Questions To Ask When Planning Your 2021 Wedding

Planning a wedding in 2020 was difficult—and while it’s looking like 2021 will (hopefully!) be easier, there are still questions you’ll want to ask your vendors and venue so that you know how to move forward if COVID forces you to change, postpone, or cancel your wedding day.

By Deanna deBara

Questions To Ask When Planning Your 2021 Wedding
Photo by Zola

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.

2020 was a challenging year to plan a wedding. Amid COVID-19, many couples were forced to cancel their weddings, dramatically cut their guest lists, or postpone their big day to 2021.

Hopefully, planning a 2021 wedding won’t be as challenging. But, with COVID still very much a reality, if you’re planning either a big or small wedding for this year, it’s important to be prepared and cover all your bases—and that means getting clarity from your venue and vendors on exactly what would happen if COVID forced you to postpone, change, or cancel your big day.

So, how, exactly, do you do that? Here are the questions that you need to ask when planning your 2021 wedding:

What Is Your Change Date/Cancellation Policy?

As mentioned, the hope is that 2021 will prove to be an easier year than 2020 for planning a wedding; that COVID-19 will be under better control; that travel and large gatherings will feel safer; and that there will be less uncertainty around the wedding planning process.

But, that’s not a guarantee—so before you commit to a wedding venue or vendor, it’s extremely important to ask them about their policy around postponing or canceling your event.

Questions you’ll want to ask about their change date and cancellation policy include:

  • How much notice do we need to give to postpone the wedding (or cancel the event altogether)? What happens if we need to postpone or cancel the wedding at the last minute?
  • If we postpone the wedding, are all services transferable to our new wedding date—and, if so, are there any additional costs or fees for transferring those services?
  • If we need to postpone the wedding—but there are no future dates available (in the case of a venue) or you are unavailable on our future wedding date (in the case of a vendor)—how do we move forward? Will you provide a refund?
  • What happens if the venue/vendor cancels the event (for example, if state restrictions are limiting large gatherings)? How much notice do you need to give us—and if the cancellation is on the venue/vendor side, will you provide a full refund?

While 2021 is certainly looking like it’s going to be a better year for weddings than 2020, there is still a chance that you’ll need to change your wedding date (or potentially cancel your wedding)—so you want to make sure that you understand your venue and vendor’s date change and cancellation policies before you commit and sign a contract.

How Will We Move Forward If There Are Travel Restrictions on Our Wedding Date?

Zola - Questions To Ask When Planning Your 2021 Wedding - Deanna deBara Photo Credit // Aleah Eileen Photography

COVID-19 has made travel—and, in particular, long-distance travel—challenging. Restrictions prevented many people from traveling at the beginning of the pandemic—and even though most of those restrictions have been lifted, many people just don’t feel comfortable getting on a plane or staying in a hotel right now.

Not only that, but at this point, future travel restrictions—where people actually can’t get on a plane, even if they wanted to—aren’t necessarily out of the question.

Which is why one question you want to ask when planning your 2021 wedding (particularly if you’re planning a destination wedding or you have a lot of guests traveling from long distances) is: How will we move forward if there are new travel restrictions enacted on our wedding date—and either we or our guests can’t physically make it to the wedding?

While travel restrictions might fall under your venue or vendor’s typical change date or cancellation policy, they might have different protocols in place (especially if the travel restrictions go into effect shortly before your wedding date)—so make sure to get clarification.

Do You Have Any COVID-19 Related Restrictions?

Your venue might have specific COVID-19 related restrictions in place (for example, limiting the guest list, enforcing social distancing protocols, or restricting events to outdoor spaces). And, even if they don’t have any restrictions in place at this moment, there’s a possibility that they may have to enforce restrictions in the future.

So, you’ll want to ask your venue about:

  • Any COVID-19 related restrictions they currently have in place.
  • Any COVID-19 related restrictions they had in place earlier in 2020.
  • How any future COVID-19 related restrictions could impact your wedding (and your options, if those restrictions are put into place).

That last part is really important. Again, even if there are no restrictions in place currently, you can’t rule out COVID-19 related restrictions being put into place at some point in 2021—and you need to understand how those restrictions could impact your event, whether you plan on having an intimate wedding or a big wedding ceremony, and what your options are if, and when, those restrictions are put into place.

For example, if your venue puts event size limits into place, do you have the option of postponing your wedding to a future date—or will you have to downsize your guest list? If you book the grand ballroom but restrictions limit events to outside, will you be able to cancel or postpone—or will hosting your wedding outdoors be your only option?

The more you understand about your venue’s COVID-19 related restrictions—past, present, and (potentially) future—the more prepared (and less stressed out!) you’ll be should you have to deal with those restrictions in 2021.

What Are Your COVID-19 Safety Protocols?

Questions To Ask When Planning Your 2021 Wedding Photo Credit // Creatrix Photography

You want to make sure that everyone—your partner, your guests, your wedding vendors, and yourself—is safe at your event wedding. And to do that, you need to ask your venue and your wedding vendors about the COVID-19 safety protocols they have in place.

These protocols might change in 2021—but you want to know that your venue and vendors are taking all the necessary measures to keep you and themselves safe today (and that, if necessary, they’ll continue to take those steps in 2021). This includes details such as wearing masks, disinfecting surfaces, and providing hand sanitizer to every wedding guest.

Before you commit to a venue or vendor, make sure that they have the proper COVID-19 safety protocols in place today—which can help you rest assured that, if you need them, they’ll also put those protocols into place for your 2021 wedding.

Ask the Right Questions

These questions aren’t meant to make you feel stressed or worried about your 2021 wedding; again, the hope is that 2021 proves to be a much better and easier year for wedding planning (and events in general). However, by asking the right questions of your venue and vendors, you can make sure that you’re prepared for what—if anything—2021 throws at you and your big day.

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