After the President’s address, let’s consider our obligations and approach to all weddings in South Africa during the Coronavirus
If you’re currently engaged and planning your wedding in South Africa, this read is for you. It’s important to consider our President’s national address and how his points about the Coronavirus in South Africa has impacted all wedding plans. Now, it is perfectly OK to feel overwhelmed. However, it is safe to say that most of the world is edgy – as countries, governments and communities respond and prepare for the impact of the Coronavirus in South Africa. Globally, we see that many businesses and schools are shutting down temporarily, or are creating a work-from-home option. The President’s recent address to our nation has played a large impact on wedding venues, with immediate effect and instant intervention. This was followed by the cabinet’s discussion which shed more light and clarification thereafter, which has exposed light for us to understand how weddings in South Africa during the Coronavirus are directly impacted.
Yesterday the precursor article to this article did inform that as an engaged couple were generally in a space to decide if your wedding in South Africa was to progress or be postponed. This is no longer a question choosing to keep your scheduled wedding OR to postpone it. The decision is no longer in anyone’s hands, as we abide by the public national address. President Ramaphosa has made it very clear of the ratios permitted at public gatherings, as well as travel restrictions or bans – among many of the interventions to respond to Coronavirus in South Africa. These factors do impact wedding plans, for everyone. We explore each of these variables. We’re here to help you decide what’s best for most weddings in South Africa amid the Coronavirus.
This article is a continuation of the article published yesterday, since new information has emerged.
How has our Government responded to the Coronavirus in South Africa?
President Ramaphosa addressed the nation of South Africa during the evening of 15 March 2020. On 16 March 2020 the cabinet shed more light and answered further questions about the Coronavirus in South Africa. South Africa is placed in a ‘State of Disaster’. We have received many interventions and strategies from the government in relation to all operations. This article will be focused mainly on how these legal strategies and obligations will affect the wedding industry, in particular, yes, your wedding. These consequences have impacted how weddings in South Africa during the Coronavirus will be progressing for at least 28 days.
This article intends to empower Brides and Grooms with the most recent information released and how weddings in South Africa during the Coronavirus are impacted:
Precisely, the President has instructed many interventions. We will try deliberate in more detail for you specifically related to the wedding industry and the Coronavirus in South Africa:
ONE. No public gatherings may have more than 100 people. In other words, public gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited. Understandable, this ban is to be in effect immediately and until the 14 April 2020. We understand that once schools re-open after the Easter Weekend that the hosting of weddings and events with more than 100 people will be permitted.
TWO. All non-essential international and local travel should be avoided. Travellers from high risk countries will not be allowed to enter South Africa.
These decisions by our President shows forethought and insight into the current global situations. It is secure and stable belief that this 28-day consideration will substantially decrease the infection rate within South Africa and ultimately SAVE lives. This is a fixed strategy in which the South African government has given us to work with.
Wedding venues are prohibited to have more than 100 people at a public gathering. So, how have wedding venues responded to accommodate weddings in South Africa during the Coronavirus?
Most wedding venues have reacted to the President’s announcement through an intervention of mostly one of the following:
ONE. Closed their doors to weddings and events for the duration of 18 March 2020 – 14 April 2020 as a response to the Coronavirus in South Africa.
A comment from Inimitable states: “We feel morally and legally obliged to take the President’s guidelines seriously and to follow the State of Disaster Laws.” Venues that have temporarily closed their doors will look at their weddings and events to being postponed to a later date.
TWO. Other venues have opted to postpone scheduled weddings and events with MORE than 100 people between 18 March 2020 – 14 April 2020, also as a response to the Coronavirus in South Africa. So to say, these wedding venues will still go ahead with their weddings and events with less than 100 people at the public gathering. These venues have mostly however implemented extreme care with sanitisation and hygiene practice.
Comment from Oakfield Farm states: “Numbers will be restricted to remain within the government requirements for the period 16/03/2020-14/04/2020. Our hygiene measures and regulations always been of a high standard and we have implemented additional measures for our staff, valued clients and guests.”
What to do?
If you have not yet received communication from your wedding venue, enquire immediately. Make alternative arrangements and also explore how to proceed forwards. At the end of the day, we are all in this together – every country and every person. Coronavirus is a global pandemic.
