Following suit with the rest of 2020, weddings have been suddenly interrupted by COVID-19. Unprecedented changes rattled not only thousands of ‘to-be-weds” but also the businesses of photographers, planners, venues, florists, caterers and more! To help you navigate the new uncertainties, here’s a list to assist you with adapting and re-tooling your wedding day plans and expectations:
Travel Restrictions – Destination weddings were severely affected by pandemic travel restrictions. International travel to high COVID areas remains a major question mark as to when they will return to normal.
Social Distancing – Many states and cities implemented restrictions on the number of people able to congregate in the same area. While these restrictions might be short term, guests’ discomfort is sure to linger into a post-vaccine world.
Finances – As the virus put millions out of work, wedding budgets were chipped away. In many cases, the focus has shifted from the flamboyant extras to the simple basics.
Venue Availability – Like many other businesses, wedding vendors and venues were forced to close their doors during quarantines. Most events were postponed rather then canceled, moved to later months and years. As a result, availability through ‘22 is expected to be surprisingly limited.
While digesting the impact of the virus, couples have two options: Postpone or Push Through. While the big day may not be just as you planned, the choice is still yours!
Deciding What to Do for Your Wedding
How does one decide to postpone or push through? Depending on the timing, place and guest count, the virus will have varying effects. It’s essential to consider how restrictions will affect YOUR wedding. Questions to ask yourself are:
- Will guests be able to travel to the venue?
- Will guests be comfortable traveling? Attending?
- Is your state allowing gatherings of large numbers? Does your venue?
- Do you still have the same resources to support a pricey wedding?
If you were able to answer “Yes” to most of these questions, you should likely continue with your original date. If “No’s” are surfacing, you may want to think about postponing.
|Brides Tip: Talk to your partner about your non-negotiables. Are you okay with limiting the guest count? Moving venues? Losing vendors? Eliminating the florist or photographer? Restricting contact with guests? If any compromise gives you a headache, postponement may be the way to go.|
If you Choose to Push Through
If you can gather people together, take safety precautions to make everyone feel more at ease.
Pre-Screening: Before the event, email a set of questions to all attendees. Even though these questions might feel like common sense, it will help provide those attending some comfort that you are addressing the issue. “Has the attendee traveled to highly affected areas in the last 14 days? Has the attendee experienced flu-like symptoms, especially a high fever, in the past 72 hours? If the attendee has traveled to an affected area or is experiencing symptoms, the attendee is asked to please stay home.”
Thermal Check-Ins: Quick contactless temperature checks at walk-in can be an effective way to ensure a safe environment. (This is also a great visual cue showing guests that you are thinking seriously about their safety.)
Sanitizing Stations: Placing hand sanitizer and washing stations throughout the event helps maintain safety and guest peace of mind. Groom Tip: Don’t let Uncle Bob ingest any hand sanitizer!
|Brides Tip: Make the best out of an odd situation! Add hand sanitizer to your goody bags. Get creative with a photo sticker on each container.|
Food delivery: It may be wise to have individual dishes during the pandemic. Catered plates, pre-placed on tables or individually handed to guests by a caterer wearing gloves, will help avoid contamination from multiple touches.
If some vulnerable guests are unable to attend, you can keep them involved by streaming the wedding digitally. You can stream either through the help of your photographer or by asking willing guests to broadcast on their phones. Streaming allows those who are wary to attend to see and experience your wedding from the remote safety of their homes.
|Brides Tip: If you are feeling underwhelmed by video broadcasted weddings, check out this emotional COVID-19 video wedding. While your day may not be just what you envisioned, you can still make it fun and creative! (Plus, it will definitely be a wedding to remember.)|
If You Choose to Postpone
Communicate with vendors ASAP
Time is of the essence to avoid any unnecessary fees. Talk to your venue and vendors immediately when postponing to ensure maximum refunds of deposits.
Vendors are in the same boat. That means two things: they understand AND they want your money.
Most companies are being extremely flexible about rescheduling. A cancellation or rescheduling fee is far less than what they actually make from your event. Use that to your advantage! Be reasonable, negotiate and have empathy.
Talk to guests
Talk to guests right away; especially those out-of-state-ers. They will need to refund plane tickets, hotels and rental cars. As you are picking a new date, speak with VIP guests like Mom and Dad to ensure they are available.
Pick a new date
This one is a toughie! Because 2020 weddings are moving to 2021, there is a piling up effect with already planned ’21 weddings. While finding the perfect date may be difficult, following these steps can help keep vendors (and save money!):
- Speak with the most expensive merchant first (typically the venue)
- Stay flexible and work within a season, rather than month or day. Then work to hone in on the date.
- Once you have a day set with the venue, keep working the phones from the most to least expensive vendors.
|Brides Tip: When speaking with your venue, ask them to “hold” a handful of potential dates. I furiously called VIP guests and crucial vendors to find a day that lined up with everyone before letting the venue know my final selection. Having an email chain is great for accountability and keeping track of details, but an old fashioned phone call is a great way to enhance rapport.|
Remember the most critical part. Breathe!The day is still yours. If you feel it’s better to push the date to ’22 or even ’25, it’s your choice. You get to pick the perfect day.
Be prepared (as much as possible)
While many vendors are flexible and understanding, some are not. Be prepared for extra fees. Also, consider that your guest list may change depending on availability. While your wedding will hopefully exist in a virus-free world, prepare with all precautions in mind.
If COVID-19 has proven anything, it’s that love will endure even through the darkest of times. Weddings may be postponed or altered to meet social distancing restrictions, but with some creativity, never canceled. Let’s stay optimistic for a virus-free future and keep moving forward. The wedding industry will flourish right alongside love!
Financial versatility and attention to details should also be a part of planning and growing your marital wealth. Once you’ve figured out the wedding plans, set up a video consultation with a Demand Wealth advisor and ask them how the ‘Demand Newlywed’ portfolio can get you started on your new financial path together.
This report is a publication of Demand Wealth. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date, but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of publication and are subject to change.