Can we have an open and honest conversation about the coronavirus? There seem to be 3 popular reactions when this virus, that is now considered a pandemic, is brought up. One side believes that the coronavirus is not a big deal, is just like the flu, and will blow over in a few weeks. The other side is taking extreme doomsday like actions and perpetuating a panic based mindset. Then there are a bunch of people in the middle that chosen to not listen to much of what is being said out of fear. If you don’t know what’s going on, it’s kinda hard to be afraid right? I would encourage you to do your research and become educated on the matter so that you can take whatever actions you deem necessary in your life to protect yourself, your family, and those who you come in contact with.
My hope in writing this blog post is to provide a little direction to anyone who has a wedding that is approaching within the next few months. I haven’t heard many wedding vendors talking about or addressing this matter, but I know couples who are planning their wedding are thinking about how the coronavirus will affect their wedding day. Please know that my intention is NOT to raise fear or cause anyone to go into a panic, I simply want to address the elephant in the room that brides are thinking about. So if you are getting married between March 2020- July 2020 I would encourage you to consider taking the following actions in regards to your wedding day.
Communication is going to be key as we all, couples and wedding vendors, navigate these unknown waters. I would suggest reaching out to your wedding venue first and simply asking how the coronavirus is going to affect your wedding day. As of today, March 13, 2020, Sedgwick County in Wichita, KS has banned public gatherings of more than 250 people. There has been discussion as to how this affects weddings since they are considered private gatherings, but no official statement on if weddings are considered “public gatherings”. Your best action would be to contact your wedding venue to see how they are handling the situation. Once you know how your venue is handling the situation, you can act accordingly from there.
The biggest concern that the CDC seems to have right now is limiting the speed that the coronavirus spreads at. You can take precautions that will help limit the spread of any viruses at your ceremony and reception. By doing some of the things I have listened below, you can take steps to protect yourself and your guests. Another thing to consider is that anyone who is over the age of 50 is considered to be high risk when it comes to their ability to fight off the disease and recover from it. For many couples, that category includes their parents and grandparents. I think the highest chance for anyone to spread the virus is at the reception. I have an idea for anyone that might have an abundance of elderly people at their wedding. You can take it or leave it, totally up to you! You may consider doing your first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, cake cutting and speeches all before dinner so that those who are considered high risk can see some of the more important parts of the reception and then leave before all of the dancing and heavy breathing/sweating starts. Here are a few other things you might consider doing:
Couples and wedding vendors are dealing with a situation that most of us have never found ourselves in before. When there are large amounts of money on the line and a high chance for panic…its easy for people to become hostile in their conversations. If you are a bride or groom, seek to ask clarifying questions instead of making demands. If you are a wedding vendor, posture yourself in a position of understanding and going the extra mile for your couples who are stressed! Brides and grooms, when you reach out to your vendors with questions regarding this topic, it may take them a day or so to get back to you. They are likely to be swamped with may other couples who are reaching out to them about the effects of the coronavirus and their big day. They will get back to you ASAP!
If the ban on public gatherings over 250 people is still looking like it’s going to still be active when during your wedding, you should reach out to your wedding venue to talk about this issue. If they don’t have options to accommodate your 250+ wedding you could get creative with some workarounds. Here are a few ideas that might work for you:
– Downsize Your Guest List: This is probably the most obvious thing you can do, but no one wants to uninvite someone to their wedding. I totally get it, it can be awkward to do this, but the good news is that I truly believe people will understand. It might seem impossible to cut down your guest list, but I would suggest working backwards. Start by listing family members from both sides who will be attending. Let’s say that number comes out to 150 people. Then from there, you can list the people that you for sure want to be at the wedding until you get to 100 people.
-No Plus Ones: It will be a bummer for your guest, but you might be able to get that list of guests down to under 250 if do not allow plus ones.
-Have 2 Receptions :Ok here me out on this one. What if the main reception was for mostly family, bridal party, and a few close friends. Then after that reception ends, you and your bridal party go downtown in your wedding attire and party at a bar/club! You could invite your guests to show up there to celebrate with you. You are guaranteed to have people buy you drinks!
That choice is ultimately going to be up to you and your future spouse. I know a big reason some people are considering rescheduling their wedding is because a large amount of family/friends are traveling from out of state to attend. If you are someone who values having your closest family/friends there on your wedding day, you may consider rescheduling so that your out of state family/friends can attend. On the flip side, there is no telling how long the ripple effects of the coronavirus will be around. It might be a better option to consider moving forward with your wedding date with an understanding that it is likely that your family/friends that are traveling might not be able to make it. Making a pros and cons list might help you weigh your options. If you have a close connection with one of your vendors, you might reach out to them to see if they can help you think through the pros/cons.
This is a question that is unique to each vendor and will depend on the terms outlined in the contract that you signed with your vendor. It is unlikely that vendors have a “Pandemic Clause” but there should be something outlined in your contract in terms of if your deposit/reservation fee is refundable. If you are canceling and are unsure about money being refunded to you, just reach out to your vendors and ask them!
My last bit of advice to you as you are processing the “what ifs” would be to remember that the most important part of your wedding day is that you are marrying your best friend. Virus or no virus, guest restrictions or no guest restrictions, at the end of the day you will be starting a new chapter of life with your favorite person in the whole world. That’s something that no virus can rob from you.
March 13, 2020