covid-19 wedding planning by Fallon Photography

Covid-19 Wedding Planning

As if planing a wedding wasn’t hard enough…then stupid Covid-19 comes along and takes the stress to a whole new level! Suddenly Covid-19 wedding planning is a thing!

As I write these words (Saturday 11 April 2020), New Zealand has closed its borders to any who aren’t NZ citizens or residents. Many other countries have done the same. And many countries are in a much worse state than us with regards to the number of people infected or even killed by the virus.

So how the hell are you supposed to plan a wedding when we’re experiencing something that has never happened in human history before? Nobody really knows what happens next from here, we’re in uncharted waters. So, how do you move forward with your wedding planning while we’re still battling Covid-19? What are your options?

In this post, I’m going to do my best to walk you through all the scenarios you might want to consider if Covid-19 is threatening your wedding plans. I’m going to go through the options from easiest first to suckiest last.

If you’re really struggling and you need some one-on-one advice or even just somebody (who gets it) to vent to, you can get in touch with me here.

Option 1: Full steam ahead (and fingers crossed)

Nobody wants to risk their own health of that of their guests. So, please obey all government guidelines and restrictions when planning your wedding. Remember that if you or your guests are coming from overseas, the Covid-19 situation at your home could be a factor as well as here in NZ.

Keep in mind that if your wedding is in the next couple of months, people may still be nervous about being in large crowds, touching/hugging etc.

Option 2: Reschedule your wedding

2a: New date but all other details (guest numbers etc) remain unchanged

Keep up to date

Keep up to date with Covid-19 wedding developments here in NZ/Queenstown and also in your home country and the home country of important guests.

Check your insurance

Check to see if your wedding insurance (if you have any) covers costs incurred due to a date change

Talk to your guests

Talk to your most important guests – close friends and family, bridal party members etc – to see what date will work for the majority of them.

Realise that not everybody is going to be able to make the new date – just as probably not everybody was able to make the old date.

Read your contracts

Read all your venue and vendor contracts thoroughly so you know where you stand. Particularly look for clauses on rescheduling and what happens if the client wishes to reschedule but the vendor isn’t available on the new date. Also, check out their cancellation policy.

Let your venue know

Let your venue know what you’re thinking and check their availability. Just like the first time you planned your wedding, it’s hard to lock anything or anyone in until you have a date. And until you have a venue, you don’t have a date. Ask your venue what their policy on rescheduling is and whether there will be any additional fees. Also check what the situation is if they’re not available on any date that will work for you.

Let your vendors know

Touch base with your vendors and let them know where you’re at, what you’re thinking. Ask them what their policy on rescheduling is. Check with the vendor what the situation is if they aren’t available on the new date. Ask them if there will be any fee increase for rescheduling to the new date.

Be understanding. Usually deposits are non-refundable and it will be clearly stated in their contracts. Also, many venues and vendors will be hurting financially right now with their income gone. So even if they wanted to refund your deposit, they may well not be in a position to do so.

Reassess your budget

Reassess your wedding budget based on all the new info and figure out what will work and what won’t.

Check your new date

Choose your new date and book/amend all your venues and vendors. (Consider choosing a weekday if this is an option for you. Venue and vendor availability will be much better and it may even save you some money).

Once you have 100% decided to change your date, let all your guests know. You could do this via email, phone or wedding website.

2b: New date and also downsized weddings (less guests, smaller budget/cheaper packages etc).

  • As above, but read your venue and vendor’s contracts paying special attention to any “Downgrading” or “Amendment” clauses.
  • Check with your venues and vendors what the situation is with downsizing the Package you have booked with them.
  • See below for tips on how to downsize your wedding budget

Downsize your wedding budget

Ways to downsize your wedding budget include…

  • Reduce guest numbers
  • Change to a weekday instead of a weekend (some vendors may allow you to downgrade your package cost if changing to a weekday)
  • Cheaper meal and drink options
  • Less hours of photography coverage, skip the getting ready and reception photos, ditch the album etc
  • Highlights Video instead of Feature Length from your videographer
  • Use your wedding insurance (if you have any) to offset any expenses caused by Covid-19.

Turn your Covid-19 Wedding into an Elopement

Another option is to turn your Covid-19 wedding into an Elopement. Here are some tips;

  • Check with all your venues/vendors if they offer Elopement Packages or packages for small weddings. If so, find out what they define as an Elopement. (Eg I define an Elopement as a weekday wedding with 20 or fewer guests including the bridal party).
  • If your Elopement will be on a new date, check out the “Rescheduling your wedding” section at the top of this post.
  • You could do an Elopement on original date and plan to do a proper wedding at some date in the future. This option might be ideal if you’re coming from overseas and many of your guests are unlikely to be able to make your new wedding date.
  • Check out this video on how one couple pulled off their wedding day just days before the self-isolation lock-down, complete with toilet paper, masks, gloves etc.

Indefinitely postpone your wedding

You might think that indefinitely postponing your wedding and cancelling it are one and the same thing. But, consider it from the perspective of a wedding vendor you have booked. If you tell a vendor you are indefinitely postponing your wedding, they will probably keep all your details (including contract, packages and payments) on file. If you cancel, they may delete that data. So indefinitely postponing your wedding makes it more likely you can pick up where you left off with any vendors booked at a later stage.

Check with any booked vendors/venues if they have a limit to how long you can postpone your wedding and whether there are any fees to reschedule once you have locked in a new date.

Cancel your wedding

Hopefully it never comes to this…but if it does, this post from One Fab Day will tell you everything you need to know about cancelling your wedding.

That’s it, that’s all

It’s now time for me to go and spend some time with my family and get away from this computer screen. This post is a work in progress and I will add to it as I have time and inspiration. I hope you find it helpful.

If you found this blog post helpful, you might also be interested this blog post on the current Covid-19 situation in Queenstown.

Patrick

Need some Covid-19 Wedding advice? Or just somebody to talk to?

If you are really struggling and you need some one-on-one Covid-19 wedding advice, or just somebody (who gets it) to vent to, fill out the contact form below so I know where you’re at. I will try to get in touch with some helpful info and advice within 24 hours.

P.S. You can keep up to date with any major Covid-19 wedding developments here.