Adapting to our new world
Adapting to our new world
TO BE OR NOT TO BE…
TO BE OR NOT TO BE…
Surrender to what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.
For those of you that have been forced to postpone or cancel your upcoming nuptials as a result of COVID-19, we are so sorry that your special day has been affected by the latest restrictions and government guidelines. We understand that you are experiencing anxious moments and unforeseen stress during this time and we hope in some way that our thoughts and words will help you through the worry of the unknown. All we can do is our best to get through this, one day at a time. Our vast experience in the world of weddings and events has taught us that there is no obstacle too great and no challenge is too difficult. At a time when so many of us feel unsure and uneasy, let us come together and embrace this time in our lives to look forward and not look back. COVID-19 has challenged so many, if not all, aspects of life as we know it. Our relationship with the outside world, to each other, and to society, has changed. Of course, the bigger picture puts everything into perspective as we consider the overall impact of this global pandemic. There is no precedent in living history that we can refer to for guidance.
WHAT ARE THE LATEST COVID-19 WEDDING RESTRICTIONS?
From Wednesday 7th October 2020, the Irish Government announced that the country would enter Level 3 of the Living with COVID plan. Weddings are permitted to proceed, but with a limit of 25 guests for the ceremony and reception (irrespective of the size of the venue). It is not possible for guests to attend a wedding in another county. Couples resident in a particular county, but with existing plans to get married, can travel to get married outside their county.
Social distancing guidelines and health protection protocols are still in place and will affect how you celebrate as well as how many guests you can have. Discuss the latest regulations and logistics with your venue so you know what to expect and to ensure that everything runs as safely and enjoyable as possible.
As the situation continues to unfold worldwide, and with international travel heavily impacted, we suggest keeping in touch with your venue and following the latest travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs if you have a destination wedding planned in the coming months. With strict travel restrictions in place to most countries, and also from Ireland, restrictions on travel will be in place for the foreseeable future. Contact your airline or travel agent to discuss your options, and revise your travel insurance to see what is included in your policy.
Our main advice to you right now is to prepare and be proactive. We understand that so many of you have been forced to postpone, and even cancel, your big day, while others are making plans to celebrate their union with smaller numbers.
If your wedding is planned for this autumn, you may be questioning whether your upcoming nuptials will be able to go ahead as planned. The good news is that you can still go ahead with a small celebration that adheres to the latest rules on social distancing. The big party can always happen at a later date when it is safe to have larger numbers. Think of it as a sequel to your intimate celebration! Many cultures around the world already celebrate sequel weddings with multiple traditions and ceremonies being celebrated at different times with different events. For many, a sequel wedding is the chance to have a small, intimate wedding or elopement with your nearest and dearest. For others, you might want to get married now but a big party may not be financially viable at this time. It is also important to navigate the unchartered waters of this current climate by ensuring that whatever you plan will take into account the safety of your family and friends.
Postponing Your Upcoming Wedding
If you have made the difficult decision to postpone your wedding, you should begin by informing your vendors and suppliers immediately. It is advisable to check your contract as some may request to be informed in writing, while others will be fine with a phone call or email. Different suppliers are likely to have different policies so read through your contracts to see where you stand. In the case of postponement, it is best to speak with them directly to make future arrangements more easily. Your suppliers will work with you to reschedule and will do their very best to be available for you at a later date. They will have measures in place at this stage to accommodate your queries. Unfortunately, they might be already committed to other weddings on your new date so now is the time to look at alternative suppliers.
The industry as a whole is geared up for this so you will find that many suppliers will work with you outside of your basic contractual rights. Work with them to discuss alternative dates and try to understand their position also as they will most likely be facing many cancellations and postponements also. Generally, deposits are non-refundable, but you might be entitled to a percentage back of what you paid if you inform your suppliers by a certain date.
