Navigating the wedding planning process can be quite stressful, but when you add in a global pandemic and rioting, now your whirlwind of emotions is magnified tenfold! At Ever After Farms, we recognize that this is brand new territory for everyone and that is why we have put together the following information to help couples who are in the planning process during this time. Hopefully, the tips we share will make things a little easier and less stressful for you.
Planning a 2020 or Early 2021 Wedding
COVID-19 caused Spring 2020 weddings (mid March through May) to be completely postponed, across the entire world. That is nearly a quarter of a year worth of couples who have had to change their wedding for a future date. Those couples have been scrambling to find dates as soon as it is safely possible, while trying to juggle their schedules and already booked/or even paid-for vendors. So what does this mean for couples that are just starting the planning process and looking to find a date in 2020 or early 2021?
1. Dates are VERY Limited: The best venues and vendors already have very booked calendars, under normal times. When you add in a global shutdown causing a quarter of a year of reschedules, you’re going to find that booking your dream venue on your dream date with all of your dream vendors will be nearly impossible in 2020 or early 2021. Venues and Vendors are going to give their available dates to their pre-booked COVID-19 reschedules first, so the odds of them being available on your specific date are slim. Be flexible with your dream date if you are really focused on a 2020 or early 2021 wedding timeline.
2. Available Dates Book VERY Fast: If you HAVE to have your wedding within 2020 or early 2021, we suggest finding any available date at your dream venue and putting a deposit down immediately. Ever After Farms is currently receiving a flood of requests from couples inquiring about Fall and Winter 2020 dates and we have almost no availability at our Blueberry, Peach and Ranch Barns. Many of our Preferred Vendors are working through their vacation days to appease their COVID-19 reschedules, and have absolutely no availability until next summer! So even if it’s not your first choice, if any date is available, take it!
3. Ask About Weekday Weddings: Many venues and vendors are temporarily allowing weekday wedding bookings for 2020 couples. This is a great opportunity to keep your dream month and all of your favorite vendor choices too. You are much more likely to find availability for all of your first choice vendors, by choosing a weekday wedding. Surprisingly, we have found that guests end up loving this idea because it is the perfect excuse to take a few extra days off work to really enjoy the festivities.
4. Ever After Farms Vineyard: Our Vineyard Wedding Barn was completed just a few months prior to the global pandemic shutdown so it actually has some availability in 2020 and early 2021. It’s absolutely breathtaking, featuring a beautiful white barn surrounded by romantic grape vines and old Florida oaks. Being our 4th venue, we have taken all the lessons we have learned from the other three to make this one our “Rolls Royce of Wedding Barns”. It also has a perfect opportunity for a mini staycation for guests. With cozy airbnbs located right down the road, and an old historic home on the vineyard itself available for the honeymoon, your wedding can become the relaxing getaway your guests will thank you for. You can view more information and an availability calendar here: Ever After Farms Vineyard.
5. 2nd, 3rd or 4th Choice Vendors: 2020 and early 2021 couples are going to have far less vendors to choose from for their big day. The lack of availability due to the CoronaVirus spreads into every vendor category too, from DJs, to Bartenders, to Officiants, etc. Be prepared to go with your 2nd, 3rd or 4th choice vendors. Some of our Preferred Vendors may still have some availability left so definitely start your search with that list.
If the above ideas do not make you feel any better, consider waiting. Choosing to wait for your big day might not seem ideal, but most weddings are actually booked 12-15 months in advance, so it’s not nearly as long as it feels right now. Waiting means that you are more likely to get your dream date at your dream venue. It means that you do not have to feel pressured to settle for a vendor you are unsure of, simply because no one is available. This is going to remove a lot of the added stress caused by COVID-19, which will make the entire wedding experience feel more magical.
Financially speaking, waiting 12-15 months for your wedding is a giant positive. It gives you the ability to stretch vendor payments out more, and to save up money each month, either in the bank, sock drawer, or with a Savings App, so that when payments are due, you are not as financially impacted. And this financial saving and planning applies to all of your wedding guests as well. Having more time to save up and make arrangements for your wedding will help to take a lot of stress off your family and friends. Every person has unique circumstances, especially during these times, so having extra time could very well result in more of your guests being able to join you for this momentous occasion.
Why Wedding Insurance is a MUST
Long before the Coronavirus hit, Ever After Farms has been giving the following advice to couples…no matter when or where you decide to get married, make sure that you get a Full Event Insurance Policy, not just an event liability policy. Many wedding venues only require that you obtain a liability policy, which does have it’s value because it pays for damage to the venue that may occur during your event.
However, with a Full Event Insurance Policy, it also provides protection for unforeseen, outside-of-your-control events that could prohibit you from having your wedding on your planned date altogether (such as a weather related natural disaster or a global pandemic or an immediate family member getting sick, to name a few). Although it has a negative connotation to engaged couples, the “cancellation” component of a full event insurance policy is what can pay for the costs of rescheduling or and it should be included in your event insurance policy, even if you have no plans to cancel your wedding. And it’s not going to give your event bad “ju-ju” either. Instead, it’s a wise and responsible way to protect you from things beyond your control.
COVID-19 was the ultimate test of wedding insurers and unfortunately, some did not pass that test. Several major insurance companies are no longer issuing policies with a “cancellation” component because they are trying to keep up with all the existing claims being filed as a result of this pandemic. The two policies that have risen to the top are WedSure and Wedding Protector Plan, although WedSure is our favorite. Both of them are continuing to issue full event policies that include cancellation insurance too. But even those two are now excluding COVID-19 from new policies, which isn’t unreasonable since most weddings are booked well into the future and Lord willing, the worse of the CoronaVirus should be behind us by then. The cost of these types of event policies depends on the number of attendees and the overall cost of your event, but you can expect to pay in the $300-$400 range. And while it’s yet another cost that you may not have budgeted for, it can save you thousands and therefore a Full Event Insurance Policy is a MUST HAVE for all couples planning their weddings.
Getting Married in 2020 or 2021
We hope that this information helps relieve some of the stress that you may be feeling while trying to plan your dream wedding during these unprecedented times. Just remember that whether you choose to have your wedding in the next month or in 18 months, whether on a Saturday or a Wednesday and whether the venue is located a few minutes away, or a few hours drive; your guests will be ecstatic to join you in the celebration as you start your journey side by side, no matter what. They show up because they love you, not because of the day of the week, the month of the year or the driving distance. It’s your big day and they will be there. We wish you all the best in your planning and would feel honored to host your big day at an Ever After Farms Wedding Barn.