From local small businesses to college graduations, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the livelihoods and plans of millions of people. With various nationwide bans on large public gatherings on large public gatherings, the wedding industry has taken a hard hit.
While this negative impact has had significant ramifications on wedding industry professionals such as photographers, DJs, and planners, it has also left many couples bewildered as to what their next step should be.
Whether you just got engaged or have been planning your wedding for months, a global pandemic was likely not something you had in mind for your special day. Amidst the chaos of COVID-19, many couples have taken steps to modify their wedding plans, and you can, too.
SETTING A DATE
Based on your personal preference, you and your fiance might decide to go ahead with your wedding plans regardless of the pandemic. If you decide to take this route, either keeping your original date or setting a date during this time, know that there are certain things you should keep in mind.
First and foremost, it's worth noting that the CDC website recommends cancelling mass gatherings, especially with high-risk populations. That being said, know that setting your date now might lead to future changes. Because this COVID-19 situation is very fluid, it's hard to say exactly when businesses and everyday life will return to normal operations. Even setting a date two or three months from now might be a bit of a risk. Be sure to take that into consideration before making this tough choice.
On the flip side, sticking to your original date regardless of the severity of the virus situation also poses some risks.
If you decide to stay with a date that falls in the coming months, be aware that your area's social distancing orders and policies might hinder the number of people who can attend your gathering.
And even if the policies have lifted or changed by the time your wedding day rolls around, some of your friends and family members may still feel uncomfortable and decide not to attend your ceremony or celebration. It's important to respect the safety choices of your loved ones, even if it means missing your wedding.
Setting your date or sticking with your original date may also mean changes in your venue and services. Some venues may be shut down until further notice, while other services might become unavailable. For example, if you planned for a wedding with 200+ guests and a buffet line with close-contact servers, there's a good chance all of that may not be possible in the near future.
Having your wedding in the coming weeks or months or setting your date this summer won't necessarily be impossible. However, it will likely be very different from what you pictured and will require a lot of sacrifice from you, your fiance, and even your anticipated guests. Keep in mind that if you do cancel your wedding due to Coronavirus, you won’t be the only one.
Of course, we know that your dream wedding is all about celebrating the love between you and your future spouse, so we have some tips on how to move forward with getting married during Coronavirus.
BUYING A DRESS
One of the experiences you probably imagined when thinking about your wedding was the moment you put on your dream dress. With COVID-19 in full force, many shops like wedding boutiques and dress stores are closed to the public.
Before you feel disappointed, know that you can certainly use online resources to find the wedding dress of your dreams. Many popular wedding boutiques are still operating online, and you can browse through their selections, choose your measurements, and have alterations done from a safe distance.
Thanks to technology, lots of bridal salons are able to hold virtual appointments that include phone calls and video calls. After taking a virtual tour of the salon and the dresses, associates use mannequins to showcase the dresses.
Some select stores are even shipping out gowns directly to future brides to let them try dresses on at home. They use careful disinfecting processes to ensure safety, and meanwhile, the bride gets the full experience of trying on dresses and seeing herself in her perfect choice.
Other salons have announced helpful things such as designer discounts, waived rush fees, and sample sales.
So, while dress shopping during a global pandemic seems all but impossible, bridal shops and boutiques are doing everything they can to make the most of this wedding season. The best way to find out what your local shops are doing is to visit their sites or call them to see what their COVID-19 policies are. They'll be happy to help you from there!
And guys, the same goes for tuxes—both buying and rentals. Give your local place a call and see how they're willing to work with you.
Like buying a wedding dress, purchasing your wedding bands is an occasion that many couples cherish. The whole experience is what makes it special: going to the store together, trying on bands, and completing the purchase.
Thankfully, in today's online retail world, it's easier than ever to find your perfect wedding bands. The in-store experience may be meaningful, but during this COVID-19 pandemic, it's important to accept how crucial our health and safety are right now.
Many popular jewelers are committed to servicing their customers and keeping business alive and thriving via online sales. Companies such as Blue Nile let you browse through their collections, see multiple images, and select your customized sizes.
Secured shipping lets you get your rings safely and remotely. Different stores may have various return policies, especially in cases of customized sizing and inscriptions, so be sure to check those details out before committing to an expensive purchase.
SUPPLIERS & VENDORS
If you already had grand wedding plans in place that involved various suppliers and vendors, you will need to contact them directly if they haven't already reached out to you. The best advice that wedding planning experts have provided is to stay open and honest with your vendors and suppliers.
