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COVID Secure Wedding – Some Advice

LAST UPDATE: 24th Sept 2020 3pm

We understand that trying to plan a COVID secure wedding can feel like a big challenge. 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 COVID 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.

As of 28th of September, weddings can proceed for up to 15 people. This number includes the couple, witnesses and guests. Anyone working is not included as part of the limit on attendees.  Unfortunately, receptions should not take place in private homes or adjoining outdoor spaces such as gardens. It’s important to check that your venue is able to adhere to guidelines and host your ceremony safely as they may not be equipped to cater for a socially distanced ceremony or reception for 15 people.

If having a wedding with 15 people feels like something you want to do and you need to reduce your guest list, we have a post with guidance of how to do that, you can read that here. We’d also suggest not taking too much immediate action if your wedding is later this year but instead just advise your guests that you may need to reduce your guest list and you will keep them updated. Keep those communication lines open with your suppliers because you may want to still consider postponement so discuss what those options are if that’s a consideration for you.

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 COVID-19 pandemic and how it may impact your wedding and have answered them below. You can also find all of our COVID-19 related posts here.

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

This post was last updated September 24th, 3pm.
You can read the latest government guidelines for:
Weddings in England 
Weddings in Wales
Weddings in Scotland
Weddings in Northern Ireland
This post will be updated regularly.

COVID Secure 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 COVID 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 COVID and a lot of interpretation of guidelines for weddings that may or may not be correct. So choose your media outlets carefully, try to arm yourself with the facts by visiting reputable websites. For advice and guidance on COVID visit the NHS at NHS.uk for the latest government updates visit GOV.uk

Coronavirus And Your Wedding Insurance

Contact your wedding insurance company to find out how their policy affects your wedding during the COVID 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. It is unlikely that you will find cover that protects fully against any potential lockdown, but you may still be able to get cover that will protect you if your suppliers are unable to fulfill their service.
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 government lockdown is 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.
 

Venues in the UK were forced to close as of 23rd March 2020. These measures are bring reviewed constantly and as of the 28th September, venues are being told they can hold weddings and sit-down receptions for up to 15 people.

 

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 COVID 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?
    • How late can we make the decision to postpone? And what options are available to us if we decide to postpone?
    • What contingencies do you have in place for if we need to reduce our guest size and how would this impact our cost?
    • How is the venue/supplier set up to cater for a socially distanced wedding?

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 about what your contingency plan is should your day need to be reduced, postponed or cancelled. 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 current 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. 

 

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, 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. Visit this article for more information about exactly how to reduce your guest list.

 

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 COVID 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.

Other Helpful Links

Check out these other posts that will be useful to you when planning your wedding during the COVID-19 breakout.
RELATED: How To Have A Socially Distanced Wedding
RELATED: 31 Ways To Celebrate Your Original Wedding Date
RELATED: How To Successfully Postpone Your Wedding
 

Author: Naomi Liddell

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