Wedding Pandemic Options

This is not a Wedding Planning 101 post I ever foresaw myself writing. I don’t think any of us expected there to be a whole season of weddings so drastically changed by a single event. Nonetheless, here we are. So what are your options? As I’m writing this, I know a lot of you have already made a concrete Plan B, and that’s totally fine. For those of you who haven’t, however, I hope this is some help.

So, what are your options when it comes to planning your wedding through this pandemic?

  1. You can move forward with your current date. If you are at a venue, this may mean you have to change locations. During Knox County’s Phase 1 of the reopen, venues are not allowed to be open. It also may mean you have to limit your guest count. Depending on what phase we are in, it may need to be limited to 10, 50, or 100 guests, as well. With this option, you can still move forward with pictures as normal. We can still take detail photos, hair and makeup photos, getting dressed photos, and (more than likely) bridal party photos. You will have ample time for bride and groom photos (no need to rush to a reception…heck yeah about that), and ceremony photos will be normal. Pretty much the only thing changing is a big grand entrance to your reception and dance floor photos. Your mom and dad will likely be one of the guests in attendance so you can even share your parent dances, as well as a cute little cake cutting. In this option, your whole wedding day will feel very similar to what it would have felt except it will just end a little more quietly.
  2. You can move forward with just a ceremony and reschedule your reception for later. If this is the option you choose, the first half of the day can still feel very normal as discussed in option 1 above. This is basically the same thing as option 1, but you will have another celebration a couple months from now with all the people that would have been at your wedding had there been no coronavirus. In this option, can I offer a little piece of info you may not have thought about? If you decide to do this, consider choosing a Friday or Sunday. Your vendors WANT to be there for you for this time, but they also need to reserve their Saturdays for couples who are postponing the WHOLE day vs. just the reception. Since you’re just doing an evening event, you could do a Friday so easily because people would be off work by the time your reception started and could come party with you then sleep in Saturday morning.
  3. You can do option one and live stream everything so your guests can be part of it. I shot a wedding like this over the weekend, and it was just so perfect. Simply assign someone to hold the media, and all your guests can tune in virtually from the comforts of their own home!
  4. You can postpone everything. You can just take every single thing you had planned for your March/April/May/June 2020 date and move it to a later 2020 or 2021 date. On this note, I have another small tidbit of info to consider. If you are doing this, please please please consider choosing a Friday or Sunday. The vendors you are rescheduling with are SO grateful you are rescheduling and not canceling. However, when you choose a prime Saturday on their 2021 schedule, you are removing the option for them to book a new 2021 couple on that date for their regular 2021 income. For example, when you book with them, you ask them to reserve your date for you. So, they do. When other couples inquire, they say no because of your signed contract, deposit, and additional payments. When you reschedule to the new prime Saturday in 2021, they would have booked a new couple on that date and generated the income they need to sustain their business and family. But since you’re rescheduling, there is no new income being generated because one of their key dates was taken away. We love being able to still be a part of your day, but a lot of us heavily rely on these prime Saturdays to provide us with enough income to last us through the not prime months (December-March and July/August). Of course, this isn’t always an option, and that’s okay. If it is, however, please take that into consideration!
  5. You can cancel everything altogether and just elope. If you decide to do this, be prepared to not get refunds. I don’t say this in a nasty way, but in the sense that most of the wedding vendors you book are local small businesses. Many of them being sole proprietors or single-owner LLCs. That means the money they collect on behalf of their business is going to pay taxes, bills, subcontractors, groceries, gas, etc. They aren’t just stockpiling cash in a savings account somewhere waiting to refund to clients. Especially in the wedding industry because it’s so so so rare that a wedding gets canceled in the first place. You will also find that many of the vendors you work with have a zero refund policy. So, legally they do not have to give a refund but are so terrified of making people angry and being left bad reviews that sometimes they figure out a way to do it anyway. Listen, we get it. This is hard. You might be in the position where you’ve lost your income and cannot afford to continue paying for the wedding. It’s okay to not pay future payments that were scheduled if you cancel your wedding, but if your vendor doesn’t offer a refund, please try to graciously see it from their perspective of literally not having enough cash to refund. Don’t cuss them out or threaten to sue them. Try to get creative to see how they can serve you in other ways. For example, one of my brides decided to cancel the whole thing and just elope. My contract states there are no refunds so instead of just telling her no, I offered to take photos of their elopement and still do engagement photos so they could still get the value of the payments they had already made to me. This may look different for different vendors, but there is always a way to get creative!

We love you guys, and not being able to shoot right now like we would usually be shooting right now is KILLING US! This is so hard and completely new territory for everyone. So, don’t forget to show grace. We are trying to be as gracious as possible from our end, and it’s stressful. Lord knows it is stressful so please be as kind and as understanding as possible. Have conversations early (communication is key to everything) and just know we hate this as much as you do.

If you have any questions on any of the information here, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email! I hope none of this came off as ugly because that was not my intention at all. I just want to educate you with information from our end that you may not have thought of as you went to Plan B!

I’m a Knoxville Wedding Photographer that loves to travel…I shoot anywhere! Click here to contact me with any questions you have about pricing or booking! If you liked what you saw above, go ahead and follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see my daily updates of the latest sessions!

See more from Amanda May Photos:

Sunset Castleton Farms Engagement

Baxter Gardens Engagement

The Studio at Fountain City Engagement


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Knoxville, TN wedding photographer

I'm Amanda May and I'm pretty stoked that you're here. I'm a three on the enneagram, a smiler when things get awkward, and I would love for you to get to know me more over on my about page.


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