If your wedding is within the next 1-3 months, there is a large possibility that your plans could be majorly impacted. Now that the virus is spreading rapidly through the US, you will want to take proper precautions to ensure the safety of yourselves and your guests. This might include making the hard decision to postpone. As of March 15th, it’s recommended by the CDC that events over 50 people should not move forward. This is just a recommendation, not a government order, so some are still moving forward as planned but should do so with caution and safety in mind.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when weighing up the options and making your decisions:

How much of your guest list is going to have to travel to attend your wedding? The travel industry is being majorly impacted, with many flights getting grounded and canceled. This could prevent some of your out-of-town guests from attending your celebration.

Are there elderly or immunocompromised loved ones on your guest list who should consider staying at home? These folks are the most susceptible to having serious issues if they come in contact with the virus and should take care to protect themselves.

Is your guest list over 10+? The White House has discouraged social gatherings of 10 or more as of March 17th until April 1 to try to flatten the curve. As of March 27, 2020 the CDC has updated their number to match the White House’s recommendation. In addition, 22 states currently have stay-at-home orders for non-essential workers.

If any of these are a major concern for your plans, you should likely postpone your event for the safety of everyone involved.

Obviously this is a heartbreaking decision to have to make, and one we totally empathize with.

Crafting a COVID-19 Contingency Plan for Your Wedding

For anyone that is supposed to be getting married during this uncertain time, it’s probably time to come up with some contingency plans for your wedding. Consider all your options before you completely cancel. Your personal back-up plans may depend on the severity of Coronavirus as things progress, as well as the area in which your event is taking place.

Plan A: The ideal would be to go ahead as planned. If your wedding guest list is intimate, ie– under 50, then you could potentially move forward with your plans. (If your wedding is within the 8 week period, expiring in early May, you should begin preparing for plan B or C.)

Plan B: Ask guests to let you know if they will be unable to attend. Adjust the numbers and hours needed for vendors. Or cut your guest list down to below 50 and have just the immediate family members who are healthy join you.

Plan B-1: Have a micro wedding ceremony where the two of you get married, and reschedule the bigger reception/party for another time.

Plan B-2: Elope! Plan an elopement for your original date (if you’re able to secure a marriage license) and move the celebration to a later date.

Plan C: Postpone everything until you are able to move forward with the wedding you’ve envisioned and planned for.

What is your worst-case scenario? Do you want to get married no matter what?

You can always go ahead with a small ceremony with only immediate family. Cut the cake and have a reception with family and friends at another time.

What you can do to make the most of this unfortunate situation, should you decide to go ahead as planned:

Start communicating with your guests NOW. Find out who is at risk for potentially being unable to attend due to travel or health reasons. If you use Joy as your wedding website provider, you can easily share updates through their platform with all of your guests. Alternatively, services such as WedTexts are great for blasting out updates to your loved ones.

Livestream your event. Share a live video of your ceremony with the loved ones who are unable to attend in person. Have someone set up a Facebook Live or Instagram Live to capture the event. Or check out resources like Married Live Stream to have someone take care of the techy part for you.

Set up a Sanitation Station. Have hand sanitizer on hand and ample antibacterial soap for guests to use to wash their hands.

Keep safe distance. Encourage guests to adopt a “hygenic hello.” Keep hugging, kissing, and handshaking to a minimum. Keep social distancing in mind.

Discuss food service options with your caterer. Serving a buffet meal could potentially put more people at risk. Ask your caterer about alternatives under these unfortunate circumstances.

Overall, it’s important to focus on solutions and alternatives. Consider what is truly non-negotiable when it comes to your wedding plans. Rescheduling can feel like a giant game of chess, so don’t make any rash decisions.