Coronavirus caught us all by surprise and turned the world upside down. If you were in the midst of planning a wedding or had your big day coming in the following months, you must be feeling confused and overwhelmed. We hear you, and we bring advice for a wedding in corona-time!
As wedding photographers, we talked to almost a hundred couples and colleagues photographers, videographers, planners and vendors. We asked a lot of questions, picked their brains and conducted polls. We combined all of that with the wide spectrum of information coming from health experts to try and see what the future holds.
Nothing is certain, of course, but certain themes kept coming up and could help inform your decisions. We’ll share what we found out – keep reading!
FORECASTS FOR 2020
Without exception, whomever we talked to, May weddings were postponed and June weddings are trailing close behind.
As wedding dates step into the summer territory, optimism carefully returns. July and August dates are still under considerations, with some postponing and some sticking to it. We have had a few couples book an August wedding recently (04/2020). Autumn and winter dates are largely unaffected for now.
According to our poll, planners and photographers on average expect about 50% weddings in 2020 will be affected by postponements due to coronavirus (poll from late March 2020).
On the other hand, epidemiologists and virologists are more cautious.
Chinese coronavirus study published recently claims the coronavirus isn’t exhibiting significant seasonality. This means that summer might not slow it down in a substantial way.
Harvard experts also don’t expect we’ll be able to claim victory over the corona pandemic until first widely available vaccines are produced, which is anticipated in 2021. This means that we can probably expect some kind of social distancing measures to remain in place throughout the rest of the year which will impact large gatherings the most.
Even as we hope these measures will be less rigorous than they currently are, it’s still far from ideal for weddings. If people can’t freely gather in the same place without masks and barred from physical contact, you won’t be able to have a wedding you wished for.
IF YOU’RE CURRENTLY PLANNING A WEDDING…
All of this sounds less than stellar and it’s impossible to know what the future holds, so let’s get constructive!
If you’re in the earliest phase of planning your wedding, use this time of isolation to inspire yourself. Browse Pinterest inspiration boards and pin whatever catches your eye. Create a list of guests, all those people close to your heart who you can’t wait to see again! Take a tour of reception venues (virtually, of course!) and study the testimonials.
For those who completed this part, continue with studying potential vendors carefully – bands, DJs, photographers, videographers, florists… Luckily, now you can dedicate much more time to this, so you may be able to find hidden gems that would otherwise slip by.
Read reviews, study their work, follow them on Instagram, get in touch and talk! You can grab a coffee with the most promising candidates (on Skype, of course!), meet them and see how you get along.
If you’re in an advanced stage of planning and already have both a date and suppliers, don’t cancel the wedding – postpone it!
Only because corona messed up your short-term plans doesn’t mean you should quit altogether. Don’t deny yourselves the day you’ve been dreaming of and invested so much effort into.
If your wedding date is soon, in the following few months, explore your vendors’ postponement policies. Talk with them and try to find a new date when majority (if not all) of your suppliers are still available. Most of them will be forthcoming and move your deposits to new dates free of charge.
If your date is closer to the end of the 2020 and you feel it’s still too early to postpone, we still suggest to start thinking about a plan B and figure out another potential date. If things don’t start looking up in the following months, you will deal with uncertainty much more easily knowing you already have an alternative in mind.
ADVICE FOR 2021
It’s worth noting that 2021 dates are filling up very quickly for most suppliers. Many 2020 weddings from peak season were already rescheduled for next year, in addition to all the regular inquiries and bookings in 2021. It will get crowded, so expect a shortage of popular dates (i.e. Fridays and Saturdays).
If you’re intent on waiting with the postponement, keep this in mind and be flexible! When booking, consider Fridays, Sundays and even week-days. Don’t worry, your guests will understand!
Week-day weddings will probably become a thing in 2021 and we’ll all find ways to make it work. Week-day wedding isn’t as much of an inconvenience if you consider that it may make a difference between getting the venue and photographer of your dreams, versus a Saturday wedding with suppliers who weren’t your first or maybe even second choices.
