How to Support Couples With Weddings Affected By Coronavirus

If you know a couple whose wedding was impacted by the coronavirus, support them. Here's how to be a good friend during a difficult time with our expert advice.

By Jane Chertoff

groom with groomsmen
Photo by Unsplash

Planning A Wedding During A Pandemic: Every wedding planning journey has its twists and turns. To make sure your path is as smooth as possible and to help you keep an eye out for tiny potholes and giant roadblocks, always follow the advice of your local health guidelines and the recommendations set forth by the CDC. The state of the pandemic can change quickly, but by staying informed, you can make it to your destination—wedded bliss—without a hitch.

It’s no secret by now that the coronavirus has affected engaged couples significantly—with many dealing with the challenging decision to postpone their upcoming weddings. As their loved ones (and wedding guests!), you likely want to support your friends during this uncertain time but maybe aren’t sure how (especially with social distance measures in place).

We got you! There are plenty of ways to make an impact and show some love to any couples you know impacted by the outbreak. Here are just some ideas.

Just listen.

First and foremost: Let the couple know you’re there for them anytime they want to talk.

They may just want to vent, be sad, angry, or otherwise process. Having someone empathetic to listen to them is invaluable right now. There are a lot of different emotions to process and an open ear will mean a lot.

Be reassuring, and let them know no matter how tough this seems right now, they will get through it. And, of course, offer any help you can from a distance.

Help contact guests.

Logistically, postponing or canceling a wedding can feel like a bit of a nightmare. There are a lot of moving parts and people. Once a couple decides to make such a significant change, it’s time for them to tell their guests.

One way you can offer to help is to contact guests to let them know about the changes. There are a few different ways to go about doing this, from sending a formal update in the mail, to a quick text or email if the wedding was scheduled in the next few weeks.

Your bride or groom may not have all the guests’ emails or phone numbers, but you can help gather them from close relatives and friends.

When delivering the news on behalf of someone else, be sure to introduce yourself (if they don’t know you) and keep what you’re going to say brief.

What to say: “This is Kelly, I’m Lisa’s cousin and maid of honor. I’m calling/writing to let you know that unfortunately, Lisa and Joe’s wedding is being postponed because of [reason.] They appreciate your understanding and can’t wait to celebrate with you soon.”

Let them know the couple will be in touch when they have more information or are ready to answer texts/phone calls again.

You can also offer up your tech skills and update their Zola wedding website or app, too.

Field guest questions.

Most people you talk to will be very understanding and supportive, but we recommend coming prepared to talk to a few relatives or family friends who want to talk more or ask some follow up questions.

If you are comfortable, let the couple know that you’re happy to be the point person to field questions from wedding guests.

For example, if a wedding is being postponed, guests may be concerned about making changes to their flights or hotel reservations. They may also worry about their schedule if they will be available for the new date. If the wedding is canceled, they may want to pry a bit more about why or just express their sadness about the situation.

Work with the couple to develop responses they feel comfortable with. Answer everything you can (with as much patience as you can muster) and if you don’t know the answer to something, let them know the couple will get back to them with more information when they can.

Prepare for their vendor appointments.

If the couple has to meet with their vendors on the phone to go over the logistical changes, offer to be on the call for support (if you can). These may be difficult meetings to get through because they may involve contract renegotiation or trying to get some of their money refunded.

If you can’t be at the meeting, tell them to call you after to debrief and air out any frustrations or sadness.

Send over a gift or flowers on their planned day.

Getting through the actual day the originally scheduled wedding date might be the toughest obstacle of all. If you live close to the couple, drop off some flowers or a special treat like a tray of their favorite sweets. Note: Be sure to do a contact-free drop off!

If you live far away, consider sending a treat for delivery with a simple note that says, “Thinking of you today.” Small gestures like this make a huge difference to a couple going through it.

If you don’t want to wait for their original wedding day, send a gift card for takeout at the favorite restaurant with a note now—the same way you might send usually send food to friends during a trying time.

Recommend additional resources.

If you know of any, recommend online communities where the couple can find support and resources from other couples going through the same thing. The Zola Facebook Community, for example, is full of couples reaching out to one another for advice and to vent during this time.

If after some time, the couple or half of the couple still seems very down or affected more than you expected by this change, you may want to recommend some extra support.

Everyone’s situation is different and a changed wedding date for some means something different than it does for others. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there that can help. Talking to someone with a neutral ear can always be beneficial. There are accredited counselors and psychologists who specialize in topics like grief, life transitions, depression, or couple’s issues. Many are available for video calls right now and others are completely digital.

You know your loved ones best and will know what they need at this time. All you can do is offer your support and be the good friend that you always are. You’ll get through this together.

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