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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: May 24th, 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! Here is some guidance we have gathered since this started in March all the way to more updated information for May below.

Original text for March, April and May Weddings  2020 : With social gathering restrictions, closed venues and travel bans in place your date will be impacted. For smaller weddings, please check on the current Stay at Home orders of your state. As of March 15th, the CDC recommended that events over 50 people should be postponed or cancelled. As of March 27th, the State of Minnesota banned gatherings of over 10 people . You will need to continue to check with your local government as well as your venue and vendors on the possibility of doing your small wedding. // End Original Text

Official Minnesota Updates on 5/24/200:

  • For Minnesota, the previous Stay at home order expired on 5/17/2020 and was replaced with a Stay safe guidelines, which include Phases 1 to 4.  Beginning May 18, social gatherings of 10 people or less can occur and both Indoor and Outdoor Wedding can have with 10 people or less.
  • See Stay SAFE MN phase plan and chart 
  • Starting May 27th,  Weddings ceremonies will be allowed to have more than 10 people in church and wedding venues, with the following requirements: Ensure Physical distance of 6ft between households at all times,  Indoor settings  must not exceed 25% capacity with a maximum of 250 as determined by the fire marshal ( Executive Order 20-62).  So if your wedding ceremony is indoors and the building has a capacity of 300 people, you will be able to have 75 people inside the venue. Outdoor settings must not exceed 250 individuals. Please note that NO Social gatherings or receptions are allowed .
  • See Industry guidance document for Faith-based communities, places of worship, weddings, and funerals 
  • Social distance, masks and hand washing are encouraged more than ever as more interaction is allowed. See new guidelines from CDC

(UPDATED) May and the following months ( June Weddings and July 2020 Weddings)

Please check on the current Stay at Home orders of your state and CDC recommendations for cancelling events of any size with COVID-19 cases in your community.

Minnesota Department of Health Guidelines for Social Distance can be found here.

Small Weddings in Minnesota will be allowed to happen as venues reopen but you will have to downsize your guest list as well as modifications for safety precautions based on new CDC recommendations .

  • May weddings will need to follow the 10 people or less restriction per the Stay at Safe Phase 1 
  • June Weddings will be on Phase 2 , which starts June 1st . The Social Gathering restriction allows a maximum gathering of 10 or under for both INDOOR and OUTDOOR settings for social gatherings (receptions)
  • Wedding Ceremonies in churches and weddings venues after May 27th  will be allowed under these restrictions: Attendees keep 6 ft distance, max of 25% capacity for INDOOR venues and for both Indoor and OUTDOOR wedding venues it cannot exceed 250 individuals. Face Masks are strongly encouraged. Check with your particular wedding venue about this.
  • July Weddings are uncertain at this moment, but might fall on the Phase 3 restriction of social gatherings for 20 people for Indoors, and 100 People for Indoors.

Weddings in August 2020

Even with the Stay at Home Phases changes and updates, large gatherings and events will likely will have guest restriction and some moderate physical distancing protocols for the August Weddings as well.

You might wait until beginning of July to see exactly HOW your wedding day will be impacted and WHAT restrictions will be applied by then.  Note that many summer events have been canceled and parks will have different regulations around the state so weddings, graduations and funerals will probably follow restrictive guidelines such as limiting guest count and physical distancing protocols.

For weddings in later months, start a backup plan especially if your wedding is over 100 guests and Indoors. Also keep in mind  your venue might give priority to May and June 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.

We are still learning about the virus and this is all changing so quickly, so stay informed!

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. f your wedding is after June you might still be able to have your wedding – even then, create a back up plan!  Here are a few ideas in no particular order:

  • Change your wedding to be just a smaller ceremony & reception
  • Have a small wedding ceremony and a reception later in the year or in 2021 (Many vendors are able to accommodate this)
  • Ask guests to let you know if they will be able to attend and adjust the numbers.
  • Create a guest list of 10, another of 25 and another of 50
  • Downsize your wedding guest list to below 50 and have just immediate family members and bridal party with you
  • 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
  • Plan an intimate ceremony for your original date and move the big party to later
  • Get married by the State and postpone everything
  • Postpone everything until late fall
  • 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 .

Keeping your wedding date

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

  • Safety Follow CDC guidelines for public gatherings and local government orders for social distancing and events.
  • Hand Washing Hand washing is THE most effective way to protect yourself, aside from physical distancing. Portable hand washing stations are out there for rent, although you may run into trouble finding them in stock.
  • Sanitation If you can’t find hand washing, alcohol based hand sanitizers can work in a pinch. Setting a hand sanitizer station for indoor and outdoor events is recommended
  • Masks With the latest CDC guidelines masks are a great way to avoid the spread and Mask usage might be required. Get your DIY on with your VIP crew and create masks for your guests!
  • Distancing  Plan your floor with distance in mind and remind guests to minimize touching
  • Catering Check with your caterer about buffet serving
  • 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!
  • Downsize Consider having a smaller intimate wedding ceremony and rescheduling the reception

Dancing might be allowed, but this depends on the venue ! Make sure to check with them if you are keeping your date.

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!

  • 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. If you are choosing to postpone for a date in 2020, I think the safest dates would be October and beyond. This way, there is a smaller risk of having to postpone a second time.

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. 

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 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

– Current MN order is in effect until May 18th.

– The White House nationwide federal guidelines 

– Issuing of Marriage licenses in Hennepin is being done online

– 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

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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