COVID-19 Information for Current and Prospective Weddings
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption to every aspect of our lives, and certainly weddings have been severely affected. Here is how Michael Caswell Photography is handling this issue.
For Currently Booked Weddings
Almost all of my weddings from mid March through July have postponed. Though my contracts with these couples do not explicitly address a scenario of this nature, I (like most in the New Orleans wedding industry) am being flexible making accommodations to the best of my ability, by way of offering a penalty-free date change as long as the date selected is one that I am available for.
So, as I have stressed to these couples via direct communication, it is of the utmost importance that they coordinate with me to find a suitable date, and not commit to a new date with the venue before confirming that I am available. Couples are encouraged to consider non-Saturdays, in order to increase their chances of finding a date for which all or most of their booked vendors are available.
Alternatives to Postponing
Some of my mid-2020 couples are, rather than planning on postponing, instead opting for a reduced guest list to comply with the limits that are currently being imposed on event venues. These limits are typically based on a percentage of the space's full capacity in order to accommodate proper social distancing practices, along with other guidelines such as having only people of the same household seated together per table.
Another popular option, for those who don't want to wait, is to have an intimate ceremony on the original date with just immediate family in attendance, and reschedule the reception for a later date. And if your wedding is planned to take place in a large church, you may actually be able accommodate most or all of your anticipated guest list for the ceremony while still complying with occupancy and spacing restrictions.
For Prospective Weddings
There is understandably some concern among couples who are planning their wedding for later this year or early next year. Will all this be over by then? No one wants to put their lives and plans on hold indefinitely for this, but we still have to acknowledge that it's certainly possible that this could last a little longer than expected, and have contingency plans in mind just in case.
Though, again, I am voluntarily accommodating my current couples with penalty-free date changes, as an extra reassurance for couples who are booking me now, I am including a clause in these contracts that specifically spells out this policy.
Another option for couples who don't want to wait to get married is to, as some currently booked couples are doing, arrange to have a very small ceremony soon (or, for church weddings, one with a larger guest count that still complies with the guidelines), while scheduling the big reception for next year.