Before we dive in, just as a gentle reminder, love is not cancelled. People are still falling in love, getting engaged, planning weddings, and are set on getting married. We just have to remain strong during this tough time and support each other as best we can.
This article is here to help and assist you navigating this tricky time, but as you know the situation surrounding Coronavirus is changing rapidly, so we will be updating this post as we are able to share the best info and advice to help couples who are currently facing the tough decision to postpone their weddings or continue on as planned.
LIVE UPDATES // What the government is saying right now about Coronavirus and weddings
WEDNESDAY 25TH MARCH // Scott Morrison announced at 9pm last night that weddings are officially restricted to five people gatherings. This means, that legally, you can have the following people present for your wedding:
- The couple getting married
- The celebrant who will officially marry you
- Up to x2 witnesses
Obviously this drastically changes the landscape of a wedding, so the message we want to share with you right now is if the arrangements listed above does not match the vision you had in mind for your wedding day then please postpone your big day. We are building a wealth of resources to help you do this, and guiding you as for the best way to support your lovely vendors so that they can be there for your revised wedding date.
FRIDAY 20TH MARCH // While there hasn’t been a direct announcement of how to handle weddings during this time in Australia, there has been an official ban of all gatherings of over 100 people. Obviously this means that a lot of wedding plans will be impacted. There are suggestions that fines will be actioned for those who breach these rules, so we recommend carefully counting every person involved in your wedding to be sure. This includes the following:
- Your wedding guests
- Yourself and your partner
- Your catering staff
- Your celebrant
- Your photography and videography team
- The venue staff present at your wedding
- All your vendors who will be on site (including your planner, stylist, florist, even your baker if they are hand-delivering the wedding cake to your venue)
There has also been a grade 4 travel ban put in place to and from Australia to both minimise the spread of the virus overseas and to prevent new cases arriving on our shores. This means that any guests planning on coming to your wedding from overseas are likely to be either denied entry to Australia or will have their flights cancelled (and hopefully refunded) for their trip.
Wedding Insurance And The Coronavirus
It’s likely if you’re googling this term that you purchased wedding insurance prior to the COVID-19 breakout, meaning (like with travel insurance) you’ll be eligible to claim. Most event-based insurance policies will cover cancellations or postponements if one of the two actions occur:
- The venue closes (temporality or permanently)
- You or a close family member is ill
It’s a little blurry as to whether illness will be classified as Coronavirus or self-isolation, as normally it is tied to yourself or the family member being hospitalised.
However, policies should also still pay out if a nation-wide or world-wide ban of public events is put in place. This means that within Australia if you’re having a large wedding of over 100 people then this nation-wide ban is applicable to your wedding and you should be eligible to make a claim. However, as all insurance policies differ from one-another it is best to re-read your policy documents and hop on the phone to your insurance provider to run through the fine print, keeping in mind all policies are different and each supplier might have a different contract in place.
While we haven’t investigated every insurance policy, a few we have enquired with will still allow you to purchase insurance but no Coronavirus-based cancellations are covered.
Should I Cancel My Wedding Due To Coronavirus?
There are a lot of elements at play here to give this question a definitive answer, as weddings across the country are being affected in a different way. However, what we do actively encourage is to POSTPONE, DON’T CANCEL. This is so yourself, your venue and your vendors all have something to look forward to. We don’t want you to feel like you’re never going to have your wedding day, so instead talk to your wedding suppliers and your wedding guests (particularly if you have family and friends travelling from overseas for your big day) to figure out an amended date to postpone your wedding to.
It should be noted that vendors and suppliers, by and large, are being incredibly flexible during this time, allowing couples to postpone and reschedule at no extra cost.
At this point in time, there are no direct government recommendations about when Australia will be out of the woods with the Coronavirus, so there’s no official dates to push your wedding to, but based off how the industry is reacting and what medical professionals are predicting, it’s looking like Australia may hit it’s worst level of confirmed cases around May, so we’d suggest at the very least to push your wedding to the later half of the year or to 2021.
Wedding Dresses And The Coronavirus
Wedding dresses are items often ordered up to a year in advance, with brides only getting their physical hands on their gowns a few weeks before their wedding day. That means for a lot of brides reading this post, it’s likely that their wedding dress is currently with the designer being made and tailored.
