Virtual Wedding Guide
| On Postponing and Making Changes to our Wedding
Q: We’re not sure if we need to postpone our wedding. When should that be determined?
A: If you have a June wedding, unfortunately experts say you should definitely postpone. For July and August nuptials, play it by ear, draft a Coronavirus Contingency Plan, and make a decision by the end of May. For dates in September and later, carry on with the wedding fun but stay informed and communicate with vendors on backup plans just in case. Most importantly, do what feels right and keep everyone’s health in mind.
Helpful Resource: Get expert tips and advice for rescheduling your wedding due to COVID-19 at Bridal Musings.
Q: We’re ready to postpone. What steps should we take to ensure it all goes smoothly?
A: First, check your insurance policy; second, contact your vendor and venue about cancelling or rescheduling; third, communicate with your guests, starting with your inner circle first. Order your Change the Dates and update your wedding website. Once everyone knows that the wedding is postponed, now would be a great time to figure out your new budget and schedule. Determining your new wedding date may depend on a lot of factors including vendor availability, your dress alterations, and travel time for out-of-town guests. It’s good to give everyone time to adjust to your new date.
Helpful Resource: Hitched created a simple step-by-step guide to how to postpone your wedding, and top tips for making the difficult decision as smooth as possible
Q: We need to reschedule the wedding, but we don’t know when the new date will be. Should we still let our guests know?A: Yes. Let them know as soon as possible, especially out-of-state guests or those who already said they were coming. You can even mention on your Change the Dates or wedding website that the new date will be announced soon, and then try to make your decision…quick!
Helpful Resource: The Knot knows exactly how to adjust your wedding timeline from when to reschedule to telling your guests.
Q: We’ve decided on a smaller ceremony first and a larger reception at a later date. Any tips?
A: Many couples are choosing to still celebrate the original date and have a ceremony so small, it’s just them, the officiant and a photographer. But they still want to have the party, of course. If this is you, great! We hope you find a time for the reception that works for everyone, whether it’s in a few months or a year from now. You may keep it low key or go all out. Just make sure your guests are aware that it’s a celebration of your wedding, and not the actual wedding. Some may think a separate reception is just a way to get extra gifts, so make it clear that they’re not expected in case you’re worried. Most will understand during these times though.
Helpful Resource: Brides Discover small wedding ideas for an intimate affair from>
| On Legal Information
Q: Where can we obtain a marriage license if the marriage bureaus and city halls are closed for the lockdown?
A: Good news residents who live in Arizona, California, Colorado, New York and Ohio—you can obtain a marriage license through a video conference! Couples from other states should check with their marriage bureaus and city halls to see if they can accommodate social distancing or what they are allowing on site.
Helpful Hint: Authorized notaries are now able to purchase marriage licenses in LA County. L.A. Wedding Woman can purchase licenses and then issue them to couples. So any couple can be issued a marriage license and L.A. Wedding Woman can perform an elopement ceremony virtually. If couples prefer, they can order marriage licenses online from Arizona. Once the Arizona court receives all of the relevant information, they will mail the license to the couple and it takes about 2 days to receive it. The license can be officiated legally in any state. (Emily Button is the rockstar officiant who gave us this awesome info and also was our Co-Founder's wedding officiant!)
Helpful Resource: L.A. Wedding Woman is helping couples get legally married during COVID-19. Get in contact with their expert team today at (888) 592-3676 or email: email@example.com.
Q: What is wedding insurance? Can we still buy it if our wedding has been postponed?
A: Wedding insurance is meant to give you peace of mind for your big day in case there’s an emergency, illness or more. Available through existing homeowners insurance or separate wedding insurance companies, the policies vary and can even cover additional details like stolen gifts or the honeymoon. If you didn’t have a policy set up already, it’s not too late. Check the policy you have in mind for the purchase deadline. Some venues may also require you to have liability insurance at least 30 days before your wedding.
Helpful Resource: WedSure was voted the Best Overall Wedding Insurance Coverage for 2020. Call to speak with an agent at 800-364-2433.
Q: We already have insurance, but there’s no civil authority coverage. How can we ensure our first wedding is covered because of COVID-19 rescheduling?
A: If your insurance policy doesn’t cover civil authority, there may be other ways to work around it. Try to negotiate your agreement to cover communicable diseases. If that doesn’t work, you may be covered under economic factors outside of your control, especially if you were laid off because of COVID-19. Call your lawyer to go over the logistics.
Q: How should we navigate our contracts with the venue and vendors from a legal standpoint?
