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Your wedding during the Coronavirus crisis COVID-19

May 20, 2020

Wedding Planning

 

Close up of wedding Rings over invitation

Your wedding and Coronavirus : A resourceful guide (UPDATED: Aug 3rd, 2020)

For you and other couples looking for guidance about your Minnesota wedding during the coronavirus crisis (or anywhere really!), I made this with the information I have learned and with the confidence that we can all get past this and go back to dancing and celebrating with our loved ones!

COVID-19 and weddings postponements

Because of how fast this virus spreads, lockdowns and stay at home orders have been issued all around the globe to try to slow the spread. This means we also have travel bans, venues closed and gatherings, as well as events, are being cancelled.

Postpone don’t cancel

The coronavirus is disrupting many weddings, showers, parties, engagements, everything! With many guests traveling, couples have been trying to decide if they should postpone or cancel.

Keep your wedding! It is YOUR wedding! Most of us, venues and vendors, are being flexible so you can reschedule to a later date this year or next year without a fee (Please check with your specific vendors)

Try to think of rescheduling rather than a complete cancellation to avoid losing out on deposits .

Many couples are rescheduling to TBD dates, or simplifying their wedding to have a smaller ceremony, leaving the big reception for a later date.

You can always think of changing the event and going ahead with a smaller gathering with only immediate family or less guests.

One thing to keep in mind is that even if your wedding is 12 weeks out, many people might prefer to avoid gatherings still or be unable to travel to your wedding, so you should anticipate a smaller guest count.

Should you reschedule your wedding?

As vendors, and friends, we understand the heartbreak it is to consider rescheduling in any scenario!   I recommend you consult with your venue (or venues) as they will assessed how these restrictions affect them particularly already, as well as having a plan (officially called “preparedness” plan)

Here is some  guidance on how your event is affected by the current restrictions in Minnesota.

Original texts  for March -June removed.

Official Minnesota Updates on 7/27/200: Phase 3

August Weddings and beyond – Phase 3

Sources: Stay Safe plan and Phase Plan and Chart

Small Weddings in Minnesota will be allowed to happen as venues reopen but will have gathering restrictions and capacity limitations, you will have to downsize your guest list as well as modifications for safety precautions

Wedding Ceremonies at Churches or Wedding Venues 

Wedding ceremonies are governed by the guidance on places of worship unless it is happening in a non-church setting, in which case it would need to follow guidelines for that type of venue.

Church ceremonies after June 10th  will be allowed under these restrictions: Attendees keep 6 ft distance, max of 50% capacity for INDOOR venues and for both Indoor and OUTDOOR wedding venues it cannot exceed 250 individuals. Face Masks are strongly encouraged.

Wedding Receptions : Indoor and outdoor events

  • Consider the wedding event itself and the capacity restrictions of the venue you are having the wedding reception at.
  •  If it’s a restaurant  it will follow the restaurant guidelines:
    • Ensure a minimum of 6 feet of distance between tables indoors and outdoors
    • Limit indoor occupant capacity to no more than 50% up to 250 persons
    • Do not exceed 250 persons in outdoor spaces
    • Limit table to 4 persons, or 6 if part of one family unit
    • Strongly encourage attendees to wear masks when not eating or drinking (workers to were them at all times)
  • Wedding venues considered entertainment venues can move forward as the indoor and outdoor event restriction for events is lifted which states the following:
    • Limit occupant capacity to no more than 25% not to exceed 250 persons outdoors
    • Ensure social distancing and a minimum of 6 feet between persons
    • Strongly encourage attendees to wear masks when not eating or drinking (workers to were them at all times)
  •  The maximum of 250 has been set for indoor and outdoor venues, including churches, restaurants, outdoor venues and indoor entertainment and meeting venues (following guidelines above)

  • There’s just not a one-size-fits all advice, because the guidelines take into account the capacity of the venue and establishments.

