26 Questions About How The Coronavirus Could Affect Your Wedding and How To Avoid Costly Mistakes During This Time
Updated: March 20, 2020 27. I've decided to postpone my wedding. How can I send “Change The Date” cards? While USPS and UPS is still currently functioning, the easiest way to send Change The Date cards to your family is to send them digitally. Unashamed Imaging has created Change The Date digital cards for Couples that need to change their wedding dates. We have been helping Couples and Brides inform their family in style with our Virtual Save the Date Cards! Your customized Virtual Save the Date Card is made with your wedding colors, a special photo of the two of you, any information needed for your family and friends to know, and one additional special feature that you'll receive once complete!Find out more details here. Get your customized Virtual Save the Date Card here. www.unashamedimaging.com *For privacy purpose we have you complete this a quick form. We only need your name and email address.
26. There are so many updates and things keep changing. What do I do? As promised, I'm here to keep you in the loop with updates as I receive them. This is a great question and I want to address this from two perspective. 1. As a Couple - You need to follow the regulations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO. Believe it or not, if you violate and state or governmental regulations/restrictions not only can you get in trouble with local law enforcement, but you can possible put others at risk (health wise). 2. For Business Owners - Following the regulations set from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO is important. For wedding vendors and venues, we are shooting one wedding and than done; well most aren't. We are traveling from venue to venue, state to state (if destination weddings) and this means we are exposed to those that are infected who may not know it. As of March 15, 2020, the CDC has issued a new update recommending all gatherings (including weddings). Per the CDC, they have stated, "Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals."
Based on these details and after reading the entire release, postponing or canceling weddings is the best direction to take for the next 8 weeks. The CDC also made some updates: "Summary of Recent Changes: Revisions were made on 3/12/2020 to reflect the following: Highlights vulnerable populations, Adds a section on “Considerations for Postponing or Cancelling a Mass Gathering”, Adds a section on discouraging handshakes and high fives (for sporting events), Adds standard language regarding disinfection procedures. A few things I want to highlight: There is major liability for hosting an event knowing what's going on with COVID-19 and not adhering fully to "protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene and social distancing." In this blog post, Question #3, #8, #21, #22, are questions to review regarding this. With COVID-19 you can not cut corners. Remember, you can always livestream your wedding. Refer to Question #19. If you're local to the state of Florida, contact Unashamed Imaging about live-streaming your wedding. If you decide to host an evident things will have to be cleaned continuously to reduce contamination and spreading of COVID-19. Can you afford to hire staff to do this at your gathering/event? I highly advise you stay updated on what the CDC is releasing as well.
Have a question? Add it as a comment under this blog post. I’ll review it and see if it should be included.
Over the last few weeks, you’ve probably been glued to your digital devices.Am I right? And, if you’re honest, that’s how you found me. Well, first, thank Google for directing you to a resource that can help you with decision making for your wedding at this time. Second, know that I am a wedding professional that has been capturing weddings for over nine years now. I’ve seen a lot and because of my experience I want to help you during this time. I also have a background in nursing. Whether on your iPads or mobile phones, you’ve seen updates about the current health scare more than you’ve probably wanted to, but if you’re planning a wedding (which you are) you’ve probably been consuming a lot of content to help you make some decisions about your celebration. COVID-19 is a virus and it is spreading, but what you need to do right now for you and your family is to use logic and decrease making decisions out of fear. This is where this blog comes into play. I want you to know that this is your go to resource to help you with some of these hard wedding celebration decisions during this time. Your engagement was a positive moment in your life. You didn’t know that this health outbreak would occur, so don’t beat yourself up for what’s happening now. By reading this blog, you have chosen to not operate in fear, which will allow you to make decisions with a sound mind. Still with me? Okay, let me quickly explain how this blog post is going to work. I will use this blog post to answer questions related to wedding celebration decision-making during this COVID-19 outbreak. This blog will be updated regularly which means that you can come back to read updates, watch some of the videos shared, and more. I am taking some of the most common questions I've been asked, adding them to this list and sharing tips/advice from a wedding professionals standpoint to help you make sound decisions. Use the list below to see which questions I'm answering.
1. My venue is making me cut my guest list because of the Coronavirus outbreak, what do I do?
The reason why your venue is making you reduce your guest list is because of the governmental regulations set for events with an 150 person gathering or more. I know this is a hard decision, but one way to make this easier for you is to contact anyone that has to fly to your celebration. Ask if they are still coming or if they are allowed to fly. If they are, then let them come but advise them of the precautions they need to take at your wedding. Next, continue to call guests that have to travel the furthest. Yes, express that it’s not personal and that you want them to still come, however, because you have to cut your guest list, the best way to handle this is to start with people that are traveling the farthest. After you’ve made it through this portion of your guest, then work on everyone else. Confirm if they are coming or not. If people tell you they aren't coming, those are the ones that you cut from the guest list. Now that you have your list reduced to the amount allowed by the venue, I want you to create a Thank You list with all of the people that weren’t able to come so you can send them a card. You want the language used in this card to be reflective of them not being able to be there, but you want to express how grateful you are that they did want to come, etc. If you can set up live streaming for your wedding, do so, and invite the people who no longer can attend to watch. Ask your videographer about this service or contact Unashamed Imaging here.
