Who would have thought that 2020 would be the year that the world would experience a global pandemic?
In just a few short weeks, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) changed everything. Now many of the countries of the world are on lockdown, governments are ordering citizens to stay home and self-quarantine and social distancing has become the new phrase on everyone's lips.
For engaged couples planning to get married this year and go on their honeymoon, the coronavirus certainly throws a major monkey wrench into the planning of the big day. While it's understandable that couples would want to press forward with their nuptials no matter what, the health and safety of your wedding guests — and yourselves — should take precedence.
So how should couples navigate love in the time of coronavirus? Should you postpone the wedding due to coronavirus? Here's what you need to know about how COVID-19 is affecting weddings and honeymoons and what you can do now to prepare.
Travel restrictions and advisories
The coronavirus outbreak is truly a global pandemic. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), countries on every continent have reported coronavirus cases, and while there are a few countries in Africa, Asia and the far northern countries in North America that have not seen a case just yet, it's safe to say that most countries are using travel restrictions and advisories to stop the spread of the disease.
Every country has responded a little differently to the coronavirus outbreak, and their responses could affect both your wedding and your honeymoon.
- Can be spread through respiratory droplets, such as when someone coughs or sneezes and spreads the germs
- Takes up to two weeks to show symptoms on an infected person, all while they may be spreading it to other people
- Infects about 2.3 people for every primary infection, which means if you have it, then you will spread it to about two people
- Is more likely to be fatal to people in their 70s, 80s and above.
When deciding whether to postpone your wedding or honeymoon due to coronavirus, it's important to know what may be at stake for you and your wedding guests. If you don't know much about the virus, head to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Q&A page on the virus.
This will help you better understand why these travel restrictions and advisories may be in place.
How coronavirus has affected countries around the world
In many countries, the coronavirus threat has forced countries to close bars and restaurants, cancel school and, in more extreme cases, completely lock down.
Here's an overview of how just a few countries have responded to the pandemic:
- The European Union has banned all non-essential travel between member states in an effort to slow the spread of the virus for 30 days. Spain and Italy have imposed a lockdown on their people, and France has banned all social gatherings, including family events such as weddings.
- The U.S. has banned travel between China and the U.S., and travel between Europe and the U.S. has been restricted for 30 days. Within the U.S., states have restricted social gatherings, closed bars and restaurants to dine-in customers and canceled schools for two weeks, sometimes longer. In fact, the CDC is advising against gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks.
- Australia announced a level four travel warning, advising people not to travel overseas at all. This is the highest level warning, and it states that those who choose to travel will put their health at safety at extreme risk.
Create your rainy day fund now. Start your registry
Many other countries have announced plans similar to those listed here, and the restrictions could affect both your honeymoon and your wedding.
How to stay on top of travel advisories
Because the coronavirus threat remains ongoing and ever-changing, many of these travel restrictions and advisories could change quickly. At this point, it seems that many countries are limiting travel and imposing restrictions on gatherings for anywhere between two weeks or 30 days. Though it may be difficult and frustrating, we have to take the pandemic week to week.
It can be tough to stay on top of all these travel restrictions and advisories, so here are a few tips to make your wedding and honeymoon planning a little easier.
- Follow this updated list from the New York Times on coronavirus travel restrictions and advisories. Countries all over the world have been included. If you're planning to travel out of your home country for your honeymoon, this is a great list to consult
- Research your honeymoon destination's government websites. These sites will keep you updated on any outbreak news or restrictions that may be imposed. Get familiar with these sites to help you better predict when travel restrictions may be lifted
- Start following government accounts on social media. The WHO, CDC and many other government entities have their own Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts. If something major breaks, these accounts will usually post updated
- Subscribe to daily newsletters from your preferred news outlets. Many are taking their coronavirus coverage out from behind their paywalls, so you can access their content without paying for it
- Work with a travel agent, if you haven't booked your honeymoon just yet. Travel agents book flights and accommodations across the world, and their knowledge and expertise of where to find travel information could be valuable.
Remember, your health and safety and that of your partner and wedding guests should matter above all. It can be frustrating to have to think about postponing your wedding or honeymoon due to the coronavirus pandemic, but in some instances, you may not have much of a choice. The best thing you can do is to keep yourself informed and ready to make tough decisions.
Should I postpone my wedding due to coronavirus?
This is a tough question to answer. Like many couples, you and your partner have poured months into planning this big day. You've written checks to caterers, DJs and photographers, and by now, your investment in your wedding is sizable. The last thing you want to do is postpone your wedding and risk losing what you have.