A: If you didn’t read the fine print before you signed the contract, do it now. Look for additional costs and fees, especially for rescheduling. Verify if you need to cancel or reschedule by a certain date. If you’re still unsure, have an attorney take a look and verify what’s right for you. Now that you’re prepared, reach out and see what you can do. Many of these businesses are struggling from COVID-19 cancellations during one of their busiest seasons, so see if they will negotiate with you and reschedule for your new date. Chances are, they will be more than willing to accommodate your needs.
Helpful Resource: Aisle Planner discusses what to look for in a wedding vendor contract and the most important things to know before and after you sign on the dotted line.
| On Family, the Wedding Party and Guests
Q: How do we let our guests and bridal party know we have postponed the wedding?
A: If you have a wedding website, update that first with a direct, tasteful message stating the postponement, the reason, and the new details. If you don’t have one, you probably should get one set up soon—it’s a quick and easy way to keep everyone up to date. You can also send out a group email to get the news out quick; it’s impersonal, but your guest will understand and they may be expecting the news in light of everything. Next, order and send Change the Date cards. For close family, friends, the bridal party, and those who already RSVPd, go ahead and pick up the phone to make sure that they can still make it.
Helpful Resource: Find out how to update your guests about changes to your wedding at Zola.
Q: If some guests declined for the first wedding date, should we ask them again?
A: The short answer: Yes! A guest who was a “No” before may become an “Absolutely” now that the date has changed. You never know people’s reasons for declining a wedding, so it doesn’t hurt to ask again. It could be there was a scheduling issue, so if you want them at your event, go ahead and reach out.
Q: We had to reduce the guest list for the new wedding. How do we un-invite guests who already RSVPd?
A: Because of your new budget or venue, you’ve chosen a smaller, more intimate ceremony for your postponed wedding. Decide which immediate family and close friends you can’t get married without. You may find that many of your original guests won’t make the cut, and you need to let them know. Chances are, they’ll be understanding, but it’s best to keep it personal—don’t just CC everyone in an email. A call, text or even a handwritten note are thoughtful ways to inform them of their guest status.
Helpful Resource: One Fab Day has all of the answers to your questions and real talk tips for making your wedding smaller and downsizing your guest list.
Q: How can we include family and friends in our ceremony if they are unable to attend? Should we have a virtual wedding?
A: If there are still travel restrictions at the time of your wedding or guests are at risk because they are quarantined, there are still ways to include your loved ones in your nuptials. A lot of couples are having virtual weddings using video meeting or streaming services like Zoom, Facebook or YouTube. Send a virtual invitation and maybe ship gift baskets so they can partake in the snacks and bubbly. Decorate, get dressed up, and share your first dance—make it magical even if you’re just in your living room. Depending on what you pay for, Zoom allows up to 100 participants (woah!) and can show 49 videos at once. That way your dad can still give his heartfelt speech and see everyone smile when he slips in a joke or two.
Helpful Resource: Chat with a Wedfuly team member about how a virtual wedding works and how Wedfuly can help make it flawless.
Q: If our family and friends are not very tech-savvy, how do we include them for our virtual wedding?
A: Maybe Grandma or your mom can only use technology when you’re around to help. Since you can’t be there in person, send them super user-friendly instructions and talk them through it on the phone the day before. If that still doesn’t help, give them a phone call or FaceTime them separately. They may appreciate the one-on-one time and not having to talk over a dozen other guests.
Q: Our out-of-town guests have already purchased airfare and accommodations. How can we help them?
A: Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do for them yourself since the hotel or airline needs to deal with them directly. Ask your guest who they were dealing with and try to guide them in the right direction so they can possibly save some money and eliminate as much stress as possible. Many hotels and airlines are being very flexible and offering special rates for rescheduling, early cancellation incentives, travel vouchers to use later or even full refunds. Check the deadlines of these special offers and find the best route of communication for you guest to use. They will need to be patient since customer-service representatives may be flooded with calls. Let your guest know they can always reach out for emotional support.
Helpful Resource: Forbes has some great tips for getting a travel refund during COVID-19.
| On Communications and Invitations
Q: Should we include a COVID-19 information insert in our wedding invitation or mention the virus at all?
A: Depending on when your wedding is, you may not feel the need to bring up COVID-19, but your guests will be receptive to it if it’s the reason for the postponement. Adding an insert about the virus and regulations will remind your guests that they are not expected to attend if they don’t feel safe or comfortable, showing that you hold their wellbeing at heart.
