Where there’s a will there’s a way: this awesome couple got around Israel’s current 10-person limit on gatherings by getting married in a supermarket, one of the few spots where more people are permitted to gather! Big props to this duo, whose wedding is featured in all the images in this post, and their photographer, Meir Lavi.
If you’re getting married in the next few weeks, or even months, you’re no doubt consumed with coronavirus wedding concerns.
I know some of you are facing some really tough decisions right now about whether to postpone your weddings, or else potentially face drastically reduced guest lists.
If postponing seems like a good option for you (and only you and your family can decide that – it’s a very personal decision), contact your venue and vendors to see if there is a backup date that works, and find out when you need to make a final decision. Get this in writing and make a note of the date by when you need to make a final decision.
To Postpone or Not to Postpone?
What are some reasons postponing might be especially worth considering?
As of the writing of this post, the latest US guidelines call for avoiding groups of more than 10 people through at least the end of March, with CDC guidelines calling for Americans to cancel or postpone events for more than 50 people through early May. So unless you’re down for a hyper-intimate ceremony (which is an option not to be discounted – see below for more on this), if you’re planning to get married in the US this spring your decision will likely have been made for you.
Same if you’ve been planning a wedding in Italy, where non-essential travel and gatherings of over 100 people are banned at least until April 3 (and likely longer).
If your wedding is set for somewhere with less stringent guidelines at present, you’ll want to consider whether you’ve got lots of guests traveling from abroad, who may very possibly be unable or unwilling to make the trip under the circumstances. You’ll also want to consider elderly, immunocompromised, and otherwise at-risk guests – if you have many on your list, or if their numbers include any VIPs you can’t see yourself getting married without, postponing may be your best bet.
Now and Later
There remains the option to have a small ceremony now – civil and/or religious – and hold the big celebration until things are calmer. This can literally be the two of you, an officiant, and two witnesses, or it can be an intimate gathering of just a handful of your very closest family and friends.
Some of our STG Brides Club members have done exactly this, opting to have a civil wedding followed by a small lunch or dinner now, and a Jewish ceremony at a later date when more guests will be able to celebrate with them. This way, they can still celebrate (and, you know, actually be married!) on their original wedding date. If you go this route, you can even livestream the ceremony to those who can’t attend in person if you like!
Now is the time to think out of the box, and to stay focused on what really matters – like the awesome Israeli couple pictured in the photos throughout this post did.
To get around Israel’s current restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people, they opted to hold their Jewish wedding in a supermarket, one of the few spots where larger crowds are allowed to congregate! Is this the wedding these two thought they’d be having three months ago? Almost certainly not. But is it just as special and beautiful as the most luxe of weddings we see in non-pandemic times? Absolutely.
Assurance via Insurance
If you have insurance, get in touch to find out the exact details of how your policy will (or won’t) function under current circumstances. Depending on the details of your policy, when you purchased it, and the exact reason for you cancellation (it can make a difference whether, say, the venue closes or an immediate family members is sick, vs. if you yourselves make the decision to call things off because long-distance guests won’t be able to make it).
Work with Your Vendors
If postponing is on your radar, check to see which dates are available sooner rather than later, as many future dates will already be on hold. Most venues and vendors are willing to move a date without a financial penalty, but they need lead time.
If your wedding is in the coming weeks, contact your venue and caterers to see if they will consider lowering the minimum spend if you end up with a smaller guest count than originally anticipated.
On the note of catering, you may want to replace buffets or family-style service with individual served portions, and of course have hand sanitizer readily available. If you’re having food stations, consider setting them up so that the catering team serves everything up, to avoid having guests touch the utensils or food. And for your cocktail hour, you might consider having hors d’oeuvres passed on individual plates, rather than having guests pick up their serving from larger plates.
Keeping it Clean
Back to that Purell, though – how about themed hand sanitizers as favors?! Supply issues notwithstanding, you can order adorable customized bottles of the stuff on Etsy – guaranteed to be one wedding favor your guests absolutely won’t toss on the way out!
You may also want to check in with your venue and caterer about any extra cleaning and safety precautions they’ve put in place. It’s also smart to have anything multiple guests are likely to be touching – from the pen for your guest book to the mic you use for speeches to photo booth props and beyond – wiped down regularly throughout the night.
Keep a Social Distance
You may also wish to request that guests skip hugs and handshakes – and you may even want to rethink some Jewish wedding mainstays like Israeli dancing, which calls for holding hands.
Explore live-stream solutions for wedding ceremonies so that guests who can no longer attend still can feel part of it.
Stationery, Kippot, and Swag
If your wedding invitations have already been printed and sent out and the date has now been postponed, you can always create a new paperless invite for the new date. Your stationery vendors may be able to help you customize it to reflect your printed design.
Get wedding kippot and swag made sooner rather than later, to avoid import delays, and don’t print the date on anything!
Keep Your Guests in the Loop
If you’re making any changes to your big day in response to Coronavirus, it’s important to keep you guests in the loop on a timely basis. A wedding website, if you have one, is a great way to do this.
Show Your Vendors Some Love
Last but not least, please remember to be kind to your vendors. Many of these wonderful small business owners are depending on the income from your wedding to support their families and most vendors will happily work with you in choosing another date. A lot of them have been hit really hard by Coronavirus-related cancellations and are going through a very challenging time right now.
The bottom line is, Coronavirus or no, you’re going to have an amazing wedding – even if it may look a little different than it did prior to the pandemic – and we’re here to help ensure that happens. As the Israeli supermarket wedding proves, love can never be canceled.
For More Support and 1:1 Advice on Your Situation
If you’re looking for more guidance on how to handle your particular situation – or if you’d just like some support from others going through the same thing – we’re holding weekly Coronavirus chat sessions on Zoom for members of our STG Brides Club, where you can get 1:1 advice from our founder Karen Cinnamon.
f that sounds like something you could use right now, sign up today – we’re currently offering a free 30-day trial period, so there’s nothing to lose.