Ottawa Weddings – Should you reschedule in light of COVID 19/How to

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18/03/2020

I’ve read a lot of blog posts like this recently and thought maybe I ought to write my own to address some questions you may have as a 2020 bride right now. 

First off I want to say that I know things are scary and it’s very anxiety-inducing to read all the hundreds of news headlines about what’s going on. It’s important to keep up to date with your province’s guidelines and recommendations along with federal ones. This is specifically written to Canadians based on the current news (March 18). Things are changing so fast so please keep that in mind when reading.

This is my personal advice on what steps you need to take to ensure you are doing your part in this crisis and to ensure your wedding continues in a safe way. Please take this with a grain of salt, I’m not an expert on pandemic crisis’s and what to do when they happen. This is based off government information online and other vendor suggestions along with my own thoughts. 

If your wedding is within the month of March and over 50 guests you will have to reschedule. To be honest, if your wedding is at the beginning of April it is highly likely you will have to re-schedule. If it is late April and into May, please be prepared for a re-schedule. My steps break down how you can determine if a re-schedule is necessary along with other things to consider during that process. And some key pointers on what to do if you are re-scheduling.

Step 1

If you’re getting married in the next 4 months it’s worth it to contact your venue as that will be the main source of information. Venues have to follow Canadian Health and Safety codes. They’ll be up to date on everything required of them. They also might be making some of their own decisions right now based on the information given.

They’ll know if your guest count is within a limit that can continue or not. Depending on your guest count your wedding venue could still be comfortable hosting your wedding if they are still open and functioning. It also depends on the specific date, as some dates might be too far in advance to know for sure.

Does this mean you shouldn’t reach out? No, it can still be valuable to know what’s going on. It’s good to be aware of the steps your venue is doing in the light of the current state.

It’s important to reach out to your venue first and ask what the likely hood having to reschedule is and if they have any tips/advice or things to consider that maybe you hadn’t thought of. Your venue might have workarounds for smaller weddings be it more water stations, more hand washing stations, seats being pushed further apart, and hand sanitizers set up throughout the venue area. Be sure to respect what your venue asks of you and your guests. With that being said it’s also important to hold them responsible for holding up their end in keeping people safe and healthy. 

Questions to ask;

-Are there rescheduling rules and timelines? If so what are they?

-If any, what fees are involved if changes take place?

-(If your event continues) what are they pro-actively doing to keep people safe and clean?

-What do you need to tell your guests in order to ensure guest safety?

For Example; If they are coming in from out of town they must stay at home for 14 days, even if that includes missing your wedding. If they are immunocompromised to stay at home. If they are experiencing any cold/flu/COVID 19 symptoms to stay at home, no handshakes, stand further apart than normal, to be extra diligent in washing their hands and so forth.

You can ask your venue for a list of things to tell your guests and pointers on precautions you can take and be aware of.

Step 2

You will need to make a decision to either wait until closer to your wedding date or reschedule your wedding at the moment of discussion with your venue. If your wedding is within the next month I personally would say best to reschedule now, commit to that sooner than later. The reason being there is likely to be a huge influx of reschedulings.

If you have a May or June wedding you may feel comfortable waiting as the news seems to change drastically from day-to-day.

Waiting or pulling the trigger are both fair options. You need to do what feels best for you.

Step 3

If you choose to reschedule please reach out to all your vendors FIRST! Pick a few dates that the venue has open and send those dates to your other vendors.

Have a list of which vendors you want the most because some might not be available and you may have to choose between vendors. It is likely that you will have to cancel a few contracts. (*Ask them to help you find a replacement!)

It’s important that you ask your vendors a similar set of questions as written above. The main questions you’ll need to know are about rescheduling fees and other terms that may now be in effect. It’s good to be crystal clear on your new date and any questions that you have regarding their obligations as your vendor and vice versa. For example, If you are my client I know I will not be charging a 2020 rescheduling fee.

Every vendor is going to be different, which is why it’s so important to ask all of the right questions and then some more questions.

Tips;

-A big tip I have for you right now is to pull up all your vendor contracts and refer back to them. If your vendor is unsure what to do or you can’t come to an agreement they will default to the contract. Because of this, it’ll be helpful for you to be familiar with the terms you both signed to.

-It’s key to keep your line of communication open. Please respect and listen to all the options given to you by your vendors. We are working hard to make the best decisions for our businesses and your wedding. Some of us have families to care for and to consider in times like these. It’s a very unfamiliar and unknowing time, so let’s be patient, kind, and empathetic to each other.

Step 4 

Once you have got your vendors sorted and a new date picked then you can let your guests know. As we are in a global crisis an email/phone call is totally an appropriate way to inform your guests. You can re-do invites if you so choose when you are ready but get the word out first so people can plan accordingly.

Step 5

Wedding day insurance. As far as the research I’ve done shows, most wedding day insurance providers as of now will NOT cover anything caused or due to COVID 19. This is to be expected as that’s just how those darn insurance turds work, butttttttt it is absolutely 100% worth asking. It’s always worth asking.

Maybe it doesn’t include COVID 19 but there may be other options that you haven’t considered. And of course, the employee you speak with can help you navigate insurance at this crazy time. They will help you so be sure to ask!

Now you may have already purchased wedding insurance before all this mayhem. Please give the provider a call and ask them to explain all the terms and how it applies to you right now over the phone and even get them to send you another copy of everything. Read through it diligently, because you’re probably going to have some added fees and things come up that your insurance coverage can help with. The more informed you are the less stress you will feel.

All this brings me back to my initial point in being diligent in asking all the right questions and then some!! I say and then some because you may not know the right questions (THAT’S OK!!!). Ask what you think you need to know and let your curiosity grow so you can ask more questions. Just keep asking questions.

The more informed you are the better off you’ll be and you’ll feel more confident making decisions moving forward.

Things to consider;

-When re-scheduling it’s important to consider your options to delay it by a full year or squeeze it in later this year. If your answer is to squeeze it in later this year you may want to consider a Friday or Sunday wedding to keep as many of your original vendors on board. 

-Word on the street is if you re-schedule to 2021 some vendors are going to make the call to charge a fee as you have now taken away another possible booking. This loss in booking can drastically affect small independent business owners’ yearly income. This may seem unfair or harsh, but just remember to be respectful.

-> If you are worried about finances and are in a tight place please reach out to that vendor to let them know and ask what other options you have. I will sound like a broken record, but this is important. These are tough times, no one is going to come out of this un-affected. We need empathy, love and respect. That goes to all my vendors/wedding community/industry pals as well as my couples. This is tricky and vendors will want to work alongside you to make this as easy as possible. I know I want that. Keep communication kind and open! 

I really hope this has helped guide you even if just fractionally through this next chapter.

It’s really important to keep your communication clear and to the point with all vendors. We’re all trying to navigate this craziness so it’s important to voice your concerns and be diligent prior to making any decisions. 

Please comment below with your thoughts, suggestions or ideas. If I’m incorrect or missing something also please comment (but remember kindness above all will get us through this!)

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