The Coronavirus (officially referred to as SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19) is a new pathogen that for most people causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough.
Some people though, particularly the elderly and those with existing health conditions, can experience more severe illness, such as the onset of pneumonia. Fortunately, however, the vast majority of people infected make a full recovery.
As the Coronavirus is highly-contagious, increasing numbers of countries have imposed quarantines in an effort to slow its spread. And as this has now turned into a global pandemic, it could significantly affect many people’s future wedding plans.
Coronavirus outbreak and wedding industry… products and services…
Unsurprisingly, therefore, the Coronavirus has now made the entire wedding industry very nervous, including everyone from the photographers and caterers, to the wedding planners and venue managers.
Those players in the wedding industry that depend on ease of foreign travel and shipping will experience the biggest impact, with travel restrictions being implemented in more places and increasing numbers of people now being reluctant to travel overseas.
With regard to shipping, in particular, it is worth noting that 80% of new wedding dresses in the world are manufactured in and shipped from China. Many orders for wedding dresses, as well as other wedding items such as gowns, may also, therefore, be delayed.
Coronavirus and wedding industry…What do we do? Must we postpone or cancel our wedding?
Luckily fewer weddings take place in March and April than May, June or July, but those couples who have chosen to get married in the early Spring months will need to take tough decisions.
As a newly engaged couple, you will obviously want to take all necessary precautions to ensure the wellbeing of yourselves, your family and other guests, which could even include postponing or canceling your event.
Firstly, it will be important to have an open and honest conversation with your vendors and guests to explore all available options for rescheduling dates and refunding deposits and advance payments already made.
If you decide that you’d like to go ahead with your wedding on a later date instead of canceling the wedding outright, you’ll need to first contact your venue to ask which other dates would be available. Then, you should start asking the other high-priority vendors further down the supply chain about their availability for future dates.
One particularly tricky issue with this is to make sure that all the vendors would be available on the same new date. Also, you would need to consider the total amount of deposits and advance payments that you would stand to lose, which could vary depending on the contract and each vendor’s flexibility.
Professional planners with established vendor networks are now increasingly finding themselves in the middle negotiating to ensure their clients lose as little money as possible.
It’s important also to be aware that not all contracts’ force majeure or cancellation policies are identical and many might not cover health pandemics and the associated disruptions.
In this particular situation, wedding planners encourage brides and grooms to have at least one “plan B” option, assuming that they are not subject to any ongoing quarantine measures.
The most obvious of these, of course, would be to simply postpone the wedding to a time after the pandemic emergency is declared over. Other options could include changing the venue to a domestic location that requires no air travel for most of your guests.
You could also adopt measures to maintain safer social distancing and lower health risks. This might include selecting an outdoor venue, reducing the number of guests to close family and friends only, placing seating further apart or providing increased hygiene facilities, such as complimentary sanitary gels, etc.
And always remember, if any family or friends are still unable to come to your wedding, improvements in technology allow you to live stream the event to them as if they were there at the party. As they say, the more the merrier, even if through a digital presence!