COVID 19 AND DESTINATION WEDDINGS
Obviously I want to start out by saying CONGRATULATIONS!!!
In this crazy time, nobody can predict the after effects that the coronavirus pandemic will have on the wedding industry and especially what it means for destination weddings. HOWEVER (hopefully), if you are planning a destination wedding in the post coronavirus world, hopefully this blog will give you a few things to consider.
Firstly, I want to say that this is more centered around planning a wedding from 2021+ onwards, not postponing your wedding preparations during the coronavirus pandemic however there are some things to think about that may also apply to you.
When planning a wedding, there are certain things that you have to take into consideration but when planning a destination wedding, all of a sudden you have the added factor of worrying about things like transporting your wedding dress/suits, ensuring you don’t get sunburn or heat stroke (if your travelling to a hot country) but also sometimes the most stressful, making sure that you or your wedding guests don’t get sick. Usually when we think of getting sick abroad, we think of too many tequilas or dodgy street food, but in a post coronavirus world this may change and you may have to take extra steps when planning your destination wedding.
CHECK YOUR DESTINATION
One of the biggest things you need to consider is where it is you’re planning on jetting off to. Some wedding destinations have already mentioned that they will plan on having more relaxed travel restrictions, and currently as of June 2020 there are talks of air bridges being built between the UK and places like Portugal, Italy, Greece and Turkey which are all popular destination wedding locations with UK wedding couples. An airbridge essentially means that you would not have to quarantine either side of your travelling in either country.
Another thing to consider is where you plan on going, as this will massively impact your travel times, especially if you need to fly long haul to get to your destination. This is definitely something to be mindful of if you’re planning on getting married in early 2021 as the virus may still not have settled down by then in some areas. Travelling to a more remote location, even if it’s the most beautiful place on earth you may be putting yourselves at more of a risk. If your heart is set on a destination wedding then I would definitely recommend staying as local as possible and within the EU until everyone is clearer on what’s going on.
SMALLER GUEST LIST
One thing that we’re already starting to see more of is smaller, more intimate weddings. After the coronavirus passes, I think the reduction in wedding guests due to venue restrictions will really hit destination weddings hard but try not to worry! By considering having a smaller guestlist you are opening yourself up to more possibilities about where you can get married and when.
Ultimately it’s your wedding and only the two of you know what’s best for you both but your guestlist is definitely something to consider and depending on your family and personal circumstances, it may be worth considering a smaller more intimate wedding, which could end up making for a less stressful wedding experience.
HAVE WEDDING AND TRAVEL INSURANCE
This one seems pretty obvious however people still miss it sometimes, but it’s super super important to have travel and wedding insurance when planning a destination wedding.
With your travel/wedding insurance there are some things that your insurance may not cover and some of the coverage and restrictions may have changed recently but you will still get a decent level of cover, wedding insurance is definitely not something you want to leave until the last minute. A lot can happen on a wedding day and even more can happen when you’re getting married abroad so by taking out insurance you are protecting yourselves and your guests.
CHECK HYGIENE/HEALTH RESTRICTIONS
This is a bit of a strange one but it’s worth checking whether you and your wedding guests have to wear any additional clothing/hygiene protection (such as wearing a mask during the wedding ceremony or group photographs) Obviously it’d be a massive bummer if you did have to wear masks during your wedding day, even if it was only for a small portion of the day, but I think that it’s a case of being safe rather than sorry, especially at a big gathering with all of your family and friends.
While masks would definitely make your photos a bit different and add an extra unique quirk to your family photos, it’s not every couple’s ideal situation. So, if the thought of wearing masks on your wedding day is something that’s really off-putting to you, depending on the conditions and your personal circumstances it maybe consider pushing the wedding back slightly or looking at ways that you can socially distance people more so that you may not have to wear masks. Obviously neither of these things are ideal and they could not apply in months to come but it’s definitely something to consider.
One of the first things I’d recommend is to properly research the legal documents and requirements that you need to marry in that country. These can vary from country to country and can also change depending on whether one of you is a citizen of that country or not. So I would always allow extra time to collect any of the required documents and set time aside before the actual wedding to attend any legal meetings needed before the wedding date
Another thing to consider is that on top of your regular wedding planning depending on where you get married is your general well being. As a part of regular pre wedding traditions for non-natives, some countries will also make you have a physical health check (even some including blood tests) before the wedding, obviously this has been a thing since before coronavirus so it’s nothing to worry about but it’s something to bear in mind.
COORDINATION AND PLANNING
A lot of couples tend to like to go and see their wedding venue in person before booking, which is always a good idea! Depending on the destination country that you’ve chosen to get married in, this may or may not be possible right now.
You may be able to view the venue via a virtual tour or a video consultation but it may not be possible to go out and visit the venue in person like you like you would normally before getting married there.
Do not underestimate the helpfulness of a wedding planner or coordinator. Even better if they’re a wedding planner with destination wedding experience because they are really clued up on these sorts of things, and they have a better knowledge of what it means to plan a wedding when in another country, also if they are located in the country you want to marry in, they can usually help with local suppliers if there is a language barrier. Also if you’re not familiar with the area, it can make planning the decor and styling a bit difficult so this is another thing your wedding coordinator can help with.
Also another thing to consider is if you’re getting married earlier in 2021 and restrictions still are not completely lifted or are limited is how to source your wedding suppliers and whether to hire local suppliers or fly them in. One supplier/genre that could be difficult to source is a hair/makeup artist/beauty industry as there are variables in different countries on whether or not they can work right now as they can’t always socially distance, however, this is changing every day and will all depend on the circumstances.
When wedding dress and suit shopping for a destination wedding, you still want to go for something lighter and airy and easy to travel with. Trust me you do not need a full skirt and full length suit for a beach wedding in Turkey.
One thing that may have changed when wedding dress shopping is the amount of people you’re allowed to bring with you at your appointments so one thing that may be worth considering is setting up a zoom or facetime call with your closest friends so that you can show them options whilst trying them on.
ALL IN ALL
These are completely unconventional circumstances and out of everyone’s control, so there is a lot to think about but ultimately try and stay calm and plan as normal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your family and friends and if you do find yourself thinking of changing your wedding plans, sit down together and have a chat and try and be honest with yourselves. Involve your suppliers as we’re here to help you, and as we’ve said throughout the whole pandemic, it’s better to postpone your wedding rather than cancel and this goes for destination weddings too.
In the meantime I will try and keep this blog as up-to-date and accurate as physically possible but as always, make sure that you are checking the World Health Organisation website and your Government website as well as the countries website that you’re thinking of travelling to.
Stay safe lovelies, and if you need a EU destination wedding photographer drop me a message