Weddings at Private Residencies

Weddings in private homes, farms or residencies are subject to the social gathering limits in Executive Order 20-74 of 10 indoors and 25 outdoors. The guidance indicates that unless the home regularly functions as an event space or venue, events larger than that in a private home are not allowed, even with a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan completed by the homeowner or event planner.

Source: Safe Events MN

Mask usage

 Face covering in all indoor businesses and public indoor spaces is required in Minnesota as of July 25, 2020. This includes indoor event venues and indoor spaces of combined indoor/outdoor venues . This extends to include any private rental of indoor venue space, regardless of the private vs. public nature of the event. Masks are not required if outdoors, but social distancing must be followed.

Masks can be removed for speaking , drinking and eating if social distancing is exercised.

Please keep in mind Businesses and venues may choose to have more protective requirements than those in the Mask Executive Order.

Dancing

Dancing is discouraged due to how hard it is to social distance during this activity. Masks are strongly encouraged at all times Invite your guests to use a mask and social distance when dancing. It is possible!

Same as with the table placement, guests should be reminded  to try to dance only with people that they live in the same household with.  Make sure to check with your venue as they might have restrictions or guidelines in place already.

Weddings in later months

For weddings in August, September and later months, start a backup plan with your venue especially if your wedding is over 100 guests and Indoors. Also, keep in mind your venue might give priority to previous couples to choose their date so if you are a couple looking to Postpone a wedding in late summer or fall, you might have to wait to coordinate this well with your venue.

Health and Safety Protocols when keeping your wedding

If you are considering keeping the wedding as planned , I suggest creating a safety and health “protocol” for your event as well as a backup plan.

  • Safety Worldwide Follow CDC guidelines for public gatherings and local government orders for social distancing and events
  • Minnesota guidance onhow to stay safe on social gathering.
  • Social Distancing Social Distance is required at all times. See the Minnesota Department of Health Guidelines for Social Distance here
  • Stay home Tell your guests to stay home if they have any symptoms or have been in contact with someone that has symptoms
  • Hand Washing Hand washing and sanitizing is THE most effective way to protect yourself, aside from physical distancing and mask usage.
  • Hand Sanitation If you can’t provide additional hand washing stations , alcohol-based hand sanitizers can work in a pinch. Setting a hand sanitizer station for indoor and outdoor events is recommended
  • Cloth Face Masks Mask are currently mandatory . Provide guests them with cloth/ disposable masks or even better get your DIY on!
  • Respiratory Etiquette Encourage attendees to cover coughs and sneezes
  • Supplies Make sure you or your venue can provide plenty of soap, water, hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol, paper towels, tissues, and no-touch trash cans.
  • Signage An information and cute sign including reminders for Handwashing, covering sneezes and keeping your mask on will help everyone remember to stay safe
  • Layout  You can only have 6 guests maximum at standard 72″ round tables if they are living in the same household. If they are not living in the same household, that number is 4 maximum.
  • Catering Check with your caterer about buffet serving . No type of self-service is permitted, this includes food, coffee stations, passed hors d’oeuvres, and wedding cake/desserts set on serving tables.
  • Bands are allowed but must maintain social distancing.

COVID-19 considerations to have in mind when rescheduling your wedding:

  • What area are you in?
  • Is your Wedding venue open/ closed at the moment?
  • Is your wedding going to be Indoors or Outdoors?
  • Wedding vendors postponing policies and available dates.
  • How many guests are you expecting?
  • Are there key wedding party members who need to travel?
  • How many of your guests are going to have to travel to attend your wedding?
  • Are there any high risk loved ones on your guest list who should consider staying at home?

With all the information “on the table”, you can look at all the options you have and you can decide whether to move forward or not.  If any of these are worrying you both, my recommendation is to make a backup plan IN CASE you have to postpone your wedding.

