Planning Your Wedding Day During COVID-19

A Guide For Getting Married in Utah During the Coronavirus Pandemic

This Article Was Updated On 6/01

These are wild times we are living in. You may be currently planning your wedding, or have had to postpone your wedding due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Let me start by saying that I am so sorry. I can only imagine how difficult it has been for you to watch your wedding day go by and not have what you dreamed of, to struggle to find the will to plan your wedding, or just not know what to do now that we are in the midst of a pandemic. 

Your feelings are valid and deserve to be felt. I hope that I can offer you some guidance as Utah (and the country) begins to open back up. You can still have an incredible wedding while staying safe!

While this guide focuses on the current risk phases in Utah, the rest of the guide applies to any couple whose wedding day plans have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Please be sure to comply with all CDC and State regulations about having group events. These guidelines are constantly changing, and it is your responsibility to stay current with them and to follow them if you are going to invite guests to your wedding.

couple about to kiss during their elopement in moab

Here’s What This Guide Includes

What Are The Current Utah Guidelines on Groups?

What Are My Wedding Day Options During the Pandemic?

What Should I Do About My Vendors?

What If I Need To Postpone My Wedding?

I’m Engaged. How Do I Keep Planning?

What Are The Current Utah Guidelines on Groups?

Utah is currently in two different risk phases : orange and yellow.

The orange, or moderate, risk phase refers to Salt Lake City, Mexican Hat, and Bluff counties.

These county guidelines permit gatherings of 20 or fewer close friends and families who have been practicing social distancing.

Other Guidelines Include:

  • “Stay 6 feet away from others when outside the home unless not possible
  • Face coverings worn in settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain
  • In-person interactions limited to individual households and those who have been following recommended distancing/hygiene guidelines; increase use of virtual interactions
  • Leave home infrequently
  • Private, social interactions that occur without oversight by a formal organization are allowable in groups of 20 or fewer”

Guidelines cited from coronovirus.Utah.gov

 

As of right now you can elope or have an intimate wedding in these counties.

All other counties in Utah are in the yellow, or low, risk phase may be permitted to 50 or fewer guests. This may increase over time as new data comes in and cases lower.

 

As of right now you may be able to host a larger wedding in these counties, but there is a lot to consider.

Who you want to invite to your wedding, if those potential guests are high risk, and where you want to have your wedding are important factors to whether you have your wedding soon or to postpone it. Keep in mind that venues may not yet be ready to handle large groups where social distancing should be in place.

What Are My Wedding Day Options During the Pandemic?

Have an Elopement

An elopement is a meaningful and intimate day centered around celebrating your love. Your elopement can include just the two of you, or your closest friends and family. Above all, your elopement is about celebrating you, your love, and experiencing a day you will never forget.

You can choose to elope now and party later, or invite a few guests to your elopement. Elopements have an always will be about including the people who matter most.

Reach Out to Your Dream Venue

As guidelines have been placed, venues are trying to find out how they can safely hold your wedding. If you have a venue in mind, keep talking with them. They may be able to guide you on how they are approaching wedding ceremonies, what they will need from you, and how many guests you can invite. You never know until you ask!

Have a Zoom Wedding

Your family members and friends may not live in your county, or even in the same state. However, you can still include them in your wedding day by having a Zoom wedding! This is also a great option for high risk family and friends to be a part of your wedding day without the fear of getting sick.

While it may be sad to not have loved ones there in person, they still get to be a part of your day. They will be grateful for that! Be sure to understand how Zoom works before your wedding day and to record your ceremony!

Get Married In a Church

Right now, LDS temples are allowing wedding ceremonies with up to 8 people. Other churches may also be allowing weddings. Be sure to reach out to your local church, temple, or place of worship that is dear to you.

Postpone Your Wedding Till Late 2020 or 2021

If you planned on traveling out of the state or country for your wedding, having a large wedding, or inviting guests from out of state you should consider postponing your wedding. 

What If I Need To Postpone My Wedding?

If you have had to postpone your wedding or feel that you need to, I am so sorry. While you are doing the right thing to keep others safe, I know that you were looking forward to this day. You deserve to be sad about it.

