Coronavirus image from Nature.com
Should you postpone or cancel your wedding because of the coronavirus pandemic?
Wanted to offer knowledgeable tools to help you cope and navigate through this crisis to help inspire you. Our "new normal" changes moment by moment, yet looking forward to when we may emerge from this at some point, and together be able to safely gather again.
1). WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER - Know this is a stressful time of uncertainty for everyone. On top of this, you're planning your wedding in the midst of this global pandemic. Breathe, take time to weigh your pros and cons, and understand in these uncertain times, federal and state guidelines may change anytime. It's not worth sacrificing the health of your family, friends, or each other with this deadly virus.
2). WEDDING DATE - If your wedding date is in April, May, or June of 2020, would highly recommend postponing your wedding until the curve of positive cases have flattened.
3). CONTRACTS - Read the fine print of each of your signed contracts, and weigh the financial consequences. Normally if you cancel, you will lose your non-refundable retainer. If you choose to postpone, ask your vendors to work with you to reschedule and ask vendors if they are wiling to waive change of date fees.
4). ATTRITION - Review your contracts, especially with your venue, caterer, and bartender on any damages based on your head count being reduced. You may end up having to downsize your head count, because of travel restrictions, local quarantines, elderly guests, or flight connections.
5). FORCE MAJEURE - Read the fine print of this clause, since this may relieve your vendors from performing contractual obligations due to circumstances beyond their control, yet this is contract specific, and subject to interpretation. There may be a provision such as "governmental regulation or act," and if there is a government issued advisory not to travel, or a ban on group gatherings of more than a certain number of people, this may be a force majeure.
6). COMMUNICATE - Don't expect your vendors to contact you, reach out to all of your vendors to let them know your concerns and possibility of postponing your wedding. Don't expect your guests to reach out to you. Reach out to let them know if they feel sick, or not safe traveling, to please let you know. If guests are traveling from out-of-state, let them know as soon as possible on is possibility of a postponement so they may change their travel plans.
7). TRAVEL BANS & QUARANTINES - Currently USA has all states under stay at home or shelter in place with bans of large gatherings over 10 people. This will change as the curve is flattened, and states start opening up their economy safely. Depending on your location, check local quarantines, travel bans, and flight connections for your guests flying in from out-of-state.
8). WEDDING INSURANCE/SPECIAL EVENT INSURANCE - Check with your insurance agent to see if they carry special event insurance, or wedding insurance, if not, contact Travelers Insurance 866-258-1346 or Travelers.com to get a quote. Find out if you are would have coverage during this nationwide pandemic or communicable diseases. Many special event policies going forward may not cover a pandemic like this.
9). FINANCES - With quarantines your income level may have changed, so your payment schedules you originally signed off on prior to this pandemic, may no longer be realistic. Communicate with your vendors to see if they are willing to work with you on payments.
10). LEGALLY GET MARRIED NOW WITH LARGER CELEBRATION POSTPONED - In order to legally get married in the State of Arizona, you must have 2 witnesses, a licensed officiant, and the couple with a state issued marriage license which must be signed and returned by your officiant. You may want to have a virtual wedding by streaming your celebration to share with your family and friends who weren't able to be included.
11). TRAVEL INSURANCE - Some airlines are waiving cancellation and change fees currently, yet this may change. See if travel insurance was purchased, and if this pandemic would be covered. If you have invited guests from infected areas, they may have travel restrictions out of their control.
12). STAY FLEXIBLE - If your wedding date is is significant day based on your relationship history, you may always celebrate this day, yet be flexible on time of the year, day of the week, and you'll have to see which date coincides best on availability of your vendors and family and friends.
13). SOCIAL DISTANCING IDEAS - You may want your venue or caterer to implement hand washing stations, or hand sanitizer stations. You may want to select a plated meal service instead of the buffet. Instead of buffet for your hors d'oeuvres, you may want hand passed. You may want to sit less people at each table, and spread your tables out to be spaced farther apart.