Many venues have postponed their events for this coming summer to as far as fall or winter. Some states, like Washington, won't be allowed gathering over 50 until August. Therefore, it's crucial that you not only speak to your venue to see what their policies are, but that you remain understanding that much of the circumstances are out of their immediate control.
As far as suppliers and vendors go, the same understanding and consideration are expected. Not only are these businesses and individuals dealing with significant loss of income, but they're likely trying to help many other brides and grooms such as yourself to find palatable solutions.
Maintain the same open, honest communications with all of the professionals involved in your wedding plans. Voice your expectations, concerns, and hopes, and see what they can work with.
Remember, your vendors and suppliers want your business. This may mean revisiting contracts and working out new deals, which can be frustrating and time-consuming, but keep your cool and focus on what's important: making your day special.
For weddings planned for May, June, and even July or August, it's vital that you and your fiance have an honest discussion with your friends and family about the effects this virus might have on them. Because orders and recommendations vary across state lines, though your wedding may legally be able to happen, many of your loved ones might not be able to make it.
Based on these communications—who can travel, who already bought plane tickets, who doesn't feel comfortable gathering—you and your fiance can make more sound, calm decisions for your special day. If you're set on having the largest number of guests make it to the ceremony, you may feel better about moving the date.
If you're okay with majorly scaling down your guest list and hosting a small, intimate gathering for your wedding, then make sure you communicate that to your guests as well. Be prepared to have disappointed friends and family members. They're not being difficult; they just love you and were excited to see this monumental day happen for you.
Be sure to give plenty of notice so that people can change their travel plans, cancel babysitters, and make new arrangements as needed.
In some ways, international weddings are easier because they involve shorter guest lists and, therefore, lighter coordination concerning seating, food, entertainment, etc. However, even with fewer people, destination weddings still take a lot of planning.
As far as planning an international wedding during Coronavirus, you essentially have two options: postpone or choose a new, domestic location.
Unfortunately, travel has been affected on a global scale due to the coronavirus. Many countries have even closed or significantly limited their borders, making international travel impossible.
If the destination of your wedding is truly important to you and your fiance, then you should start to make arrangements to postpone your wedding due to Coronavirus. This means going over everything you've booked, from your venue and vendors to flights and hotels.
If you can, try to keep your rates and work within any contracts you might have signed onto. This is a perfect time to have an experienced wedding planner in your pocket.
Your other option is to move your wedding elsewhere. With many venues postponing events, it's likely that you won't be the only couple trying to find a new location, so act fast if you make this decision.
The good news is that because you were planning an international wedding, you probably don't have a huge guest list to work with. Reach out to your loved ones and see what works for everyone best. You may still be able to have your dream day on your desired date with your original guest list.
If you picture your big day on a fabulous vineyard in Italy, you're probably extremely disappointed by the timing of this pandemic. However, all is not yet lost, and relocating your wedding ceremony doesn't have to be all bad.
Many couples have chosen to have their wedding ceremony right at home. With the use of technology, there have been couples who have gathered their friends and family on a video conference call to view their ceremony.
Additionally, families have made beautiful ceremonies happen right in their backyard. With proper social distancing and adherence to your state's gathering protocols, you can have a lovely, intimate wedding with your closest family members.
During these spring and summer months, it's the perfect time to have an outdoor wedding. Many places are still open to the public, like the mountains of Colorado or certain beaches in Florida. With a small group of loved ones, you could easily move your ceremony to one of the most naturally scenic locations near you.
Finally, try to think of places that are special to you and your fiance. If one of your families' own a private lake house or a beach house, you could host your wedding vows there. Perhaps the place where you grew up, met, or got engaged are possibilities.
Get creative and be open-minded when changing the location of your wedding. And keep in mind, depending on your state's COVID-19 regulations, that you might even be able to invite more people than when you were planning an international wedding.
YOUR DREAM WEDDING
While the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for so many hoping to celebrate a perfectly planned wedding day, it also has the potential to create a beautiful, unique, and memorable day that you will cherish for the rest of your life.
Though it may not be what you had in mind, your wedding can still be fabulous during COVID-19. Don't be afraid to get creative. Work with your vendors rather than against them. Consider your loved ones and communicate well. Stay safe and follow all guidelines, and most importantly, remember the reason you wanted to get married in the first place.