How Coronavirus kills a wedding: Don’t be its victim
You thought it would have been finding the perfect wedding dress. Or perhaps it would have been the amount of yes RSVPs, plus 1’s and wedding crashes showing up to your wedding. It also could have poured rain and hail during the ceremony. Then again, the feud between divorced parents and “special seating accommodations” by guests had the best chance of killing your wedding day. I have been a wedding photographer for almost 15 years and never would even I have seen this coming. The time Coronavirus killed a wedding, or really in this case tens of thousands of weddings for practically an entire year.
Right now, you should be picking out wedding invitations, tasting yummy food and cake and doing final walkthroughs. Nevertheless, weddings from March to at the very least May (if not June, July and August) are all the victims of the serial COVID-19 killer. I’ve seen it quite literally spreads like a virus through the wedding industry. It applies to any wedding and infects every aspect of your day until your day is itself on a ventilator and life support.
Colorado Weddings during COVID-19
As a Colorado wedding photographer, one of the more severely hit states, I am absolutely taking this seriously. I have no sessions scheduled til May and even those are no guarantee. Even though I’ve taken safe haven in quarantine, COVID-19 has taken a slash at my business too. I consider myself lucky to be in the position I’m in. I say that even with at least 6 affected/postponed weddings with which to contend. After watching how Coronavirus affects each part of your day, I want to share and pass on warnings and advice to brides. Telling you what to expect and how to plan to REVIVE and THRIVE after it tries to kill your wedding day.
If Coronavirus is affecting your Wedding: Plan, Revive and Thrive
Monetarily – You have been saving up for final payments to vendors but you still have a few weeks or months to do so when the virus struck. Unlike most unexpected expenses, this one is three-fold that it took your job, it took your savings and it took your ability to find more work. No wedding insurance will cover it and the spread and scale of the impacted individuals, businesses and community networks is astounding. Chances are if you are out of work and struggling so are those groups. However, you already have a great amount of investment with everyone. Time and Money. Do your best to accommodate everyone so you don’t have to double your workload and strain your finances more.
Timing – Of course, there’s really no good time for a pandemic, but in Colorado March I suppose is during a more quiet time. However, this Coronavirus kills weddings in May, June, July right now. Why? For one, there’s no guarantee all will be well by May. Will the quarantine pill many swallowed be enough? Will another wave come? You need to consider the timing isn’t the same everywhere either. It may look like an awful game of hot potato hoping to stave it off long enough to say I do.
Remember though postpone, don’t cancel. Reach out to your venue first for new dates if necessary to reschedule. Ask if your venue can do a “soft hold” on a new potential date. Consider a 2021 date. Or even ask if a smaller elopement is possible.
Government – COVID-19 hasn’t just brought a country or an economy to its knees. In fact, countries are at its mercy. You might think, well what does the government have to do with my wedding? Well, for one mandates that limit the number of people gathered for an event. Whether it’s 50 or 10, it’s may not be the day you thought it would be.
Well, what about eloping? Surely, we can do that right? Maybe not. In Colorado, you can actually marry yourself, and it’s one of the few that allow that in the US. However, even our lax laws only give you 35 days to complete the wedding. If they shut down the government buildings, good luck getting your marriage license. Lastly, some of the locations that eloping couples want to use for their new “venue” are closed by the government. Rocky Mountain National Park is one that is absolutely closed to any visitors currently.
It’s not impossible though. You just need to find out your wedding timing. If you are getting within a month of your wedding, make an appointment while the government is still open to get your license. Or if it closes see if you can start the process online and turn it in within the time period required. And if you are restricted to 10 people, hire a videographer and see if live streaming for the rest of your guests is an option.
Wedding Dress – Yes, wedding dress dreams can be killed by Coronavirus. If you aren’t aware, approximately 80% of wedding dresses are made in China. Every year the Chinese New Year affects production for last minute brides. Of course this year was 1000x worse with major China provinces completely on lockdown for months. Tuxes and suits will also likely be affected as many non-essential retailers are being shut down. Luckily, most bridal dress stores know exactly which dresses will be most affected and what dresses they might have on hand. Definitely if your wedding is 2020, don’t delay!
