The recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has created a great deal of uncertainty for couples planning UK and destination weddings alike and resulted in a number of couples seeking guidance and advice on what to do if they need to postpone their wedding. If you’re due to get married in the next few months and have any questions about how coronavirus might affect your wedding, or what to do if you need the worst happens and you need to postpone your wedding, then read on for our top tips. With information changing all the time, we’ll try to update this when we can but for the most up-to-date advice, follow us on Instagram and sign up to our newsletter.
Do I need to postpone my wedding?
This of course depends entirely on when, and where, you are getting married. For now, we are focusing primarily on weddings planned within the next 12 weeks but are speaking with our couples for the rest of the year to reassure and update. The most important thing is not to jump the gun – there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment and hasty decisions fuelled by media speculation may mean moving your wedding unnecessarily. We are all hopeful that normality will resume within the next few months but are staying abreast of the latest government guidelines. As sadly no one knows all the answers, there is ultimately a degree of risk whether you decide to postpone your wedding or whether you decide to keep going ahead for now. For those weddings beyond the 12 week window, we are recommending couples, for now, to carry on as much as normal with their plans. But, having a contingency plan (whether Plan A, Plan B or Plan C!) is definitely worth starting to think about – in an ideal world, you won’t need to use it, but it’s often better to be safe than sorry. Thankfully, as wedding planners, our job always involves contingency plans so we are well versed in helping to plan for all eventualities.
How do I go about postponing my wedding?
If you have checked all of the government guidelines and are sure you need to postpone your wedding, there are some key steps you need to take.
- Check your wedding insurance policy to see whether you have cover. Give your insurer a call if you have any queries.
- Speak with your wedding venue and suppliers (if they haven’t already been in touch). See if they are able to postpone, and if there are any fees for doing so. Remember that all of your suppliers are going through a tough time right now and are likely rescheduling a LOT of weddings – be nice and keep them on side 🙂 A little kindness goes a LONG way.
- Run any potential dates by your key family and friends to ensure they can make the new dates, and circulate the possibilities with all of your suppliers to see if they are all able to make this new date work. Try to be flexible and give as much choice as possible. There may have to be a degree of compromise – whether it’s opting for a midweek wedding or a different month to what you had planned – but remember your priorities and why you are getting married in the first place!
- Share a placeholder with your guests to notify them of the change of date and get them to hold your new date as soon as possible! Many lovely stationery suppliers are currently offering to create new ‘save the date’ templates for you free of charge (if you need recommendations of who is offering this, get in touch!).
- Work with your suppliers to adjust your plans for your new date. Some bookings will be a straight swap – others may require a bit of additional work (e.g. if you are changing from a spring wedding to an autumn wedding, you may need to discuss new flower options with your florist, or you may need to tweak your menu with your caterer if it includes seasonal produce).
- Discuss with your travel planner or travel agent about any adjustments required to your honeymoon. Again, check your travel insurance policies and ensure you are covered.
- This is likely to be a stressful time. Keep calm, remember why you are getting married in the first place, and remember that it will all be ok in the end. The extra time will just give you more time to make it even more perfect, and it will be SO worth the wait when your perfect wedding day arrives.
We are planning a destination wedding – what do we do?
If you are planning a destination wedding this adds of course an additional layer of complexity. With needing to get yourself and your guests overseas, you will need to stay on top of the latest Foreign Office travel advice which you can find here. You’ll also need to check where your suppliers are travelling from, and ensure they can all make it to your chosen location.
Be aware that if you’ve booked overseas suppliers, their contracts may vary from UK suppliers and you’ll need to check the jurisdiction that applies to their T&Cs.
Having thorough travel insurance cover as well as sufficient wedding insurance cover is a must for destination weddings. If you have any concerns over travel, try speaking to your airline or any travel agents you have used to coordinate your travel plans.
I have guests travelling from overseas – what do I do?
It’s understandable to want all of your friends and family at your wedding, and the latest travel restrictions may make this tricky. You can check the latest foreign travel recommendations here. Advise your guests to carefully check over the terms of their travel insurance policies and keep an eye on any updates from their airline/travel companies.
If your wedding is able to go ahead based on government guidelines, the inability of certain guests being able to travel is not enough grounds (contractually) to postpone on its own; this is a discussion you will need to have with your venue and suppliers and see if there is anything that can be done.
How will this impact my honeymoon?
With most countries now restricting travel restrictions, coronavirus is sadly likely to impact a number of honeymoon plans. Unless you have heard specifically from your travel agent/tour operator, airline or hotel, for now it is likely that your trip is still planned to go ahead, but that may well change. Check the Foreign Office travel advice for details on advice for your specific honeymoon destination – and now is a good time to start checking the details of your travel insurance to see what is covered.
If you haven’t yet got travel insurance, you may find it tricky to find new policies to cover you as many are now making coronavirus exempt, so be wary with any new imminent travel bookings.
Many hotels are allowing couples to postpone their honeymoon given the circumstances; but, you may be subject to price rises for a change in date.
If government guidelines allow, it may be that you need to look for a UK-based minimoon, before saving your honeymoon for when things have fully settled further down the line. Thankfully, there are so many wonderful minimoon destinations available within the UK, from luxurious spa hotels to countryside retreats. And the bonus of a minimoon is that you get to spread out the celebrations and still have something amazing to look forward to further down the line!
I don’t want to postpone my wedding – what are my options?
In many cases, there may be no option but to postpone, depending on government guidelines or travel restrictions which may affect your ability to marry. But, if marrying urgently is a priority, you may have to compromise and get creative with your day.
It may be that you are able to hold a small-scale wedding ceremony where you can complete the legalities with a few of your immediate family or friends, then hold a bigger celebration with all of your loved ones once things have settled down.
Where can I get more advice?
As these are unprecedented times and a situation no one could’ve predicted, and information is changing so quickly, it’s important to stay abreast of the latest news from reputable media sources as well as the government sites (including travel advice, if you are planning a destination or you have guests travelling from abroad). For church weddings, you can check the Church of England guidance here.
We are staying on top of all of the latest guidelines to help each of our couples make informed decisions as to their wedding planning. Where possible, we will also be circulating updates on social media and our newsletter.
Right now, we are busy working with our existing couples to make any necessary amendments to their upcoming weddings. However, if you would like any help or have any questions, you can pop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch here – we are happy to jump on a call and chat through, and offer tailored one-to-one video consultation calls as well as more hands-on planning assistance.
We are sending all of our love and best wishes to all of our couples at this tricky time,