Backup Plans

When thinking about your wedding and the coronavirus,  is very important to have a plan in place. If your wedding is after June you might still be able to have your wedding – even then, create a backup plan!  Here are a few ideas in no particular order:

  • Change your wedding to be just a smaller ceremony & reception
  • Modify your wedding to be a smaller outdoor ceremony & reception
  • Move your wedding to be a smaller backyard ceremony & reception
  • Have just an intimate wedding ceremony and do the reception later
  • Ask guests to let you know if they will be able to attend and adjust the numbers.
  • Downsize your wedding guest list
  • Downsize to just immediate family members and bridal party with you
  • Create a guest list of 10, another of 25 and another of 50
  • Create a soft backup date with your venue and most important vendors
  • Call and email your vendors and ask about their rescheduling policy and availability for backup dates
  • Get married at the courthouse and postpone everything
  • Postpone everything until 2021

Even for small weddings or if you postpone your date consider the importance of photographing these moments. Many venues and photographers like me offer  Small Wedding Photography Packages .

Here are ways to keep your wedding date and make sure to involve everyone in someway

  • Video Broadcast your wedding online for guests who can’t make it.
  • Drive in Have your guests do a drive in parade to congratulate you!

Rescheduling / Postponing Your Wedding date during the Coronavirus

First of all, I know this isn’t easy! I know how much effort and money goes into planning a wedding! In an effort to be helpful I put together these steps from what I have learned – A few of my couples were impacted in the early days of the pandemic and neither of us knew what to do .

  • “Make the call” Together with your partner make the decision on whether to postpone
  • Check on your loved ones – How is everyone in your close family feeling about it, are they able to attend later, are they healthy?
  • Breathe: These times are new and complicated for everybody so brace yourselves, together, for the challenges and feelings that comes with the decision Allow yourself to feel all the feels.
  • Contact your venue-  Find out your wedding venue’s contract policies and availability for possibly rescheduling.
  • Reach out to other important vendors: Once you’ve confirmed availability for a date, you’ll want to call the photographer and other important vendors like officiant, music, caterer, florist, etc.  Think first of the vendors who can only do one wedding per day .
  • Pick a date ! This sounds easier said than done – Be flexible around dates of the week!  If you can find one date that overlaps with  most of your vendor team, you should try to lock it down ASAP.

Letting your guests know of the changes

If you choose to have a smaller ceremony and need to have fewer guests, you will want to let your guests your event is not happening as planned and you are having to do a small ceremony instead. People will understand as everyone is informed about the COVID-19 crisis.

You can make your small wedding ceremony special by recording a video to play at your reception later or even streaming it to your guests! Read all about streaming your wedding here.

  • Email is okay! Here is an email template.
  • Facebook message: A Facebook post is also OK! You can include a photo of your original invitation or a photo of you two.
  • Couples have been sending ” change the dates ”  cards , bride and designer  Mara Albert made these available to share and makes custom ones.

 

Will I lose my retainer if I postpone my wedding?

Is no secret that weddings involve a lot of money and that rescheduling will probably mean you will have some financial burdens to think about, for this reason, I expanded my rescheduling policy to make it more flexible for all of my couples. If couples choose to postpone their wedding because of COVID-19, I have requested them to share with me the alternate dates provided to them by their venue so that we can find a date that is mutually convenient for as many vendors as possible. I don’t charge rescheduling fees and I would apply the retainer towards the new wedding date.

What date should I postpone my wedding to?

At the moment, the cases of Coronavirus are increasing and there is so much uncertainty about when will all be back to normal. I would honestly choose for a later date in 2021 or 2022.

Check in with your Wedding Vendors

Reach to your vendors proactively to know what their plans are in regards to your wedding date.

