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.
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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.