This feature will remain at the top of the blog during the Coronavirus outbreak & will be regularly updated. Please scroll down for new content.
Just when we thought we were over the dark storms that 2020 had to throw at us, it’s gone and served up a hugely unsettling obstruction in the form of Coronavirus (COVID-19), affecting both the wedding industry and our day to day lives in ways we would have never imagined.
I’m sure many of us would currently welcome back Dennis, Ciara… and their mates (!) with open arms rather than endure just one more day of this gloomy unknown, fear and panic, that the worldwide pandemic has brought upon us.
However, we see little point in wishing for the past… or even dwelling on the present; for what we all need to do is weather the turbulence together, pull tighter as a team and focus on the better times to come. So, if the quick-paced spread of this disease can bring about anything positive, let it be a resurgence in strong community spirit and an innate drive to want to help others, which is exactly what we will be aiming to do through this feature.
As well as addressing the current situation for brides and grooms, we’ll be detailing the steps we are taking to assist, reassure and inform those currently planning their big day, whilst explaining how we will be standing shoulder to shoulder with our fellow industry professionals as we continue to champion and support the outstanding and hugely talented supplier community across the North.
Feature last updated 24/03/2020
WHAT YOU CAN DO
It’s with sad hearts that we strongly suggest this course of action, but in light of the government’s enforcement of a tighter lockdown on 23rd March, couples who were due to marry in the next three weeks will have to cancel their wedding, and we would also urge anyone else with a wedding booked between now and at least June to do the same.
As a platform for celebrating and empowering those getting married this is very much not the advice we would want to have to give, but with wedding venues instructed to close at present, it’s the sensible course of action to take.
The sooner you act, the sooner you can sort everything out and focus on a new date when you can have that wedding that you have worked for, meticulously planned and dreamt of. To help navigate you on this unexpected path we have listed the following steps to take in moving your big day, and would reiterate once more to postpone rather than cancel wherever possible.
Communication is going to be key in each step of the process. The first port of call is your wedding insurance company to inform them that you intend to postpone your wedding and to find out exactly what your policy does – and does not – cover you for. Study your documents carefully, including the small print, regarding venue cancellations, spread of infectious disease and government lockdown.
Many insurers are being proactive in making such information readily available on their website and with the government’s official announcement that weddings must not take place during the tighter lockdown, this will now mean that the necessary cover will kick in on some policies. Your insurer will be able to advise you on your individual policy though as well as highlight any excess that needs to be paid.
Next, contact your venue to discuss both their position and your plans to postpone. Ask if they know what month they will begin to host weddings again, and what dates are available for you to move your celebrations to.
If you are holding the ceremony and receptions at different venues i.e. a church ceremony and hotel reception, then you will need to be in contact with both establishments and to work together to find a replacement date that is doable for both, as well as you as a couple and your key guests.
If you hit a hurdle, take a minute to pause, breathe and consider an alternative solution to the issue being faced. Perhaps you have guests travelling from overseas and don’t know when travel bans around the world will be lifted. Though upsetting, if they aren’t in your inner circle of family and friends, could you potentially go ahead without them on the guest list and live stream the ceremony to them so they will still feel part of the proceedings?
The case might be that you a struggling to find a mutually agreeable date for both the ceremony and reception venue, or the registrar. If so, is there scope to split your celebrations into two – perhaps hold a small ceremony on one date for close friends and family followed up by a meal at your favourite restaurant, then host a bigger party to celebrate with your wider guest list at a later date?
Another alternative could be to have a small legal ceremony at a local registry office and then hire a celebrant to conduct a personal and bespoke service for the ‘main’ celebrations at your reception venue. This was an option our Features Editor Rachel chose for her big day last May – and you can read more about her celebrant ceremony and how this worked here.
Finally, you may have always dreamt of a summer Saturday wedding, but please do consider agreeing to a week day or different season if it’s available and a date that you feel your key guests will be able to make. Just like a home, what makes a wedding is the people; and so it’s far more important that your celebratory squad are there to party with you than the slight inconvenience of asking that they take a day’s annual leave to attend.
You will also want to quickly contact all the suppliers that you have booked for your big day so far.
If you have a couple of date options to postpone to, initially go down your list of suppliers to see who can and can’t make which. If, in a stroke of luck, all are available for one of the dates, great! If not, look at who you feel you really want to lock in for your new date and who you feel could potentially replace.