Postponing your wedding may be the right decision if you planned on having a lot of guests, wanted your grandparents or other potential at risk people to be at your wedding, or if your venue has closed down.

Contact Your Vendors

If you decide to postpone your wedding be sure to contact your vendors asap to reschedule for your new date in late 2020 or 2021. Keep in mind that many other couples have had to reschedule as well, so you may want to have flexible dates and talk with vendors before settling on your new date.

Send Out New Save the Dates

Once you settle on a new date, be sure to send out new save the dates to your guests. Your guests will understand why you need to postpone your wedding so don’t be afraid that you are going to upset people. They should be supportive that you are playing it safe!

How to Uninvite Guests

Depending on when you need to postpone your wedding to, you may find that you need to uninvite guests in order to meet the guidelines of your county. Your guests will understand. This is a wild time for all of us, and while uninviting people may seem mean it just may be the safest thing to do. Make explaining to these guests personal. Write them a letter or give them a call. They care about you, so they will get it.

You can still find ways to include your guests in your wedding day. You can include them through zoom, have them write letters to be read during your wedding, or have them make a congratulations video.

There Are Ways to Still Celebrate

Just because you had to postpone your wedding doesn’t mean you should not celebrate on that date! Plan a fun date night with your love. You can…

  • Have breakfast in bed
  • Have a date day
  • Dress up in your wedding clothes and hire your photographer for first look photos through video chat
  • Get takeout from your favorite restaurant
  • Get outside and enjoy the fresh air together
  • Read your vows to one another
  • Celebrate with your favorite drinks
  • Do whatever the heck makes you both happy!

You could also opt to elope now and party later or have a zoom wedding as mentioned above!

Stay Positive

Above all, do not give up. Moving your wedding date does not make it any less than it would have been. Stay positive and look forward to this new adventure! It will only make your relationship stronger.

What Should I Do About My Vendors?

If you have been planning your wedding, chances are that you have already booked vendors for your date and put down deposits. Most of these deposits will be non-refundable. I know this is upsetting, but please keep the people behind the businesses in mind. They are hurting during these times too.

Talk with your vendors about how you can use that deposit for your new wedding date. Your venue may be able to now hold a small ceremony for you. If your photographer cannot make it to your new date, that deposit could be used towards an anniversary session in the future. The deposit for your florals could still be used for a smaller wedding, and maybe anything left over in that deposit can go towards floral gifts for friends and family who come to your wedding. You are not at a loss. You can still find ways to use whatever money you have spent on your wedding, and do some good for others!

I’m Engaged. How Do I Keep Planning?

Congrats on getting engaged! With all the uncertainty in the world right now being able to celebrate your love is not to be taken lightly. So stay home and celebrate your engagement and be grateful for your love. As you begin to plan your wedding do not give up. Do not let yourself become super discouraged. Despite this wild world you will get married and you will have an incredible day even if it means limiting your guests and practicing social distancing! We will get through this.

Focus on What You Love

Your wedding day should include what you love and who you love. Focus on what makes you and your partner happy and create a day that you will never forget. Find a date that is right for you, reach out to vendors soon to see who is free, and start dreaming up your day. 

Keep in mind that many weddings from 2020 have moved to 2021. Contact the vendors who align with your values soon to check their availability. If you can opt to get married on a weekday do it. You will have more options!

Here are some other great resources for planning your wedding:

The Most Important Thing Is Staying Safe

What is most important about your wedding day is that it celebrates your love, you enjoy it, and you stay safe. In my personal opinion (I am NOT an epidemiologist or a virologist. Just a biology major with an interest in vaccines) group events are not truly safe unless we are vaccinated or gain herd immunity. Sure, you can self -quarantine for the two weeks and not have symptoms, but you can still pick up the virus, carry it, and pass it on. All I’m saying is be careful out there. Take the necessary precautions if you choose to move forward and have a ceremony, or postpone your wedding day until it is safer to be in a group! We will get through this together, and we should all be grateful for our health and the people we love most.

Are you planning to elope? Check out my elopement checklist to get started!

adventure elopement photographer halie west

Halie West is an elopement and adventure wedding guide and photographer based in Utah who helps couples create their greatest adventure yet. Let’s make a day that feels right for you and your love.

contact me!