Important things to consider when planning your wedding during the coronavirus pandemic

Bride And Groom On Cobbled Sreet

Coronavirus has impacted all of our lives, and has undoubtedly affected events — with many family celebrations and gatherings delayed, scaled-down, or cancelled.

In 2020, over 260,000 weddings were postponed in the UK because of the pandemic, according to Bride Magazine.

Despite some recent positive news and the gradual lifting of restrictions, coronavirus disruptions are likely to continue to impact weddings for the foreseeable future. And that's why you might want to factor in contingencies into your wedding plans.

In this guide, we’ve put together a list of things to keep in mind when planning in the era of ‘COVID weddings’ so that you can still get hitched without a hitch — even in a pandemic.


Keep up to date on what wedding industry experts are saying

As well as staying aware of the government’s latest advice for gatherings, it’s important to listen to industry experts who can explain the specifics surrounding coronavirus wedding rules.

Although, over recent years, couples have started to take more ownership of their weddings by planning the big day themselves, you could  consider hiring a professional wedding planner. If you’re able to afford the option, wedding planners can make considerations that couples planning their wedding alone may not have.

Back in October last year, we spoke to London-based wedding planner Rianna Elizabeth about coronavirus wedding dilemmas. You can read Rianna’s excellent wedding advice in our guide to help you decide what to do about your big day.



Understand the unique challenges you face with planning during a pandemic

Planning a wedding is always hard. But you’ll need to factor in even more elements than usual at the moment.

There will be some challenges that you will have no control over, such as government restrictions on how many people can attend a wedding. But it will be your responsibility to respond to these challenges, such as reducing your guest list and keeping them informed.

The coronavirus pandemic has also put extra emphasis on hygiene. You'll need to be mindful of this when booking your venue.

For example, you’ll want to find out if the venue is COVID-secure and may choose to investigate their hygiene standards more thoroughly than you might have done otherwise.

It's also worth remembering that Wales, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland will all have slightly different rules and procedures surrounding coronavirus. So, make sure you're getting advice relevant to where you're getting married. You will also need to consider where your guests will be travelling from and if different rules will impact them.

And, of course, you may also find wedding planning itself harder during a pandemic if you have to do more of this online and are not able to visit places in persons such as wedding venues. As restrictions ease, it’s worth checking with businesses to see if they can facilitate a visit and what rules you’ll be required to follow.



Consider the safety of your guests

One of the main planning elements that differs from ‘normal’ is that you have to pay extra attention to the safety of your guests.

While you might typically be worried about who will get on with who, you now have to think about keeping your guests safe as well as entertained.  Deciding on wedding seating arrangements are often tricky, and now you need to consider social distancing too.

You may also want to consider whether the guests who matter to you the most will be comfortable mixing with others. If most of your guests would feel more secure attending after they have been vaccinated, you could think about planning your wedding for a later date than first anticipated.

Beyond ensuring that the venue you have chosen is COVID-secure , you’ll also need to consider:

  • Mask wearing - is it still compulsory to wear indoors? Are you recommending guests to wear masks outdoors?
  • Safety measures for arrivals - will guests be taking a test before attending? Will there be temperature checks on arrival? Is there somewhere close by where guests can isolate themselves if necessary?
  • Seating plan - is there enough room to keep those from different households at a safe distance away from each other?
  • Ventilation - is there outdoor space available for your guests? If your wedding is indoors, are you able to leave doors or windows open?
  • Sanitation - will hand sanitiser and handwashing facilities be available for all guests and venue staff?

It’s likely that some of your guests will be nervous about attending, so knowing the answers to these will help to provide reassurance to guests in the build-up to the event. You may even consider sending around an FAQ to your guests before your wedding.

Your chosen wedding venue should be able to help you answer questions like these. For help with what you should find out from your venue about guest safety (and more), visit Here Comes The Guide’s list of COVID-19 questions to ask your wedding venue.



Have multiple contingency plans in place

While so many things remain uncertain, you’ll need to have a contingency plan in place to ensure your special day goes smoothly. Although a ‘Plan B’ or even ‘Plan C’ wedding may not be ideal, putting backup plans together will improve the likelihood that you can still marry your partner on your planned date.

Although planning for different situations can be difficult, having plans mapped out for the perfect scenario, the good scenario, and the worst-case scenario is essential in today's climate.

For example, if your guests are unable to attend, many venues can help you set up streaming links so that your loved ones can still be a part of your special day even if it's different from what you imagined. It’s a good idea to speak to your wedding venue about what they will do if restrictions are imposed so that you’re prepared for any adjustments.


Get the right cover: travel and wedding insurance

Wedding insurance can give you more peace of mind when planning. We all know that travel insurance is important when you’re travelling abroad, but wedding insurance isn’t just for overseas weddings.

Keep in mind that your cover may not protect you against circumstances related to the pandemic, such as the wedding party having to isolate. So, you should check what your insurance covers.

If you’re considering taking out insurance, make sure you read and understand your policy carefully.  If you’re unsure of the terms relating to coronavirus, ask what options are available so that you understand what will happen if you have to cancel for any number of reasons.