Organizing a wedding under normal circumstances can be stressful — now throw in a global pandemic and it’s near maddening. As couples look to safely solidify their union, some are planning intimate ceremonies at home, while others are pushing back their original wedding dates to the following year. Here are a few tips from wedding experts to help you tackle some of the issues that may arise while trying to get your celebration back on track.
How to Get Your Wedding Dress
Scenario: Bridal boutiques were forced to close before you were able to either shop for a dress, have a fitting, or pick up your previously purchased ensemble.
Solution: Schedule a virtual appointment if you haven’t found your perfect dress yet. If you’ve already completed your final fitting, ask to have your dress shipped to you.
Many bridal boutiques have alternate ways to shop and consult with stylists while their brick-and-mortar stores are closed. Some offer virtual appointments, where they walk brides through taking their own measurements and selecting a gown that can either be rush delivered or made to order for a future date. Ask your bridal salon if it can send fabric swatches and inquire about any delays it might be expecting on deliveries and manufacturing before making a purchase.
If you postponed your wedding before your final fitting, ask your boutique to store your dress until it reopens or have it shipped to you. When the dress arrives, keep it stored lying flat in a cool, dry and dark place — of course, out of your betrothed’s view. “Stuff the bodice of the gown with acid-free, colorless tissue paper to prevent it from getting crushed and the dress from losing its shape,” said Shawne Jacobs, creative director of Anne Barge and president of its parent company, S. Jacobs. “Before storing it flat in a cloth garment bag, wrap the gown in acid-free paper. And check on your dress periodically to ensure nothing has happened to it.”
If you need your dress in a hurry for your virtual or micro wedding, check out online bridal retailers with ready-to-wear dresses in stock that can be shipped immediately such as Bhldn and Grace Loves Lace.
How to Reschedule Your Wedding
Scenario: You’ve been holding off to see if it will be safe to host your wedding, before reluctantly postponing it. Where do you begin?
Solution: Start with the venue. “As the most important component of your celebration, the availability of your event space will most likely dictate your new wedding date,” said Vanessa Michelle, the principal planner and owner of Vanessa Michelle Co. in Los Angeles. “Get three dates that your venue has open, then go over the days with your vendors to determine who is available when.” Being flexible — perhaps picking a Thursday, Friday or Sunday, instead of a peak Saturday — can make it easier to move your celebration date.
Get your planning team on the same page by emailing each vendor to keep changes in writing and to ensure a faster response from anyone who may be inundated with phone calls from other couples. Each vendor should be able to roll your deposit over and adjust your payment schedule accordingly. Vendors should send an updated contract with a new date. If they don’t, you should request one.
How to Resolve Conflicts With Vendors
Scenario: One of your vendors is unwilling to reschedule, cancel or issue a refund.
Solution: Refer to your contract before negotiating. There are cancellation clauses in almost every vendor’s contract. If you cancel outright, you may lose your deposit, but your vendor should be able to work with you if you decide to postpone. “You may be able to ask for extra time or services that wasn’t initially included,” said Caroline J. Fox, a lawyer based in Richmond, Va., whose practice represents businesses in the wedding industry. “For example,” she said, “perhaps you can ask your photographer for a free engagement session or photography for your day-after brunch at a reduced rate.”
How to Save the (Original) Date
Scenario: You carefully chose your wedding date for sentimental reasons and don’t want to postpone or cancel.
Solution: Get married at home, even virtually. Options, of course, will vary by state. “Do your research in advance to understand your local requirements,” said Leah Weinberg, the creative director and owner of Color Pop Events, based in New York. “You’ll want to be sure that any type of ceremony, legal or not, is performed in accordance with your local laws and guidelines regarding group gatherings,” she added.
A backyard wedding with just you and your beloved, the officiant and a few witnesses six feet apart from one another is one option. “The limitations right now on what’s possible are being set by what’s legal and safe,” Ms. Weinberg said, “but as long as you’re within those boundaries the sky’s the limit to how creative you can get.”
How to Deal With a Destination Wedding
Scenario: You’ve had your heart set on a wedding in some far-flung place. Should you go ahead with these arrangements, or call it all off?
Solution: If your destination wedding is planned for this year, it’s probably time to change course. Current social and travel restrictions, both domestic and international, will likely make it difficult and stressful to put together an event away from home. “Destination weddings take a lot of planning far in advance and that’s just not possible right now in such an uncertain time,” Ms. Michelle said.
Although destination events are risky and unadvisable at present, there’s no need to completely give up on a dream wedding. “If you don’t want to lose the luxurious edge to your big day, you can always go above and beyond with local vendors and a unique venue that’s closer to home, such as a tropical garden or historic cathedral,” said Eddie Zaratsian, an event planner and owner of Eddie Zaratsian Lifestyle and Design in Los Angeles.
How to Handle Honeymoon Plans
Scenario: Your post-wedding getaway was all planned and paid for, but will now have to wait.
Solution: As with your wedding, it’s better to postpone rather than cancel and lose out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience, not to mention any deposits you’ve already paid. “Couples have many options when it comes to rescheduling their honeymoon, such as moving it to a later date, perhaps even making it a first anniversary trip,” said Jen Avey, the vice president for marketing at the Destination Weddings Travel Group in Wayland, Mass.
Most airlines, resorts and travel companies have flexible policies toward future trip credits. “Reach out to your travel agent or resort to find out about options, alternatives and benefits available,” Ms. Avey said. “Your resort may offer an additional free night due to the circumstances, provide a room upgrade upon arrival, or allow you to switch to another property in their portfolio.”
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