Helpful Resource: Minted is here to help you with all of your communication needs as you continue to plan your upcoming wedding.
Q: When should we send out the Change the Dates?
A: Whether they’re paper or digital, get those Change the Dates out there right away. You don’t want your guests to miss out on any travel refunds or accidentally plan something else on your new wedding date.
Helpful Resource: Green Wedding Shoes gives a great guide on when to send postponement announcements if your wedding date has been changed due to COVID-19.
Q: What do we do with all the old wedding invitations and day-of stationary?
A: Some stationary companies may offer credit or refunds if you’re unhappy with their products, so check if that’s possible. It may be best to speak to someone directly and explain your situation. When it comes to the actual invitations or stationery, get crafty. Frame some invitations to use as décor at your home or wedding. Disguise the dates on day-of stationary with stickers or wax seals. If none of those ideas appeal to you, there’s always recycling.
Q: When do we send out the new wedding invitations?
A: You know the rule of sending out a Save the Date and then the official invitation? Well, forget that. If you already sent a Change the Date, you don’t need to get new invitations unless you really want to. Your guests have all the information they need now. They just need to be reminded to RSVP, and that can be done either with the stationary from your original invitation or electronically through your website. Make a note on your Change the Date of what you prefer.
| On Budgeting
Q: How do we make a new wedding budget?
A: If you’re getting hitched during quarantine or post-lockdown, chances are your wedding budget will be different than you planned before COVID-19. You may have been unemployed during the pandemic or your family is not able to contribute as much as they hoped due to their own financial concerns. It’s time to start fresh. Do your research on any rate changes or deposits you may lose, stay organized, and be sensible on what you think is essential for your new big day. Chances are some things you considered crucial before may not feel so important when you jump into round two. Hopefully you and your future spouse can settle on a budget without the urge to just get eloped.
Helpful Resource: WeddingWire makes it easy to create and manage your budget. WeddingWire’s Concierge team is there for you to call their hotline: (833) 998-2865 or Live Chat with them where you can talk with a virtual Wedding Planning Assistant.
Q: How do we save money on our new wedding?
A: There are tons of ways to trim the cost of your wedding and stay within your tight new budget. Try to think outside the box: nontraditional routes can save you up to thousands of dollars. Instead of a Saturday ceremony in a chapel, schedule it for a Friday or Sunday afternoon in a friend’s backyard. Substitute fancy plated dinners with a buffet of pasta or appetizers. You can also go DIY on décor and your new invitations, limit the drink options and cut back on the guest list. And when it comes to the sweet stuff, a simple store-bought cake may be the route to go. After all, the only thing that matters is what you put on top of it…and smashing it into each other’s faces.
Helpful Resources: NerdWallet's Courtney Jespersen and Kelsey Sheehy are the authors of 25 Ways to Save on a Wedding. Courtney Jespersen is NerdWallet's consumer savings expert and Kelsey Sheehy is a personal finance writer for NerdWallet with a passion for savings hacks.
| On Wedding Attire
Q: How do I store my dress for a long period of time?
A: You found the dress that made everyone cry at the bridal boutique, but it will be longer than expected to bring tears to your future spouse’s eyes. In the meantime, make sure you’re storing it properly for the months before your big day. Not all dresses should be treated equal, however, so be careful how you bag it up. For example, if your dress isn’t too heavy or embellished, you can hang it on a padded hanger with a garment bag or sheet to keep the dust off (make sure it’s breathable for gowns made of natural fibers like silk, linen, etc). For a heavier gown covered in beads or rhinestones, it’s best to lay it flat so it doesn’t lose its shape from all the weight. Wrap it up in a cotton sheet, place it in an acid-free cardboard box, and find a safe place that’s cool and dry. Give yourself some time before the wedding to get your lovely gown steamed and pressed and you’ll be ready to finally get hitched.
Helpful Resource: Call the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists at 1-800-501-5005 or email them at info@weddingGownSpecialists.com to speak with a Certified Wedding Gown Specialist™
Q: What should I do if the groom and groomsmen rental suits are unavailable for the new wedding date?
A: You had the tuxes all set up, but the shops have had to postpone the rentals because of high demand post-lockdown. There are other ways for the guys to look dapper that are quicker and possibly cheaper. One alternative is to have the groomsmen wear the suits of their choice, so long as you approve of the color. Or you could skip the super formal stuff and decide on a nice shirt-and-trouser combo, then toss in some bow ties and suspenders. Some of the final touches can be easily bought online with fast shipping. No matter what, there’s a way to get your guys looking good without the extra effort, time, or money.
