Planning for your wedding and the most special day of your life is all fun and games until something super unexpected, unpredictable, and uncertain happens…also known as COVID19. While there are much bigger problems in the world to solve, it’s still a shitty feeling to realize that the biggest and most special day of your life is being threatened by a highly infectious virus that has caused the entire world to follow a stay-at-home order.
Luckily for Jack and I, we have been planning our wedding for almost 18 months, so most of our vendors and plans have been locked in. Not so lucky for us, we still don’t know if we can fully have the big celebration that we had originally planned for this September. With COVID19 and the uncertainty that goes along with it, we don’t really know where CA will be in September and what social distancing rules/crowd rules will apply. If there is one thing I’ve learned from this situation, it’s that you can have the most perfect plan in place, and it can all change the next day. You’ve got to be open to the changes, and willing to roll with the punches. While not having your ideal wedding is upsetting and can bring your spirits down, the most important thing to remember is that big celebration or not, you still get to spend the rest of your life with the person you love.
We put a pause on most of our wedding planning when this all started, but we’ve slowly started to pick it up back up and keep going. Whether you are in the beginning, middle, end or rescheduling process of planning your big day, below are the things I’ve learned throughout this process and my advice to any other couples or brides out there.
Confide in your planner. This is the first step that we did right when COVID19 hit. For us, we didn’t know if Jack’s Law Bar Exam would be rescheduled or not, so we wanted to keep our planner in the loop in case we had to reschedule due to this. Our planner quickly replied with what the expectations would be for having to reschedule. Talk to them about any rescheduling fees, additional charges and contract obligations. Get everything out in the open so you aren’t hit with any surprises later on.
Talk to your vendors. While I’ve been advised to reach out to all my vendors only if we know we are for sure rescheduling our wedding, I do think it’s still a good idea to reach out and see what they are doing to adapt to the situation. Will caterers be wearing gloves while serving food? Are buffet stations allowed? Are venues allowing guests to self-park instead of requiring valet due to social distancing? Are your vendors still in business? These questions are tough to ask and these conversations are uncomfortable to have…but again, I truly believe getting everything out in the open and being on the same page from the start is the best thing to do. If you are continuing to plan during this time, and aren’t sure what the COVID climate will be like during on your wedding date, it also may be a good idea to get a “back up” date on the books with your venue and planner. Let’s hope you don’t have to use it, but for some peace of mind, it always great to know you have a plan B in place.
Know what you and your S.O. are willing to sacrifice. There are so many scenarios that fall into place with COVID. What are you willing to sacrifice and what are you unwilling to give up? If you knew you could keep your date and have half the amount of guests show up, would you? It’s important to thoroughly and thoughtfully know that you are willing to sacrifice and what you are willing to change. Your date might not be in jeopardy, but if things like guest count, proximity, etc are being threatened, then perhaps finding a new date is best for you.
Understand the financials and actually LOOK at what’s in your contract. One thing I was NOT expecting was how some vendors are raising their prices for couples who have to reschedule to the following calendar year. Like, I get it…they’re small businesses who need to make money too and I support that. But, if every vendor did this, that easily can add an extra $10K-$15K to your overall spending. I’m not sure how valid it is to raise prices for rescheduling when COVID19 is technically an “Act of God” and is something that we cannot avoid whatsoever. I’m not the lawyer in the family BUT a lot of contracts have Force Majeure clauses for events like this where it essentially makes it impossible for the event to go forward. While you may be able to get out your current contract and *potentially* get your money back, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll have to pay higher prices for the new contract you create. This is definitely a good thing understand and note with all current vendors and when booking new ones. Also, be sure to clarify what their policies are for future events and how they plan to handle COVID19 moving forward.
If you’re keeping your wedding, be understanding to guests who might not show up. This is by far the most important thing to remember. Don’t be selfish and get upset if people kindly decline attending amid COVID19. You may not know the full picture or story and while you personally may never decline attending someone else’s wedding despite COVID.. it’s completely rude and selfish to hold it against someone else for doing so. We are all humans with our own families, our own experiences and our own reasons. We also shouldn’t be responsible for putting other people at risk either or guilting them into doing so.
Learn to let things go. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. COVID19 is something that is so much bigger than us and is completely out of our control. At the end of the day, being with your loved one and having your health is so much more important than a big celebration. If your event gets pushed, or you are simply waiting to plan all together until this passes, there are still things you can do still celebrate in the mean time.
Are you a bride, bridal party member or someone who is involved with planning a wedding right now? How are you dealing with COVID19? What are some ways you are getting through it? Drop a comment below!