Is there any chance I can still have my big wedding in 2020?
First the bad news: don’t count on it. While social distancing orders are being lifted, there is little reason to expect large events to be permitted any time this year or even early next. However, little reason is not no reason! There are three things that can impact the conditions that might cause restrictions to be further lifted:
Rampant Testing: It’s possible that COVID-19 testing could become so available that large gatherings like weddings could be permitted as long as everybody stops by their local drugs store on their way (or the week of) and gets confirmed negative before attending your wedding.
New Treatment: COVID-19 can have physically devastating long-term effects on people who get it whether they are young or old. You don’t want it! But, treatments are already coming forth that appear to be reducing the fatality rate. If they can reduce the rest of the harmful effects no the body as well, then COVID-19 might slowly become a more “benign” condition that won’t warrant extreme social distancing policies.
Vaccine: Apparently something could be out as early as December, but that’s a far cry and will also take time to produce and administer so a vaccine isn’t too likely to effect anything this year.
When something affects the entire world, there is every reason to expect miracles, or at the very least, the full potential of what humans and science are capable of. However, when it comes to your wedding, the last thing you want is to have your big wedding canceled days before it takes place because another outbreak occurs and social-distancing orders are put back into place.
If you’re engaged and trying to get married, the best thing to do is rethink your strategy and devise a plan that works.
Should I postpone my wedding until 2021 or 2022?
NO. This may surprise you, but we do NOT recommend postponing your wedding until next year or even the year after. The San Francisco Bay Area wedding industry serves over 45k weddings a year with the calendar peaking at 7,200 weddings in August. At least 16k weddings (35% of 2020 weddings) scheduled between March 15th and July 1st will be postponed, and we project that between 24k and 31k weddings scheduled for 2020 will be postponed until 2021 or later.
This is going to cause a FLOOD in 2021 that the industry will not be able to handle. The Bay Area wedding industry goes into surge mode at 6k weddings a month and has a maximum capacity of 7,500 weddings in a month. Even our most conservative estimates project that this capacity will be reached from May-November in 2021 to serve the changing market.
While venues, planners, and photographers normally book up a year or more in advance, you will find that the influx in demand will cause prices to soar and make top-talent almost impossible to hire.
We need to flatten the wedding curve, and to do that we’re going to need to rethink mankind’s oldest tradition.
Must Go On
What events are permitted right now?
Effective July 13th, Santa Clara County’s Public Health Department is permitting weddings to commence with the following conditions:
Weddings must be out-door only
A maximum of 60 attendees at any event. This includes staff and cannot be expanded even in a larger space.
6-feet social distancing at all times is required. This includes the placement of chairs and tables. Attendees can only break the 6-feet of social distancing if they live in the same household, so you cannot put people from different households at the same table. There won’t be any dancing either…
Everyone needs to wear masks at all times (unless they are eating/drinking) and needs to be able to regularly wash their hands.
Attendees must be healthy (not currently sick) and should not attend if they are at high risk for serious illness because of pre-existing conditions
What’s the new trend for 2020 Weddings?
Having your wedding in 2020 is going to be all about changing the resources for your wedding away from planning a large-scale and heavily attended event towards having a smaller ceremony that spares NOTHING on presentation! This is because instead of having a crowd attend your ceremony, you’re going to bring the ceremony to them via pictures and video. Put all of your resources into planning a beautiful, romantic, and symbolic ceremony that you can have photographed and filmed.
We’ll explain what you’re going to do with that footage at the end of this article, but first here is what to do with your budget:
What should I do with my Venue budget?
Slash it. The cost of a venue for your wedding day often makes up 50% or more of your total budget. Most of this cost is because of the resources needed to house your guests. But without a large attendance, this gives you a massive line item on your budget that you can slash and devout to other resources that are now more important.
You still need a location, and outdoor is the way to go. Vineyards, for example, have always been a favorite for weddings, but in 2020 they not only give you the picture-perfect background that you need but are also friendly for any social distancing policies that will be in place.
Shift your venue priorities away from attendance capacity and towards scenery and aesthetic.
Now is the time to haggle. Wedding venue prices are based on demand and the expectation that weddings at luxury locations will be heavily attended. The trend of large-scale weddings being postponed will cause a vacuum at the top of the market that you can take advantage of. Contact locations that were previously out of your budget to see if they have openings and you might find that what would have been a $15-30k+ expense might now be $3-6k.
Weekdays are your friend! With a smaller party consisting of just your closest friends and family, take advantage of weekdays! Everyone can likely take the day off for you, and all of the professional services you need will likely be not only available, but VERY cheap.
Get a cancellation clause. Make sure that whatever contracts you sign, with your venue or with any of your event contractors, that you have a clause guaranteeing a full refund in the event that your wedding has to be completely cancelled due to a coronavirus outbreak and new social-distancing orders.
Insurance policies are no longer offering coverage for COVID-19 cancellations because it is a “known” risk. You can read more information on insurance options HERE.