Therefore, if your scheduled wedding is LESS than 100 people, you could go ahead with your wedding if your venue permits:
Social adjustments will need to be made as this is now a legal requirement. Here are 19 wedding tips for weddings going ahead as scheduled during the Coronavirus Pandemic:
- All public gatherings in South Africa are restricted to no more than 100 people
- If your wedding is less than 100 people, remember to include for your photographers, videographers, pastor, ushers, and waiters and so on – which will add to your current wedding number allowance of 100 people.
- Encourage your guests to adopt a ‘hygienic hello’. Keep hugging, kissing, and handshaking to a minimum. Guests cannot kiss the bride or groom. Keep social distancing in mind.
- Elegantly place big bottles of hand sanitiser and sanitising wet wipes throughout.
- Consider ways to keep your elderly grandparents slightly more at a social distance from other guests.
Breathe and carry on reading…
- Switch buffet serving menu style to perhaps ala carte or set-plating menu. Even though ala carte menu could be a more costly alternative, it’s still an alternative to having your wedding proceed as mostly planned.
- Ask your wedding suppliers a lot of questions. For example, if the wedding venue is a very busy church that sees to a few weddings in a day, then ask the church what their cleaning procedures looks like. Take care of your guests.
- Coffee stations are a popular current wedding trend. However if someone coughs – yikes! Please avoid the coffee stations for now.
- Opt for food and beverage services where all goodies are served. Prescribe easy health and hygiene practice in all your servings. Your guests should still be able to graze, and feel safe whilst doing it.
- Please, no popular chocolate dipping fountains for now.
Grab a coffee and then carry on reading….
- Create slightly more distance between your guests seated at their tables. A round table usually seats ten guests, possibly set up now for eight guests per table.
- Bartenders wear gloves.
- There is no need to wear face masks at your wedding, just practice good hygiene.
- All wedding helpers, providers and participants to wash their hands thoroughly for at least 30 seconds throughout.
- Replace communal bowls of bar snacks with individual bags.
- Substitute big sized bottles of juice or soda with individual bottles.
- If your wedding is during warmer weather, consider planning it in the outdoors, in an open area. Set up tables and chairs a few feet from each other.
- Ensure your wedding venue is ahead of the toilet paper stock piling rush!
- Check in with your caterer and ask detailed questions on how your caterer has increased and improved their food hygiene practice during Coronavirus.
Take precautions to ensure the safety of you and your guests.
Travel: All non-essential international and local travel should be avoided and travellers from high risk countries will not be allowed to enter South Africa:
The President iterated that all non-essential international and local travel should be avoided. Travelers from high risk countries will not be allowed to enter South Africa. Wedding guests come from abroad or do also travel nationally. This announcement will certainly impact any of your guests intending to attend your wedding. Communicate with your guests and find out their personal agendas and arrangements.
Should most of your wedding guests be located locally, you may not have much cause for concern, if they are willing to drive, instead of fly. If some of your wedding guests cannot attend, this could lead to potentially down-sizing some of your wedding supplier packages. This will help reduce some costs. However, if a larger portion of your guests cannot attend, perhaps consider a smaller wedding now on your scheduled wedding date and then throw the reception party celebration at a later time.
However, if your wedding does fall into the 100 and less bracket, then perhaps your guest number may decrease due to travel restrictions or travel bans. Treat each case individually. Grab a bottle of wine (or 2) with your lifelong-partner-to-be and assess your guest list. Assess how your wedding venue has responded. Then decide on your unique plan of action forwards, together as a couple.
If your already scheduled wedding is MORE than 100 people, and between 18 March 2020 – 14 April 2020, then you are legally obligated and very unfortunately have to postpone your wedding:
This is not an easy motion and in the very least a very emotional affair. Here are some wedding tips to postpone your wedding:
- Educate yourself on the vendor contracts and how they are written. Most venues will include clauses about weather or government issues, however not many have considered a pandemic, which is different. Educate yourself on all your supplier contracts and rescheduling clauses. Make a list of questions for all your wedding suppliers for plans to make your wedding date adjustment work well. Most wedding venues will act with high integrity during something like a Pandemic which cannot be controlled by either venue or bride/groom and simply roll over your wedding date and deposit accordingly.
- If you’ve bought wedding insurance then read the policy terms, conditions and information to understand what is covered and what is not covered. It’s unclear whether wedding insurance companies will cover any event costs if cancelled due to a pandemic. For more information, consult a lawyer who can negotiate on your behalf with your wedding suppliers. Lawyers often can better digest the small print.
