Coronavirus - Will I have to cancel my wedding?
How to navigate wedding season amid a global epidemic
In normal times, if you tell someone you're getting married in a couple of months they'd be likely to comment on how exciting this is. Now though, it is more likely to be met with a cringe and a cursory: 'Oh God, sorry to hear that'. After months spent trying to figure out how to tactfully send a delayed invite to drunk uncle Ian so there's no way, he could possibly make it, the worst guest of all threatens to show up - coronavirus!
If you are getting married this year, you would have never imagined you'd have to add 'imminent global pandemic' to the list of issues that might crop up, alongside 'the wrong napkins have arrived.' And yet, it's hard not to panic when experts have said the outbreak could peak in May or June and the Government is saying up to one in five workers could be off sick at the same time at the peak of the coronavirus epidemic.
The country is already bracing for impact: flights have been cancelled, many are wondering whether it's worth making summer plans and there's talk of large indoor gatherings being banned. As we head towards wedding season, this doesn't bode well for brides and grooms-to-be. I imagine many couples are wanting guidance on what this will mean for nuptials planned during this unprecedented time.
The first point of call for any couple should be your wedding insurance. Check if your wedding insurance will cover you if you have to cancel the wedding due to forces out of your control such as the coronavirus. Insurances do vary considerably, good ones will cover you for not only instances like this before your wedding, but also if there is an issue with a supplier before or during your wedding, or in the unfortunate event that a guest is ill or has a mishap during your wedding. We recommend WedInsure, but there are plenty of companies around; just do check the small print of what they do and don't cover.
Below several experts in insurance and the wedding industry giving their advice, in the hope that you can keep calm and carry on.
Get wedding insurance - before you get symptoms!
Steve Wardlaw, chairman of Emerald Life, the first insurance company ensuring equality for all, particularly women and the LGBT+ community, and a prominent LGBT+ activist, says:
'It's vital to remember that for those who already have insurance, the terms of that contract are locked in with the insurer. It is always advisable anyway to buy insurance as soon as you can. Don't leave it to the last minute in case it's no longer there. Wedding insurance won't cover everything - a big one to remember is that wedding insurance does not cover travel failure/flight delays or cancellations etc - but check it covers you for the two big Covid-19-related risks - either the venue is quarantined or one of the wedding couple or a close family member falls ill. You can get it from smaller amounts right up to £100,000 of cover if a wedding has to be cancelled for any reason. Be aware that you cannot claim under any insurance policy for something that has already happened, so don't wait until you have flu-like systems to get cover.'
Wedding planner Sarah Haywood, who stars in the Wedding Fixer on W channel, says:
'At the moment, my clients and I are ensuring we continue to move forward with all wedding plans so that we do not fall behind in the actual planning of the events. There are always things to worry about when planning a wedding as there is a lot to do. Right now, there is no point in layering with unknowns, getting caught up in confusion and the hype and taking decisions that are ill informed. So stay fully informed, take the latest advice from health professionals and plan for what we know.'
Have a back-up plan
Lauren Grech, CEO & Co-Founder of LLG Events & LLG Agency, and Adjunct Professor at New York University, says:
'First things first, don't panic! Or stress out. The World Health Organization reported that most people (around 80%) recover from coronavirus without needing any special treatment.
That said, you should always have a backup plan for your wedding, no matter what. Even when there's not a widely-known illness like coronavirus, there are plenty of natural elements that are out of your control, so that's why it's always best to invest in a professional and accredited full-service wedding and event planner. Full-service meaning they're not just there on the day-of to run your timeline [..] The planner should have a network of venues and vendors who provide the same level of service, and the foresight and knowledge to plan ahead for any unforeseen circumstances. Aka - they've got your Plan B, and C, and D covered.'
You can still attend other people's weddings
Haywood says: 'If are still going to the supermarket then you can still attend a wedding. There is lots of advice out there about how to stay healthy - prevention is important - washing hands, keeping hydrated etc. Follow it.'
Grech adds: 'Guests should generally not be concerned about going to other people's weddings, unless they are an older individual or have underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes. According to the World Health Organization, these individuals are more prone to becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus. So it's up to those individuals to decide if they can attend the wedding depending on its location and the prevalence of the coronavirus in that region. If you feel ill, or are still concerned, then just follow proper etiquette and RSVP as soon as possible that you cannot attend, while sending a gift or note in lieu of your presence. Couples will understand, as their guests are their loved ones, so they want them as healthy, happy and comfortable as possible, even if that means missing out on the big day.'
Check where your guests have been
Chapman says: 'If a couple are getting married this spring/summer in the UK, then it is advisable for the couple to contact their guests again to make sure that none of their guests have had any contact with the people with either the coronavirus or recently travelled or come into contact with people from the affected regions and countries. It may also be worthwhile for couples to check with any guests due to attend their wedding if they have recently travelled to any of the affected countries.'
Donât let it ruin the wedding build up
Haywood says: 'As the weeks progress we will all have more information and we must simply focus on official advice and be sensible. Be patient and try not to get too caught up in the media storm. Fear and overreaction can be more damaging than the virus itself. My advice is to keep celebrating the important things in life.'
Ask caterers what measures they have put in place to deal with coronavirus
Bernadette Chapman, Founder of The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP), says: 'For weddings that are happening this spring/summer, it would be my suggestion that the couple contacts their catering company and ask them for an update on any extra health and safety procedures they have put in place as a result of the coronavirus. Ensure also that the catering company has vetted all staff about countries they have recently travelled to.'
We hope that you have found this information useful, remember your event coordinator is here to help you with your wedding at Glenfall House, so please contact us if you have any questions about coronavirus or anything else about your wedding.