The Covid-19 global pandemic has jilted the dream wedding plans of many couples worldwide. I reached out to some real couples who had their Queenstown and Wanaka wedding plans disrupted to find out how it all went down and what their plans are going forward…
MEET THE COUPLES
Tamika & Brent – Swapping Queensland, Australia for Queenstown, New Zealand, this couple had booked a heli-wedding adventure and planned to share their day with immediate family, including Tamika’s baby bump!
Page & Andrew – Based in Victoria, Australia these two lovelies had planned to marry at Twelve Mile Delta in Queenstown with 20 guests followed by an intimate reception at their accommodation.
Emma and Jase – With their two young boys in tow, this Western Australia couple had been looking forward to getting married at Lake Hayes to “fit the final piece of the puzzle” and complete their family
Katharina and Adam eloped at The Remarkables when they were pregnant with their first child.
It should have been Tamika and Brent’s turn this March…
Photo by Rich Bayley Photography.
How did you feel when you first realised your wedding plans would be affected by Covid-19?
T&B: “Devastated was an understatement. I cried and I cried some more (my pregnancy hormones did not help!) Everything that we had planned, the money that we had spent, the gifts that we had brought so special, personalised and sentimental were now nothing.”
P&A: “Being a destination wedding there were lots of concerns, mostly financial.”
E&J: “We were devastated but I think I took it the hardest as I have planned everything mostly by myself. Honesty the whole thing just me caused huge anxiety. My biggest concern is our friends and family losing money on flights and accomodation that are already booked. We were also initially worried about getting our vendors to agree to postponing without financial restitution.”
Where did you find support at that time?
T&B: “Brent was my rock. He was there to lift me up when I fell in a heap of tears. My parents were also a huge support during this time. I honestly couldn’t not have done it without Brent or my parents. Also the love I received from all of my friends and family checking in, some on a daily basis to make sure that I was ok.”
P&A: “Everyone was very supportive, especially my partner. It’s been very disappointing having to reschedule and feeling guilty because a large majority of our guests had already booked flights and accommodation”
E&J: “My partner, friends, family and vendors have all been amazing. Honestly we have had so much love and support in this time.”
When and how did you make the decision to cancel/postpone your wedding?
T&B: “We sat in front of the TV watching the news on every channel, reading articles from papers. We knew once New Zealand stated that they were closing their borders and if anyone entered they needed to self isolate for 14 days that our special day wasn’t going to happen. Although every night I still wished upon a star for a miracle to happen. Once I spoke to my wedding planner I knew that I wasn’t the only one in my situation. We definitely do plan to have our wedding in New Zealand however we don’t know when this will be.”
P&A: “We made the decision on 19th March when New Zealand and Australia’s travel restrictions were tightened, advising people not to travel”
E&J: “After a week of progressively bad news we decided to postpone. The moment it was decided to postpone a weight lifted off my shoulders and I focussed on getting the changes to happen.”
Do you have a new confirmed wedding date?
T&B: “At this stage we don’t, but when we do, we will have an extra guest! With a new baby on the way in early July and with no real answer as to when this pandemic will be over it’s almost impossible. I suppose I just didn’t want the disappointment either. I would hate if I had chosen a new date and then this wasn’t all over. One thing I do know though is that as soon as this is over it will be the first thing on my to do list! We had hired a motor home to travel around the South Island for our honeymoon. We now have to make sure that it’s big enough and equipped for the 3 of us!”
P&A: “No. Andrew is in the defence force and I’m a nurse so find the original date was a challenge enough.The timing of getting annual leave approved for both of us is difficult. We have considered coming over for a long weekend to elope once the travel restrictions are lifted.”
E&J: “We have a new date 25 September 2021. We wanted the date to be far enough in to the future in the hope that the new date doesn’t get effected by the virus although there are no guarantees with that. We also wanted a similar time of the year as our original day. It’s not the most ideal date due to it being Grand final day here in Australia but it’s the date that worked for our vendors, so we are excited.”
Will we see more elopements and social distancing during weddings in the future? Tasha and Elise’s elopement from Spring 2017 may have been ahead of it’s time!
Photo by Williams Photography.
How did you tell your guests about the changes to your wedding plans?
T&B: “Through a lot of tears! This was devastating for us and a part of me feels somewhat guilty for them.”
P&A: “We updated everyone in the Facebook event and then phoned or messaged the people who don’t have have Facebook – easy to do with a small guest list”
E&J: “We called and messaged all of our guests to let them know and to apologise if they had already booked flights and accomodation. We have now ordered new invites and we will send them out ASAP as well.”
Have you lost any money or been charged any additional fees?
T&B: “Yes, unfortunately one of the places that we had booked to stay did not offer a refund. We were lucky that we had purchased a higher cover of insurance however we certainly still lost money there. We also lost money on our special personalised gifts that we had purchased for our parents and each other. We also will need to take into consideration when rebooking our wedding that fees may have increased.”
P&A: “We are due to be refunded our venue deposits as it’s covered under a clause in our contract. The majority of our suppliers have waived their rescheduling fees and been very understanding.”
E&J: “So far we haven’t lost any money, our vendors have all been amazing but we could possibly lose our flight costs or be charged to change them. We don’t know what will happen with that until closer to the date.”
How do you feel now?
T&B: “I am at peace. For us, when our special day does finally arrive we will have our baby girl in our arms on top of the world and we will truly become one.
P&A: “I feel a lot calmer. Initially I felt very anxious and upset at postponing our wedding and then rescheduling everything. Lucky that work is keeping me busy”
E&J: “I feel relieved that we have a new day and it’s a huge weight lifted off of us. It was so stressful at the start and now we can just get on with planing our wedding.”
We can’t wait to use our marrying super powers again!!
Photo by Alpine Image Co.
WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THIS:
- It’s totally normal and completely OK to feel upset, anxious and disappointed. Know that this will pass as you make new plans.
- Your financial concerns are valid and it sucks that you may loose some of your wedding investments
- Every wedding vendor (venue, celebrant, flowers, etc) will have their own cancellation and postponement policies so approach them directly
- Take comfort in your partner and support each other, it’s great marriage practice!
- Whilst there is no rush to book a new date, do secure something soon to ensure that you have the same great team of vendors on your side
- Confirming a new date gives you something to look forward to again!
- A wedding Facebook group or website is a great way to communicate any wedding updates to all your guests at the same time
And please remember, there are many other couples in the same boat as you but the boat is not sinking, it’s going to be a longer sailing and well worth the wait!