One of the major problems that comes with postponing your wedding due to coronavirus is that you'll be fighting with every other couple to get another weekend that works for your location and all of your vendors. Your vendors have other weddings and events planned for upcoming weekends, and it may not be possible for them to fit in your wedding. This can be tricky for couples to balance, and you may lose deposits with vendors who can't make your new date.
Deciding whether to postpone your wedding due to coronavirus isn't an easy choice. Here's how to think through this decision carefully and with compassion for your guests and vendors.
What factors to consider
The first thing to consider is when your wedding is taking place. Any couple planning to get married in the next two months should think seriously about postponing the event. Travel restrictions may still be in place as well as restrictions limiting the number of people allowed to gather.
Weddings held later this year may be harder to judge whether they should be postponed due to coronavirus. Couples hosting June, July, August and September weddings should be in contact with their vendors and guests, keeping them updated on whether the wedding date has been moved.
If possible, you may speak to your vendors about other possible dates later in the year, just to be on the safe side. Couples with weddings even later in the year can sit tight for now, but it's probably worth reaching out to your vendors now to touch base and see what they're planning.
Experts also don't know what the state of the pandemic will look like in two months. There's a chance that countries like Spain and Italy could lift their lockdowns, but it's also possible that case numbers could grow exponentially. If the number of cases continues to rise, then restrictions will likely stay in place.
Couples also need to consider their guest's lists as they decide whether to postpone their weddings due to coronavirus. Older adults, those 60 years old and above, are most at risk of dying from coronavirus, but anyone with a compromised immune system could also be at risk.
Even if everyone in your wedding party seems healthy and your guests have indicated that they are coronavirus-free, it's often not enough to guarantee safety. Coronavirus can infect a person and not produce any symptoms for up to 14 days, and for every one person infected, about 2.3 people will become infected from them. Just one infected wedding party member could accidentally spread coronavirus to your grandmother or immunocompromised cousin.
Weddings should be a time of joy and celebration, and nothing will dampen that celebration more than learning afterwards that a loved one caught coronavirus at your wedding.
What precautions to take
More than ever, communication matters most as you consider postponing your wedding due to coronavirus.
When thinking about precautions to take in postponing your wedding due to coronavirus, couples should consider:
- Yourselves and who they could pass the virus to in the future
- Your guests, especially those who are elderly or immunocompromised
- Your guests' families who may be elderly or immunocompromised
- Your vendors and their families.
Create your rainy day fund now. Start your registry
Remember, just because you don't have anyone immunocompromised on your guest list doesn't mean you can't spread the virus to them.
Your first phone call should be to all of your vendors. With so many countries banning gatherings of 50 or more people (with some now 10 or more people), wedding venues may be forced to cancel weddings. Your photographer may be in close contact with someone who is immunocompromised, and he or she won't want to risk the health of their loved one. You won't know until you call, so speak with all of your vendors and ask about their short-term and long-term plans.
Next, think about your guest list. One of the more difficult aspects of coronavirus is that its incubation can last for up to two weeks before showing symptoms. While everyone may look healthy now, it's quite possible that a wedding guest could be infected and not know it yet.
Large social gatherings may be banned, but you might still have some options. Some couples are downsizing their guest lists and having intimate weddings in backyards or family homes. For couples who planned to get married between March and May 2020, this is a great alternative.
Though it may be tough to narrow down the guest list to under 50 people, many people may not feel comfortable being out and about just yet, especially if they're in regular contact with those most at risk, and others may not want to risk the travel. If you worry about leaving people out, you could set up a video feed on Skype or even Facebook and designate someone to be your informal videographer. Those who can't make the ceremony can still watch it live.
If your wedding guest list is small enough and you have enough room at a family member's home, then you could throw your wedding and reception all in one place. This may take some careful coordination, and you should check with your caterer, photographer and DJ to make sure they're comfortable with this arrangement — remember, they have family members that they want to protect from coronavirus too.
You, of course, don't have to have a full reception just yet. You could always do the ceremony now and plan a big celebration later in the year or even next year. If you've already put down deposits with a caterer or DJ, then you can just change the date, not the vendors. You won't lose your deposit, and you can still plan a great party to celebrate your love.
What should I know about coronavirus and my honeymoon
Coronavirus is disrupting far more than just weddings. Couples who have been dreaming of their perfect honeymoon for months are finding themselves at a loss for what to do. Many of the travel bans and restrictions have halted travel between countries, such as the U.S. and Europe and even between European Union member states.