If you have wedding insurance, you should get in touch with your insurance company or broker immediately. We recommend that you check the wording and fine print on your insurance policy as this will also have an impact on how you deal with your suppliers. Most importantly, check the dates that are included as this will determine the timeframe that you are covered for. Unfortunately, many wedding insurers will only pay out when a wedding has been cancelled and the reasons are out of your control. Your wedding insurance may not cover COVID-19 as a reason for the postponement, but it might be able to contribute to some of your costs. Generally, wedding insurance provides cover for unforeseen circumstances but many companies have underwritten new clauses to cover this particular crisis. If you don’t have wedding insurance, the majority of insurers are not issuing new policies at this time due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19. However, you can usually book both travel and wedding insurance right up to your wedding date, so keep an eye out and finalise a new policy as soon as you are able to.
You will need get in touch with your guests to let them know what is happening. Your family, friends and bridal party will be there to help if you feel overwhelmed right now. Due to the current circumstances, a lot of your guests are probably aware that your big day may be affected already. It is still important to inform people though as they may need to cancel travel arrangements, which often have deadlines for refunds. Prioritise those who will be travelling long distances. As soon as you decide if you will be postponing to a later date, share some new provisional dates with those closest to you. This is also a good time to consider those on your guestlist - who will be able to travel, who will still be considered vulnerable and may not want to attend, and how you may have to reduce your guestlist.
If you have already sent out your invitations, you can simply send out a postponement card, matching your stationery theme, detailing your change of plans. If your wedding day is imminent, you will need to contact your guests by phone to let them know about your change of plans. Ask your bridal party to help you with this as it can be a daunting task if you have large numbers.
The Best Is Yet To Come
Now is also the perfect time to try and slow down and take care of yourself. Wellbeing is so important for your mental health, as well as your physical health. Try and start your morning with a calming routine. As soon as you wake up, take a few minutes to be quiet and still. The simple act of taking time out to reflect, release tension, slow down and be present will help you to create a much more positive outlook on life. You will soon find that you are wasting less energy on stress and reactive behaviour. Similarly, gently winding down in the evenings to allow your body and time to rest can work wonders for your mindset. Set aside an hour to run a bath, read a book or listen to soothing music. Unplugging from social media and limiting your screen time will work wonders for deep and restful sleep. Before you go to bed, take a few moments to sit quietly under the night sky. Living in alignment with your natural rhythms will help you to find joy in the simple things in life.
Think of all the good days that lie ahead. We are living through days, weeks and months when everybody is longing for celebrations of love, joy and hope. Start with the end goal (your new wedding date) and work backwards. By setting a new timeframe and listing in order of preference what is most important, it will be much more manageable. Set deadlines for each week, make a decision and move onto the next task. Everything will start to fall into place, just like it did the first time around.
It is always a good idea to create your own planning system. This will allow you to keep track of your new suppliers without losing contacts and correspondence of your previous bookings. Whether you choose spreadsheets, software, applications or another form of data management, the best wedding planners in the world rely on tools like these to communicate with their suppliers. It is so important to keep track of every email, message and phone call with your suppliers as many important details can fall through the cracks very easily. Our advice would be to keep on top of all correspondence as best you can to avoid problems occurring down the line.
If you have hired a wedding planner, they will be with you every step of the way during this unprecedented challenge. If the idea of starting the whole process again seems like a daunting task, why not look into the possibility of hiring a wedding planner? The logistics of cancelling and sourcing new suppliers takes time and attention so a wedding planner can manage all of this for you. Now might be the best time ever to invest in an experienced and knowledgeable team who can bring your vision back to life in an instant. Experienced event management companies and destination wedding planners are there if you need a helping hand.
The most important lesson to take from these challenging times is to appreciate what we are blessed with and cherish those that we love. We will look back at 2020 in awe and wonder and celebrate our resilience and bravery.
Comparison can be the thief of joy so try not to be influenced by what everyone else is doing. It will be your day, your way. Remember that your wedding will be your very own love story. And it will be even better than you ever dreamed it would be.
The present is precious and the future is worth waiting for. And it will be, we promise you that.
Trust the wait. Embrace the unknown and enjoy the beauty of what is yet to come. When nothing is guaranteed, anything is possible.