No one knows exactly what Summer, Fall, and Winter 2020 will look like in terms of social distancing and safety requirements and that’s weighing heavily on the minds of couples whose weddings are scheduled to take place during this confusing time.
But there are steps you can now take if your wedding is scheduled in mid-2020 to ensure you’re prepared for anything and everything during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s certainly not fun to think about, but at this point, anything and everything is possible. It’s possible the Stay at Home orders will last longer than anticipated or go back into place after being lifted for a short period of time. It’s possible your venue won’t be permitted to re-open in time for your date. It’s possible that events with 10-25+ people won’t be allowed by your wedding date. The best thing you can do for yourself and your soon-to-be spouse is to start thinking about a plan B in the event that your wedding can’t take place as it’s currently scheduled to.
Unsure of what your back up plan could look like? Here are three of the most popular options couples are currently choosing:
Option 1: Hold a small, private, intimate ceremony for you and your partner on your original wedding date (if permitted, based on rules in place at that time) and reschedule the reception and a vow renewal for later in 2020 or 2021. Put on your wedding day attire and treat your private ceremony as an elopement. An intimate moment with only you, your partner, an officiant, and your photographer can take place in your back yard or in the middle of the woods of your favorite park. After the ceremony takes place, spend an hour or so with your photographer to create beautiful celebratory images to share with your loved ones.
Option 2: Hold your original wedding date (if permitted, based on rules in place at that time), but cut the guest list down to the currently permitted number of people per event. (Be sure to include vendors in your head count.) This isn’t an ideal situation by any means, but it’s a solid option for couples who are unable or do not want to reschedule their dates for 2021. Your guests will understand.
Option 3: Reschedule the entire event for late 2020 or 2021. If this is the option that feels best for you, start considering new dates as soon as possible. If you have any vendors booked for your big day, begin by picking one or two months that would be ideal for you and your partner and reach out to your vendors to ask what their availability is during those months. Find the date that most (or, hopefully, all) of your vendors have open and secure it by signing a new agreement or agreement addendum with them. Note that this will cancel and void your current date on their calendar, but it will officially secure your 2021 date.
A few very important notes:
1) Whether or not you agree with social distancing and mask wearing, we must all respect social distancing practices during this time. If you hold a small intimate ceremony in your back yard with only your photographer, officiant, and best friend in attendance – it’s very likely that your photographer and officiant will show up in masks and keep a bit of distance between you and them. Maybe they live with someone who is immunocompromised, maybe they have a health condition that puts them into the high risk category, or maybe they’re just afraid of getting sick because they know it could impact another couple’s intimate ceremony. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to understand that we’re all just trying to stay safe and healthy for the sake of our families and our clients. We should all be extended the same level of understanding and respect.
2) Vendors calendars are filling up fast as Spring and early Summer 2020 couples have moved their dates to 2021. If you’re concerned about your date and feeling as though you should reschedule – don’t wait. Begin the process as soon as you make your decision and sign the addendum or new agreements for your new date as soon as possible.
For couples with 2021 weddings planned and for newly engaged couples hoping to celebrate with loved ones in the near future:
It’s important to note that weddings may look a bit different for some time. With news and information regarding Coronavirus changing on a nearly daily basis, many are unsure of what information to trust. Because of this, even after safety suggestions and rules are lifted, it’s very likely we’ll see some guests and vendors err on side of caution by wearing masks well into the next year – at the very least. This means you will have video and photos from your big day with masked guests wiping happy tears from their eyes or breaking it down on the dance floor, but that won’t be a bad thing.
We’re living through a monumental historical event. The documentation from your wedding celebration will not only tell you and your spouse’s personal history, but of our history as a whole. You’ll be able to look back at your images many years from now with friends or grandchildren and tell the story of how you and your spouse’s love not only survived the trials and tribulations of a global pandemic, but that it blossomed into something stronger and more beautiful than you ever imagined as a direct result.
(A list of the most perfect locations for a small intimate ceremony during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.)