Coronavirus Affecting Your Wedding? Covid19 and Your Wedding – Coronavirus Wedding Advice
As the coronavirus spread across the world, countries are taking drastic steps to stop the pandemic from infecting and killing more people. Many couples are looking for coronavirus wedding advice, asking “should we postpone?” or “should we cancel?” The virus that causes the COVID-19 disease not only disrupts government and business operations but it also affects all aspects of daily life. States nationwide are shutting down, group gatherings are canceled by law, and as of now, things will get worse before they get better so everyone is encouraged to stay at home or practice social distancing.
Fears of the coronavirus force companies to take preventive measures including shutting down their businesses for an indefinite period of time. No one knows for sure how long the pandemic will last, but it’s clear that safety precautions can prevent the virus from spreading to more places and infecting more people.
What is coronavirus and COVID-19?
The Coronavirus (CoV) are a family of viruses that cause a range of illnesses from the common cold to severe respiratory disease. The newest strain of the virus (COVID-19) is believed to have originated from Wuhan, China in 2019 and have since spread across other regions. Countries like Italy, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore were the first few countries to experience the exponential growth of the virus. In fact, Italy is forced to go on total lockdown after the number of people infected by the coronavirus surged exponentially. Updates can be found on the CDC website.
Signs and Symptoms
Common symptoms of COVID-19 disease include cough, fever, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to an infected person. In severe cases, the coronavirus infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
To prevent the spread of infection, it is recommended to practice regular hand washing (about 20 seconds of scrubbing and washing) avoiding close contact with people showing signs of respiratory illness like coughing and sneezing.
Impact on the Wedding Industry
Needless to say, businesses of all sizes are crippled by the coronavirus and the wedding industry is no exception. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending the postponement of events with more than 50 attendees for 8 weeks. People are also asked to avoid social gatherings with 10 people or more. Health guidelines call on people to stay at home and only go out if it’s really necessary.
Precautions to slow the spread of the virus have led to lockdowns forcing cancellation of events, including weddings and related activities. The wedding industry is hit particularly hard because weddings are considered mass gatherings where an infected person can easily transmit the virus to everyone in attendance.
Couples whose weddings are scheduled in the next couple of months are forced to cancel the event as a preventive measure. This is quite devastating not just to the couples who look forward to their special day, but also to the people who work so hard to plan the wedding. These include wedding planners, photographers, caterers, flower shops, bridal dress shops, hotels, cake decorators, and printers, to name just a few.
The contagious nature of the COVID-19 disease makes wedding events a likely source of virus transmission. It only takes one infected person to spread the virus through respiratory droplets when the person sneezes or coughs. Knowing how fast it can spread among crowds of people, couples are making the decision to cancel their weddings altogether.
Wedding cancellations have serious implications to wedding vendors and suppliers. When quarantines, travel bans, and lockdowns are enforced, they have no choice but to shut down their operations indefinitely. This means no income is coming in and their businesses are in danger of shutting down for good.
Getting Married in 2020 amidst the Coronavirus Outbreak
Judging by recent world events, 2020 is full of challenges and tribulations. No one knew how dangerous the coronavirus was until it has already spread to hundreds of thousands of people in just a few days. This is something that the wedding industry did not expect the first three months of the year to turn out. Couples who have planned their weddings months before are now faced with a dilemma of whether to push through with the scheduled wedding amidst the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.
It’s never easy when everything has already been planned, set up, and ready to go. If you are scheduled to get married in 2020, perhaps in the next three months, your plans are already compromised. With the virus rapidly spreading throughout the United States, pushing through with the wedding would mean taking proper precautions to ensure not just your safety but also the safety of your guests.
The recommendation by the CDC is to postpone events with more than 50 people. As of now, it’s not a strict government order, so you are still given that option to move forward with the wedding. If you are expecting more than 50 guests at your wedding, a postponement is a likely decision. It’s a painful decision to make, but it’s the right thing to do to stop the spread of the virus.
Should you decide to push through with the wedding, you must ensure that proper safety precautions are in place. Alternatively, you can make some adjustments by reducing the number of guests to just family and close relatives (less than 10 is preferred). Sacrifices have to be made to pull a wedding off amidst the outbreak.
If you are getting married or planning to tie the knot in 2020 and don’t know what to do, here are some things to consider to lessen the stress of and reduce the risks.
Weddings in Areas of Coronavirus Outbreak
If your wedding is going to be held in an area of outbreak, it is necessary to make alternative arrangements. A likely scenario would be to book at a venue in the local area that is not affected by the virus. Information about affected areas change day-to-day so you have to be aware of updates when you make your plan. More and more cases are reported each day and new cities and localities are being added to the list, so always check the latest updates from CDC or respective local governments of cities and municipalities. Postponing the wedding is the likely option if your wedding venue is in an area of outbreak.
Limited travel is imposed to some countries including China, Italy, Iran, Spain, Germany, South Korea, and France, to name just a few. This will greatly derail your destination wedding if your venue is in one of the countries severely affected by the outbreak. For example, Italy is on total lockdown so all wedding events in the country are practically cancelled. There’s no way around it because Italy currently has the most number of cases and deaths after China.
