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Coronavirus and Your Wedding – Some Advice

LAST UPDATE: 23/03/20 9.30pm

The Coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a time of uncertainty. We believe that the best thing we can do at a time like this is to accept the things we cannot change, but prepare ourselves with all the information we can to make decisions on the things we can change. Then we can feel informed and empowered to make the most of any opportunities.

Join the  ROCK MY WEDDING FORUM to discuss all things wedding planning including any Coronavirus impacts with your fellow brides and grooms. We’ve designed it to be a safe, positive and encouraging space to both find support and offer support.

We are with you every step of the way and we’ll, of course, share all of the industry advice that we can. We’ve combed through all of your questions and concerns about the Coronavirus pandemic and how it may impact your wedding. We are in the process of building a forum for you all so that you can come together and help each other. Please keep an eye on our social channels and your emails and we will update you on the forum as soon as possible.

We have designed this post to shine a light on the action steps you can take.

This post was last updated March 23rd, 21:30pm. You can see the latest government update here. This post will be updated regularly.

Coronavirus and your wedding

Keep communication lines open between you and your venue/suppliers. You can see a set of suggested questions to ask your suppliers should you not know where to start.

Take it day by day and have a Plan B with your other half, at least for peace of mind.

Prepare yourself with all the possible information you can from your venue and suppliers, then you’re armed with the information to make your own choices regarding how the coronavirus may impact your wedding. Read all of your supplier contracts and ask if they have a contingency. Please be kind and considerate in your communications with suppliers because this is unlike anything they will ever have faced as well.

Be aware that there is a lot of misinformation going about online regarding the coronavirus. So choose your media outlets carefully, try to arm yourself with the facts by visiting reputable websites. For advice and guidance on coronavirus visit the NHS at NHS.uk for the latest government updates visit GOV.uk

As of today (23.03.2020) and for the foreseeable future, the are no weddings allowed to take place in the UK. 

Coronavirus And Your Wedding Insurance

Contact your wedding insurance company to find out how their policy affects your wedding during the coronavirus outbreak. You can learn more about wedding insurance here.

If you don’t already have wedding insurance, depending on when your wedding is due to take place, then it may not be too late. Visit compareweddinginsurance.org.uk where they are currently showing who is and who isn’t still offering cover. Again, check policies to see exactly what you will be covered for and if infectious disease/government lockdown etc are part of the cover. It’s also worth reading all the small print on your policies if you can’t get through on the phone and noting that relevant information to this situation may not come under ‘cancellation’’ as you might expect, it could be under curtailment, force majeure or some other heading, so read everything to get a clear overview. If you’re in any doubt, call the insurer or seek legal advice to know where you stand.

 

If you’ve used credit cards for any payments, even if just deposits you may be able to claim some money back if the services are never rendered. Check what you are entitled to with your credit card company. You can find out more about credit card cover here.
 

Generally, venues in the UK have been forced to close as of 23rd March 2020. However, these measures are to be reviewed in three weeks from this date, so do check back, we will keep this post updated. For weddings outside this range, find out how far in advance you can postpone based on your own choice, or what is the latest time you can make this decision. 

 

How do I stay calm with all the uncertainty?

 

Arm yourself with the facts read all contracts with suppliers thoroughly. Keep communications open with your suppliers and guests. Refer to reputable resources for updated information on government plans and COVID-19. Remember that ultimately a wedding is about the marriage – you and your partner’s commitment to each other. Discuss all of your options. Take breaks from the media and do what you need to do to look after your own health and wellbeing. 

 

Can we have a step by step guide on actions to take at this time of uncertainty?

 
Step 1: If relevant, contact your wedding insurance company and/or credit card companies to find out how their policy affects you and what any relevant excess would be if:

  • The venue decides to close due to an outbreak of COVID-19.
  • Your supplier(s) fall ill or have to self-isolate and are unable to fulfil their services.
  • You, your fiance or your close family members fall ill or have to self-isolate.
  • There is a governmental intervention at the time of your wedding, that would prevent the wedding from taking place.
  • Any other concerns or questions you may have.