- Simply put, with enough planning to reschedule your wedding, venues and suppliers can simply transfer deposits paid and new balances to the postponed wedding date. However this is a very personal consideration from each unique wedding venue. Learn where you stand with your venue and suppliers.
A few more tips to get started on….
- Create a loose backup plan with your suppliers and venue. Ensure of a 30 day trigger date to bring your wedding date forwards, should things clear up fast.
- Connect with your vendors and suppliers as soon as possible to address all areas of your wedding plans. Many venues are already booked in a year in advance, so postponing your wedding date may likely mean postponing to 2021 or 2022. Ask your venue and suppliers a lot of questions! Ask your suppliers what their policy looks like in this instance. Do this soonest so you’re not waiting until 2023 to have your wedding, if spots fill up fast!
- Most importantly, communicate your wedding status updates to your guests.
For your ease of convenience, here is a drafted letter to your wedding guests should you have no option but to postpone your wedding:
“Dear Family and Friends,
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we unfortunately have no option but to postpone our wedding to the nearby future. President Ramaphosa addressed the nation on the 15th March 2020 and announced that any public gatherings over 100 people is prohibited. Our wedding is therefore impacted by this legal requirement and we are obliged to action it accordingly with our wedding venue. It is with a heavy heart that we write to inform you of the impact upon our wedding in South Africa amid the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Your health and well-being is of utmost importance to us. We wanted to let you know soonest, so that you have time to adjust your travel plans accordingly. For sure, we will keep you updated soon with our new wedding date. Having no doubt that when we all come together to celebrate our union of love that we are all going to have the best wedding party festivities and celebration of all times!
Yours in Love.”
A REMINDER for those who are engaged, but not yet decided on your wedding date.
Your weddings in South Africa during the Coronavirus may also be impacted. Seriously consider these few facts which may help you a lot in your future wedding:
1: Wedding Guest Numbers
If you intend to have your wedding in the next few months, consider keeping to the cap of 100 people at your wedding gathering. Designing your guest list is always a HOT topic. It can be a heated debate, discussion or argument amongst most couples trying to keep everyone – in both sets of families and friends happy.
So, this may be a perfect opportunity to minimise wedding guest lists. If asked, say something like: “Unfortunately we are obliged to adhere to the legal requirement which has initiated that all public gatherings over 100 people are prohibited. We regretfully inform that only on this announcement that we are obliged to have our directly line of family and friends attend our wedding.”
2: Book your ideal wedding venue tentatively NOW!
If an engaged couple intends to marry in 2021, at least book a tentative date with the wedding venue of your choice immediately! We know that with so many weddings being postponed that you will need to get a date secured now, to avoid disappointment. The disappointment of having to wait until about 2023 to get married if dates are filling up fast during the impact of postponing weddings. There mostly likely be a long back-log in most wedding venues for the next few months in South Africa. Be smart ahead.
3: Local is Lekker
For sure, local is lekker, so choose a local wedding venue in South Africa to have your wedding in South Africa amid the Coronavirus. In the foreseeable future, international travel or destination weddings may not be the easiest and most convenient solution. Countries will be enforcing their own legal obligations to protect their citizens.
If an engaged couple intends to marry in 2021, at least book a tentative date with the wedding venue of your choice immediately! We know that with so many weddings being postponed that you will need to get a date secured now, to avoid disappointment.
4: Use Technology
Weddings are about bringing people together. This can become tricky during a period of social distances or social limitations. Use technology to help include those who can’t attend your wedding in person. Wedding bridal party participants can read wedding speeches or toasts on live-streaming. Pre-recorded speeches can help too.
5: Wedding shopping from South Africa’s largest online wedding shop
Due to recent announcements, there is a knock-on effect. Our own shop stock may become limited over the next few weeks. We strongly urge to make your purchase from South Africa’s Largest Online Wedding Shop as soon as you can for items you’d like to order for your wedding.
Therefore, there could be a limited production with certain suppliers. Stock (IF) it may only become available again in a few months’ time once the impact of the Coronavirus dissipates. Business is as usual for our whole team and we will deliver to your door within 1-3 days (unless otherwise advised). Please place orders before the items you want are sold to another bridal couple. Stock is currently limited. Don’t say we didn’t tell you in a few weeks’ time, when you desperately begging us for items sold out!
The recently announced international travel restrictions has impacted honeymoon plans. The dollar-rand has also reacted, which may impact the luxury of honeymoon plans.