When contacting suppliers remember to be kind – we are all in this together and maintaining relationships will help things to run more smoothly. It could be that if a supplier can’t make your new date you may lose your deposit, but they may be able to recommend a fellow supplier with a similar approach and style who can still achieve what you had initially planned/hoped for. Everyone is juggling to keep as many couples as happy as possible, just as you are juggling your own dates and priorities.
Finally, if you’ve not done so already, adding a professional videographer to your list of suppliers would ensure that if any of your guests are unable to make the your postponed wedding date, they too can still experience the day through the live footage, complete with real time emotions, voices and expressions.
Once you have checked your closest guests can make the postponed date, as well as your A-team of suppliers, confirm and secure the date with your venue.
Next, be sure to update your wedding insurance provider on the new date, or to take out a new policy if needed, to provide security and peace of mind for your future plans.
Ask yourself if there is anyone else you need to update or rearrange with – accommodation you planned to stay at the night before or after the wedding? Do you need to contact the registry office to change your Notice of Marriage? Was a friend or relative going to be assisting in a certain area, such a baking the cake or playing the guitar at your drinks reception, and if so, can they still do so?
Then make sure to contact your wider guestlist to let them know of the change of date and to establish what sort of numbers you will now be looking at. It might just be a call, text or email for now, then you can arrange confirming the full details at a later point when you’ve had chance to catch your breath.
This is undoubtedly a worrying, stressful and challenging time but the main source of anxiety for many is uncertainty coupled with scaremongering by the press. As such, we’d encourage you to stay as calm as possible and to look to reliable and regularly updated sources for information regarding the spread of the virus and the official current course of action.
If you have a wedding booked in the next few months, having a clear mind will enable you focus on the above steps, and following the advice and guidance via NHS.uk and GOV.uk will help to keep both you and your loved ones best protected and informed.
Tears will be shed, which we completely understand, but postponing now will lessen the anxiety you are currently experiencing and allow you to refocus on the positives to come.
In the meantime, try to keep some perspective on the situation – this Corona chaos will come to an end and you will still have that amazing big day, albeit slightly later than you had originally planned, whilst keeping your nearest and dearest (and the wider community) safe too.
WHAT WE CAN DO
We too have been knocked sideways by the news but practising what we preach, we have been quick to react to ensure we can continue to inspire and inform you, our readers, on all things weddings, through the Brides Up North blog, our glossy biannual wedding magazine UNVEILED and, of course, our line-up of epic wedding shows across the North.
PROTECT WEDDING SHOWS
Yes, this beast of a pandemic has rocked us… but it won’t beat us! Given the current health risks caused by Coronavirus and government advice limiting public gatherings and non-essential contact, we quickly took the positive decision to POSTPONE (#pausedontcancel etc!) our spring wedding shows and make tweaks to our forward calendar as appropriate, with the updated schedule of amazing events we now have instore for 2020 able to view here.
To have cancelled these shows would have impacted both our business and that of the standout venues and suppliers we work with on these hugely popular and successful events. Furthermore, that would be leaving you brides and grooms-to-be without the opportunity to meet and be inspired by a crazily skilful collection of wedding creatives across the North.
So, pause, but don’t skip, as come August we will be bursting back onto the scene to deliver some seriously stylish shows at some super cool venues across the North East, North West and throughout Yorkshire. Good times are still coming. The updated line up will still include our much-loved WEDFEST line-up of festival style wedding shows featuring a host super suppliers exhibiting in the great outdoors via tipis, stretch tents and marquees, plus rocking live music, delicious street food and pop-up bars in the open air. We think we will all be needing an (extra) large Aperol Spritz by that point!
UP THE ANTE ONLINE
We might not be able to bring the pretty to you in person just yet, but we can certainly continue to deliver it to you digitally, using the forced downtime to really polish up our offering.
Our schedule of daily posts will continue to run Monday to Friday on Brides Up North, featuring the lushest real weddings and styled shoots to give you plenty of ideas and inspo for your own big day plans. Furthermore, there will be expert supplier posts spotlighting the North’s top suppliers as well as valuable advice features covering everything from the budget, dress shopping and honeymoon ideas through to newlyweds’ top tips. This will all be in addition to our WHITEBOOK directory, which we are working hard behind the scenes to polish and further build into a veritable bible of Northern supplier contacts. A few months from now, you’ll be readier to create your dream day than ever before (and it will be all the more special for it).
