Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus and Your Wedding
Dear brides and grooms,
This is a heartfelt open letter to you, talking about everything you need to know about Coronavirus and your wedding.
I understand that this is a challenging period for you, your partner and your families and it’s equally as difficult a time for us who work in the wedding and event industry.
It’s been a pretty rough start to 2020, particularly here in Australia with bushfires, then floods and now a global pandemic.
Evidently, there is a lot to be worried about right now with the air full of unpredictability. If you’re reading this though in the comfort of your own home, I want you to acknowledge it. Take deep breaths and stay calm because we are all in this together.
Unfortunately, we do have to mention the C word several times through this article, because we feel that it’s important for us to keep you updated and informed at all times.
As we navigate through the uncertainty, it is still business as usual for us. We are still creating some incredible content behind the scenes (whilst self-isolating) to support you every single day. It is a priority for me in particular to help serve my audiences with the best and most accurate wedding related content on the web.
Which is why, over the past week, I have gathered a tonne of information for you about Coronavirus and the impacts it has for your future weddings. I have had a chance to collate information from a few of the best wedding experts in the industry, both local and abroad as well as have a chat to a number of brides out there who have had to make the difficult decision to either cancel or postpone their weddings.
So, whether you are days, weeks or months away, let’s start making some contingency plans.
Here is everything you need to know about Coronavirus and your wedding.
What is Covid-19?
Two weeks ago, on Wednesday 11th March, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared, Covid-19, a novel respiratory and flu like illness that is caused by a virus, that is coronavirus. Symptoms are similar to the flu, but it can spread quite rapidly from person to person and in some instances can cause severe respiratory problems.
It has been advised by government health and also medical professionals to maintain good hygiene, avoid public gatherings and practise social distancing.
In the efforts to slow the spread of the virus, the Australian government has enforced strict measures when it comes to travel as well as holding a wedding or event.
As of today, all overseas travel is banned, with restrictions in place for interstate travel as well. There are bans on large outdoor gatherings, events and weddings that are more than 5 people.
Coronavirus and your Wedding
The good news is that you can still get married, but as mentioned above, no more than 5 people. Your wedding ceremony will only include yourself and your beau, celebrant and two witnesses. Now that witness could either be your photographer, me, or a family member.
Larger gatherings could contribute to the spread as we have seen and heard in the news over the past few weeks.
If you were booked in to have your wedding within the next 4-6 months, now is a good time to assess the situation and contact your wedding suppliers immediately.
Helen Wu of Sydney based floral design and styling company, Lime Tree Bower says that the Coronavirus has impacted a large section of industries, including her own business. However, she is remaining optimistic and reinforces the need for couples to postpone to a later date.
“Our team is optimistic yet cautiously realistic – we know that over time this will improve and there is light at the end of the tunnel. We feel for everyone that has to change their wedding plans and put things on hold, however we believe healthy and safety is our number one priority. We strongly recommend couples that have upcoming weddings to consider postponing their date to at least Sep/Oct (Spring in Australia).
Communicating with your venue first to understand their policies and working with them for a change of date should be your first step. Once you have some potential new dates, getting in touch with all your vendors to check if they’re still available would be the next part of the process.
We understand for some that postponing the date might be difficult – whatever the reason may be. In this scenario, we recommend going ahead with a very intimate ceremony or registry signing on your original wedding date. Your reception and any other related celebrations could then be postponed to a future date, which would then be an ideal time to rejoice for many reasons!”
At this point in time of social distancing, it’s imperative to organise all your meetings online. As internationally renowned photographer, Sheri McMahon explains, now is the time for her to be accommodating and provide assurance to her future couples.
“I, like other small businesses, are in unknown territory and it is important for our livelihood to support each other in any way we can. As a wedding photographer, I am reframing my business to accommodate and provide assurance. I’m supporting social distancing by offering Zoom calls and virtual meet ups and enquiries.I want to support every couple and talk about their concerns.”
Accepting the reality of the current circumstances is tough I know. The sooner you make a decision with your partner and families, the better it is for you to move forward.
Sydney’s top Indian wedding decorating business owner, Nita Tanna of Décor A Shaan says that whilst it is difficult, consider everyone’s health and safety first.
“If couples can postpone their weddings, it is advisable as your guests will not RSVP. I’ve already had cancellations and I understand that it isn’t easy to do so but do consider it for the benefit of everyone’s health and safety.”
Most venues and wedding suppliers should be understanding under the circumstances and would be up to date with all the latest news about Coronavirus.
Read your contracts carefully though prior to contacting your suppliers. This will save you and vendors time and eliminate the stress of the situation.
Both vendor and you, would want to avoid any financial strain at this point in time, so in an ideal world, rescheduling is the best path to take.
Your suppliers should be able to facilitate with pushing your wedding date out to the earliest, October or November, but will probably encourage a 2021 date.
It’s predicted that 2021 could potentially be the biggest ever year for the wedding industry, so be patient and flexible if possible.
Weekday dates may be your only option for early 2021 due to demand being so high already. Some planners will have some standby dates too as they are waiting for the situation to ease.
Providing that your vendors are on board with you and you have each other’s support too, it could be possible for them to hold on to deposits. Refunds could be trickier.
Understandably, everyone’s situation is difficult, so your wedding suppliers will work on a case by case basis.
What if I just really want to get married?
If postponement is not an option at this point in time, it is still okay to host a small, intimate registry marriage (New South Wales) in Australia. Please do look at the relevant websites related to your state. There is detailed information on this website, in relation to Coronavirus and your wedding plans.
If you are based overseas, please refer to the relevant government websites.
Under the marriage act of Australia, should you wish to get married, you must complete the appropriate documents and have your signatures witnessed by a Justice of the Peace, lawyer, qualified doctor or even a police officer and then send the appropriate forms back to your celebrant.
You must provide one full month’s notice prior to your wedding date.
There could be possibilities of shortening the time frame, but it depends on the circumstances.
We are encouraging couples who are scheduled to get married within the next few weeks, to contact us immediately if they want to still go ahead with their registered date.
So long as your families respect your decisions, then you could postpone the wedding and reception to a future date.
Record or live stream your intimate nuptials via mobile device for your families.
Communication Is Key
Once again, communicating with your venue(s), vendors, families and wedding guests is key to ensuring that the whole process of postponement runs as smoothly as possible.
Try to remain calm and be empathetic, open and transparent with everybody.
If you are overwhelmed with it all, the best advice we’ve received from some top pros is to create a wedding website and send out a mass text message or email. This way, your guests are constantly updated.
There are many free tools out there to create a simple wedding website to communicate the details and cover all the necessary information. Reassure them that you will be getting married soon, just not now.
Harsh and Disha Munshaw of successful, India based wedding stationery business, Customizing Creativity says,
“There are some families who are still choosing to send out their save the date messages for their weddings that are taking place in June or July this year. Under the current circumstances, that’s probably not the right move. Not only is it insensitive but could get confusing should you decide to change the date. Think very carefully before communicating the message.”
Many stationery artists and wedding professionals have designed stunning complementary, copy and paste templates for their couples on social media.
Harsh and Disha have designed a couple of beautiful templates below, for couples who have had to make the difficult decision to postpone.