If you’re still in the middle of planning your destination wedding, you might want to consider looking for a comparable destination within your country which does not involve a lot of traveling. You may also want to limit the number of quests to reduce the risks of contracting the disease. Of course, postponing the wedding for a later date when the outbreak is gone or at least contained is still the best option to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
Travel options are limited because of travel bans, quarantines, and lockdowns. Before you book your honeymoon travel, make sure to check the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC. Keep abreast of travel advisories so that you can make changes in your plans if your chosen honeymoon destination is on lockdown or one of the outbreak-affected areas.
Be mindful of cancellation deadlines so you don’t lose money when you decide to cancel bookings in hotels, cruise ships, or other accommodations.
Wedding Vendors and Service Providers
Wedding Planners and Event Designers
The coronavirus has put everyone in the wedding industry on the edge. Wedding planners and event designers are dealing with changes in wedding plans and struggling to make new arrangements due to travel restrictions. The hard reality is that cancellations are inevitable. As the number of clients dwindles, wedding planners are feeling the pinch.
If you have a wedding planner, discuss your options and determine the best course of action. Should you decide to postpone, you must take into account that your chosen vendors may not be available on your rescheduled date.
Photographers feel the impact of the coronavirus hysteria. They are starting to receive cancellation requests which can cause a decline in their revenues. If your wedding were to push through, you have to discuss with your wedding photographer about social distancing and sanitization. You have to agree on some boundaries in terms of how close you want the photographer to be when he takes photos of you and your guests. On the flip side, some photographers may want to cancel because of travel or health issues. Just make sure to go over the contract and include stipulations relating to eventualities as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Caterers, Culinary Professionals, and Concessionaires
If you are planning your wedding, the tendency is to secure the wedding venue and photographer first. Other things can wait until you have a clear assessment of the situation. Catering and related services can be done later when there’s a high chance of the wedding to push through.
Bridal Gowns and Jewelry
There may be delays in the shipment of bridal gowns to the United States because 80 percent of them are manufactured in China and locations overseas. Because of lockdowns and travel bans, it would be difficult to determine exactly when shipments of bridal dresses would arrive. As it is, ship dates are pushed back to 20 weeks or more. This means bridal salons are dealing with significant delays and may not be able to provide bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses in time for the big day.
If you are shopping for a dress, consider working with a local designer who can prioritize your upcoming wedding. Order ahead of the standard 8 to 12 weeks lead time prior to your wedding. It is recommended you order 24 weeks ahead of time to give allowances for delays and cancellations. This way, you can still look for another option if the first one does not pan out.
Shopping off-the-rack may not be what you envisioned your bridal gown to be, but if the shipment of gowns is terribly disrupted, buying off the rack gowns provides a silver lining.
Jewelry companies are also experiencing cancellations and postponements because of the coronavirus. With fewer wedding events, businesses struggle to stay alive.
Wedding Favors and Souvenirs
It’s cheaper to order wedding items from China especially if you have a lot of guests and need to order in bulk. Unfortunately, that’s no longer an option because of the outbreak. The next best option is to shop locally. You may be surprised at the variety of options that your local shops can provide.
Flowers and Decors
Many florists get deliveries of fresh flowers from the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Ecuador, and Brazil, among other top exporters of flowers. These countries are also experiencing the coronavirus outbreak and taking preventive measures.
With the United States imposing a travel ban on all incoming flights from the European Union, ordering flowers from affected countries is no longer an option. Instead of worrying about delays, work with a floral designer to come up with a backup plan. Sourcing flowers, vases, and related decors will have to be done locally. The options may be limited, but designing flowers and decors based on what’s available can still capture the look and feel of the wedding theme you’re looking for.
Wedding Contingency Plan
If you and your partner are in the middle of planning your wedding at this time of uncertainty and turmoil, you must think things through before deciding to cancel or move forward with the wedding. It may also be worth getting wedding insurance so that you are protected from losses due to unforeseen events.
Ideally, Plan A is going ahead as planned, but you must also have a Plan B, which involves making adjustments to comply with CDC recommendations. If the risk is too much, postpone the wedding at a later time when the coronavirus is no longer a threat.
If you are cancelling or postponing your wedding:
- Review your contracts with all vendors and determine if you can get your deposits back. Look for cancellation or rescheduling clauses in the contract. If you have a well-drafted contract, there will be a force majeure clause wherein it states what both parties’ rights and obligations are in the occurrence of a frustrating event (such as the coronavirus outbreak).
- Different vendors will have different ways of handling the situation. Depending on your signed contracts, you may or may not get your deposits back. Rescheduling does not guarantee that the vendors would be available for the new date.
- Communicate with your guests ahead of time that you are postponing your wedding through multiple communications channels (e.g., wedding website or email).
If you are moving forward with the wedding:
- Follow developing information about the coronavirus update and ensure that you are implementing safety measures recommended by WHO and CDC to protect you, your guests, and your vendors.
- Make sure that
- Consider reducing the number of guests to less than 50.
- Share your video via live stream on Facebook or Instagram for people who are unable to attend.
- Remind the guests to keep a safe distance and adopt social distancing.
- Consider opting for a plated wedding dinner instead of a buffet meal as the latter can potentially put your guests at more risk.
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