Man, I never thought in a million years, or my wildest dreams that I would be here to tell you how to plan a wedding through a worldwide pandemic!
Lets begin discussing how we are all VERY aware, in March we had a thirty day stay at home order as of 2/2/2020. I am here to explain to you how my client – photography relationship has been since. I have photographed more than ever. LOVE IS NOT CANCELLED. I have shot and booked more than I have yet in my career, and I don’t plan to stop. Weddings are still happening, shoots are still happening and they probably won’t be stopping. Now more than ever, I believe people want photos since it’s all we have to show people what we are up to etc. Read below some tips for navigating through this new lifestyle. Hello 2020!
Here are some tips that you might find helpful on how to plan your 2020 wedding during COVID-19:
What it’s been like for client – photographer (or any vendor)
I have continued to wear a mask throughout to stay healthy for my family first, and of course my couples. I have not relaxed about this one bit. During sessions, since it’s outside, I usually don’t wear a mask, but I keep it on me. Events, I wear it the entire time. I noticed at events guests wear masks to the ceremony unsure what to expect. Then come reception, they are off. I think people are just acting as they are at restaurants. At restaurants, we are told to keep them on till seated. They do that at events too. The issue is, they never come back on (blame the alcohol haha?). I say it’s an issue since this is a pandemic still, it hasn’t gone anywhere. I think people are just excited and want to show their hair and makeup etc. That is fine. So I would maybe consider telling guests to not bother unless of course they have health issues and they have to. What I wish people knew, was I really feel guests should wear a mask through the buffet. We (I am not a Dr but I will try) are prone to getting this virus through putting our hands to our face. So I really feel if guests would wear a mask specifically through the buffet, it would greatly reduce the chance of coming in any sort of contact with germs. I personally do not eat if there is a buffet. I have been asking my couples to have the catering co get me a boxed meal, but the reality is.. the catering is just too busy. So, I have been choosing to bring meal bars for if they don’t. Please do not worry about me with this. I have all my life to eat a good meal. I would much MUCH rather be healthy for my family and every future person I have plans to photograph.
What if I (Josie) gets sick??
I will let you know asap and find a shooter for you. Just like anything, it’s a risk of course. If in any event I cannot, I will find you a backup or I will 100% refund your money (it’s in the contract). But again, I am taking extreme precautions in order to significantly reduce exposure. We do not go out to eat and we also don’t go anywhere without a mask. I also take daily vitamin B and C.
A weekday and Sunday are GREAT options to a lot of vendors. We don’t usually book those days. Also don’t feel you have to jump and get a planner; I am here to help if you need me. And most importantly, involve every vendor for your dates up in the air. We don’t want you losing money anywhere. This is why I am thinking a weekday or Sunday might be in our best interest. Check my available dates here.
Please know that I will NOT be charging a reschedule fee and, I want you to have first dibs on dates before new couples come in. Believe it or not, couples are still booking maybe now more than I am used to seeing. They are home and have all the time to plan it all. So, lets get you a plan B date that we can pencil in, so I don’t book it. YOU have first PRIORITY.
What will family and friends think
If your guests knew what you were going through, and I imagine they do.. they will be very understanding if we had to do a different date and I am sure most will make it. I found some good email tips for couples to send out and will link it here.
Consider having an elopement ceremony and then a reception later in the year
There is the ability to just begin to accept things and not wait them out. If you are ready to get married and have waited all year, I get it. My gift to you is I will not charge extra for you to have two dates. We do this by breaking your hours paid for, up into two. We would do 2 hours elopement, the rest for the celebration at a later date with your guests. We can do an elopement with under 10 guests and then do the reception with all the people later in the fall. I am sure your family and friends would be happy to take an afternoon or morning off of work to celebrate with you.
If eloping or reducing your guest count, consider adding video!
We can add on video and just do the four of us plus video for your guests to watch! Bahia Films – click here to see our last wedding together for a 2 hour period of video. Justin, Rebeca and I work together often. We can add them in for $200-300, I think this is a great option. They have a drone so it would be cool. The timeline would be 15-20 min ceremony, then the rest of the 2 hour coverage for couples portraits. My fav. So, lots and LOTS of footage to share! Also, see if your makeup team can do your hair and makeup trial on this day, as opposed to another.
If canceling crossed your mind
I really really try to stay clear of the C word, no one likes to hear it. But to avoid this possibly uncomfortable future conversation, I want you to refer to the contract. Retainers are not refunded, instead I will be giving you that credit towards a new date if that is the route we took. Even if it’s just for future sessions and not the event. I am here for you.
Wondering if we are booking new weddings
Absolutely. I am taking things day by day and am optimistic! I truly believe everything will be okay. If we have a hiccup, we will work on that later down the road.
What I am doing to stay healthy
I have been careful since March 14 which was my last wedding. I took this thing seriously on that day. It was just coming out and getting bad. I was worried at the wedding, but I didn’t let it stop me. So, know if we are able to do this at a sooner date with under 10 people, I will be there, and I will wear a mask if I have to.
We wish the absolute best to you and your fiancé and please reach out if you want to chat more about this or just have more questions (even if you’re not our client!). We’d love to help in any way if we can!
Some helpful resources to keep updated or educated on COVID-19
Virtual hugs XOXO,