Updated: May 28
(If you're a Massachusetts wedding couple of mine this advice all still applies to you, with a special note for you at the bottom 😘)
It's no surprise that the wedding season for 2020 has been completely forked up for couples and wedding vendors alike. After an abrupt shutdown of pretty much everything in early March, it wasn't clear when weddings would be able to happen again. Then, the Connecticut State Government started teasing a phased reopening but was mum about any of the details past Phase 1.
Well, FINALLY, as of May 20th we were released some details about what Phase 2 and 3 of the Connecticut Reopening might look like and how it might influence weddings. I'm giving myself license to feel cautiously optimistic about fall weddings, but there are some things I want to advice all couples to consider.
First: what we know.
Each phase is going to be a minimum of one month, with implementation only being triggered by reaching key data metrics from testing & hospitalizations. So the earliest we could reach Phase 2 is June 20th and Phase 3 is July 20th, and this assumes we have no backslides or flare ups in infections. Gov. Lamont has not been shy in saying that he'll turn this bus around if he doesn't like the data he sees after reopening.
The other thing we know for sure right now is that the CT administration is not prepared to release any information about guidance for "Indoor event spaces and venues" for Phase 3 (I received a response to an email inquiry that said as much; they want to keep their release of information and guidance as current as they can). The Governor said in the press conference on May 20th that more information and guidance on that would come in the future. I think it's safe to say that it's going to come with some sort of capacity restrictions, social distancing guidelines and mask guidelines.
We also can see that there's no commitment to Phase 4 here, so that could indicate that Phase 3 might last longer than Phases 1 and 2, or they just aren't prepared to state what they are thinking Phase 4 would entail.
What 2020 couples can do to prepare
Postponement (recommended for all early August couples). This is still a viable option for you and I'm willing to work with you. I know a lot of venues are still encouraging their couples to move their dates even for weddings into October because so much is still so unknown. The Governor has said that if there's a flare up he will shut things down again and we'll be back to square one, so it is a very real danger that we won't be into Phase 4 by late August/early September. If you need help figuring out how to postpone or when to make the decision, check out this blog post with some helpful tips.
Adjust your guest count. Start making different lists of your guests that account for a head count of 50, 75, 100, etc. Be sure to include your vendors (like me, your catering staff, etc) in your headcount. While Phase 2 & 3 above do have guidance for restrictions on guest count for outdoor gatherings, there's no indication on indoor gatherings for Phase 3, and we likely won't have that information until 2 or 3 weeks before Phase 3 is set to be implemented (per comments in the May 20th press conference).
Video (This is more like 2b). If you do reduce your guest count, use the money you're saving there to hire a videographer so you can share a highlight video with the guests who couldn't make it, or figure out how to do a livestream of the ceremony!
Use your wedding website. Get the word out to guests about what's going on, let them know when they can expect to see an update about if your date is being moved, and let guests know if you have to make tough decisions about adjusting the guests count and how to find out if they're on there or not. Guests will be understanding in these circumstances and many of them are probably feeling apprehensive about attending a large event.
Things are going to look different. If you choose to keep your 2020 date, there will be masks, dancing might be restricted, and your floor plans might have just gotten a bit more complicated. We still don't have details on all of this yet, but it's safe to say there's going to be some guidance on these things over the next few weeks.
Dear Massachusetts Couples,
The MA reopening plan at this stage is much more detailed and transparent. However, it looks like weddings for MA might not be until until Phase 4 (it's unclear how MA is categorizing weddings), which at the earliest could be the first week of August assuming no back slides. While phase four does indicate a full resumption of activities for nightclubs and large venues, it does also indicate that there could/will be gathering size restrictions based on trend data.
If you're one of my couples, please do not hesitate to reach out and talk to me about your wedding. I want to be proactive with you and help you find the solution so you can have an amazing wedding day!