Updated 26 October 2020
So I’m a bride myself, in the middle of this crazy weird world of panic and worry. We all have no clue what’s going on and we’re trying to plan the biggest day of our lives. I had to reschedule my wedding which was due to be on the 18th of April. It was not fun, but I promise you it was much easier than I thought it would be.
As I’ve mentioned on my instagram, I deal with anxiety and stressful situations by researching. And I want to share with you what I’ve found so that you can put this whole situation into perspective and make the right decision for you and your wedding.
Let me start by saying that currently there is no reason why your wedding can’t go ahead as of now! I’ve shot quite a few weddings since Covid and they have all been absolutely AMAZING!! So unbelievably special and beautiful as you can see below.
Some things will look slightly different, but the fact you want to marry the love of your life won’t so you could still be getting married. In the mean time though here are the answers to some of the questions I’ve had myself.
How will Covid-19 affect my wedding?
Right now, in Northern Ireland, weddings can go ahead, but as of 16th October 2020, restrictions were imposed that only 25 people could attend weddings and no receptions are allowed. These restrictions are due to last 4 weeks, but as of the time of writing, there has been no update as to what the regulations mean for weddings going forward. But as a bride myself, due to get married at the end of November, I’m hopeful that the ban on receptions will be lifted when hospitality opens again. Or there will atleast be the option of going for dinner after you get married.
Up now weddings have been relatively normal though, and we are hopeful the previous regulations will return when this 4 week period is over.
Here are a few ways that couples have embraced the previous regulations and the practical things they’ve put in place to keep their guests safe:
- Vendors wearing masks in the house in the morning.
- A seating plan for the church/ceremony venue to keep people in bubbles.
- Hyms read out instead of singing them.
- Tea and coffee served directly to guests during the drinks reception.
- Temperature checks on the way into the venue.
- Hand sanitiser put out at different places throughout the wedding.
- Sweetie carts replaced with little pre made sweetie bags.
- Pub quiz/ bingo instead of a dancefloor.
- Acoustic music instead of a band.
- Group photos arranged by households.
As you can see, these are slight little things that I promise you don’t even notice on the day. On the whole, I genuinely feel that weddings feel even better than before. Guests are just so happy to be attending and celebrating with you. It makes it so special.
Also, I can’t stress enough, YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED – no matter what it looks like, that feeling will always be the same. And that is so special.
Will My Wedding Suppliers Turn Up?
I can’t speak for everyone, but as a photographer, I can assure you I will be there now that restrictions are lifted – like any other wedding. In the event I was to get sick I have backups in place, like I do at any other time because there are other bugs in the world. That’s a pretty standard policy for anyone working in the wedding industry.
Over the course of this pandemic, and I’d imagine even after this, I will be taking extra precautions at weddings. I have a vulnerable son at home so I want to minimise all risks. I will be asking all my clients to ensure they notify their guests that they would prefer them to stay home if they are showing any symptoms at all, in line with guidelines. I won’t be able to gather you for family portraits or ask you to break social distancing. But it’s not my job to enforce social distancing, it’s my job to capture your day. So if you’re beside each other, I’ll be capturing it. Apart from that it’s full steam ahead from my end now that restrictions have lifted, and I imagine 90% of suppliers are the same.
Touch base with them though if you want to make sure.
What Are My Options?
As this situation progresses and restrictions are lifted by governments, you have a few options. Which one you choose will depend on you as a couple, your priorities and your suppliers.
Firstly, you can reduce your number. If your wedding goes ahead later this year, and probably even into next year, it is likely that there will be some element of social distancing in place. What the numbers are depends on your venue and the restrictions in place at the time. Being flexible with your guest list is pretty much a requirement of getting married for the foreseeable future.
You will probably find numbers will reduce naturally themselves with those that are travelling or vulnerable preferring to stay at home, but if you’d been planning a large wedding, then it is likely to look VERY different to what you had planned.
That doesn’t mean you have to postpone though, and what I would say is that holding out for a super large wedding (200+) could mean waiting quite a while. None of us know when a vaccine is coming or how this is going to play out, so it’s one thing to keep in mind if holding out for a big gathering.
Intimate weddings are amazing, and so special. Whilst it isn’t ideal having to cut people from your guest list, everyone understands, so you don’t have to worry about offending anyone. And again, you’re marrying the love of your life, which is the most important thing. It’s not what you’d planned and that’s really hard to let go of, but it doesn’t mean it won’t be beautiful and incredibly meaningful.
If the vulnerable people who can’t make it are key people like your parents or siblings though this may not be an option for you. You should also speak to your church and venue to ensure that they are happy to go ahead even with these reduced numbers or what their plans are. Some venues have set numbers in their contracts, but I’d imagine this will be flexible for the foreseeable.
Secondly, you can reschedule. Under normal circumstances this may be pretty tricky. And it’s still not the preferred option for most of us. Now that weddings are back up and running, normal terms and conditions can be applied in your contracts, so it is essential that you keep this in mind. Rescheduling your wedding should be a last resort and you should be prepared that new booking fees may be required, or the costs may go up as a result of things like inflation and implications of Brexit etc.
Of course you must then get in contact with all of your other vendors to check what policies they are applying. The most important one is your venue. Please remember we are all small, one person businesses who are trying to get through this situation as you are. We want to work with you and support you, whilst also keeping a roof over our heads.
Before you make any big decision it is totally ok to drop everyone an email and check their policies. For my clients, I do not expect anyone to make a decision until they need to. Find out all the information possible, think about how you’re feeling and do what is right for you both. What I would say is that this situation has now progressed much further than any of us expected it to, with the number of postponements being much higher than we could have ever prepared for. Dates are going fast, so if you are pretty certain about postponing, I would advise not hesitating too long. Check out my tips for postponing your wedding, here and all you need to know about planning an outdoor wedding in Northern Ireland here.
People got married in the middle of wars, through famines and all sorts through history. You can get married right now, but obviously it’s going to be much more different to how you’d imagined and it’s up to you whether that’s right for you or not. That is a completely personal choice and one that no one has a right to judge you on.
No matter what you choose, especially if you are one of my clients, I’m here for you and we’ll get through this together. The run up to a wedding is a stressful time at the best of times, and this obviously takes that to a whole new level. Please make sure to take care of your mental health by doing things like:
- Move your body. Whether that is exercise or going for a walk.
- Drink lots of water and eat as well as you can.
- Turn off notifications on your phone, especially from News Apps.
- Have a conversation with a family or friend about the last book you read/meal you had or podcast you listened to. Keep it light.
- Think about what your future self will say about this time. Because you will get through this, it will be part of your story and you get to write how you will remember it.
- Write down 3 things that you are grateful for in your life today or 3 things that made you smile. Focus on the good.
- Give your partner a cuddle (but no one else 😉 )
Sending each of you so much love and good thoughts for these coming weeks. And remember, you will marry the love of your life. Lx