Helpful Resources: From sizing advice to formal wear inspiration, the Style Consultants at MR PORTER are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact the team of experts via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1- 877-957-7677. At The Black Tux, you pick out a suit or tux, they send it to you to test out for 3 days. And the best part: it’s totally free.
Q: How can I buy my wedding dress or bridesmaid dresses during the pandemic lockdown? Can I still get alterations done?
A: Just because the world is on lockdown, doesn’t mean you need to settle on a wedding gown. While there’s nothing wrong with a dress ordered online (especially if it’s kinder on your budget), a couture gown may still be attainable during COVID-19. Decide now on the style you want since you may not get the chance to try on a dozen dresses. Reach out to the shops and ateliers to see what timeline or gowns are possible. Many materials are shipped in from oversea, so expecting a particular custom dress by your deadline may not be realistic. Some bridal associates may even ship the dresses to you for a virtual fitting session. The same goes for adjustments and fittings for your bridal party too.
Helpful Resource: Download the app Zeekit to virtually try-on a large collection of wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses. Zeekit, an Amazon partner, allows brides to shop and purchase bridal gowns online using precise measurements taken via mobile phone.
Q: My dress was perfect for my spring wedding but now the date has been rescheduled for winter. How do I change my bridal look for the new season and wedding style?
A: Because of COVID-19 rescheduling, your sunny spring ceremony has now turned into a chilly wintry reception. That doesn’t mean your love will get cold. It just means you need to accessorize. First of all, nobody says you have to have sleeves (and once you hit the dance floor, you may not want them anyway), but if you think they will go better with your new winter-wonderland nuptials, see if a seamstress can attach some lovely lace sleeves to your dress or find an elegant topper to put over your strapless bodice. Another option is cozy layering. You and your bridal party can mix it up with sophisticated coats or go with matching fur shawls that are elegant and chic. You may even swap out your strappy sandals for some sleek booties, depending on the weather or style. No matter what, hearts will be warm on your big day.
Helpful Resource: Contact an online stylist at BHLDN. Talk to a real stylist for prompt, personalized advice on choosing your wedding day look, finding the perfect fit, accessorizing & more for every bridal need.
| On Vendors
Q: Our venue or vendor isn’t available for our postponed wedding date. What should we do? Can we still get our deposit?
A: Every venue, vendor, or contract is different, so there’s no straight-forward answer to this. If your heart is set on the venue or a particular vendor, ask them for their availability before deciding on your new date. See if they can waive any rescheduling fees or offer a reduced rate if your new date is in a busier season. If they aren’t flexible, consult an attorney on your options, but you may have to say goodbye to your deposit. If the vendor is the one cancelling because of COVID-19 restrictions, chances are even higher they may be willing to work with you.
Q: Any tips on dealing with new vendors once the original ones aren’t available anymore?
A: You can find your new vendors the same way you did before, whether you found them through a friend or a wedding website. Also, your old vendor may have recommendations of companies they’ve worked with and trust. Once you start finalizing things with the new vendors, pay extra attention to the contract regarding postponements or cancellations. Find companies that are willing to accommodate for you in case you need to postpone or modify your schedule, especially if you’re still working out the details on your new wedding.
Q: What do we do if our vendor is going out of business?
A: The harsh reality is many businesses may not survive the pandemic, and that may be the case for the hip food truck you wanted for cocktail hour or the cute little bakery with the dreamy delicious cakes. Be understanding that these times are tough for everyone and then decide what to do next. Consult your contract and see if they can refund your deposit. Start looking for a replacement immediately and maybe ask your original vendor for recommendations.
Helpful Resource: This unexpected circumstance is disappointing, but there's always a solution. Martha Stewart Weddings has that solution and knows what to do if your wedding vendor goes out of business before your big day.
Q: What is the best way to up new payment plans with our vendors?
A: One way to set up a new payment plan with your vendors may be to get assistance with a wedding loan company. Or you can set one up with the vendor themself. Let them know your new budget and make sure everyone is realistic on what you can do.
Helpful Resource: Wedding loans provide an alternative to credit cards. NerdWallet discuses your financing options and what to consider as you're planning your big day.
Q: Do we need to pay a wedding planner more for a postponed wedding date?
A: If your wedding planner is still available for your postponed wedding, check your contract or with them personally to see if their rates change for a postponement. Keep in mind that this is their livelihood, and they may need to raise their costs to make up for all the business they lost during lockdown. But some may be sticking to their original rates or waiving postponement fees because of the situation.