What to do when your wedding is cancelled by COVID


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The wedding planning game just changed because of COVID. And here’s how to play it and still win in the end:

1. Get a Backup Wedding date right away

Contact your wedding venue right away. Your venue will give you a couple of alternate date options. This can include 2020, 2021, and 2022 dates. Write out all the date options that can work for you and ask all your vendors which dates they have available. Or maybe you are looking to book a new venue? It’s no secret how much we love the brand new La Petite Chapelle, and right now they are offering 50% off for bride’s whose weddings have been cancelled by COVID. What to keep in mind: Wedding venues typically do not let you cancel until 6-8 weeks before your wedding date, but may offer a lot of flexibility to just reschedule. The key is to have a backup date.

Once you’ve collected all of the possible dates for your wedding, we suggest using an excel or google sheet so you can easily view and sort through which of your vendors are available for which dates. Don’t discount how amazing off-season weddings can be, a winter wedding is gorgeous (click here to see Sydenham Ridge in the winter!). Consider weekday wedding dates, too. Weekday weddings have always been super charming and because of COVID it will be a new norm for celebration. The only exception to contacting your venue first is if you have a planner or coordinator, then contact them before your venue. Need some 1:1 planning support? Alicia from Indigo Events is giving free planning advice to all COVID brides.

2. Now Determine your Must-have Vendors

Now that you know who is available for which future dates, determine who are your must-have vendors. In order of priority, is it your wedding venue? Then your wedding photographer? Or maybe you are obsessed with your hair and makeup artist and can’t imagine your day without them. Decide in advance who absolutely needs to be there. Keep in mind that retainers are not legally refundable if you need to cancel, but can generally be applied to future dates.

3. Know the Rules

A lot of couples are hoping and praying that their wedding dates are allowed to happen. The government is updating rules on a weekly basis as to when weddings can happen. In Ontario, the website to get updates from is covid19.ontario.ca. In a nutshell, as long as small gatherings can still happen, you may still be able to get married. You will want to contact your officiant to see if it’s possible. Unfortunately, only essential services (and those that are directly serving these essential services) can operate when there is a government ban on events. This means that legally, non-essential services, like a wedding photographer or florist, cannot legally provide service. There may be some caveats which your officiant can help you with!

4. The Silver Bullet: Enter the Elopement Concept

We love gorgeous weddings with incredible pretty details too, but at the end of the day, you get to decide what matters the most to you. The best strategy for surviving COVID and smiling in the end is flexibility. For you, this may include doing what Alicia Robson of Indigo Events calls a “Destination Wedding at Home Plan.”

Just because you can’t have your gorgeous wedding dream now doesn’t mean that you cannot still have an amazing wedding celebration after your wedding vows!

Elopements help simplify life in a couple of ways. For many reasons, people want to be married asap no matter what. Elopements let you keep the main thing the main thing, and there’s a lot of flexibility in how it can all roll-out. As long as COVID is cancelling weddings, here are some amazing ideas to still have a dream wedding day.

If your wedding gets cancelled by COVID (and you can’t bear to wait to tie the knot), here’s a roadmap to still plan an incredibly meaningful celebration of your union!

  • Enjoy a small private ceremony if events are allowed to happen. The two of you, your officiant (we love Jeff at Maeck Weddings!), and any other people you want with you up to event limits. Make sure you have someone that can take wedding ceremony pictures for you!
  • Incorporate technology and have all of your friends and family join your small ceremony by Zoom! Your officiant may even be able to facilitate your ceremony by Zoom; you will want to connect with them to work out the details.
  • Plan to have a gorgeous wedding reception once things are in the clear at a venue you adore. Wear the dress of your dreams, get all of your portraits taken, get photographs of you with all the people you love (finally!). Book all of your favourite vendors and make it the biggest party you will ever throw because you got through this and are stronger together!

The Final Hug

You’ve been through a lot. Be gentle on yourself. Making extra time for relaxation, meditation, and self-care is so essential for you right now. At the end of the day, there’s only one thing that truly needs to happen. The rest are extras and can happen later on. Enjoy today and how special it is that you’ve found a best friend to spend the rest of your life with. Times will get better, and there’s a lot of great moments ahead for the two of you. If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out to us here. We would love to see if there is anything we can assist you with. xo D&S



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We're Dylan & Sandra. Married photographers, donut lovers, and obsessed with family and our squishy toddler. We're so glad you're here! Grab a drink and stay awhile for classic + joy-filled love stories in and around the GTA, London, Niagara and the best-of wedding advice!  


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