If your budget allows for it and you already don’t have one, it’s very much worth considering hiring a wedding planner.
Since the future is uncertain, it’s difficult to foretell what kinds of (and how many) postponements the future will bring, what policy each supplier will have, the effort involved in synchronizing them all on a new date and coordinating them on the big day (when they’re all working at significantly increased loads comparing to normal years).
A good planner will save you a lot of thinking, a lot of nerves and maybe even some money with their negotiation skills. There are so many amazing and dedicated planners, and a decision to hire one usually turns out to be a great decision for calm nerves and a carefree wedding.
If you’re still on the fence thinking whether to postpone or not, ask your guests for their opinion. Guests are the essence of your wedding and without them, nothing would be the same. Invite most important guests in a Facebook group and post a short poll where anyone will be able to share their opinion in a few taps. It will save you a lot of thinking and forecasting of how many people would show up on a certain date!
Postponing is stressful and a bit sad, we know, but look at it from the bright side – you now have the opportunity of a do-over, improving everything you planned and upgrading in a way you never could manage with all the work and day-to-day obligations.
After you’ve rescheduled, there will be a huge weight off your chest and you will finally be able to listen to the news and statistics without so much stress, knowing that your wedding date has jumped into the much less unpredictable future.
BUT WHAT WITH THE 2020?
Okay, so you postponed. What now?
What when your originally planned date comes, a date when you planned to have a ring on your finger and a glowing aura around you, and you’re instead greeted with more waiting?
Don’t worry, we have a few ideas to make your original date feel important despite everything!
One option is arranging a short photo session with your photographer, precisely on your original date. Despite all the limitations, the three of you hanging out is permitted in most places! (Besides, you don’t need to have any physical contact with the photographer)
If this isn’t practical because you were planning a destination wedding, find a local photographer! You can shoot around your town or go for a short excursion to a nearby beautiful spot.
Sessions are a great way to move away from the everyday routine and completely focus on your better half in a different way. They often turn out to be utterly romantic, even if you generally feel that romance isn’t your strong suit.
Not only would you appropriately mark that day, but you’d also create a beautiful memory that will last a lifetime. (Our couples often tell us that sessions were their favorite part of the whole experience!)
Another option is a long part of wedding tradition – writing and exchanging vows on your original date.
Some couples don’t want to do the vows and prefer to be taken through the ceremony by an officiant, just speaking up when they need to. It’s understandable: the stage fright of speaking your deepest feelings and wishes is visible and palpable. This, however, is an opportunity to exchange vows by yourselves, privately, with less jitters but full intensity.
Vows are in essence personal, touching and romantic – and only yours. At first you might think that your fiancé couldn’t (or wouldn’t want to) ever do something like that… but you may be surprised. Surely he loves you, wants to make you happy, spend the rest of his life with you, take care of you and be by your side! Why not simply put that on paper?
It’s okay if it turns out clumsy. It’s not an essay someone will be grading; it’s a moment of deep sincerity and vulnerability.
This way you could mark your original date in a very significant way. But, you can take it even a step further.
Even if you originally envisaged a wedding with 50 or 150 guests, given the circumstances, why not elope?
This still respects the current limitations for gatherings in most places, and as the rules are relaxed in the future, it only gets easier. No matter what, you can always live stream it for anyone who wants to join you. All it takes is an app like Periscope, Facebook or countless others.
You can elope on your original date and get married precisely when you originally planned, leaving the reception and partying for later date, when you’re finally allowed to meet everyone, hug and celebrate without limitations.
Some opt for a civil ceremony now, followed by a full church ceremony, dinner and celebration later on; others get legally married now and just organize a party at a later date.
Whatever you decide, we’re certain that we humans can prove to the coronavirus that we’re resilient and that love really does conquer all!
Thanks for sticking with us — we hope we helped!
If you’re getting married in Croatia and are looking for up to date information, here’s an article with first-hand information.