What is the effect on our wedding in South Africa amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

If currently engaged and planning your wedding in South Africa this year, consider how these uncertainties could effect the big day. Now, it is perfectly ok to feel overwhelmed. 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 pandemic. Globally, we see that many businesses and schools are shutting down temporarily, or are creating a work from home option.  We’re here to help decide what’s best for most weddings in South Africa amid the Coronavirus. This information should contribute in the preparation as much as possible.

Wedding

How has our South African Government responded to the Coronavirus Pandemic?

President Ramaphosa will officially address the nation in the next few hours. It will be interesting to see his reaction and preparation in response for South Africa.  Having witnessed globally how the practice of self-quarantine and self-isolation have grown, travel bans are initiated and governments are initiating legal venue and event capacities. The result is that engaged couples are thinking about the impact on their wedding in South Africa amid the Coronavirus.

This article intends to empower you with information:

  1. If engaged but the wedding date is not yet scheduled OR
  2. To share some tips if the wedding goes ahead as scheduled OR
  3. Tips on how to postpone your scheduled wedding.
Map of South Africa showing Coronavirus update

Map of South Africa showing Coronavirus update as at 14 March 2020, 16h30

Do not Panic!

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 weddings in South Africa amid the Coronavirus.

1. If you’re engaged, but have not decided on your wedding date, consider these few facts:

1:  Local is Lekker   

Destination weddings should expect a dramatically reduced guest list. However, so far we have witnessed in our bridal community that local South African weddings are not being cancelled or postponed. Guest lists may slightly shorten for folk who are travelling from abroad.  This maybe a blessing on your budget, but does hurt the heart that certain folk living abroad who wished could be a part of your wedding day are bounded by travel restrictions. Fore sure, local is lekker, so choose a local wedding venue in South Africa to have your wedding in South Africa amid the Coronavirus.

2: 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.

3:  Buying from South Africa’s largest online wedding shop

Due to recent announcements, there is a knock-on effect and our own 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.  Due to limited production with our 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 now 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!

4: Honeymoon!

Due to the recently announced international travel restrictions, yes honeymoon plans may be impacted. The dollar-rand has been impacted, 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.

5:  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.  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 the wedding gown on hand.  The same goes for wedding shoes ordered from abroad, they may not arrive. Make alternatives 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 very soon. So rather sooner than later, start making arrangements to find the wedding dress of your dreams NOW!

2. Do we proceed or postpone our wedding in South Africa amid the Coronavirus?

As a couple, focus on your solutions and alternatives to having your beautiful wedding in South Africa amid the Coronavirus. Your decisions for your wedding will largely be impacted upon how far you’ve come in your wedding plans and preparation.  You have two options to consider as a couple, namely A. Go ahead as planned OR B. Postpone your wedding:

A. Choose option A: Go ahead with your wedding in South Africa amid the Coronavirus

Even during uncertainty, we are certain that LOVE remains definite.  It’s sensible to assume keeping your wedding as scheduled, but perhaps postponing your honeymoon.  Contemplate what is justly non-negotiable when it comes to your wedding plans. Rescheduling your wedding could feel like a giant game of chess, so don’t make any hasty decisions.

Realistically, assign yourselves to the facts.  Ask your guests to confirm if they are unable to attend.  Many guests do travel from abroad and with consideration to current travel restrictions, this could impact their attendance.  Also consider who is at risk potentially for health reasons.  Start communicating with guests consistently.  Share your updates through social platforms which blast out updates to your loved ones easily and conveniently.  Adjust your guest numbers accordingly thereafter with your wedding venue.

Wedding is as scheduled

Wedding is as scheduled

Wedding plans can stay the same, with exception to some very few minor social adjustments. 

Here are 17 wedding tips for weddings going ahead as scheduled during the Coronavirus Pandemic:

  • 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.
  • 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, breathe 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.

In principle, make the choices right for you as a couple.  Should most wedding guests be located locally, you may not have much cause for concern. If some 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, consider a smaller wedding now on your scheduled wedding date and then throw the reception party celebration at a later time.

Should your wedding be within the next 0-2 months, perhaps only part of your wedding plans could be impacted during your wedding in South Africa amid the Coronavirus. Take precautions to ensure the safety of you and your guests.

B. Choose option B: Postpone your wedding in South Africa amid the Coronavirus

Health and comfort are imperative. Especially for your elderly guests.  If most of your guests cannot attend due to travel restrictions from abroad, then this may lead to making the heart-breaking decision to postpone your wedding to another date.  Should you be certain as a couple to reschedule your wedding due to undesirable effects out of your control then, move quickly with your decision as other engaged couples may be doing the same and dates may be booked up quickly.

Wedding in Italy during Coronavirus

Wedding in Spain during Coronavirus

Here are 8 wedding tips to start working on, if you plan 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.
  • 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 to reschedule your wedding date.
  • Some engaged couples could be expected to pay for everything if choosing to move their wedding date. In this case, consider your advantages and disadvantages that if you postpone your wedding date – you may lose a considerable investment already made into your wedding.
  • 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 individual clause from each unique venue. Learn where you stand with your venue and suppliers.
A few more tips to get started on….
  • Should you opt to reschedule your wedding then 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.
  • A few areas of the country might initiate a legal rule of a limited amount of people who can get together at the same time in an event or venue. Your venue will know their limits.
  • 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.  If you’d like more information, consult a lawyer who can negotiate on your behalf with your wedding suppliers.  Lawyers often can better digest the small print.
  • Most importantly, communicate your wedding status updates to your guests. Guests will have questions such as is your wedding still on?  Is your wedding postponed?  What time are you considering?  When will you let your guests know?  Guest travel from abroad maybe effected by travel bans. Each country of origin is different, so educate yourself uniquely for each guest.  It is imperative as the bridal couple to prevent any panic.

For your ease of convenience, here is a drafted letter to your wedding guests:

Dear Family and Friends.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we unfortunately have no option but to postpone our wedding to the nearby future.  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. We will keep you updated soon with our new wedding date. We have 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.  

Wedding Postponed Due to 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 do highly doubt that we will see any communal weddings in South Africa, as have the Philippines and South Korea during the Pandemic.  The city of Bacolod, Philippines saw 220 couples married in the government-sponsored event.

Wedding in South Korea during Coronavirus

Bulk Communal Weddings in South Korea during Coronavirus

We recommend checking these official resources

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.

Make sure you wash your hands well

Make sure you wash your hands well

In conclusion

Feel empowered with information from this article to make good wedding decisions.  Most certainly, it is absolutely possible to continue to achieve a very successful and happy wedding in South Africa.

Weddings in South Africa are going ahead exactly as planned, just with a few small easy and adaptable social tips during the journey. Weddings in South Africa amid the Coronavirus are still progressing well. To date we’ve witnessed that it is only honeymoons with international travel that are being impacted by the Coronavirus.  Perhaps your honeymoon is something to only consider postponing at this stage.  Communicate, plan, prepare, and stay informed.

South Africa’s Largest Online Wedding Shop is business as usual, with deliveries to your door within 1-3 days.  To ease any boredom during self-isolation or self-quarantine, 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. In the end, “Love Never Fails” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8).

Get wedding inspired by reading Things I Wish I Knew About My Wedding, Before My Wedding

Love Never Fails, Happily Ever After

Love Never Fails, Happily Ever After

*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.