The WHAT IFS of Weddings in the Time of Corona
There is a common thread among our brides that we have been in frequent contact with the past few weeks. They are all a little unsure of the ground they are standing on now. Should I cancel the big wedding and have something in my backyard? Should I postpone? What if all my vendors aren’t available if I schedule for another date? What if my venue holds me to my contract even though my original guest count was 200 and now I can only have 50 people? What about room blocks and group transportation? What do I do?
The first thing to do is to take a deep breath.
Let’s take things one item at a time.
Should I cancel the wedding or postpone? We have been encouraging all our brides to postpone if their venue is affected by a state mandated closure on their wedding date…not cancel. If you cancel, chances are you will lose all your deposits (or the vast majority), be charged a cancellation fee and what about the wedding you’ve been dreaming of and planning for?
If your wedding date has been affected by Covid 19 directives postponing is not as difficult as you think. If you don’t mind a weekday or a Sunday wedding there are plenty of dates still available at venues if you are still wanting to get married this year. Many venues are even adding week days they would not normally operate to accommodate all of the postponements. Keep in close contact with your venue…they really do want to help you. If you are moving your date out of fear your date will be affected (right now we’re talking past a May date) many venues are still happily accommodating with some restrictions. You will probably need to book a date for 2020 on an available date or pay a change fee for moving your wedding into 2021. Read your contracts carefully! A Force Majeure clause is a contract provision that relieves the parties from performing their contractual obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise, making performance inadvisable, commercially impracticable, illegal, or impossible. These clauses only apply under certain circumstances…and if your venue is closed by local or state government It surely will. However, if you are only speculating that your wedding date will be affected and the mandate has not been extended to that date yet…Force Majeure will not apply.
What if my vendors are not available on my new date? This is one of those situations where planners are really helpful. Whether your vendors are already booked on your new date or may have unfortunately gone out of business, you will need time and expertise to replace them. Wedding Planners have a list of trusted vendors we work with, and usually that list is pretty extensive. Many planners are offering a postponement package at a reduced rate for people who have had to delay their wedding and don’t already have a planner. If you don’t have a planner talk to your original vendor. Many times they will have “friendors” that they can recommend to you in the event they aren’t available.
I was getting married in April, and now I have a December date. What if my original spring wedding vision just isn’t going to work? Are your bridesmaids’ dresses blush pink and you were going to have them carry pale pink peony bouquets? The great thing about colors is that they can be “tweaked” in order to fit the season better. If your bridesmaids’ dresses are pale pink, perhaps adding a winter color to the flowers will make them more seasonal. Say add a burgundy rose or deep green foliage. Flowers are fairly seasonal as well, and your florist or wedding planner can assist you with a little redesign without changing the entire scope of your event. If the dresses are sleeveless, perhaps add a shawl or wrap that will make them a little more wintry. If you don’t have certain items in your possession yet, or your bridesmaids dresses haven’t been delivered and altered, perhaps the store will work with you on applying the deposit to a different color dress? Again, talk to people! We are all navigating new waters and it’s time to get creative when coming up with solutions.
I have a room block at a hotel, and I found out they aren’t taking reservations for my wedding date and may not even be open. What do I do? This may sound crazy, but call around. One of the hotels at which we have a room block for our June 6th wedding in Dallas is completely closed and not set to reopen until the first of June. The other one we have a block at is open and taking reservations. Just the restaurant and bar are closed at that location. Since the directives to hotels were quite ambiguous, there is a huge differential in day to day operations at them. Also, this is a great time to utilize your wedding website. Perhaps poll people on whether they will need a hotel room or not.
I was thinking about getting a party bus for my guests to transfer them from the hotel to the venue and back again. Will they want to ride in it? Again, this is a great area to poll people on your wedding website. How many people will be planning on taking group transportation? Perhaps you don’t need to contract for something that can seat 56 people and can get away with a smaller vehicle. Talk to your guests…clear communication is the key to many situations right now.
Will my guests even want to be in a large group of people even if things are opened back up by my date? Unfortunately, this is out of your control. If people are coming from out of town they may not want to fly. If they are immune compromised, they may not want to attend the wedding. If you have not had your invitations printed yet, please hold off. Talk to your stationery company to find out your absolute drop dead date to get things printed. We recommend that invitations usually be sent out 6-8 weeks ahead of the wedding. In this instance, it might be okay to wait to send them out 4-5 weeks ahead of the wedding. Check with your venue or caterer to find out when final head count is due. If you have already sent the invitations out, perhaps utilize your wedding website to request a second RSVP or call or email the guests who have originally said they would be attending to make sure your guest count is accurate. If you have a wedding planner or are contracting a postponement package ask if this is part of the services they offer.
If you have questions like this that keep you up at night, please talk to your vendors, or contract a wedding planner for a postponement package. Some of us can even hold all of the meetings needed with vendors virtually…saving you time and allowing you to plan from the safety of your own home. Wedding vendors are in a happy business, and we want your wedding to be the wonderful occasion you’ve been planning for. Sometimes there just needs to be a plan B. We think you will find most of us are really trying to be helpful in this uncertain time and are even offering unconditional changes as long as the scope of your wedding stays the same.