We know you probably never want to hear the words “coronavirus,” “quarantine,” and “unprecedented times” again, but unfortunately The Rona is still among us. Corona brides across the world are lost when it comes to what to do now that their wedding has been postponed or canceled. The days of saying “I do” in front of friends and family and taking shots with your bridesmaids at the open bar seem so distant, but we’re hopeful that the investment towards celebrating this new chapter in your life is worth the wait. For those of you that have officially made the decision to share your vows with your S.O. in 2021, you’re probably wondering WTF to do with all of your plans now? Don’t freak out, because we’ve gone ahead and asked the experts to share their thoughts on what couples can be doing in the meantime to ensure that all t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted before the big day.
Yes, you probably had everything planned out perfectly, right down to your personalized stationery before the virus happened, but now that your plans have changed, there’s some tricky re-thinking to do. “It goes without saying that trying to navigate the postponement of a wedding is mind-boggling, and it can be hard to know where to start, or better yet, figure out an organized way to keep track of your progress and your remaining to-dos,” says Lisa Bowser, Founder of Brite Lite, a company that makes LED neon signs. “Lists on lists on lists can be quite boring to look at, yes?” Um, yes! Bowser recommends the acrylic dry-erase Goals Calendar to eliminate your wedding stress. Bonus: you can still use it in your home after your wedding planning process is (finally) over.
Read Your Contracts
I know we’re all programmed to click “accept terms and conditions” without a second thought, but with circumstances constantly changing as our world adapts to the virus, it’s essential that you and your future spouse have your contingency plans up-to-date. As AJ Williams, Founder and Creative Director at Boston-based event planning company AJ Events, recommends, “When reading your contracts, make sure you have your planner and vendors develop a rescheduling contract or addendum, and to change the Force Majeure to include pandemics and decreased capacity due to government mandates.” This way, you won’t have to scramble to make things work any more than you’ve already had to.
See What Safety Precautions Your Vendors Are Taking
When you do end up walking down the aisle, you want to be sure all possible measures are put in place to ensure that your guests stay happy and healthy. AJ Williams reports that for all future events, his company “will require cleaning/sanitation measures from our vendors and venues working on our events and add sanitation efforts plus add supplies at attendee check-in to protect the safety of our work environment and your attendees while allowing us to continue to service our clients.” He adds, “We have created branded plexi walls on our bar and catering stations, adorable customized face masks with your favorite quote or funny message or emoji icon to include your signature style. Get creative while keeping safe.” So make sure you check with your vendors to see how they’re adapting to these (my brain: don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it) unprecedented times.
Enjoy Your Engagement
Though you’ve (understandably) been mentally designing your reception place cards since the moment you got a ring on your finger, take this unique opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy this extra time of being engaged to the love of your life. Of course, says Taylor Waxman of L.A.-based event design and production company KED & Co., “Changing your wedding date can be emotionally draining. Managing your friends and family travel plans, rescheduling your vendors to make sure everyone is available on the same day and overall reimagining a new date in a new year—you’ve been through it.”
When adjusting your wedding planning timeline, though, staying sane is essential. “Don’t over plan,” advises Waxman. “It’s very easy to focus on your wedding during this time, but our biggest advice is: don’t. Once you have your vendors and location rescheduled and all guests are alerted of the new date, take a step back to enjoy your engagement. Spend quality time with your partner, schedule outdoor picnics or Zoom dinners with family and friends, take this time to reconnect and appreciate what is around you.”
Make The Process Fun
Now that you’ve got some extra time to plan things out, you and your partner can hone in on achieving the wedding of your dreams. Sarah Kuhlberg, Creative Director at Colette’s Catering and Events, suggests that you “Cast aside what might be typical wedding traditions, and do what YOU really, truly want for your wedding. Explore bright colors, beautiful seasonal menus, wine flown in from your favorite winery, book a unique outdoor venue, mix and match your linen pattern choices, custom built backdrops from local artists, neon signage, etc. Now you have the time to really customize!”
