At the time of this writing, it has been 8 weeks since Governor Roy Cooper first began limiting weddings and events in North Carolina in response to COVID-19. As we rolled into the week of March 16th, we watched as the limit on events went to a max of 100 guests and then down to 50. We were looking forward to a big, beautiful soiree at the Dunes Club in Atlantic Beach with McKenzie & Parker on March 21st. We watched everything rapidly unfold and we were in constant communication with the couple, their venue coordinators and McKenzie's mom as it quickly became clear that a wedding with hundreds of guests would no longer be feasible for that following Saturday. They improvised and adapted to a painful situation in the absolute best way, still tying the knot on their original date and moving the big celebration to Fall. It was a whirlwind of a week and they truly handled it as well as you could expect anyone to.
That's how this began for us. Since that initial crazy week, we have helped 8 more couples who were slated to get married this Spring manage this situation in various ways. Some have chosen to postpone entirely, while others are opting to legally tie the knot on their original date and celebrate with all of their extended family and friends when it's safer to do so.
Currently, in mid-May, we are in the first phase of North Carolina's reopening. Gatherings are still limited to 10 people indoors, but we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and a little bit of hope.
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best
- If you're getting married in July or August, keep a close eye on the news (WRAL, follow Governor Roy Cooper on Facebook) as we get updated on where we're at in the phases.
- Currently, we have no concrete information about what the allowed number of guests will be in Phases 2 or 3.
- It's recommended to have a backup date - before deciding on one, ask your vendors for all of their available dates coming up, specifically before the end of 2020 but also in 2021. Be open to the possibility of a Friday, Sunday or even another weekday. Winter months are also traditionally "off-season" and therefore less busy months, and so you are more likely to snag a Saturday AND keep all of your preferred vendors.
- You don't have to give up your original date. Thankfully, we are currently out of the strictest part of the Stay at Home order, which means you should be able to get married in an intimate ceremony. You may have personal or sentimental reasons for wanting to keep your date, and if that's the case, you absolutely should. There's always the option of rescheduling the big day with extended family and friends to a later date.
What weddings look like moving forward...
As things have changed just a little bit at our favorite stores and workplaces, your wedding vendors are beginning to understand and navigate what a wedding might look like in the immediate future with new rules and limitations in place. In North Carolina, venues are awaiting guidance from the governor's office and beginning to implement changes to allow for reopening while adhering to Cooper's executive orders. It may be necessary to move an indoor wedding outdoors, seat fewer people at each table, or for catering staff to wear masks. It's important to discuss these changes with your venue and have patience as vendors work to give you a beautiful wedding in unprecedented times.
Always, our goal is to treat our clients as we would want to be treated. If postponement is necessary, we are streamlining the process to be as simple as possible. This is hard on everyone, and is frankly no one's fault. As we navigate an uncertain future with COVID-19's impact on weddings and events, we want our couples to feel at ease that we will do everything we can to ease the frustration of this process. Retainers & contracts will be moved to a new date with no penalty or additional fees (if we're available). This will be our policy moving forward into 2021 as long as COVID-19 has the potential to impact weddings and events.
Gratefully, and as we expected, the eastern North Carolina wedding vendor community has stepped up to help couples manage and navigate the uncertainty and ever-changing world of COVID-19. There is no greater place to call home, no greater clients to serve, and no greater colleagues to work alongside in the best of times and in the craziest of times.
Let the good times roll, let the amazing memories be made, and let us all be well.
-Cynthia & Victor