May 12, 2020

Postponing your wedding? Dreams can still come true

Postponing your wedding, or considering it? Dreams can still come true! Here is my monthly update to couples.  No hype, just facts.

I hope you and your families are all well and staying safe.  David and I are fine, staying out of everyone’s way and missing grandchildren (and our children).

The garden has never looked so good. The house has never been as clean. The food has been fabulous. I’ve been on a diet (15kg down – a miracle!)  It’s is all about having time on our hands.  Lucky. And not so lucky.

Since my last missive, 100,000 ceremonies in the UK have been postponed to 2021.  In terms of my business, half a dozen more ceremonies have been moved to next year since last I wrote.  The uncertainty remains about when and how do you make a decision.  I am tending toward the thought that it is better for you to feel in control of what you can control than experiencing the outcomes of everyone else’s action (or inaction).

Those  of you who have weddings in June, July and beyond will be making your decisions based on the COVID alert level diminishing over time in order for your ceremony to go ahead. Please bear in mind that when you can go ahead, ceremonies are very likely to be socially distanced events, where guests numbers will be limited and guests possibly restricted to household groups at the venue.  Bear in mind too that those officiating – whether it’s a celebrant, a vicar or a priest – are not immune to infection so even if you want a small ceremony and a smaller number of guests, as advised by our insurers and professional bodies, it will be socially distanced and although we will work hard to create the intimacy of a small event (and small can be exquisite) it will be harder to do this whilst maintaining a 2m distance.

Following the PM’s briefing on Sunday, which actually told us very little, I have spoken with loads of my ‘wedding community’ suppliers and collated some information which I’m setting out here.  I’d suggest you keep an eye on my Instagram page @dawnthecelebrant and Facebook business page https://www.facebook.com/Dawncelebrant/where I post regular updates, plus the blog page on my website.  Websites like www.randfweddings.co.uk   www.hitched.co.uk and www.guidesforbrides.co.uk  are reliable sources of information too. 

First: availability from August 2020.  The following dates are booked although these entirely depend upon Government guidance allowing us to go ahead.  Other dates not mentioned are available to you, you just need to let me know! If you are planning to postpone your 2020 wedding please bear these dates in mind when re-booking with venues.

2020

August 21, August 22, 29,

September 5, 19

October 11, 24

2021

March 7, 27

April 16, 17, 18

May 15, 16, 26

June 11, 19, 21

July 17, 24 (tbc)

August 7, 14, 20, 28

September 17

What is the Government saying right now?

Like all social events, weddings were halted by the Government when lockdown restrictions came into force on 23 March.

New guidance published by the Government says it intends to enable small ceremonies to take place in England from 1 June.  (Note this says ‘intends’ not ‘will’.)

The coronavirus recovery strategy, published on Monday, sets out what is possible now and what may be possible in the future, and includes a timetable on lifting restrictions step by step.

Under step two – to be made no earlier than 1 June –officials are “examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups to better facilitate small weddings”.

Places of worship and Register Offices are likely to be closed until 4 July at the earliest and this rule is entirely dependent on whether they can adequately enforce social distancing measures.

Before this, the Church of England imposed a rule of allowing a maximum of five people, including the bride and groom, to help to contain the pandemic.

Options?

It appears possible that small ceremonies might be able to go ahead from as early as 1st June 2020 with larger affairs from 4th July. All this is dependent upon the state of the nation in terms of CV19. Here and abroad. Bear in mind that for those of you living abroad or whose guests will be arriving from abroad, a 14-day quarantine period will apply in the UK on arrival.

Carry on regardless, postpone or cancel? 

If your wedding is planned for this summer, most of you have already crossed the Rubicon and decided that it will not be the day you have dreamed of. When the COVID Alert Level has fallen then ceremonies may well be able to go ahead again. For those with June, July and August wedding dates, it might be possible to go ahead with a very small or socially distanced wedding. If that’s not what you want then speak with your venue and your suppliers asap. 

Please do think about who you really want to be there and whether those people might currently be shielding, or self-isolating.

Be careful what words you use when talking with suppliers.  Cancelling could mean you lose your deposits. Postponement gives you more leeway with your suppliers. So always use the word ‘postponement’. However if the venue or supplier cancels you should be entitled to a refund of anything you have paid.  

Bear in mind that your suppliers are having a tough time too, and venues in particular might have already paid out to other suppliers in advance of your original date.  Their insurance is unlikely to cover Covid19 either.

Check your insurance detail

If you are unhappy with the response from suppliers, contact the Competitions and Markets Authority which has contacted all wedding venues and is investigating some unfair practice at the moment https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wedding-and-event-venue-providers-letter-from-the-cma-on-contract-terms

So far so depressing then?

It is not all depressing.  That element of time that I mentioned earlier has meant for some couples that not only have they changed their date but they have also changed their minds about a number of things – number of guests, type of ceremony, readings, music.

One couple have decided to reverse their entrance so that she is waiting for him rather than the other way round.

Another couple are now going to have a glamping week end rather than a high-end venue.

Another have changed their vows to include an ‘ask’ as well as a promise.  This means that during your vows you can ask your partner for something you might need help with during your marriage.  It is a sort of ‘reality bell’, an “I’m not perfect and might need you to support me with this” which is really rather touching, I think.  Think about it, if you are writing your own vows.

Another couple, who are musicians, have commissioned some friends to compose and play something for them; something that was on their minds before but the timescale and rehearsal opportunities were challenging.

Another couple have decided that this year they will concentrate on their garden and sow plants and seeds so that next year they can have their own flowers from their own garden at their ceremony and in the bouquets.  Perfect!

I hope this has been helpful to you.  I am so, so sorry that your plans and your excitement are so compromised at the moment.  All I can say is “talk to me”, tell me how I can help, use me as a sounding board, and be hopeful. Hopeful that this thing passes, that we will all have learned more tolerance, received more love and found joy in smaller things that we might previously have thought insignificant.

With my love and best wishes to you all,