In a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, public events are being postponed, gatherings are being banned, and the general public are being encouraged to self isolate and stay at home. With that comes heartbreaking and difficult decisions, like cancelled holidays and weddings that can't go ahead.
If you're having to cancel your wedding, to at least put it on hold, due to coronavirus, here's everything you need to know about the logistical side of it. International events and wedding planner and founder of La Fête Charlotte Ricard-Quesada explains who to contact first and whether you can claim any money back.
Should I cancel or postpone my wedding because of coronavirus?
Charlotte would recommend trying to postpone your wedding rather than cancel it all together, in an attempt to keep your chosen suppliers afloat during this difficult time. That said, she wouldn't postpone it for less than a year's time, in hopes of things settling down by then.
"Speak to your venue and caterer: as key suppliers, they should be able to
provide the most assistance and guide you along the way. See what you can negotiate with them financially and date-wise and always remember: they will do their best to accommodate you as they want to keep your business once we resume normal life.
"Right now, there might not be a date you feel comfortable postponing to due to the uncertain times, but my advice would be to postpone for more than a year from your original wedding day. Speak openly with your suppliers about your concerns and negotiate a middle ground, such as keeping your already-made payments as credit with them to use for your wedding, once a date has been set."
How do I cancel my wedding because of coronavirus?
Reach out to everybody you've made commitments with - whether that's caterers or florists - and try to have an open conversation about your proposed new plans. "I would always advise having things by email, so that you have a written trace to refer back to," the wedding planner explains. "[Vendors] phone lines might be off the hook right now, so if you want to call (especially if your wedding is just around the corner), get ready to wait to speak to someone. Once you have had a phone conversation, and if you haven’t already sent an email, send one as a recap and save copies in a dedicated file, so that you can keep track of all discussions." It's important to be specific about the deal you're negotiating - what exactly are you agreeing to, and are you both happy for it to be in writing?
Who should I tell of my cancelled wedding?
If you're able to postpone your big day and set another date for later down the line with your venue, start to inform your vendors of the same date and see if they are also able to rearrange. Also, try to tell your guests as soon as you can - they'll want to try and save the new date, and it will put their mind at ease over you having to cancel your celebration.
Charlotte advises, "Usually a group email is the most effective way to inform your guests of any postponement, cancellation or change. For any people who you feel email wouldn’t work, send them a text or call them to let them know."
Can I claim any money back if I have to cancel my wedding because of coronavirus?
Obviously this is a case-by-case question, and it entirely depends on what you've already committed to. It's sadly unlikely you're going to get your deposit to vendors back, however, if you are planning to postpone your nuptials, this money will hopefully go towards the rearranged date.
Charlotte recommends checking your wedding insurance to see what you're entitled to. "In the wake of covid-19, there is no coverage standard set out, but I imagine if your vene closes and is unable to host your wedding, or if a close relative were forced to self-isolate or pass away, then you could be entitled to compensation. Cancelling out of personal choice do not seem to be covered."
This is why Charlotte so heavily recommends trying to postpone, as opposed to cancelling. "It's vital for your budget and your suppliers that you postpone and keep any payments made as vouchers or credit to be used in the future. Do also check the terms and conditions of your insurance provider."
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The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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