When people are suffering as much as they are right now with their health, financial stability, employment, and so on amidst the COVID-19 pandemic it can be difficult to figure out where your sorrow over how this changes your wedding plans fits in...but it does.
Last week I listened to a podcast episode on 'Comparitive Suffering' from Brene Brown's new series, 'Unlocking Us.' GO LISTEN TO IT NOW (or after you read this)! The almighty Brene talks about how empathy is not finite. We can have deep and heavy sorrow and empathize with the struggles around the world right now and can still, with perspective, have sorrow for our own losses. It was so helpful to hear that in order to reconcile the many and complicated feelings swimming around inside of me and, of course, I thought of my wedding clients.
The uncertainty that this pandemic brings is destabilizing and anxiety-provoking. Planning a wedding means you have invested financial and emotional resources and time. Now, you are left to figure out what to do now. The truth is it is impossible to know but I have advice.
First, as I mentioned above, allow yourself to soak in the sorrow over the uncertainty this pandemic brings to your wedding planning. It may not be the biggest tragedy of this crazy global situation but it is a real disappointment.
Now, let's get down to the brass tacks of what this means for your planning.
If your wedding is planned for any time this summer, I'm afraid you will almost certainly still have to contend with this mess. Even if we get to the point that communities are no longer sheltering in place and cases are trending down, there will likely still be a period of time we are advised not to gather in groups (attend events) and/or people will still uncomfortable doing so. So what do you do?
- Review your contracts with any vendors you have booked so far; talk to them. Ask them how they are addressing this with clients. If you want to postpone, can you? Language is important. Use the word 'postpone' over 'cancel.' 'Postpone' means they will one day still get the job and money. As I've been talking to my vendors they have all - 100% across the board - been extremely accommodating and lovely, offering to re-book for a later date with no penalties or fees. Also, familiarize yourself with Force Mujeure clauses and see if they are on your contracts. More on that here.
- Re-think your path forward:
- Option 1: Reschedule. If you are a risk-taker, you could nudge it out just a little to late fall, knowing you may still have to postpone again as we see how this unfolds. For the risk-averse, my recommendation would be to bump it into 2021.
- Option 2: Reimagine your wedding. The sort of cool opportunity here is to reinvent what we even think a wedding is. Maybe you have a courthouse ceremony that you webcast out to your friends and family. For the reception you hire a DJ to play music, you coordinate with a local restaurant or food business you want to support to mail meal kits out to everyone, ask everyone to dress up and have a virtual reception. WHAT?? That's a wedding people would be talking about for years to come.
If your wedding is planned for fall or winter 2020, I suggest you do #1 above to gather important information, but you likely won't need to pull the trigger just yet. But gather the information and revisit with your partner each week. Information changes so much week to week.
I would love to work with you to help you navigate these shaky waters. Check out our 'Master Wedding Planner Packages' that include consultation sessions.
This is not easy. I am sending you all well wishes and hoping we all get through this swiftly and safely.