The captivating content will continue over on the digital platform for our glossy bridal magazine UNVEILED, as we recap romantic real weddings and chic, fashion-forward in-house shoots from past and present issues whilst also bringing you exciting extra inspo too.
And we’ve not even got onto our social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – where we will be continuing to share our blog content and daily musings whilst keeping you abreast of any further development of the COVID-19 outbreak that could cause further disruption in the industry. Meanwhile, without our physical shows we will be showing some serious supplier love on these channels too, showcasing those who support us across our events and online to keep you connected to this wonderful community of professionals.
ARM YOU WITH PLANNING ESSENTIALS
Issue 14 of our luxury wedding magazine UNVEILED, is hot off the press and available to buy via the newsstands at WHSmith, WHSmith Travel and independent retailers as well as being available to be ordered direct to your door – click here.
We are still taking orders for our print edition which will be dispatched immediately upon lockdown being lifted.
In the meantime, you can also read the full issue in all it’s lovely online via The App Store (just search “UNVEILED Magazine”). Click here to get our amazing app… hours of scrolling guaranteed.
The latest issue – The Indie Edit – shines the spotlight on epic independent wedding creatives and venues across the North whilst delivering the very latest in bridal fashion trends from the hottest national and international designers. As our biggest edition to date, there are a massive 324 pages of truly inspiring and informative content to pore over that will have you enthusing over every element of your big day planning.
Our online WHITEBOOK directories on both Brides Up North and UNVEILED can further assist you on your supplier search, giving you an insight into the skills, services and approach of top creatives and venues to help you find that perfect match for your unique plans and personalities.
Endless attire and styling inspiration can be found via our bountiful Pinterest boards, covering everything from themes and colour schemes to details, dresses and beauty.
Finally, our private Facebook group provides a secure and inclusive place for engaged couples and newlyweds to voice their thoughts, seek advice and share their experiences which really is priceless at this present time.
WHAT WE CAN ALL DO
TAKE A BREAK
Thanks to the press, rumours and misinformation, fear appears to be spreading faster than the virus itself, and so while we encourage you to remain updated on developments it’s also super important to take a break from the heavy and somewhat suffocating stream of negative news activity.
Take your own pace down a notch and invest in some ‘me time’ – escape to the outdoors, lose yourself in a book or indulge in a relaxing bath. Keep talking too: your partner, friends and family will want to support and help in anyway they can at this time so don’t bottle things up or feel like you have to take everything on yourself.
SHOW SOME LOVE
Social media may have got a bad rap recently, but this strange scenario provides an opportunity to show how it can be used for good.
As mentioned, we will be showing suppliers and venues some SERIOUS love via our social channels (watch out for our #spreadlove hashtag campaign over on Instagram) and you too can do the same; whether it be sharing an example of great service you have received at these challenging times, supporting fellow engaged couples on their pursuit to the perfect day or liking, sharing and following suppliers’ channels to spread word virtually.
Meanwhile, those in the midst of planning a wedding further into the future can continue with the organisation and booking to help keep the wedding industry cogs turning. Don’t think that everything has ground to a halt… as it hasn’t. You can research suppliers, venues and boutiques, and access inspiration online and via print publications.
And let’s not forget the power of Skype – meaning that you can still freely interact with suppliers. In other cases, samples for certain elements such as stationery and even cake, can be sent in the post, and you can get some of the nitty gritty admin out of the way – we’re talking table plans, budget spreadsheets and the wording for your order of service – leaving more time to relax and enjoy the run up to the big day when our time comes around.
To conclude on perhaps the most important point – you 100% aren’t alone in this and would be doing well to find someone who isn’t affected in some way by this unprecedented situation. As such we must unite and move forward best we can, allowing time to focus on our own woes but being sensitive to those of others too. There are things on the line for all – whether it be weddings, livelihoods or even lives – and so in the current absence of a medical vaccine let’s build up our own resilience to the virus by being collaborative, caring and kind so we can all come out of the eye of the storm even stronger on the other side.
We are here for anyone who needs us – couples and suppliers alike – so feel free to reach out by email, social media or in the comments here (yes, people still do that!) if you need is. We have your backs.
Sending so much love & positive vibes,
Julia, Rachel and the team xxx