Updated: Oct 20, 2020
As a celebrant who works closely with couples to give them the best experience possible, my heart is breaking at how Coronavirus is affecting so many clients and their carefully-made plans.
Of course, as a full-time wedding vendor I’m also witnessing the collapse of many wedding businesses; those, which have been built on love, sweat and sheer determination, (mine included.)
But this is where we find ourselves.
As always, there are many people feeling the effects of this global health crisis in ways far worse than us. And so, we need a plan. (Things are changing quickly, so please get in touch for updates. (This update: 25th March 2020.)
Q. Do I need to cancel or postpone my wedding?
If you are getting married between April – August, 2020 (actual length of time is unspecified) and you had planned to have more than five people present, then you will now have to re-think your wedding plans (I'm so sorry.) Following the Australian Prime Minister's announcement on Tuesday 24th March, weddings will now be limited to 5 people: You, the couple getting married, two witnesses and your celebrant. Indoor weddings must observe the 4m squared rule. Out door weddings must observe social distancing rules.
Q. With the world in such an uncertain state, more than ever, we just want to be married. What do you suggest?
A great alternative could be to divide the ceremony and the festivities.
During the World War Two my beautiful Grandparents decided to elope in Sydney, during the short period when my Grandfather was home on leave from the Navy. They only had 48 hours and he was on call, but more than anything, they knew they wanted to make wedding vows and promise each other a lifetime of love, so they got married with just their witnesses. It worked for them. They were madly in love till the very end.
What about going ahead with an intimate elopement on the date you had originally planned and keep your celebrations for later on? To get legally married requires only yourselves, two witnesses and someone to tie the knot.
With the unknown and possibly difficult times ahead, financial choices (hopefully not medical ones too), it might be a good idea to have a legal partnership assured.
If you are able to postpone the rest of the celebrations, you can celebrate with a re-‘renewal of vows’ later on. That could still be the big event: wedding dress, wedding party, dinner, flowers and dancing.
Q. I want to reschedule. What about the booking/deposit & changing dates?
Of course, all suppliers have different agreements in place. I would urge kindness in dealing with your wedding vendors. Wedding suppliers are often working solo and COVID-19 is most likely having a drastic effect on your vendors livelihood. Many vendors do not wish to work at all for various health (and other) reasons. Please be respectful of this and communicate as best you can.
In normal times, I have to charge a new booking deposit if a client changes their date. This goes some way to covering costs for a date where I have likely turned other bookings away.
Of course at this difficult time, I am allowing changes of date at no extra booking fee, but am asking that my clients bring their accounts up to 50% at the time of the change, just to assist me in staying afloat. (This is not compulsory, however.)
However, one of the main issues in re-booking is that many dates in the new seasons, have been booked by new season clients.
So here are some suggestions:
Many wedding industry vendors are encouraging clients to re-book the usually quiet weekdays. (Monday – Thursday.) Thursdays are great because your guests are likely to take a super long weekend to celebrate.
Or re-book the earlier than usual time slots on Fridays and weekends, like mornings up until lunchtime.
Q. Where can we find out more info?
I'll be keeping a very close eye on updates from the Government.
You can also find reliable advice on COVID-19 at these links:
Q. Where do I start in re-booking all of my vendors?
Of course finding a date when all of your suppliers are available might be tricky. Start with your key vendors. Of course, to get married you first and foremost need someone to marry you - your celebrant!
Then there is the Venue, Photographer, Florist, Cake-maker, Videographer, Muso’s and the rest of these very creative and passionate suppliers. Work out which are the ones who are most important to you and start with them. If you haven’t already spoken with them, pick up the phone or email to make a time to chat. Be kind. Let’s work this through.
More than anything, take care of yourselves.
Learning to accept 'change' in all it's forms is probably the hardest lesson for any of us. As a couple, you're about to get a crash course. It's important to be kind and patient with each other, as it's very likely that the way you deal with disappointment individually, will be quite different.
At the end of the day, a marriage is about compromise, understanding and patience.
Talk to your suppliers. They do what they do because they care deeply about your experience in getting married. Now more than ever, they are the ones to walk you through this difficult time.
We are all reeling. But we will get you married.
Much love, Kate x
Kate Morgan is a full time, Melbourne based wedding celebrant.
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