Can my wedding still go ahead? Advice for couples affected by COVID-19 in Australia

If you’re getting married in the coming weeks and even months, then no doubt you are painfully aware that the government has placed restrictions on events, with heavy fines in place for those who break these restrictions. For you, this may well mean that your wedding plans are put on hold. We’ve put together some advice on what to do now, and how to do it, so you can make the best out of an unfortunate situation.

covid-19 wedding

Firstly, take a moment to deep breathe. 

Take a moment to accept that your wedding might not be exactly how you had planned in your head. It’s okay to be upset, but please, don’t panic. We’re here to support you and no matter what you choose to do, we will continue to give you the most up to date information and advice we have at hand. The restrictions in place are to prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19, which can be fatal to the elderly, those with immunity issues, and people with respiratory issues. Weddings are important (especially to you!) but protecting these people is paramount at times like these, and we need to respect that. Wedding businesses are working around the clock to try to reschedule plans and make alternative arrangements for couples going ahead with their plans.

Then, you need to decide what the best way forward is for your event.

This will depend on guest numbers, location, guest health and your suppliers. You may find that your guests are mostly choosing to self-isolate, or are anxious about attending events in the coming weeks anyway, or maybe you had guests coming from overseas. You will need to assess your given situation and move forward from there. There are plenty of options if you choose to postpone. More so than just moving the date! We will outline some options for you to consider when facing this decision.

On March 20 the Government announced more restrictions on public gatherings. The new restrictions state that an indoor gathering can have no more than 25 people per 100sqm, or 1 person per 4sqm. To a max of 100 people.

As of March 23, the Government will also restrict further gatherings that are deemed unnecessary, which unfortunately includes weddings. These measures may be in place for 6 weeks so make sure you keep updated through official channels.

What does this mean for couples? 

If there are restrictions on unnecessary gatherings, then this means that unfortunately, your wedding will not be able to go ahead.

If there are restrictions on gatherings based on numbers, then you might need to contact your venue based on their size. If you have already downsized you may already be able to go ahead if they have less than 25 people per 100sqm. (this works out to 100 people per 400sqm but will also include vendors/wait staff etc)

If you cannot safely carry out your wedding by downsizing to the current regulations then you should chat with your vendors about postponing. Postponing is always a better option than cancelling.

Couples getting married over the next 6 months should look at guidelines and make a decision 4 to 6 weeks out from their wedding based on advice at the time.

If you are planning a wedding for September and beyond, we recommend continuing your planning. The best thing you can do at the moment is keep your mind positive with thoughts of your wedding and help support the wedding industry, which is going to face a tough time over the next few months.

Postponement:

Postponing the whole event to another date. This is a really valid option. Work with your vendors to find a suitable date. We strongly encourage you to look at days other than Saturdays if you’re hoping to still get married sooner rather than later, as more businesses will have more non-weekend availability.

covid-19 weddings

Microwedding:

Downsizing your wedding to make it work with current rules might work for you if events can still go forward! A microwedding is a term for having a small wedding and making it ultra-personal. And in light of the current circumstances, it’s ideal! But… how do you downsize your guest list? Start with your closest family and friends, and then slowly move out from there. Keep the current health advice on hand and make some calls with your partner on who you could potentially cut. If you don’t feel capable of calling these people to explain, ask a close friend or family member to do so for you. Trust us, they will understand!

Staylopement/legals only:

What’s a Staylopement, you ask? Like an elopement but in a close-by place, not a destination. This would involve having a legals-only ceremony/celebration on your preferred date with your celebrant and two witnesses! You could still postpone your reception/non-legal ceremony to later, so this is actually an ideal compromise. You get to be married ASAP, and still get the wedding you wanted after all! Check with the current regulations to see whether this is an option for you.

Livestream your wedding:

For those overseas guests that can no longer make it or elderly guests who are safer in social isolation at the moment, you can always task someone technologically able to live stream your wedding! Some couples are using Facetime, Skype, or Facebook Live to video the ceremony. You can even ask your videographer to do this for you.

Alternative suppliers:

If for any reason your supplier has to go into self-isolation or cancel, rest assured, most suppliers have a network of other professionals that are willing to step in. If they are unable to provide you with an alternative, our team would be more than happy to help. Give us a call on 1800 155 122 or take a look at our wedding directory, where you can find wedding businesses in your area, and even view virtual tours of some venues from the comfort of your own home.

Cancellations:

We are strongly encouraging against cancelling your wedding for two reasons. One, you want to get married and have a wedding and therefore you still should do it! And two, this will be a hugely negative financial impact to both wedding businesses and to you… because couples may potentially lose their deposits. Each situation will depend legally on the contracts of each individual business of course, but ideally, an alternative can be reached between you and your wedding squad.

Once you have decided what to do, update your guests.

Use social media, text, email or your wedding website to let your guests know what is going on. Even if just to say: ‘We’re working on an alternative date, we will keep you updated”.

Lala Design has created images like these for couples to use free of charge in light of current circumstances

Things to remember:

Remember that although your wedding is a very important and special day, it is just one day, and plans can be adjusted. It is okay to be anxious, sad and even to grieve what could have been. But stay calm, and remember the most important thing of all… you have someone who loves you and wants to get married and that in itself is worth celebrating. Try to keep perspective and remember to practice gratitude. We are all in this with you and want to help you to have the best day ever, regardless of the date it falls on.

Support for couples:

If you want to chat with likeminded couples or discuss the impacts of this on your wedding, please join our Facebook group, The Wedding Party. 

What you can do to support wedding businesses and other small businesses at this time:

Keep your booking, postpone, or adjust your booking. Finalise payments wherever possible. Support these businesses in other ways. For example, can your cake supplier make you a birthday cake? Can your photographer do a family shoot? Can your makeup artist do your makeup for another occasion? Order food to be delivered. Buy a gift card.
The way we support small local businesses in times of hardship can mean a world of difference to them.

Make sure you stay updated with official announcements here.


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