But as with your wedding, you do have options when it comes to your honeymoon and your honeymoon fund. With some careful planning, you can still make the most of your honeymoon.
When to consider postponing the trip
Above all, you and your partner's health and safety should be your top priority. If you planned to go on your honeymoon between March and May 2020, then you should seriously consider postponing it. Depending on where you planned to go, you may not have a choice.
If you planned to go on your honeymoon later this year, then you should hold off buying tickets and booking hotels. At this point, experts don't know how long the pandemic will last or how long social distancing will be necessary to slow down the disease. Remember, it can take up to two weeks after contact for a person to show symptoms of coronavirus, which means he or she could unknowingly spread it to others. The more social distancing we're able to do, the better chance we have of flatlining the disease.
For those still in the early stages of planning their honeymoons, consider waiting to book any accommodations. Hotels may be closing down, and they may not be certain exactly when they'll open again. If possible, choose a domestic location over an international destination. Travel restrictions may stay in place for longer than 30 days, but we just don't know at this point. You don't want to lose a sizable amount of money on airfare when you're unable to travel to your destination, so consider a city or region in your own country that you've yet to explore.
All couples, regardless of when they're planning their honeymoon, should keep up with the news and stay informed. The more you know, the more informed decision you and your partner can make regarding your honeymoon.
What precautions to take
When you're planning your dream honeymoon, you might want to throw caution to the wind and embark on the trip you and your partner have been planning all along. But nowadays, there's a lot more to consider when planning a honeymoon.
Here are a few precautions to take if you do plan to take a honeymoon later this year:
- Invest in travel insurance. Pay a little extra now so you can get your investment back if you need to cancel flights or accommodations
- Ensure your health insurance covers you while you're traveling, especially if it's outside the country. If you should get sick in a foreign country, you want to make sure you can be treated and afford to pay for it. Coronavirus can lead to hospitalization so read up on your destination's healthcare system to know what to expect
- Consider your chain of contact. If you were to travel somewhere, contract coronavirus and bring it home, who would be at risk? Are you in close contact with anyone elderly or immunocompromised? What about the families of those you do come into close contact with?
- Think through worst-case scenarios. What happens if the country you visit closes its borders and you can't get a flight home in time? Can you afford to be stuck abroad for an extended period of time? What if you have to be quarantined for some time when you return?
Converting your honeymoon fund to a home buying or baby fund
If you and your partner built an amazing honeymoon fund and have been getting gifts from family members and friends, then you may be at a loss about what to do if you've postponed your honeymoon. Luckily, with Hitchd, you can easily convert your honeymoon fund into a home-buying fund.
Like honeymoon funds, home buying funds offer couples the help needed to raise money for a down payment on their dream homes. Traditionally, most homebuyers pay 20% of the cost of the home at closing time, but that can be a significant burden for couples today, especially for those balancing student loan debt or smaller paychecks as they start their careers. Owning a home can help ensure financial stability, and your wedding guests can help you build that dream with a home buying fund.
Rather than ask for honeymoon gifts such as dinners and activities, instead, you might ask for contributions to your down payment or even a furniture or yard fund. As with a honeymoon fund, make each gift fun and personal. Post photos of the furniture you want to buy or flowers you want to plant in your garden. The more your wedding guests can visualize what they're giving, the more excited they'll be about their gift.
Some couples who really know what they want even convert their honeymoon funds into baby funds. If you and your partner plan to start a family right away, this can be a fun way to get started. You may not be ready to ask for specific gifts just yet — especially if you plan to move before you have a baby — but building a fund to help pay for doctor's appointments or even a few baby essentials would go a long way to help your growing family.
The great thing about a honeymoon fund is that couples have full control to change it on a whim — and that's essential in these difficult times. If your honeymoon needs to be canceled, you and your partner can still use the funds for a different purpose or hold onto them until you're ready to travel.
More than anything, don't take chances on your health or the health of your loved ones. The global coronavirus pandemic won't be going away any time soon, so use this time to plan your honeymoon carefully. With a honeymoon fund, you can plan it just the way you want it.
Create your rainy day fund now. Start your registry
Looking for the #1 way to fund your honeymoon?
Hitchd is a new type of honeymoon registry that helps fund your adventure of a lifetime. Think of us as your very own wishing well, Kickstarter, and travel planner, all rolled into one beautiful experience.