Wedding experts say communicate with vendors ahead of time, have backup plan

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Normally more than 20,000 weddings happen every weekend in the U.S. but, of course, these are not normal times. Many couples with upcoming wedding dates are caught in a difficult predicament. They are wondering what to do about their plans: postpone or cancel.

While COVID-19 is getting in the way of timing and details, it is not getting in the way of love and commitment.

Joseph Gualtieri and Mackenzie Waxman were supposed to tie the knot at Water Works in Philadelphia on April 25, but the coronavirus postponed those plans to June 21, then to October.

"It was gut-wrenching and frustrating and sad but we knew that for the safety of our friends and family that we had to," said Waxman.

The couple still marked their original date with a commitment ceremony.

"We wanted to make this day as special as possible knowing it was Mackenzie's grandparents' anniversary," said Gualtieri.

Heather Morrow and Tim Mehl have planned a destination wedding in California for August 5.

"All I can do really, and all I have been doing, is calling the hotel where we're staying. You know, week by week and calling the venue week by week," said Mehl.

Wedding experts said that's exactly what couples should be doing.

"The best piece of advice we can have is to give you some time to talk to vendors ahead of time," said Lauren Kay, executive editor of The Knot. "So, discuss what they could do to change the cadence of your original payment, payment plan, especially if you're planning on going to a later date. Those people are really open to doing this and working with you."

Also, consider and communicate with your guests in advance. If you have a wedding website, provide updates regularly.

"So it's a great idea to have a "Plan B" in place with media virtual elements for the guests who can't make the trip," said Kay.

Also, get a backup officiant.

And like Gualtieri and Waxman, try to focus on the positive.

"The thing that is most important is our commitment to each other," she said.

Also, be aware of the limitations of wedding insurance. Most policies do not protect from situations like a global pandemic.
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