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How Will Coronavirus Affect My Wedding? A 7 Step Guide to Dealing with the Outbreak.

At Bridebook, our mission is to make it easier for everyone to plan their weddings.  However, if you are getting married in the coming weeks and months, we understand that you have concerns about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could affect your wedding day.  We’d like to help you navigate this tough time by providing a wedding-specific checklist to help you manage your wedding plans and any adjustments that you may need to make.

We also believe strongly in the power of community during times like these, so we have set up a Facebook group for anyone involved in planning a wedding. Join here for some practical tips from our team of experts, as well as friendly support from others in a similar situation.

1. Keep your loved ones safe

Wedding guests celebrating and clapping for the wedding couple

First and foremost, your number one priority should always be keeping you and your guests safe, especially those who are at a high risk (elderly people and those with underlying health conditions).  As weddings are often a gathering of generations including parents and grandparents, try to be understanding if your loved ones are not able to attend your wedding. There’s no doubt that you and your guests will be frustrated, but remember that it is possible to celebrate your wedding from afar.  

It also goes without saying that you should look to official sources (government, WHO, etc.) for specific guidance on what measures you and your wedding guests should take regarding gatherings, travel and social distancing.  These recommendations are changing regularly and may affect your wedding in different ways, so it’s important to stay up-to-date with official sources.

Bridebook tip: Continue to check the government and other official sources to keep up to date with what guidance is in place.

Bridebook tip: Start thinking about ways to allow guests to participate in your wedding from afar. Consider live-streaming or recording some of your event if you are in a situation where the wedding can go ahead, but not everyone can attend. Ask if your venue has these capabilities or look at other DIY options, such as Facebook Live, Skype, or Zoom.

2. Talk to your wedding venue and suppliers

Woman holding phone to contact her wedding suppliers

The wedding industry is facing a very difficult and stressful time ahead to maintain their businesses. We know that they are hugely sympathetic to you all. Industry professionals care passionately about making couples’ days special and go to extraordinary lengths to do so. They are now facing a whole new challenge to balance this, while considering the short, mid and long term impacts on their business and livelihoods.

While the government only has suggested guidelines in place rather than official closure, you may find that there is little they can do that’s outside of what is covered in the contract. Your best bet is to ask them what their policy is at the moment, but be appreciative of the fact that they have no more information than you and will likely be responding on a day-by-day basis, depending on what new information is provided.

Bridebook tip: Check in with your venue and suppliers, but be understanding that they are just as concerned as you about the situation.  They’ll likely have different policies in place so you’ll need to understand how your specific providers are managing these challenging circumstances.

3. Check your wedding insurance

Couple sitting at a kitchen table with a laptop focusing on sorting out their wedding insurance

If you have wedding insurance, check what you are covered for and under what circumstances.  We understand that coverage varies across different insurance providers, so you’ll need to understand specifically what your policy entails regarding cancellations and postponements.  Once you get in touch with your policy provider, share the details with your venue and suppliers where possible.

Bridebook tip: Ask the following questions to your insurance provider where relevant:

a) If we ourselves have to self isolate, will you cover our wedding being postponed?

b) One of our parents/grandparents could fall into a category that is forced to self isolate (age, health conditions). If this scenario were to arise, would we be covered to postpone our wedding?

c) Our Best Man / Maid of Honour lives overseas and is banned from travelling – will a postponement be covered?

d) We have planned for 140 guests. Would you cover a postponement if the government officially limits gatherings to under 100, 50 or 10?

e) What is your policy based on the government’s current advice? If the wedding is formally banned under any future government ruling, will you cover the cost of postponement?

f) If the wedding is unable to go ahead but I am offered an alternative date which would usually be cheaper (e.g. off peak), will you cover the cost differential?

4. Understand the travel guidelines for guests and your honeymoon

Wedding couple sitting on a log at the beach

Living, as we do, in a globally connected world, many weddings have guests from all over the world. Check to see if guests from other countries can make it, but plan with the expectation that they may not be able to travel.  This may affect your guest transport and accommodation providers, so you should familiarise yourself with their policies if guests are unable to attend. Be aware that travel restrictions are changing daily, which may mean some people do not feel comfortable travelling at the moment.

Similarly, your honeymoon may be affected by travel restrictions.  You should check what travel restrictions are in place for your honeymoon destination, whether it is within the UK or abroad.  Check with your honeymoon transport and accommodation providers to see what policies are in place in the event of a cancellation or postponement.  Additionally, if you have purchased travel insurance you should contact your policy providers to understand your coverage.

Bridebook tip: Check the FCO pages about travel guidelines here.  

5. Discuss contingency plans with your partner

Couple holding hands while looking at a lake

With the situation changing on a daily basis, you may need to make contingency plans for your wedding.  While there may still be some unknowns, it is good to have a think about the different scenarios and what you would do in each case. Talk to your partner and see what they feel about these plans too.

Remember that the purpose of getting married is to bring your and your partner together, and during this time you’ll need to make decisions together and rely on each other for support.  Your wedding plans may get interrupted and altered which will be very frustrating, but you’ll get through these challenges together.

Bridebook tip: Discuss potential plans with your partner, so that you know what is important to both of you. Start with the following 4 questions:

a) If necessary, would you want to get legally married at the earliest opportunity but postpone the party? Or would you rather postpone both?

b) Who would need to be able to attend for you to be happy for the wedding to go ahead?

c) If we need to postpone the wedding, what would you rather do? Postpone for a short time (and use an off-peak season or weekday) or push back further to keep the plans as similar as possible?

d) What should we do about the honeymoon? Would you prefer to postpone it or change location (if possible)?

Bridebook tip: Prepare for potential changes to the event itself. Start by asking yourself these three questions:

a) What would we do if we need to reduce numbers to meet future government guidelines? How would we go about it? Use the Bridebook guest info collector in the guest list tool to collect email addresses. Just add five guests to the list and the feature will pop up.

b) How can we still make those not present part of the celebration? Can we arrange for someone to live-stream or record the ceremony?

c) What if a supplier has to pull out at the last minute? Do we have relatives or friends who can capture photos or videos for you, bake a cake, or create an amazing playlist? What really matters for the day?

6. Update your guests

Woman typing on a laptop while sitting on a bed

Whatever tools you are using to communicate to your guests (wedding website, email, paper), keep them informed about any changes in wedding plans that may affect them.  Also, let them know how best to contact you if their RSVP status changes.

Bridebook tip: Communicate with your guests as early as possible, and let them know how to communicate with you.  

7. Join our Bridebook community group on Facebook

We know that this is a stressful time for everyone planning a wedding at the moment, so we have created a Facebook group for all couples to join. We hope we can all help each other with practical tips, as well as find and connect with other people in similar situations. You are not alone!

Bridebook tip: Join the Facebook group today and find some comfort and support in these tough times.

Finally

We hope that you found this article useful and we look forward to seeing you in the Facebook group, so that we can offer more support in the coming weeks.

Stay strong, keep safe, and know that this will all be over at some point. In the meantime, we hope that Bridebook can be a source of support for you.

Finally, give us a follow on Instagram if you would like some funny/cute/inspirational distraction from the news.

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