The beauty of seeing two people come together to celebrate their love and commitment to one another has been dampened by the spread of Coronavirus. With the CDC’s mandate of no mass gatherings and no clear end in sight, couples around the world have begun to explore what options they have when reevaluating their nuptials.
With wedding planning taking months, even years, and it often being a large financial commitment for the engaged couple and their families, it’s no easy task to pull the plug on your magical moment. We want you to know you are not alone. According to the 2017 Real Weddings Study, 78 percent of all weddings take place between May to October, meaning there are thousands of couples around the world in the same boat. At Off the Grid alone, we’ve had many brides reaching out to ask us for help with rescheduling, postponement, and on the rare occasion, canceling their event.
But, as time goes on, we have begun to see a glimmer of hope in the distance. Restrictions in the Bay Area have begun to ease and with that, we have seen people start to reschedule for future dates. While many engaged couples may have to make the difficult decision to cancel, reschedule, or alter their big day, here are a few helpful tips that may assist in the process.
Although couples have yet to commit to each other, the traditional vows of, “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health”, feel even more significant right now. A couple’s wedding is for them, to bind their love together, and determining what is best for their wedding, is also up to them.
Sit down with your soon-to-be spouse, and figure out if you want to postpone, or drastically change your wedding nuptials. How flexible are you on the date? How long would you be willing to wait? It’s also important to discuss the financial implications of your wedding and what you may have to sacrifice if you are losing deposits.
Make sure to reread all your contracts. It may seem daunting to read up to a dozen contracts, but each contract is different and will indicate your cancellation or rescheduling policies.
Things to look for:
Force majeure: A clause in a contract that excuses or delays a party’s performance, or permits cancellation of the contract, without penalty, when it makes it dangerous to fulfill the contract.
Pro-tip: Look for language like “including but not limited to”, “government mandate” “government action” or “trade restriction”.
Impossibility and frustration of purpose: These sections are defined as an individual’s or a company’s inability to fulfill their responsibilities under the contract, thus being excused. The important word here is impossible, meaning events of this size are forbidden by the government or the couple is unable to get to the location due to flight cancellations.
Explicit nonrefundable deposit clause: If you are interested in getting your deposit back, check your contract to see if there is a nonrefundable clause. If it is not specifically written in and explained in the contract, you should be eligible to get refunded.
The Wedding Dress: Have you already ordered your dress? If yes, time to contact the retailer and determine if you can get your dress in time. With many manufacturers stopping production during COVID, it’s key to see if your dress is still being made, or if you have the option to cancel and purchase something off the rack.
Often skipped over, but if you did invest in wedding insurance, here is where it pays off. Take the time to read over the insurance plan in detail to fully understand it, and make sure to check the exclusion list. Then reach out to the insurance agent to determine what your best next steps are.
Pro-tip: Be aware that during a time of a mass pandemic, the insurance company is receiving many claims. This is a time to stand up to your insurance company. Just because coronavirus may not be explicitly covered in your plan, doesn’t mean that if you reach out to your insurance they won’t cover it. They often will push back, but if persistent, they may cover it.
We have begun to see companies, as well as many engaged couples, find innovative solutions to celebrate their love. A few options to consider:
• Postpone the nuptials but exchange vows in a private courtyard to honor your commitment.
• Host a live feed or video call of your vows that all your loved ones can enjoy
• Consider letting vendors keep your deposit, to help them stay in business and give you something to look forward to in the future
• Send each of your guests a bottle of bubbly to pop virtually together
• Consider rebooking your wedding to be outdoors this fall. We have seen increased popularity of outdoor venues and dining to allow better airflow and distancing.
Pro-tip: With glimmers of hope for scheduling fall events, wedding vendors are beginning to be booked out for those weekends. Reach out to your vendors now to lock in dates. Consider working with a vendor like Off the Grid who is built on the ability to create magical moments outdoors, with a wide variety of food options, and an adjusted flexible short notice cancellation policy, where funds roll over.
We know that this is a very unsettling time, especially when having to reevaluate huge life events. Our team at Off the Grid is here to help you celebrate your magical moment, having many toasts with all your loved ones. Lock in the catering for your wedding today.