Have you heard that there's a virus going around that is causing a bit of a stir? I'm not trying to make light of a very serious situation that affects all of us, but I do hope that we all can keep some perspective through these unique and trying times.
Governmental restrictions are changing rapidly, and they affect many venues and sizes of gatherings that are allowed for an indefinite period of time. So how can you navigate some of this?
1. YOU CAN STILL GET MARRIED. So breathe! Your partner still loves you and wants to make that very special connection with you. That's not going to change. What may change is just the how and/or when.
2. DID YOU BUY WEDDING INSURANCE? If you did, good for you! Your wedding insurance may very well help you with covering expenses for relocation, date changing, cancelling, etc.
3. CONTACT YOUR VENDORS/VENUES. Now is the time to talk with them to review your contracts and talk with vendors about whether they are willing to waive change fees, adjust expenses associated with new locations, etc. For many venues defined as bars or restaurants, they may be shut down for a period of time.
4. CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS ONCE YOU KNOW WHAT THEY ARE.
a. While a venue may still be open, there may be a ban on gathering sizes, meaning your guest list may need trimming quite a bit.
b. If your venue is closed now, they may be able to reschedule your date for later this year or into next year, depending on their current availability.
c. Consider a small ceremony now with your reception later. There are many benefits to this, including more time to save money for the reception!
5. GATHERING RESTRICTIONS. This is where things can get tough! If the restriction says no gatherings more than 10 people, keep in mind that includes the bride, groom, officiant and 2 witnesses, let alone any caterer, servers, photographer, videographer, musician/DJ, etc.
So what options are left?
A. CONSIDER ELOPING. Smaller ceremonies can be much more intimate, meaningful, and less stressful for starters, let alone more budget-friendly.
B. HAVE A SMALLER WEDDING. You can still get married! Keep the number of attendees within governmental guidelines, and hire a professional videographer to capture your special day to share with others later on!
C. LIVE STREAM!! Technology today has us more connected than ever! Consider live streaming your ceremony so all your guests can witness your ceremony in real time. This is especially good for those who normally wouldn't be able to travel to your ceremony anyway, due to distance, cost or mobility.
D. RESCHEDULE YOUR WEDDING. Many venues and vendors are willing to work with you to change dates. Some have cancellation/rescheduling fees, so please check contracts and talk with them personally about whether they are willing to be more amenable given the circumstances. Do keep in mind that there may be challenges with date availability down the road as next year's brides are also booking in the same time frame now that you are. Flexibility in scheduling may be important. And don't wait! These difficult times may very well lead to many deciding they want to be together always and don't want to wait any longer to begin that journey as well.
If you have any questions, I am available as a resource, not just as an interfaith minister/wedding officiant, but also because I'm connected to many other wedding professionals. I can help you find replacement photographers, videographers, caterers, venues, etc.
There's no question that there's a lot of fear to go around right now in the world. Fear is a powerful emotion that can cripple someone, keep them from moving forward in their lives or even from getting out of bed in the morning. Some are afraid of unknowns, such as change or the future. But there's another side to fear.
Fear is capable of motivating someone to greatness; to take action. Fear is a chemical reaction that takes place within our bodies when certain emotions are triggered. When we realize what it actually is, we can choose how to respond to it.
The first step is to understand what it is that we're truly afraid of that's causing all the chemicals in our body to create that fight-or-flight feeling in our stomachs. What are the unknowns or changes we think will be required that are generating these feelings? What are the possible outcomes that are so scary about the situation? Fear lets us know that there is an unknown ahead; that we feel unsafe; that there might be a chance of being hurt physically or emotionally. Therefore, fear in itself is quite helpful if kept in perspective. Fear in animals keeps them safe from bigger, more ferocious predators.
So how do we move from a place of fear to a place of love with something we really have little control over? Start by separating yourself emotionally from the fear. Imagine it's something that can be held in one's hand and examined from all angles, like a rubber ball. Evaluate the reality of the situation. How big is it? What are the ramifications that seem to be so scary? Are they real or is it the fear itself that's generating the emotions and chemicals happening? What are the potential outcomes of the decisions one might make as a result? What will it take to carry out those decisions, and will it be worth it in the end? Once we have those answers, we can control what we can, and let go of the rest.
For a couple facing decisions about canceling their wedding to remove potential risk to family and friends, it might mean choosing to postpone their wedding and reception. For another, it might mean getting creative around the "how" they get married, and how others can participate in their joy. That couple may plan a much smaller wedding now, holding out for a few months to host a reception with everyone in attendance. Another couple may choose to elope, skipping the big wedding and reception altogether. Perhaps another couple might use technology to allow their family and friends to witness their joining together live or recorded, and find other creative ways for family and friends to celebrate with them. In each of these cases, the couple has chosen to move through their fear, finding a creative way to let Love still be celebrated, while making wise choices for themselves and their loved ones. Checking with vendors regarding cancellation/rescheduling policies may be the first step - eliminate the unknowns so one has the facts to make a better-informed decision.
This same type of logic can be used in other areas of one's life. Whether it's fear around a job, a relationship, a life change or something that might require growth, we can use the same principles to move through it. Let fear be a positive motivator in your life!
Rev. Ronnie was ordained in 2010 as an interfaith minister through The New Seminary, located in New York City. She is available to perform ceremonies throughout the United States, aboard ship or in other countries.