My Wedding Is Later This Year—Should I Change My Plans?

If you're wondering if you should keep planning your wedding amidst the coronavirus outbreak, read on. We're breaking down exactly how couples should proceed if their wedding is at the end of this year.

By Maggy Lehmicke

indian couple smiles at wedding ceremony
Photo by Eichar Photography

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 an uncertain time for engaged couples with weddings this year. The prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected couples getting married in the next few months but also those planning weddings scheduled for later in the year as well. While you might not be ready to talk about making any changes to your wedding, there are certain precautions you can take to make the best of any situation.

According to Lori Stephenson, Owner of LOLA Event Productions, it’s important to embrace the “plan for the worst, hope for the best” mentality.

“Even if you aren’t being required to postpone your event at this time, there is the potential that it could happen in the near future,” she said in a company announcement. “You want to be ahead of the game with your strategy so you can pivot on a moment’s notice.”

If your wedding is slated for mid-summer, fall, or even later in the year, below are some steps you can take now to prepare for every possible scenario.

Don’t panic.

This might seem obvious but is easier said than done. There’s only so much planning and anticipation that can be done this far in advance. So focus on what’s in your control and handle every obstacle on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, those planning international weddings are going to be taking a very different approach than couples throwing a small, local affair.

Reach out to your vendors.

Whether your event is June or December, it’s worth having the “what if” discussion with your venue and vendors as soon as possible. Be patient, as many of them are likely to be dealing with similar inquiries from springtime brides, who they’ll likely be attending to first. Review your contracts in the time being and see if it would be possible to roll over any deposits to a later date, just in case.

Talk to a planner.

If you don’t have a wedding planner yet, now may be the time to consider getting one. No one knows the ins and outs of this industry better than a planner and they’ll be able to help you navigate the policies and contracts of the vendors you’re working with (or hoping to work with). They’ll also give you a sense of balance and serve as a mediator if you have to make any tough decisions.

Make sure all shipments are on track.

Whether it be your wedding dress or simple supplies like wedding favors, it’s a good idea to make sure all your shipments are still on schedule. Right now, however, our many warehouses in the U.S. are following the mandated stay-at-home orders and are currently closed. Others around the world are closed, too.

If there are things you’ve been waiting to order, get your ducks in a row now. Some companies are still accepting orders that they’ll ship once their suppliers reopen. However, others are not taking orders currently. Make a list of the items you need and where you intend to buy them from. Then, reach out to those companies and figure out how they’re handling orders at this time.

Also, when it comes to things like favors and menu cards, consider leaving off the date.

Develop a “plan B.”

Even if your wedding is scheduled for November, it never hurts to have a backup plan. Few people could’ve predicted the full impact of COVID-19 (particularly in the wedding industry), so it makes sense to always have a secondary plan in place. Consult with your planner and brainstorm with your family and friends, as well as your vendors.

A plan could include a backup date, a different style ceremony, or something entirely fresh. It’s up to you how far in advance you want to plan, but it never hurts to at least discuss the possibility of things changing with your partner.

Find a community (and offer support).

In addition to the Zola Facebook Community, there are many wedding forums and social media communities that are offering support and bringing couples together during this tough time. After all, no one is likely to understand your situation better than other couples going through something similar. If your wedding is later in the year and you have the capacity, consider offering support to other couples if you can. In the end, we’re all in this together.

Make your health a priority.

In addition to finding healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with the unexpected stress, make sure you’re closely following the advice of health officials in regard to the pandemic. You want to make sure you’re caring for yourself while also being wary of the health of others in the process. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are going to be your best resources.

Communicate with your loved ones.

It’s especially important not to leave your friends and family in the dark. They want to see your wedding happen almost as much as you do, which means they’re also your best pillars of support when it comes to making difficult decisions or coming up with creative alternatives. However, don’t be afraid to share what you don’t know as well. It’s only natural that you’re not going to have all the answers, despite what pressure you may be feeling from your family and friends.

Keep planning!

Though it may feel strange to continue planning your wedding amongst all this chaos, there’s always the possibility that everything simmers down over the next few months and your July or August wedding continues as planned. The last thing you want is to be scrambling to send invitations, finalize timing or make last-minute vendor arrangements. Just make sure you discuss all your concerns thoroughly with each vendor before you put down any more deposits.

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