“I think it’s a really good idea for couples to setup a Facebook group with their guest so they can get out any changes to their guest quickly. This buys the couple extra time before cancelling in case they really want to keep their current date.” – shares Steven, owner of Trustworthy Music 

“Take it day by day and just try to be positive. This is a weird time right now and we need to come together as vendors for our couples” – lovely advice from Angie from Hart & Sole event planner

“In the case of flowers, please be mindful that not everything will be available as originally planned. Certain flowers may not be in season for your new date (if it happens to be a different season). Allow your florist the flexibility to choose the best flowers available in your palette, on your new date.” – thank you for the tip, Terri from Uy Lennon Floral

“My tip for hair and makeup is to schedule a virtual consultation until you can get in for your actual trial run. This way you can meet you artists, talk about your vision for hair and makeup and any questions or concerns you have, and just feel more at ease if you have to wait until closer to the date of your wedding for the trial.”  I think this would be a great idea for Make up too! Thank you to Heidi from 139hairbyheidi

If you are still planning your 2020 wedding or just starting to plan

Now is a good time to have a planner to help. 2021 wedding dates are still being booked and consultations are being held online. Virtual expos are happening too !

If you are currently planning for late 2020 or 2021, it’s a good idea to book the most important vendors such as venue and photographer. Wait on things like flowers, caterer, makeup until we have more information and clear vision of the situation. Be sure to read contracts and ask about rescheduling policies, specially for a Pandemic case. 

Try to stay positive and follow good news. It’s an exciting thing to get married to your best friend! Think of the music you will want to play and dream on what your ceremony vows will be!

couple looking away to the river during their small ceremony

Personal update

If you are one of my current couples, and have questions we haven’t talked about yet, reach out anytime and I will help you navigate your current situation and share in detail my action plan. I can assure you that I’ll do whatever I can to help and make your event happen! I am taking precautions and staying healthy for the time being, being flexible and proactive about the events and sessions I have on my calendar.

I cannot wait to see you and your loved ones soon ! 

I’m doing the best to take care of myself and my loved ones, we are mostly staying home, practicing social distancing, eating healthy, getting sleep .   This world is still so full of beauty and humanity and is wonderful to see. Allow yourself to go up and down with your feelings, and REACH OUT to the people you love. The people we love are, more than ever, our priority.

I hope you find this helpful !
Feel free to email me or reach out if there is anything else I can do to help!

Resources to have:

If your wedding is affected by COVID-19, here are some resources that you may find helpful!

– CDC recommendations for events

Minnesota and other states have Stay at home Orders

Resources by Minnesota Events Coallition 

– MN announcements and orders 

– The White House nationwide federal guidelines 

– The Minnesota Department of Health’s website.

– The City of Minneapolis Coronavirus Website

– The State of Minnnesota COVID-19 Website

– The Minnesota Department of Health Website

– The World Health Organization’s Coronavirus Website

More useful links for Weddings impacted by the CoronaVirus – COVID-19

Minnesota Facebook Support Group for Covid Couples

How to Postpone Your Wedding Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic by TheKnot.com

A Guide to Postponing Your Wedding by Ruffled Blog

The Coronavirus and your wedding by The Budget Savvy Bride

Should You consider postponing your wedding due to COVID-19 by Style Me Pretty

What you need to know about coronavirus and your wedding by Martha Steward weddings

Top questions about coronavirus right now by Brides.com

Postponing your wedding: A step by step guide by Budget Savvy Bride

Coronavirus wedding planning: Advice on postponing and canceling via Equally Wed

The 12 Best Change the Date Cards to Send If Your Wedding is Postponed on Brides.com

 

Laura Alpizar Photography recommends all to adhere to CDC regulations and guidelines put in place by local and national governments! 

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I grew up in the tropical lands of Costa Rica, where I met the love of my life, and we started our lives in Minneapolis after years of long distance! Together we have the most spunky little one. 
My photos are all about the genuine smiles, the connection between people and the LOVE!

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I grew up in the tropical lands of Costa Rica, where I met the love of my life, and we started our lives in Minneapolis after years of long distance! Together we have the most spunky little one. 
My photos are all about the genuine smiles, the connection between people and the LOVE!

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