Life seems a little crazy right now, huh? If you’ve been planning for your wedding during this COVID-19 pandemic, I’m sure you’re feeling a little stressed about everything! With the news in Oregon yesterday that all public events larger than 250 would be cancelled for the next 4 weeks, and seeing this morning that all K-12 schools are being closed for 2 weeks, we wanted to get on here and share some advice and reassurance.
I’m a firm believer that being prepared is better than being panicked. And in a situation like this, where there are devastating accounts of what’s happening around the world, it’s easy to feel more than a little panicked. So aside from washing your hands regularly, going out less, and stocking up on essentials (without hoarding all the toilet paper, pls & thx), how can you prepare for COVID-19? And what should you do about your wedding plans?
Do you have to cancel your wedding if it’s in the next 4 weeks?
Gov. Brown issued a press conference yesterday afternoon announcing that all events larger than 25 people will be canceled for the next four weeks. It’s also been recommended to “avoid being around more than 10 people at a time.”
At this point, the best option is to convert your wedding to an elopement with family only or postpone until the end of summer, fall, or next year. This virus is sending shock waves through the entire event industry and we’re all sad at what’s happening. Just know that your vendors want to be there for you. We want to do whatever we can to support you through these changes.
Scroll down to see our tips for live streaming your ceremony (if you’re eloping) and how to contact your vendors to postpone your wedding date.
All events with more than 250 guests in the next 4 weeks should be canceled, according to the press release from Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday. The good news is most weddings don’t have quite that many guests! So at this point, you can continue with your wedding plans. But what can you do to keep you and your guests safe?
Earlier today the CDC updated the recommended guidelines for large events and gatherings. They’re now recommending that “for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.
Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.”
Keep reading to see our suggestions for downsizing your celebration to an intimate affair and how to approach reaching out to your vendors to reschedule.
– Set Up a Way For People to Skype in or Watch on Facebook Live –
First, it’s important to anticipate that some guests might choose not to attend. It’s also recommended to ask anyone who might be feeling sick not to attend. If you’re still planning to continue with your wedding during COVID-19, you will most likely have fewer guests than you would normally estimate based on your guest lists and RSVPs.
It’s recommended to “limit elderly or at-risk guests from attending for their safety.” I think this also goes for guests who have pre-existing conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19 complications.
Set up a way for guests to watch from home so that they feel secure in staying home if needed, and can still celebrate with you! Some options for live streaming are Facebook, Instagram, or Zoom. Or you can have guests video call with Skype, FaceTime, or Facebook Messenger.
Facebook makes it super easy to live stream so I’d recommend creating a private group and inviting all of your guests virtually. On the day of your ceremony, go live on your phone so that your guests can watch and celebrate from home!
– Plan to Have Extra Sanitization Protocols in Place –
Talk with your venue and make sure extra sanitization protocols are in place before, during, and after your wedding day. Have extra hand sanitizer and soap available in the bathrooms. And make sure there’s room for your guests to spread out during your ceremony and reception.
You can even print and hang these memes with songs to wash your hands to:
Getting married on private property, DIY-ing your day, or working without a planner? Have sanitization plans set in motion! Think about how you’re going to keep your wedding space clean and sanitized ahead of time. Have a team of people ready to arrive early to wipe down tables, doorknobs, and any common touchpoints.
HOW SHOULD YOU PREPARE IF YOUR WEDDING IS A FEW MONTHS OUT?
It’s hard to anticipate how things will progress in the next few months. But having a few backup plans in place will help as you plan for your upcoming wedding during COVID-19.
– Have an Elopement Back-Up Plan –
When Ted and I got married, we wanted a big party with lots of guests. So I totally get it if that’s your dream wedding too! But if your wedding is in May, June, or July, you still have time to make changes to your planning. Now is the time to consider how you will downsize your guest list and plan for an intimate party.
Another option is to just have a ceremony on your planned date. Then plan to have a bigger celebration after everything with COVID-19 has calmed down. This seems to be a popular option among brides and groups on Facebook in the past couple of days.
We’ve shared some really beautiful intimate weddings on the blog, so check those out for some inspiration!
– Have a Back-Up Plan if You Need to Reschedule –
I know this is the hardest option. But I also know that realistically, it’s on your mind if you’re planning your wedding during COVID-19. Some of you might be feeling like it’s your only option, and I want you to know that’s okay.
You might be concerned about deposits and retainers you’ve already paid, and how this choice would affect you financially. I can’t speak for all vendors, but I know many who have loosened up reschedule policies due to the virus. Many are transferring retainers to new dates without any fees.
We want to do anything we can to work with our clients who feel this is the best option for them. We plan to give the first choice of dates to anyone who feels that rescheduling is the best option for them.
My best advice is to talk with your vendors. Reach out to your planner, your venue coordinator, DJ, caterer, etc. Ask them what plans and policies they have in place and communicate your concerns. See what dates they have available later in the year or next year, and get a backup plan in writing. Many couples are already postponing their dates, so the earlier you can get that plan in motion, the better chance you’ll have of keeping most of your vendor team.
We’re all in this together! I guarantee your vendors want to ease your concerns and help you find a comfortable solution. Whether or not you decide to continue planning for your wedding during COVID-19.
This post was originally written on 3/13/2020. We will continue to update it as the situation changes.