As this is a rapidly developing situation our intention is to continually update the page with the latest clear advice in respect of Covid-19, from destination wedding professionals and the relevant authorities.
We appreciate it is an incredibly difficult and uncertain time for couples planning to get married abroad in the next couple of months, so we wanted to create a dedicated space where we could address some of the most pressing issues surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and your wedding abroad.
We know everyone who plans a wedding abroad has an adventurous spirit and a can do attitude, so we know we will all pull together to get through this, we are here to support you too. Sending much love to everyone. xx
What to do
Keep up to date with Travel Alerts from your country of residence and the country where you intend to marry. This information is being continually updated and can be found on the their Department of Foreign Affairs website.
- GOV.uk UK Official Travel Advice
- DFA.ie – Ireland Official Travel Advice
- Government of France – Official Coronavirus Updates
- Government of Italy – Official Coronavirus Updates
- Spain – Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Smartraveller.gov.au – Australia Official Travel Advice
- Travel.state.giv – USA Official Travel Advice
- Travel.gc.ca – Canada Official Travel Advice
Official Health Advice
Keep up to date with the information issued by the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease and Prevention Control. Again, this information is being continually updated as the situation evolves.
Keep in contact with your wedding suppliers. All are trying their hardest to help couples and accommodate requests. If your wedding is scheduled to take place in March, April, May and even June, contact your suppliers to discuss the options available.
Many are rescheduling wedding dates without applying penalties and deferring final payments for weddings postponed till later in the year, or of-peak 2021. Depending on your venue, it may not be possible to secure a weekend wedding date in 2021. Alternatively, you maybe required to pay 2021 rates if you reschedule in high season, keep this in mind and try to be flexible.
Remember you are still bound by your contract so if you decide to cancel you wedding you will most likely loose any deposits paid. In this situation contact your Wedding Abroad Insurance company to establish what you can claim for.
We have a lovely community of wonderful destination wedding suppliers who are part of our Destination Wedding Directory. Many are based in Europe, which is now the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak and subject to strict lockdown measures. Despite facing challenging professional and personal moments, they are working tirelessly with their network of vendors to negotiate and secure the best possible outcome for their clients. If you are planning your wedding on your own and need help, pop over to our Facebook Community for support from our suppliers and other couples getting married abroad.
(At the time of writing (16th March), Ryanair have announced that they expect 80% of their European flights to be grounded throughout April and May 2020.)
Depending on your wedding date, where you are based and where you are getting married, you will be contemplating one, or a combination of the following:
- Wait it out and everything continues as arranged
- Reschedule for later in the year or next year
It’s important to keep your guests updated. Inform them as soon as possible what decision you have made, even if this is waiting it out for NOW. Provide subsequent updates if and when you make any further changes. You can do this via your wedding website, group email, WhatsApp etc.
Most couples report that their guests have been supportive and understand that the situation is changing on a daily basis and completely out of their control.
Getting Married in 2021 and Beyond
If you are planning a wedding abroad in 2021 (and beyond) it would be a good idea to keep your guests updated and reassured.
Communicate with them that your wedding plans remain the same. You can do this via your wedding website, email, WhatsApp etc. After all it will give everyone something to look forward to when we come out the other end!
The second important consideration is that many couples who were due to get married in 2020, will be rescheduling their wedding date to 2021.
Being mindful of this, dates and suppliers will start to get booked up fast, so now would be an ideal time to step up your wedding planning. If you are searching for suppliers, use our “Easy Supplier Finder”, “Find a Wedding Planner” or “Find a Wedding Photographer” forms as a way to make initial contact.
CNI – Legalisation – Translations
Be aware that some of the CNI certificates have a 90 day or 6 month validity (depends on issuing country). In the event of rescheduling, couples should check their certificate as they may need to reapply for another one if the new marriage date falls outside the period of their original certificate. A new certificate(s) also requires Apostille and translation. (Tip from Lefkas Weddings)
Flights & Travel Arrangements
Each airline will have their own policy in respect of cancellations, refunds and rebooking flights.
