Hello and wishing everyone well firstly, I hope you are keeping as sane and as safe as possible, and I am so sorry you are having to endure a pandemic – but especially if it’s your wedding year and are faced with the difficult decision of postponing your wedding. I wanted to check in with a planning update from my side, as a London wedding planner, and my wedding postponement advice.
Following Sunday night’s message to the nation, then the follow up 60 page government publication on Monday (‘COVID-19 recovery strategy’), and the extended furlough scheme (now until end Oct) announced on Tuesday, I wanted to share my honest thoughts as a wedding planner – and the advice I gave to my 2020 couples on Monday.
Key points from the ‘recovery strategy’
Some key points from the government ‘recovery strategy doc’:
Page 35, under ‘Step 2’:
“In addition, the Government is also examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups to better facilitate small weddings.”
Read by me as, small = ‘essential’, i.e. the couple + 2 witnesses + 2 registrars.
Additionally, this caught my eye:
“… it is likely that reopening indoor public spaces and leisure facilities (such as gyms and cinemas), premises whose core purpose is social interaction (such as nightclubs), venues that attract large crowds (like sports stadia), and personal care establishments where close contact is inherent (like beauty salons) may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections.”
There is also this slightly more helpful article from STV News (Scotland):
In which Tory MSP Adam Tomkins pressed constitution secretary Mike Russell on why the new Coronavirus Bill does not include any provisions on weddings. Russell told the committee that weddings can only take place in “very limited circumstances” at the moment, adding they are only permitted if “one of the partners is dying or if somebody is about to be posted overseas, particularly in the armed forces”.
It would be my advice to get ahead and at least enquire with your suppliers on possible alternative dates for your weddings, if you haven’t already. As there will be more and more couples trying and enquiring and nabbing new dates over the coming weeks. I myself am getting booked up for 2021 already, with a few months already completely fully booked. So, if you are even just considering it at this stage, do enquire for potential alternative dates sooner rather than later. Then you will at least have all the info of what suppliers can do what dates, to be able to make an informed decision should you want to.
At the very least, please check with your insurer what you are and aren’t covered for. Most insurers do not cover for this at all, but some cover if you take the first step to reschedule despite corona, and some cover your costs to rebook suppliers on a new date. (This is the most helpful when a supplier isn’t free on your new date and you have to book a new one, but would also allow current suppliers to charge you their 2021 booking fees and recover a small fraction of their own 2020 losses. N.B. None of us are trying to capitalise on this, despite what you see on the news, we are all struggling financially but are doing our best to help as we are feeling the heartache as well.)
It is my personal opinion, that even if things miraculously went back to normal tomorrow, that social distancing will still be in place for some time. In my opinion, I believe until the end of the year, but of course we await more info as the situation develops. The current news is that there is to be absolutely “no hairdressers, pubs, or restaurants until July at the earliest”. And even then, I think there will be a capacity and/or sq ft cap. Meaning weddings, as we know it, will not be the same for some time – and I know a lot of my couples will not want to go ahead even if they are allowed, given it will not be the wedding they orginally wanted.
The implications and questions that arise from all this currently, in my opinion:
- Even if you have your heart set on going ahead in Aug/Sept or beyond, you won’t know until at least July if it’s a goer.
- How does this impact anything you have on order – your dress/suit/rings?
- Would you be willing to accommodate a guest cap, should the government impose one overnight? Say 20, 50, or 100 guests?
- Are there any guests who would potentially be putting themselves at risk by coming? (Any elderly, any underlying health issues, any pregnant woman, etc.) Would this affect them coming?
- Would you be cautious to share hugs, food and a dancefloor with your guests? Or more to the point, do you think your guests would? Would this affect them coming?
- Staff, at least, will also likely have to wear face masks to protect themselves, indefinitely. This looks like it will be an obligation for anyone serving the public in any way. This means all your catering and bar staff, and also likely means your registrar, humanist, celebrant, or priest.
Also bearing in mind:
- The UK furlough system has been extended until the end of October – a telling tale for me.
- Ireland’s legal guidelines have banned ‘large gatherings’ until end Aug as a min (and I think we are a few weeks behind them in the pandemic).
- And Germany are already talking about potentially going back into lockdown as their numbers have spiked again, as expected.
Be realistic – and be prepared
Please know this is written with a heavy and sad heart, but comes from a good place. This is my personal opinion and not legal or official advice. The main point of this post is just to say don’t hesitate on enquiring on alternative dates, as they are going fast.
Things are taking longer, venues have been furloughed and have been taking a while to reply, diaries are a mess, and suppliers are trying to navigate this too helping where they can – as all we want is to be there and for you to have an amazing day, and we absolutely cannot wait to get back to work.
I’m here for you, and if I can help with anything, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Wedding postponement advice, within reason, is free to an extent. Drop me a message, and if I know the answer I’ll be more than happy to help at the end of an email. If it requires more research or time or planning from my end, I’ll let you know beforehand if this is chargeable.
My Power Hours are £120 (although you get 2 hours for this price), and ad hoc time is charged at £95 per hour, and can be taken ad hoc pay as you go, or also in blocks as you wish.
Stay safe. (I have no doubt you are staying alert, so won’t insult you with that one.)
*please note, all of the above wedding postponement advice is my personal opinion and experience, and not any form of formal or legal advice.
Please email any hellos or enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org