 

Step 2: Create a list of all of your wedding suppliers with contact information. Go through those you know you need to touch base with and open up a conversation about the current Coronavirus situation. A few sample questions you may want to ask are as follows:

  • Do you have any contingencies in place for if my wedding date cannot go ahead due to venue closure or illness?
  • Do you have any contingencies in place for if you cannot fulfil your product/service due to illness? Such as, a list of other suppliers who may be able to help?
  • Can you confirm if my deposit (or any other monies paid to date) is transferrable should my wedding be postponed?

 

Step 3: Contact any guests you have that you know are elderly or vulnerable to have an open conversation with them about their feelings on the current situation and anything you could put in place to make them more comfortable. 

 

Step 4: Have a conversation with your partner about any changes you’re willing to make should your day go ahead as planned. Smaller wedding size due to guests unable to make it? Provisions you can make to improve sanitisation for the more vulnerable guests likely to attend? Map it out and come up with your Plan A.

 

Step 5: Or for your Plan B, given the information you’ve gathered from above, have a conversation about what your contingency plan is should your day need to be cancelled or postponed. Consider the conditions that you may be happy to go ahead with. Hold a small ceremony and reschedule the celebrations until later? Could you reduce the size of your wedding to comply with potential gathering limits? Postpone your wedding and rearrange each supplier, making rebookings where necessary? Depending on when your wedding is due to be held, you may not need to use your Plan B, but it will at very least give you peace of mind to have one. 

 

Will our venue cancel our wedding?

 

The governmental intervention on Monday 23rd March 2020 means that your venues cannot host any weddings for at least three weeks, with an extension pending review at the end of that time. If your wedding is scheduled for after this period of time, each venue will have its own policy and internal processes, keep in touch with your venue contact so you have the most up to date information. 

 

Can I get wedding insurance at this stage?

 

Many insurance companies have stopped taking on new customers, but be aware that even if you do have insurance, most don’t cover ‘force majeure’ such as changes in government regulations but each insurer varies, so check directly with them. It’s still a good thing to consider as it may cover you for ‘failure of suppliers’. It’s always a good idea to contact your potential insurer before taking out a policy to make sure you are covered for your main concerns. Most good insurers will have clear guidance on COVID-19 at this stage. 

 

Is reducing the size of our wedding an option?

 

If your wedding can still essentially go ahead after the government lockdown, then it will be an option to reduce guest numbers. You need to be prepared to not necessarily receive a refund for any monies that have already been paid per guest such as catering. Again open communications with your venue and suppliers to discuss their thoughts and all options available to you. Consider live streaming options and if you have a videographer you will still be able to share your wedding with those guests who are unable to be there on the day. We will investigate live streaming platforms and update this post as and when. 

 

How do I protect elderly or vulnerable guests?

Contact any guests that you know are elderly or vulnerable to have an open conversation with them about their feelings on the current situation and anything you could put in place to make them more safe and comfortable. Contact all other guests if needed to make sure they are aware of these measures and that they have adhered to. 

 

Advice on a few suppliers cancelling at the last minute, even if the wedding is going ahead?

 

This is an incredibly difficult time for not only our planning couples but for the wedding industry and suppliers as a whole. There may be some cases where due to illness or difficulties, suppliers cannot fulfil their products and/or services. In this case, as we’ve advised, keeping communication open is helpful in allowing you time to find new suppliers. Your existing suppliers will more than likely be part of a wider network where they can recommend an alternative for your date if they become unavailable. But if it is truly a last-minute call, then you will need to lean on the information you’ve gathered from your wedding insurance policy and/or credit card company to make sure you receive any kind of financial reimbursement.

 

How can I afford to make changes to our wedding?

 

If you’re at the stage of planning that allows you to be even slightly flexible with your budget, it may be worth reassessing your priorities for that money. Maybe there are some items you had planned for on the day that you can do without? Or reduce spend on slightly? This could give you a bit of a cushion so that if you do need to rebook some aspects or make unexpected changes, you have the finance available to do so. 

Questions to ask your wedding suppliers

• Do you have any contingencies in place for if my wedding date cannot go ahead due to venue closure or illness?
• Do you have any contingencies in place for if you cannot fulfil your product/service due to illness? Such as, a list of other suppliers who may be able to help?
• Can you confirm if my deposit (or any other monies paid to date) is transferrable or refundable should my wedding be postponed?
• Can you let me know availability for if we need to postpone our wedding, including weekdays?
• What is the cut off point for postponement/cancellation?
• What extra precautions, if any, are you taking to ensure health and safety standards are kept high?

