COVID and Wedding Stationery
For some of you, weddings have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. Others may be having smaller, scaled down weddings according to government regulations. Either way, you have my sympathy—it’s not an easy time to be a bride or groom.
Typical wedding etiquette would dictate that you send your invitations 3 months (at least in Canada) ahead of the wedding. You would then ask guests to reply by about 4-5 weeks out from your date, so that you could have time to plan the seating and arrange meals as needed.
These days, that is totally out the window. Etiquette-Smchmetiquette!
You might be asking yourself, ‘Well, Liz, what do you suggest?’
There isn’t really a perfect answer that will work for everyone, but these suggestions will definitely help. I give some advice on both scenarios--what to do if you’re still having a wedding this year, and what to do if you postpone.
Still planning to have a wedding this year?
Get your guests' email addresses!! It is the easiest way to contact people en masse in a short period of time. You might have a few guests who don’t do email, so you can always give them a call, but for the most part, you can save time (and money) by sending an email update. Things might change between now and when your wedding happens- for example, government restrictions being lifted (fingers crossed), or a change of venue could be necessary. You might have to make last minute decisions, and snail mail is just not going to work for that.
Consider an online reply system. As a stationer, I won’t lie. This hurts me a little to say. But we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do. Instead of waiting for mail (it’s not the fastest during normal times), you can find out who is coming and who isn’t, without waiting around. Some people are going to stay home for various reasons, and you should respect that. A wedding this year is a little scary for some, and many people have health reasons that would keep them from attending. If guests say no, you can always invite others that you might have had to cut due to the number of people allowed, and you will have a little extra time to do that if you go with an online reply. If you choose to do a written reply, make sure you give your guests sufficient time to mail the reply back to you. Canada Post is not operating in the business as usual way yet, and likely won’t for some time. Expect major delays in guests
Didn’t send a Save the Date? Send your invitations with as much notice as possible (3 months if you can, but not more). Explain to your guests that the situation is still evolving, but you hope to have the ceremony as planned. Let them know that you understand if they don’t feel comfortable attending at this time, and remind them you still love them. (Very important in case Aunt Erma gets in a tizzy! ) Include an additional card (if your materials have already been printed) or add it to the invitation itself if possible. Either include a space for them to add their email address, give them the website they can reply to, or consider including a dedicated email address that guests can contact you at. It doesn’t need to be dedicated, but it would help prevent missed emails if you tend to get a lot of email.
Sent a Save the Date? Very likely, you’re going to have to un-invite some people. *Cringe* This one is really hard. Etiquette experts would be extremely upset with this, but there’s nothing you can do. Right now (date of publication), the max is 50 people for a ceremony, including vendors (your photographer, videographer, and officiant count toward that total, btw). If you invited more than 40 some odd guests, you’re going to have to cut the list. How do we do this tactfully? Apologize, and explain in the nicest way possible. People will just have to understand and get over it. The times are what they are, and the laws are the laws. If you flout them, you risk fines, or far worse, getting your loved ones sick. This is not what you want your wedding to be remembered for. If you plan to have a party ‘when this is all over’, let them know that you intend to celebrate with them when you can.
Be aware- You can’t please everyone. We all have our opinions about COVID and weddings these days. You may want to proceed, and some of your guests may not. It is your day and if you want to elope and only have the two of you with a couple of family members, then that is your choice to do so. As long as you are being safe and following guidelines and laws as they are the day you marry, then it is ok to do what you are doing. On the other hand, respecting your guests by respecting their choice not to attend due to their personal risks is just the right thing to do. There needs to be understanding on both sides… that you want to be married to the person you love, and will do that in the way that is available to you right now but also respecting that your guests may not want to attend given the circumstances is important. Guests need to understand that your hands are tied and you can’t have the wedding you may have originally planned. You need to understand that while you can do what you want within the law, your guests aren’t obligated to be there while you do, and don’t get upset with them for it.
Postponing your Wedding
Sent a Save the date or Invitations already? All the advice above still applies. Send out a nice card letting your guests know that you have had to postpone. If you have your new date, let them know. If you don’t, let them know that you will announce it when possible. Either way, create a website and/or collect email addresses! You never know when you may need them!
Didn’t send out invitations yet? Wait until 6 months prior to your new date and re-assess at that time. If your wedding is still feasible and moving forward, do follow the timelines outlined above. Until COVID is well and truly over, nothing is set in stone and you may have to make changes. Having the information you need from your guests will make it easier to contact and notify them of any issues moving forward.
This may not be the way you envisioned your day, but try to remember that it is only one day in your life. The important thing is that you will spend the rest of it with the person you love, making many more happy memories!
With love, sympathy, and a splash of vodka,
PS. Need a social distancing sign? We do that! See our recent blog post for more https://lizkotsamanesdesigns.ca/blogs/news/covid-19-weddings