2. We’re having a destination wedding in Mexico later this year. Should I cancel it? Will it still happen? This is another great question. Pay attention to updates regarding COVID-19. You can also contact your wedding planner or your coordinator in Mexico to begin communication about this. Since we don’t know what’s going to happen later this year regarding COVID-19 the best thing for you to do is stay in communication with all of your vendors.
You also want to watch what the CDC and WHO has to say. This is where you will find accurate information which will help you to decide what to do. On another note, be sure to read your contracts for your vendors once again. Look at their Cancellation Policy. This doesn’t mean you’re cancelling right now, it means you want to be sure you know what options you have.
For communication options, the best form is video chat. This way you can see your vendors and they can see you. The phone line might be busy, but most people won’t think to do a video chat.
3. I refuse to cancel my wedding. Even if 5 people come it’s still happening: If you’re deciding to still have your wedding there are a few things you want to consider 1. If any of your guests are immunocompromised, how will you protect them? 2. Are you within state regulations for the guest count for your event? 3. Is your event in a well ventilated area? 4. Do you have active event insurance for your wedding? This is important in case something happens that your venue is not held responsible for. 5. Can you implement social distancing at your wedding? This means people can not sit side by side at your wedding. 6. Are all of your vendors still on board? These are a few things to think about if you choose to still have your wedding. 4. My fiance is out of state in one of the quarantined areas. We don’t know if he/she will make it to where our wedding is being held. What do I do? This is a valid concern. Stay in the loop by watching the local news or reading the updates from the CDC and WHO. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in February that they will prepare us for the coronavirus (COVID-19) as it will impact local communities and potentially disrupt daily lives. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic with the U.S. banning travel from Europe for 30 days starting Friday, March 13. With that being said, if your fiance can not make it back to the US or if they are in a hot zone, they may have to remain where they are until cleared to travel. This means that they both of you need to communicate as often as possible so you’re on the same page which will reduce anxiety and worry. If your fiance can’t fly and you both know they won’t make it in time for your wedding you both need to make a decision as to what you want to do for your wedding celebration. You want to have the option to contact your vendors and exhaust your options for how they will handle contractual agreements. 5. Our anxiety is at an all time high. What can we do to control that? Keeping this answer simple, reduce how much you’re digesting information about what’s going on. If people you know contact you in a panic, kindly express that you don’t want to talk about this right now, however, you’ll reach out at a later time when it’s better for you to talk.
6. We have to get married at another venue. It’s not as nice as what we originally planned. Why do I feel sad about this?
Your feelings are valid. One way to handle this is to let out your emotions so you can enjoy your wedding celebration.
Another way to help with these feelings is to choose a venue that you do like. Yes, this might reduce your venue location options and it may also mean you won’t get your expected wedding date, however, if you know it’s going to bother you on your wedding day that you don’t like where you’re getting married than make the effort to choose a location you do like.
7. What do I do about changing my wedding date because I have to choose another venue?
Great question. Choosing another wedding date is no easy task, but if that’s what you have to do, do it.Once you’ve chosen a new date, reach out to your vendors and your family members that are attending your wedding.
Be mindful that your vendors may not be able to attend your new celebration date. You’ll need to know what that looks like contractually.
For your family and friends, understand that they may not be able to attend on the new date either. Don’t take this personal and don’t beat yourself up for changing the date. Simply express how you understand that they can’t make it and refer to the last two paragraphs of #1 on this list.
8. My photographer or videographer has decided that they will not come to capture my wedding. What do we do? With this concern, you can always have your planner reach out to your photographer/videographer on your behalf. I still recommend that you speak with them as well so you know exactly what the conditions are regarding this. If your hired photographer or videographer sent you an email stating that they weren’t coming, ask to speak with the photographer on the phone or via video chat. Be sure to get a clear understanding of why they are not coming. Remember, they have families too and if their decision is based on having children at home and not having someone to watch them or maybe someone in the home is immunocompromised they have to make the best decision for their family. Once you know why your photographer or videographer explains why they no longer will perform the services they agreed to perform, one question you need to ask is “Will there be someone else you’re sending to shoot my wedding?” This is something that might also be outlined in the contract already, but you still want to ask this question. The response to this question will determine what you need to do next. Here are a few options to consider: A. Replacement photographer/videographer is coming - If a replacement is coming be sure to ask your original photographer who is coming, be sure the replacement photographer/videographer has your wedding timeline, and also be sure to speak with the replacement photographer/videographer via telephone or video chat. B. No replacement photographer/videographer is coming - If no one is coming, reach out to your planner about finding a photographer/videographer for your wedding celebration. 9. My family is now driving to where the wedding will be. I’m worried about them being safe on the road. This concern is valid as well. To make it easier on yourself keep in communication with them so you know what’s going on and where they are at, but you don’t want to pass on your worry or anxiety to them. You can also create a family group chat where those traveling by car can text you and keep you updated as well.
