Feeling a bit stressed out by this new, weird Covid-19 world?
Join the club.
As if this rabbit hole of social distancing and uncertainty wasn’t bad enough, if you are planning a destination wedding in Mexico, then you have some especially tough decisions to make.
The unfortunate reality is that the Coronavirus has disrupted the entire world’s wedding industry, and here in Mexico, we are no exception. No international travel = No destination wedding.
We are wedding professionals in the Riviera Maya and want to help walk you through the steps you should take when deciding whether to cancel or postpone your destination wedding in Mexico.
Where should you start?
First things first: Breathe.
Yes, this is absolutely heartbreaking, and you are allowed to be upset.
However, let’s focus on the most important thing here; you are healthy, and you have someone in your life who loves you so much that they want to spend the rest of theirs with you!
Frantic, emotional behavior will not serve you, so if you haven’t already started a daily regimen of Coronavirus stress management, today is the day to start prioritizing your mental health. Remember, you can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.
With a calm, clear head, let’s dive in…
Starting with a question:
Are you getting married inside the next 8 weeks, or later in 2020?
If your destination wedding is inside the next 8 weeks
At today’s writing, we are all aware that no matter where you live, any non-essential international travel during the Coronavirus pandemic is either banned or generally just a terrible idea. Things are changing rapidly here in Mexico, and although an extended vacation in the sun might sound dreamy, it’s not worth the risk of getting stuck outside your country of residence, or the mandatory two-week quarantine when you get home.
If your destination wedding has been planned for April or May 2020, my heart goes out to you. And here are the steps you need to take now:
1. Make the call to cancel or postpone
This is not an easy decision. Your guests’ travel is booked, and all the little details have been carefully considered. You should be in countdown mode to your departure date!
How can you even think about another option at this point?
But before you cancel your destination wedding due to Coronavirus craziness, consider that you CAN postpone it to a later date when this is finally in the rearview mirror. You can still have your dream beach wedding in Mexico! This WILL pass at some point and everyone wants to see you get your Big Day, your wedding vendors included.
If you choose to cancel: Know that nobody will hate you. If ever there was a time when people would understand a last-minute pin-pulling, it is now. The worst that can happen is you lose your deposits.
(Wedding Wire has some detailed advice on what to do if you have to cancel your destination wedding.)
If you choose to postpone: Act now! You won’t be the only bride and groom scrambling for a new date in 2020. October, November and December are going to be incredibly busy wedding months with all the couples rescheduling from the Spring. Contact your wedding planner today and let them hold your hand through the changes ahead.
2. Try to negotiate with your vendors
These are unprecedented times. Most of us wedding professionals don’t have a rule book for how to run our businesses during a pandemic and are making adjustments as we go. It’s okay to explore any flexibility with your wedding contracts.
If you choose to cancel: Assume that all deposits are non-refundable, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if anything can be done in light of this pandemic. If you have already settled a balance in full, it is not unreasonable to expect that your final payment be reimbursed.
If you choose to postpone: Ask your vendors if any payments you have made can be applied to another date. You will find most of us wedding professionals are human, sympathetic and will do whatever we can to help you.
Consider that all of your vendors are also feeling the impact of Coronavirus. Multiple cancellations are leaving most wondering about the future of their small businesses. So please be compassionate with your vendors as you explore your options.
3. Let your guests know
Of course, your guests will be wondering what your plan is, and who needs anything extra on their plate to worry about right now? It is super important that you inform your wedding guests as soon as you have made a decision. Be kind and calm because remember, we are all on this crazy Coronavirus ride together.
If you choose to cancel: Help your wedding guests understand how to cancel their travel plans, and hopefully recoup their losses through insurance. If you booked through a travel agent, share their contact details and what documentation they might need to provide.
If you choose to postpone: Prepare yourselves for a smaller guest count. Everyone is responding to the Coronavirus differently, from the dangerously indifferent to the doomsday-ers. Honor your guests’ feelings if they are frightened of traveling.
Also, obviously, a big economic impact is imminent. It is very possible that an expensive holiday might now be out of the question for many of your guests.
If your destination wedding is outside of the next 8 weeks
Has this whole pandemic mess left you too overwhelmed for wedding planning?
So much is unknown at this time:
- Will this all be in the rearview mirror when your wedding date rolls around?
- Who knows if travel to Mexico will even be allowed?
- When the dust settles, will a destination wedding be financially feasible?
Ugh! The uncertainty!
For this reason, it’s time to be smart and consider your Plan B.
Of course, you don’t want to even consider it, but peace of mind will come if you don’t gamble your wedding on the final outcome of the Coronavirus.
Here’s what you need to do now to prepare:
1. Be open to changing dates
Our recommendation for any couples getting married in Mexico in spring or summer this year, is to think about a later date that could work for your destination wedding in the event that the Covid-19 pandemic drags on past Labor Day. (God forbid!) You still have time to postpone your wedding now without creating stress and disappointment for yourselves later.
2. Understand cancellation policies
Open the lines of communication with all of your wedding vendors now. Figure out what your options are if the worst-case scenario happens.
If you decide to cancel: Can you expect any reimbursement if you choose or are forced to cancel?
If you decide to postpone: Educate yourself now on how to postpone your destination wedding if you need to. Will you be able to apply any payments and deposits to a future date, and if so, when is the decision deadline?
Some wedding professionals require your full balance to be settled 30-60 days before your wedding day. Whether you cancel or postpone, now is the time to learn what adjustments in the payment schedule can be expected if Covid-19 is still a pressing issue down the road.
As mentioned above, consider that all of your vendors feel the impact of Coronavirus. As this drags on, cancellations will continue and leave most worried for the future of their small businesses. Please be compassionate with your vendors when exploring your options.
3. Keep your guests in the loop
Of course, your wedding guests will be wondering what your plan is, and whether or not they will still be going to Mexico for your beach wedding. It is super important that you keep your guests informed every step of the way now. Be transparent, and let your wedding guests know what you are thinking.
If you choose to cancel: Consider how you can help your guests cancel their travel plans, and hopefully recoup their losses through insurance. If you booked through a travel agent, make sure everyone has their contact details and any group booking information.
If you choose to postpone: Keep your guests informed on any progress, send a change-the-date announcement and room-block booking instructions. If you have a wedding website, update it regularly to reflect any changes.
Remember that everyone is responding to Coronavirus differently, from the dangerously indifferent to the doomsday-ers. Don’t take it personally if your guests bow out because they are frightened of traveling.
Prepare yourselves for a smaller guest count as this pandemic is going to hit a lot of people where it hurts most – the bank account. It is very possible that an expensive holiday might be out of the question for many of your guests by the time your wedding rolls around.
We all keep hearing it, but it bears repeating; we are living in unprecedented times. Planning a destination wedding during a pandemic can be stressful and uncertain, but it can also give you a great distraction and somewhere else to focus your attention besides quarantine memes and a scare-tactic media circus.
Regardless of whether you choose to cancel or postpone your destination wedding in Mexico, remember that the only thing that really matters is your health and that of your loved ones.
Stay steady, strong, healthy and calm.
So, let’s hear it. Will you cancel or postpone your destination wedding?
Share it with me below.
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