Updated: Apr 30, 2020
This is such a difficult post to write because even now, it's been written with uncertainty and to be honest, real concern for not just my own clients but for the wedding and hospitality industry as a whole. Most of us welcomed 2020 with the renewed hope of a great year and many beautiful couples had started their wedding planning process after recently getting engaged.
A state of emergency was announced in the province of Ontario earlier this week, borders to non-residents for now have been closed and we have been advised to practice "social distancing" which means stay home and don't be closer than a 6 foot radius of anyone.
With all of these difficult restrictions in place while numbers of infected people continue to climb across Canada, we in the wedding industry realize the entire season may be affected. I've seen posts from The Knot on Instagram reaching out and acknowledging that couples may have to post-pone their weddings across the USA. It has been recommended that there be no gatherings over 50 people in the states, leaving couples with the devastating realization that their wedding may need to be rescheduled. Unfortunately this is looking more and more like a reality here in Ontario as well and I know couples here in Canada are panicked, stressed and in need of support.
If you are getting married between now and June here are a few things you might want to get handled ASAP:
Obtain you Marriage License
If there comes a time when everything, including government offices close down and you don't have your license, you can't legally get married. In Ontario, it's good for 3 months so don't get it too far in advance but as long as your wedding date is within 3 months from the day you purchase it, you're good to go. Why do this now? If government offices close then reopen it will be an absolute MAD HOUSE of line ups for weeks with couples scrambling to obtain their documentation. You don't need the extra stress, get the paperwork handled just in case you are able to move forward.
Don't cancel your wedding
Let me be as clear as possible, if you decide to CANCEL your wedding opposed to postponing and rescheduling it- there is a very high chance you will lose all of your deposits. By rescheduling, most vendors will be willing to apply the deposit you already paid to the rescheduled date. AVPEvents fully intends to apply all current deposits to rescheduled 2020 weddings. If you are considering rescheduling, contact all of your vendors and ask if they would allow you to apply your deposit to your new wedding date. Do this as soon as you make the decision so you can give your new potential date to vendors before they get booked for 2021 dates.
If you have any family flying in to attend your wedding, you need to get in touch with them and discuss how they feel about travel (if the authorities and airlines still permit it by the time your wedding arrives). If they are older or have children, understand they might not want to take the risk. If it's possible, have them decide as early as they can, down to 3 weeks before your wedding if they will 100% attend. Venues typically require a final guest count the week before your wedding. You want to have a realistic expectation of how many guests you will have if you are paying for a plated dinner. If you can save yourself a few hundred dollars by careful preparation, then do it.
Speak to your florist as they might be temporarily shutting down. Discuss whether or not orders will come in on time or at all. They are likely taking precautions for the health and safety of their staff so be patient and understanding and ask them what they need to be able to ensure their well-being and be able to put together your florals. If orders can't come in or will be delayed, ask them for direction. At this point, you will need to chat about your contract (since no one has really been in this situation before) and understand what can be done as a back up or can you settle for just your bouquet and a few simple arrangements?
This is a big one. Even if there are no restrictions on privately owned venues right now, you need to call and speak to your venue coordinator (not be confused with a wedding coordinator). Find out what the venue protocol is should you have to postpone, discuss any current restrictions they may have if your wedding date is comping up quickly so you know how to act accordingly. You will want to have your wedding planner on the line for this call as well so they know how to work with the venue and ensure that you and your guests will be safe. If the venue tells you they are temporarily closing, find out for how long and if it affects your wedding date, ask what the next available dates are.
Other things to keep in mind:
Some of your vendors might not feel comfortable working for your wedding during a time of a pandemic. Again to reiterate, this is unchartered waters for us all and since this is no ordinary circumstance, we can't expect all things to continue on ordinarily. Everyone should have the right to choose but this will mean discussion of your contract terms. You might not get your deposit back (most of them are non-refundable) so worst case scenario, be prepared for that.
Please know, our hearts are with all of you during this incredibly difficult and uncertain time. I know it seems like it's the end of the world for all of this to be happening but it's nothing compared to being able to know that the ones you love are here, healthy and safe. If you feel you need more support, click here to get some information on a package we've created to ease the overwhelm.