Corona COVID-19 Wedding Chaos- “I Do Now” or “I Do Later”?!?!
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
3.21.2020 was our last wedding date to provide DJ Services and on the verge of the COVID-19 government orders currently in place to limit group sizes and eventually stay at home to limit interaction and encourage social distancing. In fact, the reception was scaled back from 350 guests to ONLY 50 guests to comply with the increase in guidance to limit gatherings to less than 50 people.
This alone presented a difficult task considering 20 guests already accounted for immediate family members and those involved with the wedding party. Choosing close friends and family and still limiting that group to less than 30 had to be EXTREMELY difficult! Weddings were exempt from the orders for mass assembly, but caution was used moving forward. Planning a wedding in the COVID-19 crisis is both stressful and difficult to say the least.
Tough decisions on 3.21.2020, and tough decisions now remain for many engaged couples! COVID-19 and the decisions let to cancel or continue occurred quickly and no one really understood the impact and seriousness of the pandemic. The "stay at home order" and the daily press conferences by Governor DeWine, Ohio has led to the substantial changes for planning and rescheduled dates for many couples. With the “social distancing” guidelines projected to extend until at least April 30, many couples are now faced with the decision to make changes.
In Allen County, Ohio marriage licenses are issued and valid for 60 days. Unfortunately, if postponing your wedding ceremony would extend your date beyond that time period, you would need to obtain another marriage license and pay an additional $50. With this situation in mind, you might make the decision to proceed forward with a small ceremony, and then plan on having a renewal of your vows and a larger reception to celebrate with friends and family. You might also decide to announce your plans to continue and Live Stream the ceremony to virtually include everyone on your guest list and inform your guests with the reality of your situation. They can attend virtually!
Through the many months of planning we realize this decision to "I DO now or "I DO Later" is difficult and the availability of dates to coordinate existing services may change. Chances that the venue, catering, photographer, décor, floral, Disc Jockey Services, honeymoon, limousine or transportation, hotels, etc… will all be available with little or "NO changes" will be very hard. Because coordinating all of these things may change, our best advice would be to remain flexible and understand that might be necessary.
To start, contact your venue to discuss the situation and begin to coordinate the new date as soon as possible. This allows you to host your event at the location you have chosen. To minimize necessary changes should you want to keep your same group of vendors, you might want to consider having your wedding on a Thursday, Friday, Sunday or another night rather than being limited to a Saturday only. Considering NEW ideas will allow less resistance and this may prevent pushing your date back as far. Availability may be limited with many venues and vendors backing your rescheduled date late into 2021!
Also reach out to each vendor individually to review the payment and cancellation policy to see what is permitted should you decide to cancel or reschedule. The answer may be “it depends” or quite possible “no”, as many vendor policies may differ. This is probably already included in your contract or booking agreement with that vendor. UltraSound Special Events has revised cancellation and rescheduling policies amidst the COVID-19 situations in rescheduling and we certainly want to see your event through.
MOST wedding vendors are willing to work with you on rescheduled dates and move money around to accommodate the changes. The reality is that this COVID-19 situation has also created many hardships and if the vendor is “not available” for rescheduling, you might expect that your previous deposit to be nonrefundable much like the marriage license fees beyond 60 days. This will vary from vendor to vendor and generally that advance payment has covered the ability to hold a specific date for you and allow for that business to operate given the general overhead expenses that the business incurs through basic operations.
If you’ve had a honeymoon planned, definitely reach out to your travel agent ASAP as travel is currently limited to many destinations and most travel related companies are able to issue travel vouchers or make changes to you honeymoon plans. This allows for dealing with the honeymoon issues to not be an immediate concern for planning. This will allow you to reorganize all of your planning and then reschedule that much needed honeymoon vacation. According to Spectacular Adventures Travel, touch base with your travel agent and you can possible put the final details on hold with honeymoon planning and concentrate on the immediate task at hand in coordinating other changes.
Both Airlines and hotels are allowing flight changes without additional fees and hotel stays are easily modified. There is a lot of uncertainty right now surrounding travel. Every situation is different and you could potentially celebrate your honeymoon on your 1 year anniversary. there certainly would be a lot to talk about and relaxing on a beach might be the cure to accumulated stress. Getting married in challenging times should definitely lead to happily ever after.
Currently with the end of COVID-19 situation uncertain for peak and recovery, it is hard to understand how far in advance changes will need to be made. Our advice from UltraSound Special events Inc. was to initially “hold off” on making any immediate decisions to "cancel or reschedule", but we have began to advise couples to begin the modifications that may "ultimately" need to be made to your planning for dates through May 2020 and consider June 2020 as a strong possibility for rescheduling. If your date is beyond 30 to 60 days out, it is probably best to start with your event venue and understand there policy and options for scheduling an alternative date.
Currently with cancellations, events we have been committed to have began to make changes and we've received phone calls to cover rescheduled dates with DJ Services or rentals. You may want to coordinate a new date based on comparison of schedules so that everyone can continue to be part of your wedding day. Getting a head start might provide more options and the "perfect date" might not be possible, but once a “new date” is determined you taken that first step. Get started on design and issue a new “save the date” or invitation to your guests informed of changes as soon as possible.
Finally, reach out for help!! Friends, family, and the members of your wedding party pledging to stand by your side are there to help. This is a simple BLOG about several difficult decisions and we wish you strength and guidance in making the best decisions. Take a deep breath and consider your options when making the changes. Generally speaking, “ALL” of your planning was completed and you’ll need to be open to changes, however, most of the hard work may already be behind you. With creativity and flexibility, you might have solutions available to you that you didn’t anticipate. Is a Thursday or Sunday wedding an option for you? This may be easier to keep all of your existing vendor agreements in tact.
You may have to make a few changes to your original plans and contact a few different vendors due to conflict with availability, but the large part of the work is DONE and you can do this!! There will be many weddings know as "CORONA weddings" and you can plan on how yours will be remembered. In case you were wondering, we had an awesome time at the wedding we opened our blog with and the 50 people attending celebrated like there were all 350 guests in attendance.
The COVID-19 norm for wedding receptions will be flexibility and, rest assured, will eventually provide more cause for celebration when we emerge from the current situation. your photographer may have some memorable ideas to document the times we are in and difficulties you've dealt with. Your guests will be there to celebrate with you!!
*Image by Country Roads Photography
Contact UltraSound Special Events 419-339-9701