People are the most important thing at a time like this. And you are more than the sum of your anxieties and fears around wedding cancellations and postponements; don’t let it weigh you down. Whatever format your day takes, however big or small, your day is still about you. About making a pledge to each other. There’s no more poignant time to show love, gratitude and kindness.

We have created a forum for you to share with each other and hopefully find comfort in the fact that you aren’t alone in your thoughts. There is a specific coronavirus category as well as additional categories for brides, grooms and suppliers. We will keep you updated on when this is activated and ready for you to use. Let’s use this platform to lift each other up, come together and get through this as a community.

11 thoughts on “Coronavirus and Your Wedding – Some Advice

  1. My best friend and I are both getting married this year; May and August. We have both worked incredibly hard for our weddings. I’ve been saving for two years, giving everything I have to our savings account. We spent the weekend in despair with guests already staying the won’t be able to come. It’s such an uncertain and unhappy time. Thank you for this article.

    1. Jennifer, it’s such a difficult time. And with things changing day by day, it is hard to know what will happen. Hopefully, you’ve found some actionable advice in this post to make sure you’re as prepared and protected as you can be. Take care of yourself. xo

  2. Great article Naomi. I hope my clients get to read it and find it useful in these uncertain times.
    As a wedding photographer I have had numerous couples get in touch in the last few days asking me these exact questions. Luckily I have a very supportive photographer community around me and we are all helping each other out.
    We all have to support each other as fellow humans and pull through this tough time.

  3. Hello,

    This advice is really helpful – thank you so much. I am following all the advice and trying to remain as calm as possible. We purchased insurance from a well known wedding insurance provider and looking through the T&Cs, there are some conflicting statements. For example, it states that we are covered if the venue is ‘unable to hold your wedding due to an outbreak of infectious or contagious disease… closure of venue by relevant authority’ but it also states we aren’t covered by claims arising from ‘government regulation or act’. Can you provide any clarity regarding these wordings as it’s not clear how they differ in relation to the coronavirus. We have contacted the insurer and whilst they have replied, they have explained that they can’t provide general information and will need to look at each case individually. Can you provide any clarification of how this can be interpreted? xx

    1. Hi Lara!
      This is definitely a point to seek some legal advice in interpreting the contract. I’m not qualified to do that for you, unfortunately. But you’re right in seeking clarification. If you can’t get it from your insurers, perhaps you can have a solicitor gather it for you. It would be money well spent in the current climate.
      xo

  4. Thank you for this guidance and reassurance in the grand scheme of things right now a wedding feels like the least of people’s worries and therefore you guys paying it some attention is much appreciated. Big love

  5. We are due to get married in 5 days. Our guest list has reduced from 85 to 19 including us !
    This is mainly due to travel restrictions from abroad, high risk elderly parents and 50% of our guests, including myself being ICU staff who are fully taking the evidence based advice from the medical scientists and social distancing .
    One to stop the spread if Covid19 and also to stay healthy so we can continue to work in ICU at this awful time.
    Knowing this, our venue has refused to change our date and has told us it will be viewed as a cancellation with no refund if we don’t go ahead in 5 days !!
    We will lose thousands of pounds and we are heart broken.

  6. We are destination wedding planners, we design and plan weddings worldwide, and our clients are mainly from the UK. We are offering free professional support to brides and grooms who are due to marry in the next months and need urgent help.

    As industry professionals we are working hard to make sure our clients still have their dream wedding, postponing, replanning and rescheduling wherever possible, making sure they save as much time and money as possible.

    We know that a lot of couples do not have have the benefit of this professional support, and are finding themselves with a lot of questions, doubts, and are not sure on how to proceed in this situation. Some couples do not know whether they should postpone or cancel altogether, and they are not sure how to deal with all of this or how to interpret the legal aspects of contracts with vendors etc.

    We have been wondering how to help during these times of need, and even though wedding planning might not be a “basic need”, for a lot of couples it means their dream day not happening, and this is our way of helping and making a difference in some people’s lives.

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