Please view their website for further information and keep in mind that their policy is likely to change at short notice, so you will need to keep checking.
At a minimum most offer the option to change the date of your flight and waive fees, however you will have to pay any difference in fare.
Wedding Abroad Insurance
Please contact your wedding abroad insurance provider for first hand information, or visit their website. Most have a page dedicated to COVID-19 and your entitlements. We have listed links to some of the more popular insurance providers below:
Advice – Wedding Professionals
Wedding in Austria: Covid-19 Q&A
12 May 2020: Stressfree Weddings by SandraM…
The good news is that the total number of current Covid-19 infections in Austria is now below 1000 and you can once again get married in Austria. Currently, up to 10 people are allowed to attend weddings so that social distancing measures can be followed (1-2 metres).
On the 15th May restaurants are set to open again, on the 29th May hotels are set to open again and today we were told the boarder the Germany will open on the 15th June.
Events with up to 30 people can be held in July and August, after that it should return to normal.
If you are thinking of getting married in Austria this year, my advice would be a late autumn/winter wedding. Also book your date for 2021, with all the postponements the popular venues are filling up quickly. Outdoor weddings, intimate weddings and weddings with live stream will be the thing from now on. I’m ready and Austria is ready.
(Please check the current travel restrictions, border controls and quarantine measures implemented, with the Austrian Authorities)
Wedding in Italy: Covid-19 Q&A
18 March 2020: Future Emotion…
Coronavirus and our wedding abroad…what do we do? Must we postpone or cancel our wedding?
Luckily fewer weddings take place in March and April than May, June or July, but those couples who have chosen to get married in the early spring months will need to take tough decisions.
Firstly, it will be important to have an open and honest conversation with your vendors and guests to explore all available options for rescheduling dates and refunding deposits and advance payments already made.
One particularly tricky issue with this is to make sure that all the vendors would be available on the same new date. Also, you would need to consider the total amount of deposits and advance payments that you would stand to lose, which could vary depending on the contract and each vendor’s flexibility.
Professional planners with established vendor networks are now increasingly finding themselves in the middle negotiating to ensure their clients lose as little money as possible.
It’s important also to be aware that not all contracts’ force majeure or cancellation policies are identical and many might not cover health pandemics and the associated disruptions.
In this particular situation, wedding planners encourage brides and grooms to have at least one “plan B” option, assuming that they are not subject to any ongoing quarantine measures.
17 March 2020: Casa Collina…
Hi, I am based near Venice in Italy. I have been on lockdown now over a week. Happy to answer questions or update you on situation here. The sun is shining and you would not believe the situation is what it is. Most people are staying at home, only going outside for absolute necessity ie chemist or food shop. No panic buying. You have to take a certificate with you signed to show why you are out incase police do checks. Still bad news on numbers of people each day. Latest from the President of the Region of the Veneto…too many people still leaving their homes…WE MUST STAY AT HOME. We think its up to 3rd April, but it could be longer. Jayne Seddon – Casa Collina Events
DFA Website Ireland
UK Foreign Travel Advice -Italy
World Health Organisation
16 March 2020: Italian Event Planners…
From the beginning of the Italian quarantine but also before – that is when China was in quarantine – we started to ask ourselves if and how this new situation would have affect our weddings for 2020 and what would be the impact on our guests and everything else involved in planning the weddings.
We knew that the first weddings of the season would have had repercussions and indeed this is what happened. Many of our weddings planned for April and May (many but not all of them, can you believe it?) contacted us at the beginning of the alert. They were all concerned and obviously they were worried they may have lost the advance payments and the possibility of getting married in Italy.
As you know, in a normal situation, moving a date or canceling a wedding for a personal willing out of the cancellation policy’s term involves to pay a penalty at least. The first thing we did, was call venues and our suppliers asking them to be flexible and encouraged couples to postpone instead of cancel the event, so moving it to August / September / October with out any penalty applied. All the vendors were collaborative and no one blocked our proposal.
