Yes, it happens, and it may happen more in the future as awareness of these novel flu diseases and their impact on society continues to grow. Here are a few basic instructions on how to deal with or avoid a pandemic threatening your wedding day.
Local weddings are safer
You may not need to cancel your wedding but shortening your guest list to only include local guests could be a good idea. Anytime you have guests traveling from a city, state, or country that is experiencing an outbreak they could potentially bring the disease to your wedding. Limiting the guest list to local people helps ensure that the contagion does not spread via your wedding.
Talk to your wedding vendors about your options
Asking questions of your venue, transportation provider, caterer, or hotel staff about your options in the event of a pandemic before you sign the contract can help avoid unwanted stress if the president declares a national emergency like he did in March 2020. Check with your local government to see what their policies are as well. Many municipalities are banning public gatherings larger than a certain number. That may seem crazy but that is what happened here in St. Louis during the Coronavirus outbreak. You don’t want your wedding to run afoul of the law or potentially put people’s lives at risk.
Schedule your wedding outside flu season
According to the CDC most cases of the flu occur during the Fall and Winter with the peak months being December to March. The season begins with a slight uptick in cases beginning in October and November. That leaves April through September as the safest months to schedule your wedding. Most research suggests that the flu is usually spread when people are actively showing symptoms.
The big question, should you cancel or postpone?
Depending on how vendor contracts are written, couples could be on the hook to pay for everything if they try to change the wedding date. Additionally, postponing could mean moving your wedding day out a year or more as many wedding venues are sold out a year in advance. It’s up to you to decide if the cost of rescheduling is worth it, but your guests should also make informed decisions on whether it is safe for them to attend a public gathering like a wedding during a pandemic.
So, you’re having your wedding, what can you do to mitigate risks?
It may not be possible for some of your guests to attend your wedding for whatever reason, but offering guest who couldn’t make it the ability to watch the proceedings on their phone may help dampen the blow of missing out on your wedding. There are a variety of ways to setup a video stream using a phone that friends and family can use to watch the wedding as it happens on their devices. Ask your photographer or videographer if they can set this up for you so your guests not in attendance can safely enjoy your wedding.
It also might be a good idea to cancel the buffet option and go with table service instead. And ask the venue if they can put out hand sanitizer for your wedding guests to use as well.
If working things out with your wedding vendors isn’t an option, wedding insurance may help cover any losses due to unforeseen circumstances like a pandemic. It’s also a good idea to get liability insurance for your wedding as well as it only costs about $500 and could help keep you secure if someone gets sick and dies after your wedding.
Follow the CDC’s warnings
The CDC and the White House will usually issue statements in event of a pandemic that threatens Americans. Follow their recommendations for whether it is safe to have a large gathering of people at your wedding.
It’s a scary thought, a pandemic threatening your wedding day, but it could happen. Most of the time these things tend to be a little overblown, but nobody will argue that following a little common-sense advice can go a long way to keeping you and your loved ones healthy and happy all year long!