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Planning a Wedding During COVID-19

Bride and Groom Holding Hands Outside

It’s a challenging time for couples who are planning a wedding during the COVID-19 pandemic or faced with the uncertainty of whether or not they will have to amend their wedding plans for safety reasons.

Measures to prevent the spread of the virus have restricted group gathering sizes, changed event format requirements and catering rules. Travel restrictions have also caused many to become hesitant to travel far from home. We are all collectively feeling the disappointment of not being able to celebrate events the way we want to.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed and panicking, it’s time to plan. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the most joyful day in a couple’s life during COVID-19.

What to Do If You’re Postponing Your Wedding

Your heart is set on the ceremony and reception you’ve planned for, so in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, you’ve decided to postpone your wedding to a later date. It’s a safe decision, as nationwide social distancing rules are in place.

The pandemic, however, has caused countless other wedding plans to turn upside down and plenty of couples are looking for venues and vendors with dates available in 2021. Successful wedding planning during COVID-19 requires everyone to be patient and flexible. Fortunately, all the details can be figured out.

Contact the Venue and Ask for Available Dates

You’ll want to determine when and how to move forward while minimizing financial losses due to postponement. Vendor contracts vary. Some include provisions that protect against extraordinary circumstances, so read your contract carefully.

As dates in 2021 begin to fill up, a new date may not work for your venue, so consider a few dates that are off-season, off-months or on different days of the week. These alternatives could potentially come with reduced pricing.

Reach out to Vendors to Check Their Availability

A new date will have to work for all your vendors. Reach out to your contracted vendors to alert them of your postponement and provide them with a few new dates you are considering. Many vendors are managing these changes with understanding and are allowing couples to apply their deposit to a future date, based on availability.

Not all are able to accommodate, so be prepared for the possibility of forfeited fees or deposits. Make sure you do your due diligence before making final decisions.

Contact Guests to Inform Them of the Date Change

Tell your guests that you’re planning to move your wedding due to COVID-19, and the new date is TBD until you’ve committed to a date. Your guests will appreciate the difficult decision that went into postponing your special day for everyone’s health and safety.

Keep your guests informed when you’ve set a new date by sending an email announcement or “postponement date card” and don’t forget to update your wedding website.

What to Do If You’re Keeping Your Date and Venue During COVID-19

Some couples are planning to keep their date and venue, regardless of potential amendments they will have to make to the ceremony and reception because of COVID-19. Continuing with your plans during the pandemic is going to require patience, compromise, and ingenuity–many of the same things that will serve you well in a good marriage.

Remember, your wedding is an exciting milestone, and no matter what form it ends up taking, it should be a celebration of your love for one another. Continue your planning process with thoughtful consideration about the financial impact and required safety precautions necessary for keeping your wedding date.

Ask the Venue About Their COVID-19 Restrictions

It’s important to understand the local restrictions in place at your wedding location, because many require new levels of safety. Talk to the caterer and venue where you plan to hold your event. You’ve hired them to assist in making your day special, so let them help conceptualize a new style and offer fresh options with safety in mind.

Coordinate with Vendors About Potentially Reducing Guest Capacity

Weddings trends this year include scaled back, more intimate events fondly termed micro weddings. Couples who need to adapt their guest size can consider going virtual or hybrid by live-streaming to include guests who can’t be in attendance.

Changes to the size of your guest list can impact the space considerations, catering numbers, and even format–so be sure to work with your vendors.

Decide How You Will Reduce Guest Count if Required

Understand what your family and friends are thinking amid group gathering restrictions, social distancing guidelines and discouraged travel. As soon as you are comfortable, contact your guests and acknowledge the current pandemic, letting them know you are thinking about everyone’s safety at your wedding.

Find out who can travel and who doesn’t feel safe attending, or is unable to do so. Once you have determined your new guest list, let everyone know and explain how hard it was to whittle down the numbers. Most guests will understand and even anticipate the change.

Brides Standing Back to Back

Plan for What a Social Distanced Wedding Could Look Like

Your wedding may look a little different than you imagined, but a lot of planning has gone into creating thoughtful seating arrangements and event format options so guests can celebrate at a safe distance. Guests may be wearing face coverings or gloves, and only sit with members of their household at smaller tables.

If dancing is the key to your ideal event, you could spread smaller dance floors around your venue. You can also set up a station to have video chats with your virtual guests. Shifting to an outdoor area might also be a possibility, providing extra ventilation and space to keep your guests healthy. Your vendors can help adapt your plans for a safer event.

Consider Having a Micro Wedding

A micro wedding is considered as having 50 or less guests. These miniature events can still be elegant and include your important traditions for a beautiful experience. Sure, a smaller wedding might not have been your first choice, but one of the big benefits of a smaller guest count is freeing up your budget to splurge on elements you may not have thought possible.

Having fewer guests at your wedding allows you to spend more quality time with each of them. Smaller weddings can also mean smaller decisions, which can create less stress.

Starting to Plan a Wedding During COVID-19

Many recently engaged couples are faced with uncertainty about how to plan a wedding during the pandemic. Deciding what course of action to take given the regulatory landscape and what will be legally permissible in the future is a real conundrum. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when beginning the planning process.

Should We Consider Having a Longer Engagement?

No one is sure exactly how long we will be social distancing and wearing masks, so one option is to lengthen your engagement to wait out the pandemic. The further out you plan to celebrate your wedding, the better your chances are that COVID-19 may be behind us.

When Should We Start Making Decisions About the Wedding?

Another consideration is the competition for 2021 dates, as couples who had to postpone their 2020 plans are vying for available spots. The time to start making decisions is now. Many venues and vendors are offering virtual site inspections and online consultations to get the process started.

Do We Want to Plan a Large Wedding or a Micro Wedding?

As restrictions ease across some regions, couples are choosing to plan larger, more lavish celebrations in 2021. But other couples are playing it safer and reevaluating their priorities, then opting for downscaled micro weddings or considering elopements.

Bride and Groom

Contact The Hotel at the University of Maryland About Hosting Your Wedding

Wedding planning can still be done in the comfort of your own home. Contact The Hotel at the -University of Maryland’s wedding team in College Park, Maryland to explore how, together you can host a one-of-a-kind, unique, safe COVID-19 wedding celebration.



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