10. We understand the severity of the virus, but don’t want to change our wedding date because it’s really significant to us. What do we do? Have an intimate ceremony on that date. Whatever family members or friends can attend let them come as long as they are not sick. You can always plan a gathering later on where family members and friends who couldn’t come to your ceremony can now celebrate with you.
11. I’ve had to postpone my bachelorette/bachelor party. We feel so bad about this. Safety is priority. It’s perfectly normal to feel sad about not having your celebratory parties. Again, no one could predict COVID-19. This is something out of your control, but it’s wise that you canceled it because you don’t want anyone getting sick.
12. My venue and other vendors aren’t communicating with me about how they will handle COVID-19 for my wedding. What do I do? If your vendors haven’t reached out to you about your wedding chances are they are not thinking about canceling either at this time. If your wedding is later on in the year they may be in the position of trying to ride it out to see if they even need to bring this up to you. Your vendors understand that this is a tough time right now for you decision-making wise and they don’t want to stress you out. If they haven’t reached out to you as of yet, it doesn’t mean they are irresponsible either. If you desire to reach out to them you can. Via email may be the best form of communication as phone calls may be limited at this time. They are probably fielding a lot of calls from other clients as well.
What you don’t want to do is assume that your vendors have made the same decisions as you regarding your wedding. Communication is key and most important.
13. Our wedding is supposed to be on a cruise. What do I do? Based on the current governmental restrictions given, your cruise wedding will be postponed. If this is the case, again ask the right questions and refer to your contract to ensure you understand what you’ve agreed to. You may be asked to sign an addendum if there are modifications being made because of the change. You also need to think about the fact that having a wedding on a cruise line at this time isn’t the best choice for anyone. This is why they’ve been canceling cruises. It’s easy for a virus to spread in this type of environment and if you have family members that are immunocompromised you don’t want to subject them to that type of environment.
14. How do I reschedule my wedding entirely? When it comes to rescheduling your wedding, the first thing you need to do is print out all of your vendor contracts. Be sure you have them labeled as to which contract belongs to which vendor so you’re not reading the wrong contract when speaking to each vendor. Next, reach out to them individually. Be sure to express why you want to reschedule your wedding clearly. Vendors understand that your decision is predicated on what’s happened with COVID-19, but you have to also understand that they run a business and this is how they take care of their families so they need to make decisions based on that as well. This decision is all about tone with your communication. When I refer to tone, I mean don’t yell or approach with a “you must” attitude. Honestly, they want to shoot your wedding. They don’t want you to cancel so it’s bothersome to them as well. Once you have the vendor on the phone, start with open-ended questions. Meaning, you want them to explain when responding to your questions so you have clarity on what will happen if you reschedule. You also want to keep in mind that the vendor may not have your rescheduled date available. If this happens, ask if they can make an agreement with you to shoot your wedding on another date based on availability. Again, this is all about how you communicated your desires.
15. My wedding is in Greece and it doesn’t look like it will happen. What do I do? If you’ve confirmed that your wedding can no longer take place in Greece, the first thing you need to do is print out all of your vendor contracts. Be sure you have them labeled as to which contract belongs to which vendor so you’re not reading the wrong contract when speaking to each vendor. If you want to cancel your wedding entirely, take a look at each contract again to understand your options for cancellations. You also want to pay attention to the section of the contract titled “Force Majeure”. This clause may relieve vendors from have to provide services or products to you completely as a result of circumstances like COVID-19 that they can not control. If you don’t want to cancel your wedding, you can find a venue locally with a “look” that is similar to the area in Greece where you were getting married. Yes, this may take some time, but it’s not impossible. Recently, I had a Bride reach out to me because her wedding is in Italy, it’s not been canceled and she’s looking for a photographer to shoot her wedding next month. The venue she chose has architecture similar to what you’d find in Italy, so I’ve been scouting locations nearby for their portrait session that will give them that look even though it’s in Florida.