If you’re worried about not receiving your dress in time for your wedding then there are a few things you can do to check on the timeframe:
- Research where your dress is actually being made. If you’ve purchased from an Australian designer who creates their dresses in their Australian studios it’s likely that there will be no delay on your gown. This is because, as it stands, there hasn’t been drastic delays on shipping and workplaces are still allowing employees to come in to work. Obviously, this may change but for right now it should be okay.
- If you realise that your dress is being manufactured overseas then check in online to see what the restrictions are in that country – are people working from home, are there import and export restrictions in place? Again we really recommend getting in touch with the designer (if you bought directly from them) or with the boutique where you purchased your gown to get an update on the progress of your wedding dress and it’s arrival in Australia.
If you know that you’re postponing your wedding date, please let the designer or the boutique from which you purchased your dress know. This is so they can prioritise dress production or shipping for brides who are going ahead with their wedding or even moving the date earlier to have their ceremony before more travel bans are put in place.
If you are yet to buy your wedding dress then there are a few things to consider to make the process as smooth as possible…
- Buy Australian. As noted above, purchasing from an Australian designer means that you know your gown won’t leave the country and is likely to be delivered on time. Research Australian wedding dress designers and check in with their social channels to make sure their boutiques are open for business before booking in an appointment.
- Think about buying off the rack. This is because it cuts out the middle-man of having the dress made specially for you and you will physically have the gown much quicker – and can even take away from the store that day and manage your own alterations separately.
- Buy online. While we know so much joy is derived from the wedding dress shopping process, if you have already tried on gowns and have a solid idea it may be best to purchase online directly from the designer. The gown will then be delivered directly to you and again you can manage the alterations on your end. Most designers who sell their gowns online are readily available to talk through sizing and to help you out with any questions you may have, so get in touch with them if you have any pre-purchase nerves!
- Delay your wedding dress shopping for a little while. If you don’t want to compromise your wedding dress shopping experience, simply hold off for a while. This will allow more time for you to research online, save favourites on Instagram and pin on pinterest until you have a really cohesive vision of what you want to look like on your wedding day.
What should I tell my wedding guests?
The key thing to keep in mind is communication. Keep your guests up-to-date and informed as best you can, as something develops (like a travel ban or event restrictions) let them know straight away – particularly with your overseas guests. We think it’s also best to be respectful of their individual decisions. If they have said that they feel uncomfortable with attending due to having elderly parents that they’re looking out for, or whatever the reason may be, then understand that it’s nothing personal and they are simply prioritising the health and safety of their family.
Coronavirus Symptoms To Look Out For
According to the World Health Organisation, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is characterised by mild symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. Illness can be more severe for some people and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties.
More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people, and people with other medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), may be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.
In terms of direct symptoms to look out for in both yourself and your wedding guests, these are the most common of confirmed cases of Coronavirus:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing (in severe cases)
How to keep your wedding safe during the Coronavirus outbreak
If you are going ahead with your wedding, there are a few processes to put in place to ensure your wedding day is as safe as possible for yourself, your guests and your vendors. Here are a few top tips to roll out:
- Set up a sanitation station where hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soaps are available for your guests and constantly encourage them to wash their hands throughout the ceremony and reception.
- Keep at a safe distance and encourage guests to adopt a ‘hygenic hello’, which keeps hugging, kissing and handshaking to an absolute minimum.
- Swap out a buffet option for a sit down dinner. Sharing foods and having people gathered around a buffet table will increase the risk of spreading the virus, so keep food to single serves if possible. Talk directly to your catering provider to discuss the specific details around your wedding food.
Should we elope because of Coronavirus?
If you are deeply concerned with the outbreak of Coronavirus and don’t want to compromise your guests’ health but still want to say ‘I Do’ on the day you planned then eloping may be an option for you. Elopement doesn’t have to include dramatic overseas travel to a distant location and can instead be conducted in a national park, on a beach, in the courthouse or even in your living room. All you need to do is check in with your celebrant to see if they have any health restrictions and if they are happy to proceed with an elopement over a large wedding ceremony and lock in the details from there!
It’s important to note that there is currently only restrictions on gatherings over 100 people, so technically you can still go ahead with your ceremony and perhaps save your reception/party for a later date.
Just to reiterate, love is not cancelled. People are still falling in love, getting engaged, planning weddings, and are set on getting married. We just have to remain strong during this tough time and support each other as best we can.
If you’re looking for wedding vendors that we really respect and who will be a guiding light during this tough time, be sure to check out our One Fine Day Directory.