Posted by NJWedding.com on 03/21/2020

5 Tips For Wedding Planning During Coronavirus Outbreak

5 Tips For Wedding Planning During Coronavirus Outbreak

Engaged Couples Get Help From Local Wedding Pros About Impact Of Coronavirus And Postponing Events

On Wednesday, March 18th, an online discussion took place on Facebook between over 150 engaged couples and local wedding industry professionals to find out the impact of the Coronavirus on the planning of weddings and wedding-related events. Questions were asked of brides and grooms-to-be about whether to postpone or cancel wedding plans (and how they're handling it, along with their venue and service providers), as well as specific concerns with the uncertainty of wedding plans, and whether they had any feedback to share with other couples. Local wedding venues and vendors weighed in with their comments and expert advice.

Below are 5 tips generated by the conversation between local couples and wedding pros:

1) If your wedding was supposed to take place within the next 8 weeks, be proactive and contact your venue as soon as possible to find out available wedding dates and reschedule. Many venues are booked well in advance, so finding another date would be on a first-available basis and could stretch into 2021. A suggestion was to consider having your wedding on a weeknight, like Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, which normally are open dates for venues. On weeknights, your wedding vendors would also likely still be available.

2) Check with your travel agent to postpone your honeymoon plans as well (or find out if the airline and any hotels or resorts have a cancelation policy which will provide a refund or credit for future travel and accommodations. Also, did you purchase wedding insurance? While it may cover certain items, it may not specifically cover epidemics or pandemics, so you'll need to ask if a COVID-19 virus cancellation is covered (ask a specialist for details).

3) Reach out to your guests once you have the new date locked in.  Of course, some guests may not be able to attend for logistical reasons, but given the circumstance of this public health crisis, your family and friends will be overjoyed to celebrate with you when the day comes and you'll all be together. You may also want to create a "Change The Date" card and/or email to alert them ahead of time of your new plans, or event create a Facebook group or event with updates.

4) Getting married on your original planned wedding date was initially an idea suggested by wedding professionals, however the timing and ability to carry out that opportunity may have passed. With the mandate for all essential businesses being closed by the State of New Jersey, many, if not all, municipalities have closed the township clerk or registrar's office, so couples won't be able to obtain their marriage licenses.  If you already have registered for your marriage license, then according to state guidelines, it is valid for up to six months (unless the registrar has given prior approval to extend the validity of the application to a maximum of one year). For additional information, visit https://www.njwedding.com/marriage or call the NJ State Office of Vital Statistics and Registry at (609) 292-4087.

5) Is a refund from the venue or vendor expected if you decide to cancel your wedding? The answer is, "it depends," but more likely the answer is "no." When you booked your wedding reception and/or professionals, you reserved their services for a certain day and signed an agreement that covered the services you would expect and the payment terms. Review your contracts with each service to understand their policy. While they understand completely that you have had to change your plans in an immediate crisis situation, they are here to accommodate your needs and reschedule your plans. A deposit usually covers many operating expenses for their business including equipment, marketing, communication and advice, owner and employee compensation, supplies, business / health insurance and general working capital. If they were to return all deposits as refunds, they wouldn't be able to operate their business (and there was a good reason why you hired or booked them in the first place).

With around 50,000 marriages per year in the State of New Jersey (source: New Jersey Department of Health, Center for Health Statistics), marriages are celebrated in various ways, large and small. For engaged couples, there are many components to planning a wedding, and when it all comes together, they breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate with family and friends. From the recent online discussions, it's evident that couples can ask for help from wedding venues and service providers. Vendors can ask for help from other vendors to accommodate a client's request. We're all in this together, and this pandemic is an unfortunate crisis which has to be mitigated first in order for people to get healthy. This is a heart-breaking situation, since so much planning has gone into a milestone life event. Just think of the celebrations everyone will have when this is resolved!

- Erik Kent, Co-Publisher, NJWedding.com, (908) 874-0417

P.S. Please feel free to call (908) 874-0417 or email (info@njwedding.com) with any feedback. Your input is always welcome and encouraged. Thank you also for posting / sharing!

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Additional Resources: New Jersey Weddings! Facebook Group
View Posts & Comments from 3/18 Facebook Event: For Engaged Couples: Weddings & Coronavirus Online Discussion.

Thanks to Marie Danielle Vil Young, owner of A Votre Service Events in Somerville (and State Manager for the Association of Bridal Consultants - NJ) and Mike Walter, owner of Elite Entertainment in Tinton Falls for being co-hosts, along with the brides and grooms-to-be who participated asking important questions and local wedding industry professionals who provided direct and helpful answers about help with wedding planning and other concerns during this difficult time.

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