wrong way to do this. For me, I personally have decided to wear mine on my wedding day as well as my vow renewal. Why? Because you spend thousands of dollars on a wedding dress. If you can wear it more than once, why not?! On the flip side of things, I’ve heard brides say they’d feel silly wearing their dress for just a few people. Some don’t want everyone to see it yet. Again, this is totally personal preference.
When re-planning your wedding, you have a TON of considerations to make. You’re forced to think about what’s most important to you and your fiancé, and get creative as to how you can use your resources. At the end of the day, this is supposed to be a memorable time for you. The stress of it all can easily be overwhelming, but it’s important to find the silver lining. For me, it’s knowing that we’ll have a unique and funny story to tell our grandkids one day. Remember to reach out for help if you need it. Join bridal facebook groups, or reach out to me personally. I’d be happy to help guide you through this process. Hopefully this has been of some help… What other questions do you have? Leave your comments and feedback below!
Don’t forget….Want to get an update as to all of my COVID 19 Wedding details and pictures? I’ll be sharing how our entire day went. We’ve got some really great stuff planned – all within the guidelines, and I can’t wait to share with you. Be sure to subscribe to my blog on the right hand side, and I’ll send you an update in a few weeks! 🙂