Wedding Vendor Dominos
When one industry or network crashes it can’t help but bring down other connected vendors with it. Many of these challenges and pitfalls cannot even be seen until it all comes to a grinding halt. Be flexible with your vendors when they come across these limitations.
Photographers – Such as, just today I learned that my printing labs are being sheltered and shut down. This means no prints or albums can be made or shipped. However, luckily, even though my printer in Missouri, Italy and Australia are shut down, I do have printers in the Nederlands and other states are still operational. Another consideration, if a shelter in place is ordered, no outdoor portraits can happen. You should consider getting engagements now at a place like Garden of the Gods while things are still open and always beautiful year round.
Caterers/Cake Bakeries – Surely you have been to the grocery store looking for flour? Or eggs? Or milk? Only to come home empty handed. Caterers may find themselves having to substitute menus or even ingredients that are out of stock or rationed. Liquor vendors may have similar problems if alcohol or other substances need to be used for making hand sanitizer or other uses.
Hair and Makeup (HMUA) – Even if you are eloping, right now you can’t even book a professional to do your hair and makeup. They can’t operate and serve you with social distancing. Or have your nails done. Or get a facial. All of these facilities and licensed professionals have been shut down until at least April 30th (in Colorado). Consider asking your professional to give you a makeup or hair lesson by Facetime Another idea, maybe even ask if you can buy their recommended makeup or hair products through them to still support their business.
Look at all your vendor challenges
Florists, Rentals and Stationers – I can’t imagine any of these industries being unscathed either. Whether it’s the workers to pick the flowers or the travel bans restricting shipping or the materials they need to produce goods. Try not to get hung up on a certain shade of hydrangea or specific color linen when making your choices. They are going to do everything they can to make sure they provide you with the best materials and style for your day regardless.
Planners – The real losers and heroes of the Coronavirus. They have spent months if not years planning a summer June wedding to now have a November winter wedding. A wedding where 100 flip flips for guests and outdoor barn wedding need to be thrown out for shawls, heaters and a clear tent. They have to recontact vendors for availability and negotiate terms for all of their weddings at the same time. They are here for every panic and every solution. Give them a virtual hug or maybe a nice tip for the extra work they are taking on to give you some peace.
Not just Vendors
Guests – Every wedding is complicated with guests but a pandemic takes it to a whole other level. Have east coast and west coast guests? Or maybe based in Hawaii where driving isn’t an option. Or out of country where travel bans are in place.
Colorado Springs is a military town home to Ft. Carson, Petersen and Schriever Air Force base as well as the Air Force Academy. Those serving are also under travel bans even domestically and could be deployed into the crisis. In addition, if your guests are out of country, the American embassy is likely closed and no visas are being issued. These are all considerations, not just for a May or June but even an August wedding. This is how a Coronavirus can kill a wedding long after other bans are lifted. If possible, get all the necessary documents and scheduled appointments now so that you are ready the moment they open.
In addition, consider the health of you and your guests. It’s nearly impossible to do social distancing at wedding. How are family photos going to go? Or how many tables and chairs must you know have to have adequate spacing? Or dancing the night away. If these are the most precious people in your life, treat them that way and keep your guest list limited and high risk members a VIP viewing from home with livestreaming.
Don’t Cancel, Reschedule. Never give up, Never surrender.
Now I told you all the ways Coronavirus can kill a wedding not to have you give up on your dream. I gathered these challenges to help prepare brides for the worst, the pitfalls that someone not as experienced in the wedding community would know. If you are facing shelter in place, postponement or other hard decisions, weigh all of these contributing factors for how to proceed and what to plan for. Preparing yourself now for what might come and having a plan B, C, and D will only work to your benefit down the road. At the very least you will make peace with it while quarantining with a quarantini and Netflix. 😊
I’m a Colorado Wedding Photographer that usually travels the world and documents the stories of couples in love and is currently doing her best navigating through Coronavirus wedding season.