First of all, this sucks. You started planning a wedding a year ago and you finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel, now this comes your way. My heart truly goes out to all of you who are experiencing trying to figure out where to go from here. With that being said I am here to help you out, reassure you and be part of your village. As I promised to all my couples I am there for you no matter what. So here is how to plan your wedding in the middle of the CO-VID 19 outbreak.
1. So let’s get started with this: Be informed with the right sources and the right information. I have linked some below to read up on. Things are changing daily so keep updated with reliable sources. Just know this, it may have to get worse before it gets better. Have hope though that if we all hunker down now we can hopefully break free of this by the first week or second week of May! The CDC is recommending that groups larger than 50 postpone up until May 15th (8 weeks from March 15). Since there are no recommendations after that date lets have hope that if we follow protocol now we can go back to life as we knew it pre- CO-VID19 sooner than later. https://www.cdc.gov/ https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html
2. Know that getting your marriage license in your area may not be an option. If you are allowed to travel in your area check where you are allowed to get a marriage license or apply for one online. LA county below has suspended their offices and I have a feeling other areas in California are not far behind. http://www.ocrecorder.com/
3. Have a back up- plan:
Disclaimer: If you are getting married after May 10th I would not worry at this point. It is great to have a plan but I would not put it into motion unless the government changes their rules, travel bans for months come into place or your venue is not allowing you to go on with your wedding. Honestly, everything could go back to normal and changing everything now could mean more headaches for you in the future. If you do have a wedding planner check with them on this but at least for now I believe after May 10th weddings could be safe.
Back up wedding plans:
A. Hold your ceremony on original date, as long as lockdowns are not in place, and do the reception later (discuss dates with vendors).
B. Opt for a smaller wedding.
Have a wedding of 40 people and under (as long as restrictions stay where they are at) and enjoy your day. At the end of the day you guys just want to be married and have a great day so why not make the best of it and have an intimate wedding on your original wedding date. You can also livestream for those that can not make it.
Keep your date and elope. We could search places that are in nature and make the most of it with just the two of you or the two of you and some family members. I have planned a lot of elopements and would love to help you plan yours! You can also live stream for those that can not make it.
D. Postpone the wedding.
No one wants this option but if it comes to it I am here for you. Know that I have poured so much time into your wedding and truly invested into you guys as a couple. From the moment we start talking I have a vision for that day and already have a word doc of ideas for it. That being said please work with photographers and venues together to find a date that works for all of us and of course your family. To make this easier I have set up a Calendar to show you what dates are available this year. Thankfully I have June, July, August, September and October dates still open. See link below for exact dates. https://calendly.com/janacontrerasphotography/wedding?month=2020-12&date=2020-09-19&back=1
Postponing in 2020: All weddings that postpone in 2020 can carry over the non refundable retainer fee to a new date as long as I am available. If it is to a 2021 date a new retainer fee will apply as its a new calendar year. I am going to be super flexible with my couples and will work with everyone on their new dates.
Consider postponing your wedding to a weekday especially if you want all your dream vendors on board. I know this is uncommon but promise you in this crazy time and being a popular year to get married this is a great option! I hope we can work together on a new date for your wedding but if for some reason I am booked on your new date (check my calendar for all my open dates this year) I also can hire an associate shooter to shoot your wedding. They would be an amazing photographer of the same experience level as me shooting it but I would be the one editing it so you would have the style you see and love in my work.
4. Things to consider:
Talk to vendors to make sure they are all able to still make it if you plan on proceeding with original date or if you are planning on rescheduling. Every vendor and their contract is different so make sure you understand each and everyone of them. Keeping vendors in the loop is key and we are more than happy to help you in anyway we can to brainstorm new modifications to your wedding.
If you need to send guests updates you can do it through a paperless invite app such as this one: https://www.paperlesspost.com/
Get more ideas from this amazing Brides Magazine article on what to know about this virus when planning your wedding: https://www.brides.com/what-to-know-about-coronavirus-and-wedding-planning-4799160
5. Be Kind To One Another: Whether your a couple getting married during this crazy time or your a photographer reading this or your one of my couple’s friends mom reading this know that you are not alone. Reach out to me if you are feeling alone, anxious or just in need of prayer. I am here for you. This is a reminder to help make someone smile this week. Events are getting cancelled left and right. People are losing jobs and getting sick. Now is the time to understand that we are all getting hit by this and to come together to support each other. So if I can make you guys smile and support you guys virtually in anyway this week I would love to know how in the comments below.