You said Yes!


In March 2020, the first positive case of COVID was announced in South Africa and along with it came wedding planning dilemma, couples had unwittingly planned their weddings during what would become a pandemic, in which large indoor gatherings had the strong likelihood of spreading a fatal disease. Many downsized or rescheduled their special day, sometimes for months or even a year later. In the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, no one could imagine that we would still be working from home and wearing masks a year and a half later. Then in August, September and some of November 2020 and again in March, April and some of May 2021 we seemed safe. Yet, with vaccinations rolling out far too slowly and cases and deaths continuing to rise dramatically, it’s hard to know exactly when South Africa or even the whole world will put this pandemic behind us. 

But a virus can’t stop love. Enter phase 2: As new couples get engaged and as rescheduled weddings now face constraints it’s difficult to decide what to do. Should you elope? Should you host a small gathering? Should you wait for everyone to be vaccinated? Is it responsible to go on a honeymoon? Couples are now facing options that look nothing like their Pinterest boards. Vendors, such as venues, DJs, caterers, and florists, have evolved their businesses, too. Today’s contracts almost always include language about cancellations and rescheduling, and sometimes its COVID specific, and rightly so.

Is to read the contracts! This is a reality in life, but it is especially important while planning a wedding during a pandemic. It is imperative to know what the cancellation and rescheduling policy is, when you must make the decision, and whether your deposit will transfer over to the new date. Also ask if there are restrictions on the new date; some vendors let you reschedule only if it’s within a specific time frame.

Ensure that there is flexibility with what a rescheduled wedding could look like. Can you apply your deposit to any future event? Whether that’s a 12-person brunch or an 80-person dinner. Not being locked into the original plan allows you to do what feels right in the moment. 

Our second bit of advice is to be aware of what communication patterns to expect.  Many wedding vendors, like coordinators, have been hit hard by the pandemic and may be working limited hours. Some are down to 20 hours per week. It’s a good idea to ask all your vendors involved in your planning, what response times you can expect so you limit frustration down the line.

Also, get ready to put that Zoom or Teams experience to work. Most vendors are not taking in person meetings right now. Gather images that you can send to your vendors of what you are aiming at achieving. 

Fall in love with your backup plan. The most popular one by far is to host a small ceremony on the original date you planned and then celebrate with a larger party on the weekend of your first anniversary. There are some perks to a small wedding, and it is fun to focus on those instead of only seeing it as a disappointment. Besides, think about it, you get to wear your beautiful gown again!