Covid 19 is on everyone’s minds right now. You’re probably reading this in sweats while in self isolation with your partner. If you’re planning your wedding in Toronto for 2020 your concerns have shifted from what your mother in law will wear to if you’ll need to hand out medical masks at the ceremony. You’re getting calls from your guests wondering if your wedding is still a going ahead. It’s added stress you didn’t anticipate. Your focus is, deciding what’s best for you and your guests’ health and marrying the person you love. While you might be tempted to cry into a tub of ice cream things are not as bleak as they may seem. Pass the spoon and let me share my tips on how to plan your Toronto wedding during the Corona virus pandemic.

Should I postpone my wedding?

Things are changing quickly with the COVID 19. Currently, weddings with five or under are allowed (April 1, 2020), but that could change. It’s best to start deciding whether or not you should postpone your wedding about 1.5-2 months beforehand. Based on the latest information, the Corona virus doesn’t do well in heat which could mean summer wedding dates are safe. If you are thinking of postponing your Toronto wedding decide together what’s safe for you and your guests.

Then review all of your agreements with each vendor to see what their policies are for postponing or cancelling. Contact them, given the current state of affairs most vendors will be more flexible. Often they won’t charge you a fee to move your wedding to a later date this year (2020).

The first vendor you’ll need to consult with is your venue or your wedding planner. If you don’t have a planner it’s a good idea to hire a professional. Given these exceptional circumstances you’ll want someone who knows how to handle just about anything. Hiring an experienced wedding planner means someone will be advocating for you and thinking 10 steps ahead. They will also be the point of contact for your vendors. Wedding insurance might be in your best interest as well.

Your venue will let you know what your options are and remaining dates available for this year. They’ll also let you know if there are any fees for changing the date.

If you are postponing your wedding to the following year (2021) be prepared for your wedding vendors to add a fee or change the current payment schedule. Why is there a fee? Every year the cost of business raises (rent, contractors, products, services etc). These fees/changes are meant to cover the cost of running a business. For some vendors, they may have already purchased things for your wedding and are now having to pay those fees out of pocket. For many in the events industry moved wedding dates will take a big hit on their businesses. They’re simply trying to stay afloat so they still have a business next year. They all want to keep doing what they love and providing the service you want for your wedding.

Make your Vendors part of the conversation

We all want to continue working with you to make your wedding special. You chose us and we chose you. If you decide to postpone your wedding share the dates you are looking at with your vendors. By now weekend dates in the summer and fall may no longer be available.

This year all the social norms of having events only on the weekends will change. Be open minded. Consider having your wedding on a weekday or during the fall/winter. You won’t be the only one getting married on a Thursday or in November. Having photographed a number of weekday weddings myself they aren’t much different from a weekend wedding. There are always guests who leave early before the dance floor opens. Those guests were always going to leave early whether it was a Tuesday or a Saturday. Guests who want to cut a rug with you will stay late and wear sunglasses to work the next morning.

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Should I postpone or cancel?

Let your vendors know what your game plan is; what dates are you considering? Are they available for the new date? Before booking your new date make sure all of your vendors are onboard so you don’t accidentally cancel them. To clarify, postponing means your wedding is still going forward on another date so you can still work together. Cancelling means your contract with that vendor is over. Many vendors including myself do not allow refunds. Reason being, your retainer/deposit secured your wedding date so no other clients could book that day. Personally, I take a limited amount of bookings each year so each of my couples receives the attention they deserve.

This is why it’s in your best interest to choose a weekday in 2020 for your wedding. Having all your vendors transition to the new date is easier and less costly than searching for new ones.

If one or more of your vendors isn’t available for the new date it’s possible you could lose your retainer/deposit. Right now, vendors are working hard to come up with alternative solutions for their clients. This may mean having someone else work in place of them under their business or transitioning your deposit/retainer to use for a different occasion. For instance if your Photographer isn’t available, their Associate, with similar talents, could photograph your wedding. Your Photographer would still edit the photos so they would have the same look and feel you fell in love with.

If you need replacements ask your favourite, most trusted vendors who they recommend. Who’s services do they swear by? Maybe they know someone you hadn’t thought of, but is exactly what you’re looking for. They have the most insight into the industry and know who you’d jive well with.

Your Back up Plan

Being open and flexible is the new motto. Your wedding might change from a large guest count of 300 to an intimate wedding with 15 of your nearest and dearest. The silver lining could be having a much less costly wedding and a fantastic honeymoon.

Having one or two back up plans is a good idea as things are constantly changing.

What if we can’t get married?

If the COVID 19 continues to be a problem and weddings are not allowed you can still get married. Consider having an elopement. You can hire an officiant to marry you almost anywhere. Do you have a favourite park? A place where the two of you love to spend time or maybe the comfort of your own home. Your wedding dress and/or suit can still get worn. Your Photographer can still document your vows. Your loved ones can see you get married. Your wedding date can still be your wedding day. Maybe the big celebration will be delayed, but the promise of forever doesn’t have to be.

How do I let my guests know of changes?

The best way to keep guests in the know is by having a wedding website and an email list. Emailing your guests changes and having one place where they can find all the info is key. Some websites have the option of sending guests messages as well.

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Conversations will not be cancelled.

Relationships will not be cancelled.

Love will not be cancelled.

Songs will not be cancelled.

Reading will not be cancelled.

Self-care will not be cancelled.

Hope will not be cancelled.

May we lean into the good stuff that remains.

Written by Jamie Tworkowski

Time to get Zen

There’s a whole lot going on now that you can’t control. None of us can foresee the future or know for certain when this Corona virus pandemic will be over. Don’t let that stop you from planning your wedding. You can still book your vendors. You can decide on color palettes, outfits, decor etc. You can also choose to do none of that and scale back to an intimate wedding or elopement.

You have the gift of time now so use it to get into a positive mindset. Your health has never been more important. Relax, take deep breaths. Focus on the good things around you and give gratitude for them. Other things you can do: meditate, 5 min journal, join an online work out class, Facetime/Zoom your friends. Above all treat yourself and your partner well. Things are going to get easier in time. Get those endorphins going and you’ll start to feel more positive about the outcome.

Remember we are all in this together. We all want you to have the wedding of your dreams. If you have questions or comments reach out. Sending you all big virtual hugs.

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