While it’s easy to get overwhelmed with pressing health concerns on top of your color scheme choices, “Making the difficult decision to postpone your wedding should be the hardest part. Once you’ve done that, try to make the rest of the process fun,” advises Matt Ramirez, Senior VP of Marketing at Generation Tux. “Look at new wedding trends, new seasonal colors, and opportunities to update your wedding plans! Everyone in the wedding industry knows this is a tough time for couples, and we’re here to work with you. Take this time with your husband to design the look of your wedding suit or tux again, order some free swatches, and get a free home try-on delivered to the groom.”
If you want to get creative without overloading your plate, Taylor Waxman suggests designing your own thank you notes online, finding custom postage for your wedding invitations, registering for gifts, working on your wedding website, finalizing your guest list, and choosing meaningful songs to be played during your ceremony. She also suggested pulling inspiration images (as if you needed an excuse to add to the wedding Pinterest board you’ve had since college.). “Focus on your style and look, try not to go too deep in detail,” she recommends. “Keep this light and fun.”
Can’t Wait? Go For It!
As Nike says, “Just Do It.” If you and your S.O. are itching to get married ASAP, Sarah Kuhlberg suggests having a mini wedding and eloping in your backyard, and then scheduling a reception for a year later so you can celebrate your first anniversary with friends and family. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and feel free to “Create your dream celebration and know that this new wedding style is something we are all getting used to.”
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It’s safe to say 2020 hasn’t gone according to plan for anyone, but people planning weddings this year have had to face some especially tough choices. With government restrictions and widespread health concerns, a large percentage of weddings since March have been postponed or drastically scaled down to just immediate families. But now that states are in various stages of reopening, it can be difficult to know what’s actually okay when it comes to wedding celebrations. But those considering larger gatherings in the near future might not want to make any concrete decisions just yet. COVID-19 case numbers are currently on the rise in much of the country, and a new story out of India paints a tragic picture of just how dangerous large-scale events can be.
According to CBS News, in May, a man living in a suburb of Delhi, India’s second-largest city, returned to his rural hometown in the eastern state of Bihar to get married. India lifted its strict nationwide lockdown at the beginning of June, and with few cases in rural areas, things were reportedly “relaxed.” The wedding was set for June 15th, but in the days leading up to the big event, the groom started feeling ill, and showing symptoms of COVID-19, including fever and diarrhea. Though a relative tells The Indian Express that the groom “was feeling unwell by June 14 and wanted the wedding deferred,” the family went ahead with the plans, “citing huge financial losses if the arrangements had to be canceled.”
The groom was never tested for coronavirus. Instead, according to a CBS News report, he was given some medicine to bring down his fever, and the wedding happened as planned on June 15th. There were over 350 guests in attendance, a direct violation of current Indian regulations that limit social gatherings to 50 people. Two days later, the groom’s condition had worsened, and he died on the way to the hospital. The family reportedly cremated his body before he could be tested for coronavirus, and didn’t plan to tell anyone about the potential exposure at the wedding.
But a wedding guest reported the situation to authorities, and initial tests of the groom’s close relatives yielded 15 positive results for COVID-19. Over the next week, 360 people in the village, most of whom were at the wedding, were tested, with over 100 testing positive. Many of these people are currently asymptomatic, but if not contained, this spread could be devastating. It’s likely that the groom acted as a super-spreader at his own wedding, which could have been avoided if the event had been postponed like he requested.
In an effort to “break the chain” of coronavirus spreading from the wedding, Paliganj Block Development Officer Chiranjeev Pandey told The Indian Express that authorities have “sealed” parts of the neighboring communities.
India has been hit hard by coronavirus, with more than half a million confirmed cases, and over 17,000 deaths to date. While some restrictions have been lifted in the last month, the number of new cases is actually getting steadily higher, which is reminiscent of what is happening in many parts of the United States.
While it’s obviously tempting to get back to living life like normal, the reality of this pandemic shouldn’t be ignored. While this wedding in India was an extreme case—with hundreds of guests and a groom who was clearly already ill—something like this could happen even if one guest is an asymptomatic carrier. Eventually, we’ll be able to celebrate safely together, but right now is just not the time.
Images: Xubayr Mayo / Shutterstock