With wedding season fast approaching and the world battling Covid-19, many of you will be questioning whether your upcoming wedding will be cancelled or postponed. Cathy Howes looks at the issues surrounding rescheduling your big day
“…And we’ll stop all social events, including weddings….” It was the phrase many brides-to-be were dreading, and it was delivered to the nation on 23 March by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. So what now for hundreds of engaged couples who were planning to get married in 2020?
So, will your wedding be cancelled because of coronavirus? For some couples, postponement is inevitable, especially if the big day is abroad and/or imminent. And with no timeframe on restrictions for large gatherings (at the time of writing), summer wedding dates may not go ahead. Not least because elderly and vulnerable guests could be isolated under the 12-week shielding guidance that the government has released.
Wedding insurance and Covid-19
Does having wedding insurance help if my wedding is cancelled because of coronavirus? Unfortunately, no. ‘We don’t cover any claim as a result of any notifiable disease – any disease that is required by law to be reported to government authorities,’ says Dan Clark of The Insurance Emporium.
Dan continues: ‘Covid-19 has officially been registered as a notifiable disease in the UK, so any claim relating to Covid-19 would not be covered by our Wedding Insurance policy. This appears to be standard practice across the insurance industry. We believe we are currently one of the few companies in the UK still issuing new wedding insurance policies, but we are making it transparent at every step of the quotation journey that there is no cover for Covid-19-related claims.’
‘As a result of the recent government restrictions, for any of our affected policyholders who are now required to rearrange their wedding, we are offering to extend their policy, to cover the rearranged wedding, at no additional cost to them. Our wedding policies cover weddings up to two years in advance. Should this initial two-year time period be exceeded by up to three months, we will amend the policy free of charge.’
Will you postpone your wedding?
Sophie Kirk and her fiancé, Tinashe, were due to marry at High Rocks in Tunbridge Wells in mid-May but due to the pandemic, are now looking at a date in mid-September instead. As both work in the NHS, their workloads have been understandably intense over recent weeks; not knowing if their celebration would go ahead was only adding to their stress. ‘We were hoping it would be okay but some of our vendors started contacting us about it and we took the decision to postpone,’ Sophie explains.
‘I’m glad we did it when we did, because lots of couples were trying to push back dates into August, September and October. In fact, the day we are looking at in September was on hold for another couple but then they couldn’t get all their suppliers lined up. You feel bad because you get the day and the other couple doesn’t. I would say, if you can postpone your date, then do it. You don’t want to wait until the last minute and have the decision made for you. The more notice you can give suppliers, the better.’
Emma Putnam was planning to marry fiancé Phil on 4 April but has had to postpone her wedding at Wotton House Country Estate in Dorking until December. ‘It all seemed to unravel really quickly,’ she told us. ‘At the beginning of the month the Government hadn’t said too much, but within one weekend everything just became much more serious.
We made the decision to rearrange on 16 March, the week before the lockdown and, once we did, we just felt so much better. The ‘not knowing’ was causing so much anxiety. We were given the option of anywhere between November and April next year. Our venue was completely booked for Saturdays so we moved it to Friday and, apart from changing the colour scheme, we are fine about that. I’ve been lucky as all my suppliers were really helpful and we had everything rescheduled within about two hours.’
Sadly, the same can’t be said for everyone. ‘I’m in a wedding group on Facebook and it seems to be a 50/50 split between those who have had no hassle rebooking, like me, and others who have found it more difficult,’ says Emma. ‘Some have even been told “no, you can’t have your money back. If you move your date you will lose your deposit”.
Wedding terms and conditions
This is the time to go through any contracts with suppliers and talk to them about your options. ‘We want to reassure our couples not to panic,’ says Julia Gosling of Hand Picked Hotels, which hosts weddings at 19 locations around the UK. ‘With wedding planning typically taking 12-18 months, we build up great friendships with our couples and it is heart-breaking to have to move their special day. Flexibility at a time like this is critical, so we’re offering couples whose weddings we can no longer accommodate the option to move to an available date up until the end of June 2021.’
Flexibility is also the watchword at Iscoyd Park, which touches the borders of north Wales, Shropshire and Cheshire ‘We are putting customers and their experience first and haven’t cancelled any weddings,’ says director Phil Godsal. ‘Instead, we have moved all weddings from now until the end of July to different dates either later in the year or next. We have also contacted couples marrying in August, giving them the option to a second date.
We have told all those who were due to marry in June, July and August that we will keep their original date very much in the diary, in hope that we may be able to celebrate on their original date as planned. Our main priority is our couples getting married here and we are doing everything we can to make this awful situation a little easier for them.’
Having closed their resorts until 15 May 2020 as a result of the travel restrictions, destination wedding specialists Sandals are also working through existing wedding bookings. ‘As we all know, policies are changing fairly regularly as the situation evolves but we are rebooking honeymoons at the moment, starting with those travelling before the 15 May 2020, as a priority,’ they told us. ‘Most couples are rebooking for later in the year or for 2021. Anyone affected is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org as our teams are working through the reservations in date order.’
Honeymoon specialists Turquoise Holidays are busy rearranging bookings, too due to coronavirus. ‘For anyone due to travel over the next few months we are postponing and re-arranging free of charge, once couples have set a new date,’ says marketing director Lizzie Jones. ‘We are still making honeymoon bookings, mostly now for late 2020/2021 and offering a fully refundable deposit on new bookings made between now and the end of April.’
For the latest information on coronavirus, please head to gov.uk.
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