What to do?
Keep informed on developing travel information of the country of anticipated travel. Follow official authority’s information. Take official travel warnings seriously.
Contemplate purchasing travel insurance plans to protect travel investment in case of cancellation. Even if your honeymoon travel is already booked, check if travel insurance can still be added to the whole travel trip. Double check how the travel insurance plan will respond to the virus and travel restrictions in your interest.
If the honeymoon is already booked in a location with Coronavirus, then discuss alternative bookings and options with the travel agent or airline. Some major airlines have initiated a grace period to change flights already booked, with no penalty. Each travel itinerary is unique, so chat to the travel agent, airline and hotels.
Honeymoons with international (and now also mostly national) travel are now formally impacted by the Coronavirus. It is safe to say given the President’s announcement to postpone your honeymoon.
6: My Wedding Dress!
Due to a halt in production caused by global quarantines, there could be a shorter supply of wedding dresses available this year. Many bridal designers and boutiques do source some of the dress parts or fabric from China and are seeing delays of wedding dresses already. 80% of Western dresses are made or part of, are made in China. And don’t worry, there is currently NO evidence that the virus is transmitted from soft surfaces like materials to humans. These delays can lead up to an additional 60-120 days lead time of receiving your wedding gown on hand.
The same goes for wedding shoes ordered from abroad, they may not arrive. Make alternatives now to avoid disappointment.
What to do?
Optimally, the best option is to speak directly with the dress or shoe designer to try get an idea of delivery time frames.
Look at alternatives if your wedding dress production will be effected by these time delays. Perhaps consider cancelling that particular wedding dress and find something off the current wedding shop racks locally.
If you haven’t purchased your wedding dress yet, shortly it’ll be found that options are becoming limited soon. So rather sooner than later, start making arrangements to find the wedding dress of your dreams!
Brides and grooms do not panic!
Some things are absolutely out of our hands. And which we have absolutely no control over. Although the outbreak is beyond words of unfortunate, it is life and we are to deal with it.
Do not panic, and this is said with Great Love. Stressing and freaking-out never helped anyone. Feel the feelings. Wait until you’ve got to the other side of these feelings, before making any big decisions. No one is alone in this uncharted territory. Let us simply adjust and navigate together, as we adapt our lives and weddings in South Africa amid the Coronavirus.
Stay updated about the Coronavirus
Your dedicated informative wedding team are working to stay updated on the best resources for couples. So keep an eye on this article, as we will be updating it as we learn more.
We recommend checking these official resources
- South Africa’s emergency hotline 0800 029 999
- Whatsapp support line 0600 123456 and type hi
- Go to sacoronavirus.co.za
A final note on your wedding in South Africa amid the Coronavirus
In summary, stay safe. Moreover, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and practice social distancing – until otherwise instructed. Stay updated on the current status of things and take care.
Reiterating from our article yesterday, even during uncertainty, we are certain that LOVE remains definite. You will get married, you will have the wedding of your dreams. This is for CERTAIN! It’s extremely unfortunate that the next few weeks will be largely impacted by preventing the spread of the Coronavirus within South Africa, and also globally. We must all stand united.
This is no longer a question choosing to keep your scheduled wedding OR to postpone it. The decision is no longer in anyone’s hands, as we abide by the public national address. President Ramaphosa has made it very clear of the ratios permitted at public gatherings, as well as travel restrictions or bans – among many of the interventions to respond to Coronavirus in South Africa. It is clear, these factors do impact wedding plans, for everyone.
The impact of the government’s decisions taken to lower the curve of the Coronavirus does not lessen your love for one another, or your foreseeable wedding and marriage union.
Your time to have your wedding will definitely STILL come. Have faith.
Remember that South Africa’s Largest Online Wedding Shop is business as usual, with deliveries to your door within 1-3 days in South Africa. Stay wedding MOTIVATED and enjoy shopping at South Africa’s Largest Online Wedding Shop for Everything You Need for Before, During, After Your Wedding AND moving ahead with your wedding plans. Come to us for your wedding inspiration. You will have your dream wedding still!
In the end remember, “Love Never Fails” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8).
Read our previous article on the Coronavirus and the impact of it upon weddings in South Africa.
*Note from the Editor: By no means is this article a comprehensively seamless analysis or by any means official information. However this article is merely intended to explore grounding information proposed to sober wedding indecision. This information is accurate to the date of publishing.