How to Plan a Destination Wedding During Covid-19

A bride and groom walking on a European street.

If you were planning a wedding in 2020, it’s safe to say that your plans are currently on hold. This is true no matter where you were in the planning process. Couples who expected to be newlyweds by now have postponed their nuptials. Freshly affianced folk may not even know where to start—especially now that many vendors are closed indefinitely.

Of course, no one’s plans have been stymied quite like those of planning destination weddings. COVID-19 has brought both the wedding and travel industries to a near-screeching halt…so if you’ve been dreaming of a perfect wedding abroad, should you forget about planning right now? Of course not! You just need to remember these tips.

Set Your Priorities

Honestly, this is important advice for every couple, whether or not they’re planning a wedding through a pandemic. There are a lot of decisions that go into your wedding day, and it’s not always possible to get your top choice every single time. This is especially true right now, as many vendors are either closed or dealing with a packed schedule (thanks to countless postponed ceremonies).

Before you start planning your big day, sit down with your sweetheart and figure out which aspects of your wedding are most important to you. Do you want to have a killer DJ? Is incredible catering a must-have? Once you know what matters most to you both, you’ll be able to make sure those needs are met—no matter what.

Watch for Changing Guidelines

A bride and groom at a topical wedding destination.

One of the hardest things about the current health crisis is the uncertainty of it all. We’re constantly learning more about COVID-19, and as we learn more our leaders are adjusting public policy to keep us safe. Unfortunately, all this uncertainty makes it very difficult to plan for the future—particularly future travel.

If you are planning a destination wedding right now, it is CRITICAL that you keep your eye on the guidelines in both your home country and your destination country. Check for changes in travel policies, quarantine requirements for visitors, and everything in between. Most importantly, be prepared to adjust your plans as these guidelines are updated. It’s for your safety!

Talk to Your Vendors and Guests

A bride and groom walking on a tropical beach.

Unless you’re planning to elope (which is always a possibility), your destination wedding will likely involve a few of your nearest and dearest. You were probably expecting to have your parents, your best friends, and a few other loved ones present for your special day. At least, that WAS the plan before COVID-19 upended everyone’s lives.

As you continue planning your destination wedding, check in with your guests and see how they feel about your new wedding plans (the new date, new location, etc.). Be prepared for some guests to back out of the big day. They may be busy on the new date, they may not have the means to travel right now, or they may not feel comfortable traveling while COVID-19 is still a risk. It may be a bummer that they’ll miss your wedding, but remember to be respectful and understanding of your guests’ concerns.

Similarly, you’ll want to continue talking to your vendors as you plan. Their company policies might change as the health crisis progresses, and the more you chat with them, the sooner you’ll be able to adjust your plans accordingly.

Be Flexible

Here’s the reality: right now, none of us know what the world will look like in a month, or three months, or a year. This makes planning a wedding incredibly difficult—which is why if you’re going to try, you need to be flexible.

Accept that your wedding day may not be the day you’ve imagined with the perfect venue, hundreds of friends and family, and an incredible party in a gorgeous tropical location. In fact, your wedding might just be you, your partner, and a livestream on Zoom! But no matter how your wedding day turns out, one thing will always be true: it’s going to be a day you’ll never forget.

As long as you go with the flow, follow safety guidelines, and focus on the positives (you’re still getting married!), planning a wedding AND staying safe during this health crisis is possible.

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