However, some spouses that had their wedding scheduled in May decided to take the risk and although we had already found new dates in September as a Plan B, we decided together to wait the 10th of April and after that make a final decision. But I also have to admit that not all couples have been so calm or willing to understand that this is a situation that we have no control over. Some have not been willing to move their wedding date and have therefore canceled their wedding.
Despite these anecdotes, all our couples sent us emails and messages of support and empathy, and this gives us even more encouragement to work for them and to try to solve all the problems. Italian Event Planners
Wedding in France: Covid-19 Q&A
20 March 2020: Party in France…
The rapid succession of changes made to our lives and businesses over here has been challenging for everyone. No one knows how long the isolation measures are going to be in place – or what is going to be put in place in the future. We hope that everything will go back to ‘normal’ eventually, only this normal will still not be the same because of the consequences globally on both our health and finances.
For all of us planning weddings or part of the wedding industry right now it is heartbreaking.
What is more important in a topsy-turvy world than love and family, and getting married is all that!
But no one’s wedding is going to be exactly what you thought it was. We won’t know about travel and health restrictions. And a lot of us vendors are now with little to no income and no idea where this places us for the future.
Vendors are going through a rough time at the moment, just like those of you who have had plans shattered. It is realistically impossible for your vendors to just refund you. But we will adapt and with support and compassion we will get all through this. So communicate kindly and openly with your vendors. Ask them questions, see what they can do to help you.
If you have a date in mind for rescheduling, fantastic, see if your vendor can help with that.
For the moment, look at dates later on this year if you can – (let’s keep positive we will all be ok in a few months’ time!) – This can be beneficial for everyone. We need to adapt and draw together as a community to find new solutions. Rosie Paddon – French Events at a Party in France (Caterer & Wedding Planner)
Wedding in Croatia: Covid-19 Q&A
17th March 2020: Dubrovnik Event…
We are likely facing a lock down any time soon even though we have a quite low number of infected people (65 at this moment, no deaths).
Right now most airports are not taking international flights coming from highly infected areas such as Italy and Spain. Dubrovnik airport is not taking any international flights at all.
Tourists who do come from highly infected countries have to stay in quarantine for 14 days. Hotels, bars and restaurants are either closing down or not opening after winter at all in order to help spread the virus.
All public or social gatherings are strongly discouraged and unfortunately weddings fall in this category as well. It is estimated this situation will last minimum until end of March, more likely Mid April.
We are currently advising our clients who are getting married before mid May to consider postponing their wedding. Stay safe and stay positive! Ines – Dubrovnik Event
Wedding in Spain: Covid-19 Q&A
17 March 2020: Barcelona Brides…
Hi everyone, Spain was put under lockdown on Monday 16th of March for two weeks initially but there’s talk of it possibly lasting 45 days.
At the moment we are advising all of our May couples to move their date forward in the year. Any couples worried about their Spanish wedding dates please don’t hesitate to contact us at Barcelona Brides. The situation is changing every day but we are doing our best to get the most up to date information to all those affected. Rebecca – Barcelona Brides
Wedding in Greece: Covid-19 Q&A
18 March 2020: Lefkas Weddings…
Hi, I’ve rescheduled a couple of April and early May weddings to September and a point has risen which couples should be made aware of:
Some of the CNI certificates have a 90 day or 6 month validity (depends on issuing country). In the event of rescheduling, couples should check their certificate as they may need to reapply for another one if the new marriage date falls outside the period of their original certificate. A new certificate(s) also requires Apostille and translation. Claire – Lefkas Weddings
16 March 2020: Sun and Snow Weddings Crete & Lapland…
At the moment, flights are still running to Crete, however, all apartments and hotels are closed from now until 30 April 2020. All schools, cafes, restaurants, hair or beauty salons, florists, take aways, bars, or anything else with ‘seats’ are closed. Any guests in residence at hotels/apartments have to leave by 23rd. I’ll update you as I know more. Rui Niemi – Sun & Snow Weddings
Wedding in Denmark: Covid-19 Q&A
18 March 2020: Update from Marry Abroad Simply
16 March 2020: Marry Abroad Simply…
Hi Everyone, Denmark Town Halls were put on lock down on 12th March, meaning that weddings in Denmark are postponed until the end of March (at least). The only way to reorganise, reschedule or change venues is through an Agency at the moment. We have information on your options in respect of the Danish situation here and additional information on the developing situation HERE. Leanne – Marry Abroad Simply
Wedding in Mexico: Covid-19 Q&A
16 March 2020: Champagne Event Mexico…
In Mexico the situation is not as critical as in other parts in the world, well not yet (16th March). We hope to get controlled before it gets to that point and what I have investigated is that the virus is not very resistant to the heat, and Mexico is really hot now, so we hope It won’t be that bad. I have a wedding March 27th and the groom and bride decided to wait for this week to end to see how things are going. Currently the airline they are flying has not yet implemented flexible flight changes with fee waived. Mariluz Register – Champagne Events Mexico
Wedding in Dubai, UAE: Covid-19 Q&A
19 March 2020: Save the Date
Updates on COVID-19 and wedding industry in Dubai, UAE.
