What to do if your wedding is threatened by Covid-19

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been contacted by dozens of couples who wanted to reschedule their big day.

I understand how big a decision this is – and how deeply hurtful it is to have to abandon plans temporarily after so much time and effort has gone into them.

I’ll talk in a moment about what can be done to ensure that weddings go ahead eventually – but first it’s time for a brief moment of reflection.

The first thing to say is that this will pass.

In the Wuhan region of China, for example, they’re starting to go back to work.

This is a massive breakthrough against the Corona virus, and is a beacon to the rest of the world.

It is proof positive that the hardships we’re experiencing at the moment will all be worthwhile when we get back to normality in the months ahead.

So let’s keep the faith, let’s keep being kind to each other – and let’s keep on social distancing and washing our hands.

But back to the issue of what to do if your wedding is threatened. In deciding whether to pull the plug or not, here’s a helpful checklist of questions that you should ask yourself;

  • Do I have any guests who will have to travel from abroad? If the answer is yes, the chances are that they won’t be able – or willing – to make it.
  • When is my wedding date? As a rule of thumb, it seems that most people are cancelling events scheduled for the next three months. If your wedding date is beyond that, then there’s time to wait a few weeks more to get a clearer picture of how things stand.
  • What would your wedding look like if you had to re-imagine it? A number of couples have decided that they’re going to press ahead with plans to tie the knot, albeit in a very-much truncated manner. Church may be out, for example, but maybe it’s possible to have a priest marry you in an open-air environment, with a small group of family and friends, and with very strict distancing protocols. Although it wouldn’t be the big day you’d planned, it would definitely be a story to tell the grandkids in years to come!

  • Have you contacted your suppliers? If you’ve decided to cancel or re-schedule, make sure you contact all your suppliers – from the venue to the florists, from the clergy to the wedding entertainer, and from the caterers to the limo company. Not alone is this the decent thing to do, but it means you may not lose your deposit if you can agree on an alternative date. Also ask yourself what sort of wedding entertainment would be appropriate if you decide to proceed. A solo singer might be fine, for example, whereas a choir in the venue would be a definite no.
  • Who would be missing from your wedding? If you decide to proceed in some form or other, have you thought of the people who would have to miss it? Your grandparents, for example. Or pregnant friends. Or anyone with an underlying condition who would be fearful of turning up – even in a small ‘crowd’. And don’t forget any overseas guests you might have invited.
  • Have you spoken to your intended guests? In all the rush to sort something, have you remembered to stay in contact with your guests. If you had planned an overseas wedding for example, they may have booked holidays around your date. The sooner you let them know what you’re doing, they sooner they can cancel travel arrangements. 
  • Have you checked your insurance? If you have wedding insurance, now is a good time to read through your policy very carefully. It’s impossible to say if you’re covered until you’ve had a chat with the insurer, so pick up the phone today and see where you stand.

  • What about the honeymoon? If you’re travelling abroad on honeymoon, check right away if you have the option of exchanging flights for future dates, and see what your accommodation provider is saying about refunds. Because the whole world is in the same situation, you might be pleasantly surprised at how various providers will work with you to protect their income from a potential rescheduling.

Before I sign off, I’d like to recommend that you find out what’s happening from reputable sources – and not the social media mob who seem to delight in disseminating pure rubbish. Stay tuned to what our government is saying, what the HSE is saying, and what the World Health Organisation is saying.

And the final thing I’ll say on this issue is that a wedding is not a life or death matter – but catching the bug can be for lots of your family and friends.

So until life returns to normal – and it will – let’s be part of the solution and not part of the problem?

Shane Black
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