16. My emotions are all out of whack. How can I control this? This is a normal feeling with something like this. COVID-19 is out of our control. While we’re following precautions given we also can’t do much without breaking restrictions that can harm others. The best advice for this is to take a break from the news. Don’t become completely oblivious, but give yourself some quiet time. This might even include shutting your phone off. If you want to keep your family from worrying you can let them know that you’re going to turn your phone off for X amount of time. This will reduce them being worried about you.
17. Should I stop watching the news about COVID-19? This is your decision completely. I can advise that if it’s giving you anxiety then it doesn’t hurt to take a break from it. Unfortunately, unless you’re watching videos on a streaming platform, it’s going to be in your face constantly. I was on TikTok the other day and it was highlighted at the top of the application. You always want to stay informed as much as possible so you can plan accordingly for you and your family.
18. My wedding is 6 months from now. Should I wait or cancel now? This is another great question. Since we don’t know what’s going to happen 6-months from now the best thing for you to do is stay in communication with all of your vendors. Some of the most important vendors for this concern would be your: Venue, Photographer, Videographer, Cake and Floral. For communication options, the best form is video chat. This way you can see your vendors and they can see you. The phone line might be busy, but most people won’t think to do a video chat.
19. How can I livestream my wedding for family that can't attend anymore? If you’ve hired a videographer, ask them if they offer live streaming services as well. If they do, find out what the investment will be to add this on. If it’s too much, don’t do it. If it’s valuable to you, do it. Not only will you feel better that your family was able to see your ceremony, but they will also feel good that they can see it. I’ve live-streamed weddings both privately and publicly. Here’s an example of publicly live streaming a wedding. I have the ability to customize what the broadcast will look like.
To watch this live broadcast click here. 20. Should I have hand sanitizer at my wedding? This is a great question and if you have access to this, do it. At the very least have hand sanitizer. While this might not be the typical favors for your wedding, it’s a way of showing your guests that you care and also a way to keep everyone safe. 21. My wedding is in a high-risk area for COVID-19. Should I cancel for that reason alone? If this is your scenario you need to pay attention to what your state restrictions are for this. Most events are being canceled that have 100 or more people present. Some are being mandated to cancel regardless. Listen to what your government officials have ordered and follow suit. Another thing to think about are your family members that are immunocompromised. You’d hate to have them in an environment where you know exposure is high.
22. Some of my family members have compromised immune systems. Should I cancel for that reason? This is a tough one because you want your family to be present, but it would bother you if they got sick by coming to your wedding. The best way to handle this is to talk with your family members that are immunocompromised. Don’t embarrass them. Take a moment to talk with them one on one to see how they are feeling as well and simply listen. They will tell you their concerns which will help you to make your best decision. Canceling your entire wedding may not be the best decision for one or two people that are Immunocompromised. If you’re wondering how they can still see your Ceremony look for the question about live streaming. 23. What innovative ideas do you have for my wedding with all of the COVID-19 restrictions? Hire a livestream DJ. This is a DJ that will play music via platform like Periscope or even FaceTime. You can connect a wireless speaker to your phone and play that at your Reception and Wedding Ceremony. Turn off phone notifications and place the phone on vibrate or even Airplane mode with bluetooth or Wifi still accessible to reduce interruptions. Feel free to ask them any questions that you may have before booking them.If you already have a DJ, ask if they can provide this service for you. 24. What if my photographer wants to wear a mask at the wedding. Should I let them? This is a great question. The first place to start with this question is to talk with your photographer about the order of operations for your wedding day. They may be doing certain things a little different than normal because of the outbreak. If they are concerned about their exposure and getting someone sick at your wedding then they shouldn’t come to your wedding. While there is talk that the masks won’t protect you by wearing them if you’re not infected, people will still wear them because we are unaware of who around us may have been exposed. If this wasn’t a concern medical professionals would not be wearing them or telling us to reduce buying them so we have them. 25. What about my wedding album. Should I still order one from my wedding photographer? Absolutely. It may not arrive within the normal timeframe outlined in their contract, but you as a couple are aware of what’s going on right now and this should not be held against the photographer. Another reason why you should order an album is because the designing process takes time. It’s best to have that done and ready so when it’s time to order it won’t take so long with the designing process having to be the first step.
WATCH THIS VIDEO: Will The Coronavirus Effect My Wedding?
As of March 14, 2020, I’ve answered 25 Questions in this blog post. Come back to see any updates or new questions added.
Resources: 1. Center for Disease Control - "Get Your Mass Gatherings or Large Community Events Ready" https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html?fbclid=IwAR00fADY8X9jcRZVfdxiaYYVEb6x8oyCM8A7VnzK9MWQEaEnHYyxq50qQII 2. Center for Disease Control -"Summary of Recent Changes" https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html?fbclid=IwAR00fADY8X9jcRZVfdxiaYYVEb6x8oyCM8A7VnzK9MWQEaEnHYyxq50qQII