I am writing this article from usually very crowded cafe in Jumeirah beach. It’s Thursday afternoon and life seems to be normal. Except the fact that there is a new reality we are all learning to adjust to.
Covid-19 updates from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. UAE authorities have suspended all weddings in events effective from March 15, 2020 for two weeks until a further notice. The boarders are partially closed and country has stopped issuing entry visas few days now.
In spite of the quarantine at schools we are still able to move around the city, however I feel this is temporarily and we will be soon completely locked down.
What is happening in the wedding industry as we are collectively going through this? All vendors have been stressed out. The truth is half of these businesses may not make it through these tough times.
The couples that were supposed to have their weddings in spring are the least to say very sad. Some paid full amount for their wedding. Their money has been stuck now and the dreams are put on hold. Covid-19 crisis showed us how we are all interconnected, vulnerable and not in power when paused our lives and businesses. This year most of the future couples will not receive their bonus or salary increase. The crisis potentially will lead us to completely new perspective for the future of the wedding industry.
I have been constantly receiving calls from our brides with weddings in March and April, that is also the peak months in UAE. Their question is the same “Shall I postpone or cancel my wedding?”
We encourage all brides to postpone their wedding, as cancellations will badly impact wedding businesses across the country. Needless to say, cancellation will be more difficult than postponement.
After we surpass the pandemic crises, we want to see life going back to normal, with weddings as essential part of it. Meanwhile we have to stay calm and hopeful and keep going with our daily routine.
For wedding professionals: Covid-19 quarantine shouldn’t be taken as holidays, but rather as productive time to work on pending tasks and generate new ideas.
At the same time, I understand that Covid-19 crisis will lead to even bigger crisis in a global economy. Life seems to be uncertain. If I had to give one advise to brides: you may cut costs, downsize your wedding, or even plan for an elopement, but don’t cancel it completely.
– If your wedding got canceled or postponed, reach out to vendors as soon as possible and find best solution together.
– If your wedding is in the second half of the year, take a step back. You shouldn’t worry at this point.
If your wedding is during March – June, we suggest postponing it to autumn and winter. Even though locally official ban has been announced until the end of March, it is hard to believe that corona virus crisis will finish so soon.
For everyone else – it’s a call to get a wedding insurance for your upcoming wedding.
On behalf of Save The Date, during these challenging times we commit to post daily updates on our social media channels. This is the time when we need to show up regularly to give peace and quality updates to our followers and build a stronger community.
Only by keeping busy we will remain positive and creative with our lives and business.
Some great news from our side: we are planning to launch a new package – wedding on budget at 5 star hotel in Dubai. It will help our clients to carry on with their dream weddings after covid-19 crisis is over.
P.S.: The situation changes everyday. Few days after I started this article, the whole country has gone on a quarantine, incoming and outgoing passenger flights have been suspended. Olga – Save the Date