Worried about coronavirus’ impact on your wedding? Here’s a bit of help deciding whether to cancel, postpone or carry on.
Right now, everyone is watching COVID-19 headlines closely and trying to work out what the next few months hold. And no one is watching them more closely than couples who have a wedding planned.
I’ve contacted all my couples personally, but I thought it might help to outline my advice here for anyone to use. Depending on how far ahead yours is planned, you may still be unsure about your options – should you cancel completely, knock it back till things are back to normal or just continue as planned? It’s not an easy decision – or a quick one – but hopefully these pointers will make the process of figuring it all out a little bit easier.
Postponing your wedding
The easiest thing to do is probably just delay your wedding till things have blown over. I’m very happy to move photography bookings, and would hope that other suppliers will too. If you have a booking with me and want to postpone, I’ll just move your deposit and payments to match the new date (as long as I’m available) with no additional fee.
I can’t speak for other suppliers, but I’m sure that most will want to keep the booking in some way and work hard to help you make your day happen at some point.
You’ve carefully chosen everyone you want to use, so the hard part is already done. You just need to make the dates work. Of course, your venue takes priority. So before you get in touch with anyone else, start with them. The trickiest part will probably be knowing when things will be back to normal, but your venue may be able to guide you on this. Right now, there are no assurances, and with so little certainty it can be hard even remembering what normality feels like. But normality will eventually resume, so have faith, get it in the diary and start looking forward to it.
Having your wedding
Okay, so things are crazy right now and hopefully by July things may have started to settle down. So if you do decide to go ahead as planned, stick to your guns, don’t let anyone talk you down and get excited! It may not be the day you hoped, but it will still be your day.
And going ahead doesn’t have to mean doing everything. You may have to scale down your wedding to just the essential people so you can hold the ceremony, then book everyone in for the celebration when things are a bit calmer.
If you do want to go ahead in any form, you need to speak to your venue and keep a close eye on the news. The government advice is changing by the day, so this may well feel out of date by the time you read it. You also need to stay in regular communication with any guests who are still able to come. If you don’t already have a shared email thread for updates you may want to create one, but remember to make it easy for them to share things privately with you too.
FaceTime, Skype, Zoom and other live video services make it easy for you to stream the event to absent friends, wherever they are in the world, so consider putting someone you trust in charge of sorting that out and doing the filming on the day.
Checking in with your suppliers regularly is also essential, just in case they have to self-isolate, or they can’t get deliveries of the items you need. You may want a Plan B or even a Plan C up your sleeve, which they may be able to help you with. Critically, don’t take any unnecessary risks yourself. Just make sure you stay safe and keep all risks to a minimum.
The last resort
It may be that the only real option is cancelling, especially if you or your partner has the virus and you don’t think you’ll be well enough to attend – or you just can’t take that risk because of your health. Heart-breaking as this decision will be, you need to start looking at the cancellation policies for everyone you’ve booked fairly soon. No one could have seen this all coming, so you can’t feel guilty for not reading the small print in detail. But the small print counts, and you need to know how much it will cost you to cancel.
You may or may not have wedding insurance, and if you do you may or may not find that you’re covered for this situation if you don’t have COVID-19 yourself. If you do have the virus, make sure you get the necessary paperwork from your GP – when you can.
Being up front with your wedding photographer, venue and caterer – and everyone else who is helping to bring your day together – will make it easier to resolve things. They will want to help you do what is best and will be dealing with their own challenges. Supporting each other to work things out is all any of us can do really. But before you cancel, always see if you can postpone. You may find there is little or no cost to do that, and we want to make your day amazing. I’ll be here for you whatever and will do everything I can to make your day the incredible celebration you deserve – whenever that may be.
These are unprecedented times, and I hope you guys all stay safe. Being a wedding photographer means I’m quite used to being at home a lot, but with the kids here full time, trying to juggle work and home-schooling is tough! But we are coping, and hopefully you are too. I have a great team around me, and we’re doing all we can to stay put to help protect the more fragile members of our society and take pressure off hospitals.
There’s still a lot of opportunity and hope for the future, as long as we all stay home, stay together, be kind to everyone and support our amazing NHS.
Here are some images of my wonderful family during lockdown. We’re certainly enjoying the garden more in between all the chaos indoors!