What to Know if You are Planning a Wedding during COVID-19 Pandemic
Step 1: Keep Calm and Breathe 🙂
There is so much to plan for your big day, no matter when your wedding date falls on the calendar. But… if it happens to be in the midst of COVID-19 hysteria, you may be wondering how to be prepared and plan for the potential that your wedding may be affected.
Right now, whether you are planning a wedding at home or abroad, there are are many factors to consider in each country, and since the situation is fluid, what it means for your wedding, really depends on your wedding date.
That said, as of March 27th, 2020, there is one thing we know for certain: The South African government has officially put South Africa on a lockdown and therefore all Weddings and Functions for the next 3 weeks have been cancelled. While this news, unfortunately, means change of plans for weddings within the next few weeks, we have to remember that so much is up in the air, especially for weddings and functions that are months away.
To help you prepare for what you should do- and help you if you do, sadly, have to change plans- we researched a few tips from experts across the industry that will help you prep for the coming months.
Their overall advice was to be prepared, and to follow the news closely and maintain an open conversation with your vendors and guests. Also, if you can, book a planner so that they can help you to navigate through this crazy industry and offer up alternative options if required. We advise, no matter what the situation, it is important to keep calm and carry on. No doubt that this is a crazy time for all but your family, friends and vendors are here to help you navigate through everything- and to celebrate when its safe to do so.
As mentioned, in South Africa, weddings and functions have been cancelled for the next 3 weeks. If you find yourself in this situation, we are here to help! Know that you have options, and your Estia team will be here to guide you through the process of, hopefully, postponing your event. To help you navigate this process, see our step-by-step guide below.
If your wedding is planned in South Africa
If your wedding is not in the next two months, it is still okay to plan for the wedding to go on as is. That said, it’s still important to stay informed and make educated decisions as more news becomes available. It is a waiting game at the moment, we suggest not to make any drastic decisions, before you are properly informed. We suggest for now, that if your wedding is in June or beyond, don’t postpone at this point and continue your planning process. That being said, it does not hurt to know what your options may be if the current regulations are extended to include your wedding date. Speak to your planner if you have one, if not, know your venues options, especially as you approach 30 to 60 days before final deposits are likely due. At Estia we are happy to postpone your date to another available date where possible. In short, it is best to plan smartly in a time of such uncertainty, so go ahead and have an open and honest conversation with your vendors and guests and follow the below suggestions when it comes to showtime.
Speak with your vendors
Sometimes it is best to consider and prepare for the worst case scenarios so you can come up with a plan of action. Ask your vendor about solutions, should you need to postpone your event. You should have an open and transparent conversation about your concerns with all the vendors, on the topic of sanitization and what vendors are doing to keep themselves and their wedding party/ guests safe.
Inform your guests
To avoid having to constantly field questions from family members and wedding guests, we suggest to add a blurb to your wedding website, acknowledging the coronavirus, and letting guests know that you will keep them informed, should any plans change.
Follow South African government guidelines
If you have your date and venue set, pay attention to what the experts and Government are saying and their advice. Pay close attention to what venues are allowed to do and how they can make sure their guests are safe.
Practice extra hygiene
For now, we are following the WHO guidelines of basic human hygiene, which means washing our hands and/ or using sanitizer every time we shake hands, touch buttons or rales, open doors etc. and avoid touching our faces, especially when we are in public places.
Consider a livestream
For elderly guests or those who cannot travel, or choose not to. With today’s technology, it is quite easy to set up live streaming on social media accounts to get everyone present ‘virtually’ at your wedding.
If you are planning to travel, or asking your guests to book travel
Whether you are booking your honeymoon travel, or asking guests to travel for the big day, weddings involve some degree of travel. Knowing this, it is important to understand travel options for both you and your guests in the coming months.
Understand cancellation policies
First and foremost, anyone with travel arrangements should check in with current regulations and recommendations. We advise our clients to calendar their cancellation deadlines to make a decision at the point when they might lose a deposit rather than making an immediate decision when it might not be required and may not make any difference financially. However most service industries, including airlines and hotels are flexible at this point.
Consider travel insurance
If your honeymoon or travel plans are beyond this Winter, go forward with your plans on booking the places you want to go, but book flexible cancellation policies to be safe. Consider ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ travel insurance to be on the extra safe side.
If you are waiting on (or shopping for) a dress
A lot of bridal stores who’s dresses are manufactured in China, as well as other overseas destinations are currently experiencing a backup in shipment deliveries. Try to shop locally to avoid the delays and to support local business as our economy is of course taking a toll. If however, you are adamant in getting your dress from a specific designer our tips are to: Order ahead of time to avoid delays or shop off the rack based on availability that is already there.
If you’re just starting to plan or think about planning
If you’re just starting to dive into planning, it is natural to have a million ‘what if’ questions about the future. While all of this is uncertain, we hope this news will not cripple you or take away from the excitement that comes with Wedding Planning. For this reason, we say take note of the above and consider starting your ring shopping early, ask all vendors about cancellation policies and hold off on major decisions. There is now an excuse to spend your isolation time on planning your perfect wedding and not to rush into anything. Keep an eye out on our social media platforms and website for upcoming promotions to start your planning off with a bang!