How to cope with wedding planning during the COVID-19 outbreak

As most of you probably already know, I am due to be getting married in September 2020.

You might have seen my blog post last year which described my wedding planning experience up until that point, and 5 tips for anyone that is planning theirs. 6 months later, these plans have vastly progressed and we now have just 5 months until the wedding.

Pretty much everything is booked and deposits have been paid including: venue, church, dress, photographer, videographer, catering, florist, decor, cake, car and much more. I’ve been a busy bee! I apologised in my last blog post for not writing a post for 3 months, but here we are 6 months on, and I am only just sitting down to write my next one!

However, is that only because my wedding plans have suddenly come to a halt due to the current outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Probably! Nevertheless, we are where we are and there is nothing we can do about it, and I won’t know if I have to cancel/postpone my wedding until early Summer.

Until then, we’re still ploughing ahead with sending our invites out and asking everyone to reply as normal and we will update them with the plans closer to the time.

So how have we been coping with our wedding plans during this strange time? Here are a few things we did to help us through:

1. Purchase wedding insurance

Even before coronavirus came about, we were looking at different insurance providers to purchase wedding insurance from just because we are using so many different suppliers for so many different things for our wedding. We wanted reassurance that we would get our money back if anyone was to unexpectedly pull out.

Of course, this wasn’t something I saw as a priority, however as soon as we started getting more COVID-19 cases in the UK, I got my butt into gear and purchased a policy straight away. In the grand scheme of how much you spend on a wedding anyway, another £100-200 is nothing for that extra bit of security.

Unfortunately, if you have not purchased insurance already, it is highly unlikely you will be able to find a provider issuing any policies now as they have all stopped for the time being due to coronavirus, but it’s worth a try. Even if you can’t find a provider, get in touch with your suppliers individually and ask them what they are able to do to help. They are just as upset as you are and genuinely want to do what they can to help. I was supposed to get my bridesmaids to choose their favourite out of two dresses from my supplier at the end of March, but I explained the situation to her and she is kindly holding onto them for me and not asking for payment until we know whether the wedding is going ahead or not. This leads me onto my next point…

2. Get in touch with your venue

One of the next things we did after purchasing insurance was getting in touch with our venue to see what would happen if they had to cancel our wedding due to coronavirus. Most of them will be happy to postpone to a later date free of charge, however there may be some venues that ask for an additional fee to move it to a later date depending on what month you move it to. For instance, the most expensive months to get married are from May – September, so if your wedding was booked for this month say (April 2020), but you are looking to move it to July 2021, the hire fee for July will be higher.

These prices also increase year-on-year so not only is it likely to be more expensive in general to get married in July, but as you are moving it a year later, the base rate is higher because of that too. This is why we opted to get married in 2020 as opposed to our original plan of 2021.

However, this is a very unlikely case and if you do have insurance, you will be covered and get that extra money you’ve had to spend back.

3. Create a spreadsheet listing all your suppliers and payments

As soon as the government announced that there would be bans on all social events including weddings, we decided it was best to stop all future plans for the wedding and stop spending money. This includes paying any remaining balances for all suppliers.

As we are still 5 months away, we’ve luckily only paid half the money for our venue, and only paid small deposits for the rest of our suppliers. We will need to start paying the remaining balances in June, July & August.

In order to calculate this, I created a spreadsheet listing all our suppliers and the services they are providing in one column, the amount of deposit we have already paid them in another, and then any remaining balances and their due dates in the next columns. Yes, this required me going through mountains of emails and invoices, but now everything is one place and I can see clearly who needs paying what, and when.

Our biggest costs for the wedding are our catering and venue, so these are being paid in three instalments. As a result, I contacted these suppliers and asked if I could pay the remaining balance in one instalment a month before the wedding (which is when most suppliers want the final instalment) rather than paying the remaining balance in three instalments. That way they will get all their money in one go if it still goes ahead, and if it doesn’t go ahead, I potentially only lose my deposit as I’m sure a month before (which will be August), we will know whether the government will be allowing large gatherings or not.

4. Have a plan b

Even though we are still sending out our invitations, we are not very hopeful that we are going to have a wedding in September. Yes it’s a shame as we have been planning this for nearly a year now but there is no point getting upset over it. So many people are in the same boat as us or actually in worse positions as they have already had to cancel their weddings which were due to happen in March/April/May. Worst case, some people have lost their money and not been able to reschedule, but in most cases, people have rescheduled for next year and not lost any money.

In some ways, I’d rather be in that position because at least you know what is happening. At the moment we are just stuck in limbo and playing a waiting game. Imagine if it comes to July and we can still go ahead; what a mad rush that is going to be!

Nevertheless, we’re still putting a plan b in place. Whether that’s looking at another date next year (which we really do not want to do as we have 5 other weddings next year), whether we cancel it and just get married on the same date in the church this year without the party, and just have a smaller-scale party next year, we’re working on a back-up.

5. Create a wedding website

Just like you have a million questions about your wedding during this weird time, your guests will too. Why not create a free wedding website to keep your guests updated about your plans and so that the wedding details are on there for everyone to revert back to? If your date has to change, you’ll save money by not having to send out new invites too as you can just update your website! I created mine on WordPress. Please feel free to reach out to me if you need any help.

6. Stay positive

Last but not least, it’s important to not get upset and stressed out over it. At the end of the day, there is literally nothing you can do. You just have to make the best out of a bad situation. No one will care if your cake supplier has gone bankrupt and you can’t cut a fancy cake on the day, or if you decide to not have a big party but still get legally married on the original wedding date with just you and your partner present. Remember why you are getting married in the first place. It’s about you and your partner, nothing will ever change that.

Even if my wedding can’t go ahead, I’ve decided to help those of you that are still in the middle of planning your special day with a few blog posts on how to do certain things. Keep your eyes peeled for my next blog post which will be on “How to make your own wedding invitations”. I promise it won’t take me 6 months to write lol.

Stay safe all x

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