Here at i-do.com.au, we're so used to writing to you about flowers, venues, menus, honeymoons, speeches, gowns, tips and trends, we feel wholly unprepared to write to you about what to do if a virus takes out your wedding.

But here we are. So, we've tossed aside our pinned pages on the usual wedding inspo and done some research to help answer some of your most pressing questions.

Hopefully it'll help you make a plan to move forward in these unprecedented times. And while our hearts ache for the couples having to delay their big day - trust us, we know how many hours, weeks and months go into preparing the perfect celebration - we've heard from many brides-to-be who understand that wellbeing of their nearest and dearest has to come first, and who would rather say 'I do' during happier, healthier times.

We're also acutely aware of the devastating impact the current climate is having on the small businesses (often sole traders) who are the lifeblood of the local wedding industry, so we've included a few simple suggestions couples might want to try to show their support...if you can...

1. What are the new gathering and wedding restrictions as of 1 June 2020?

Although the size of a wedding has doubled it's still going to be a quiet affair. You can only have up to 10 guests plus the people conducting or assisting in the conduct of the service, a photographer, a videographer, and the couple. This applies to NSW, SA, VIC, QLD.  WA can have up to 30 people attending a wedding, however you must be outside. Great for some, not so great for most. 

For more information on travel restrictions and weddings and events restrictions in your state, visit the following :

Victoria wedding restrictions and advice

NSW wedding restictions and advice

Queensland wedding restrictions and advice

ACT wedding restrictions and advice

South Australia wedding restictions and advice

WA wedding restictions and advice

NT wedding restictions and advice

2. What are the new gathering restrictions as of Wednesday 1 April 2020?

At this stage, weddings scheduled between April and September can proceed, with a maximum of five attendees - including the bride, the groom, the minister, priest or celebrant, plus two witnesses.

In addition, you'll need to allow four square metres per person, which means a minimum room/area of 20 square metres - so be sure to check with your intended venue, and please undertake every measure you can to reduce the rate of transmission.

wedding restrictions and coronavirus COVID-19

3. When will the ban on larger gatherings end?

While we'd love to be the only one with the answer, sadly, we're not. The government has indicated current restrictions on gatherings, including weddings, will be in place for 'at least six months', and while there are plenty of 'what if' scenarios floating about - and we'd all love the optimists forecasting a speedy end to this pandemic to be right - all we can suggest at this stage is to follow government advice

The forthcoming spring season is really tricky territory, so if you're booked in October or November, maybe consider making a back-up plan in case the five-person wedding rule is extended (boy do we hope that doesn't happen), so you know whether you'll proceed with a small gathering or look to reschedule in the worst case scenario of an extended ban coming into place at the last minute.

4. What are my rights if I've had to cancel our wedding?

Unfortunately, this is where things can get confusing and the most sensible place to start is by talking to your venue and vendors directly.

Ultimately, whether or not you're entitled to a refund of money paid depends on the terms and conditions of your booking with individual venues/vendors.

In light of these exceptional circumstances, the ACCC has encouraged all service providers to treat consumers fairly, and we suggest you contact your venue and vendors directly to see whether they're prepared to offer a refund or an alternative, such as a credit for a future date.

For information on postponed or cancelled travel, travel issues for your wedding guests, wedding insurance and more, click here for the latest on your consumer rights during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. 

5. What if my wedding is booked between April and September?

That depends whether or not you plan to proceed.

If you'd like to go ahead and comply with the new restrictions, first contact your venue and vendors to check they're still open for business and happy to accommodate you according to the new rules, after all, they may be in close contact with elderly relatives or others at high-risk. Assuming they're happy to proceed, it's worth confirming what precautions they'll put in place to protect you and your (very few) guests.

Another option is to livestream your small ceremony for five via House Party or Zoom - and send a 'save the date' for a post-pandemic party or formal reception at a later date.

6. I want to postpone my wedding. How do I approach my wedding venue and vendors?

If you'd prefer to postpone, we recommend asking your venue and vendors for a number of potential dates beyond October so you can try to find one that'll suit both your venue and your key suppliers - such as your photographer, florist, cars, musicians, etc.

This is no easy feat, so our advice is to consider a weekday wedding. This has a number of benefits: chances are you can get hitched sooner (and does a Thursday wedding in November follow-up Friday brunch sound so bad?), your venue and vendors can earn some much needed income in 2020, and if you're looking at 2021 and beyond, you'll increase the chance of securing a date which works for all of your chosen services and suppliers.

We suggest creating a spreadsheet to note the availability of each to help identify a date that works for all - or at least most.

Do remember though, that if you've received a credit for a future date from one of your vendors and you choose a date when they're not available (because other vendors are), you're unlikely to get your deposit back, unless you can come to an agreement.

7. Planning a wedding in 2021?

Firstly, congratulations. Secondly, at this point in time, there's no reason to believe you shouldn't be able to proceed, so we're advising couples to carry on planning.

One thing to bear in mind is the act venues and vendors are likely to be extra busy next year trying to accommodate six months' worth of rescheduled weddings, so if you see a venue or vendor you love - make a booking!

8. How can you help?

If you're coping with the fact you've had to change your plans and you're in a position to help (not everybody will be), then here a few simple suggestions.

Wedding vendors are in desperate need of business right now, so if you know anyone who can hire them for other services - family portraits, birthday flowers, catering for a romantic dinner for two - then please pass on their details.

If you're in a financial position to do so, and you have a wedding after October 2020, offering to pay in instalments between now and then is a great idea to boost cashflow for businesses enduring trying times.

To err on the safe side, and support local industry. it's a good idea to buy as many of your wedding goods and services locally as you can over the next six to 12 months - whether that's your dress, flowers, decorations...or your wedding destination.

None of us knows how long it may take for supply chains to be running smoothly again from various countries overseas, so the more you buy locally, the less potential risk you're taking on.

9. What is i-do.com.au doing to help the industry?

COVID-19 coronavirus and weddings

Brides and grooms, wedding venues, vendors and honeymoon hotpots are our everything here at i-do.com.au, and we're working hard to do our bit for businesses hitting hard times, beginning with not charging nor chasing advertising fees for the next six months - or as long as it takes - for clients who are struggling.

If you don't already advertise with i-do.com.au we are offering free ad packages for the next 6 months. Go to advertise.i-do.com.au and follow the COVID-19 wedding support links more information.

10. The final word - weddings still make our world go around.

While the current crisis is impacting our industry, and our beloved vendors, brides and grooms, in ways we could never have imagined, love (and weddings) still make our world go around. Hopefully yours too.

And even though plans may have been thrown into utter disarray, you will still get to say 'I do'.

It might be on a different day, or in a different way, but we've already been humbled by the way venues, vendors and couples are coming together in this weird new world to prove that love truly does conquer all.

For more information on coronavirus COVID-19 written by scientists and doctors go to mydr.com.au/coronavirus

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