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COVID-19 Wedding Cancellations – How to Minimize Loss and Re-plan

Weddings Cancelled from Covid-19

Over the last few days, many couples faced brutally painful decisions: to cancel/put-off their spring weddings. While necessary for the greater good of us all to avoid large gatherings, fear of great financial loss leaves many couples ill with panic.

If faced with cancelling / rescheduling your wedding date this spring or summer… consider the following suggestions:

TRY TO POSTPONE AND NOT OUTRIGHT CANCEL

When it comes to COVID-19 wedding cancellations, any venues, especially now, will work with you on bumping your wedding date without any additional fees. Because these venues can’t book large events now anyway, you’re likely to have your entire deposit applied to a new date. Just try to push it out far enough to clear any residual bans still in effect. We still don’t know how long regulations will remain in place… so ask your venue if you can decide in a few weeks / months on your new date. If they are NOT willing to budge and hold you to your spring contract – absolutely talk to a lawyer. Today’s times are unprecedented.

CONSIDER A VERY SMALL OUTDOOR CEREMONY NOW… AND A PARTY LATER

I’m a wedding photographer in Maryland. One of my couples, although postponing their reception, decided to still get married on their wedding date in late March with only immediate family, the officiant, and myself present. They decided outdoor only to ensure safety and spacing out (it’s a cinch for me to remain well distanced with my 85 mm). The dress is ready. The certificate is ready. The couple IS READY to finally say I DO after over a year of engagement. Later in the year, or in 2021, they’ll plan one heck of a party. Which leads to the next tip…

PLAN YOUR NEW WEDDING DATE OR RECEPTION DURING THE OFF- SEASON

Rescheduling your entire wedding or just your reception during the off season – after October and before April – can save you some money with lots of venues. So can non-Saturday dates. If you’ve lost money, this is a way to try to minimize more financial loss. Ask the venue about a Friday or Sunday date. When rescheduling, understand that most of your vendors originally booked for your spring date will likely honor your deposit for a future date (if they don’t already have it booked). If they do have it booked, this presents a new territory for everyone… one hopefully handled with fairness to all involved. Remember, wedding vendors are taking massive hits to their livelihoods also; just keep that in mind if you expect your initial deposit fully refunded. Not every vendor is in a position to grant you one if they can’t accommodate your new wedding date.

STAY SAFE IF YOU’RE DOWNSIZING

If you’ve decided to move forward with your wedding with a small guest list of 50 or less, which is what Governor Hogan ordered for Maryland as of 3.16, PLEASE EXECUTE THE FOLLOWING:

  • Get married outside so people can spread out during your ceremony.
  • Consider a very open area for your dinner or reception and seat everyone paired together accordingly… yes, co-habitating couples can sit together, but space them six feet away from the next.
  • Provide plenty of hand sanitizer. You can make your own with 60% pure alcohol and 40% aloe vera gel.
  • Discourage any hugging or hand shaking among guests.
  • Discourage any close dancing whatsoever among your guests.
  • Alcohol can impair judgement of proper social distancing… so consider removing any bar service.
  • Ask anyone feeling even remotely unwell to stay home or go home.
  • PLEASE RESCHEDULE IF AT ALL POSSIBLE.

KNOW YOU’RE NOT IN THIS ALONE

Right now, thousands of couples across the world face this scenario. What’s most important is staying safe and keeping your loved ones safe. Weddings cancelled from COVID-19 can be rescheduled!

Remember that you WILL still get married – perhaps just at a later date – perhaps in a different setting – but you will. Even among fear and chaos, wonderful and beautiful things happen when there’s hope and determination. Often a delay makes the actual fruition that much sweeter.

Are you just engaged and beginning the wedding planning process? Read on about why we highly suggest hiring a wedding planner…

Author Kimberly Dean is a professional wedding photographer based in Maryland and Publisher of Valley Bride Wedding Guide. To view her wedding photography, simply click here.

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