Organizing a wedding under normal circumstances can be stressful — now throw in a global pandemic and it’s near maddening. As couples look to safely solidify their union, some are planning intimate ceremonies at home, while others are pushing back their original wedding dates to the following year. Here are a few tips from wedding experts to help you tackle some of the issues that may arise while trying to get your celebration back on track.

Scenario: Bridal boutiques were forced to close before you were able to either shop for a dress, have a fitting, or pick up your previously purchased ensemble.

Solution: Schedule a virtual appointment if you haven’t found your perfect dress yet. If you’ve already completed your final fitting, ask to have your dress shipped to you.

Many bridal boutiques have alternate ways to shop and consult with stylists while their brick-and-mortar stores are closed. Some offer virtual appointments, where they walk brides through taking their own measurements and selecting a gown that can either be rush delivered or made to order for a future date. Ask your bridal salon if it can send fabric swatches and inquire about any delays it might be expecting on deliveries and manufacturing before making a purchase.

If you postponed your wedding before your final fitting, ask your boutique to store your dress until it reopens or have it shipped to you. When the dress arrives, keep it stored lying flat in a cool, dry and dark place — of course, out of your betrothed’s view. “Stuff the bodice of the gown with acid-free, colorless tissue paper to prevent it from getting crushed and the dress from losing its shape,” said Shawne Jacobs, creative director of Anne Barge and president of its parent company, S. Jacobs. “Before storing it flat in a cloth garment bag, wrap the gown in acid-free paper. And check on your dress periodically to ensure nothing has happened to it.”

If you need your dress in a hurry for your virtual or micro wedding, check out online bridal retailers with ready-to-wear dresses in stock that can be shipped immediately such as Bhldn and Grace Loves Lace.

Scenario: You’ve been holding off to see if it will be safe to host your wedding, before reluctantly postponing it. Where do you begin?

Solution: Start with the venue. “As the most important component of your celebration, the availability of your event space will most likely dictate your new wedding date,” said Vanessa Michelle, the principal planner and owner of Vanessa Michelle Co. in Los Angeles. “Get three dates that your venue has open, then go over the days with your vendors to determine who is available when.” Being flexible — perhaps picking a Thursday, Friday or Sunday, instead of a peak Saturday — can make it easier to move your celebration date.

Get your planning team on the same page by emailing each vendor to keep changes in writing and to ensure a faster response from anyone who may be inundated with phone calls from other couples. Each vendor should be able to roll your deposit over and adjust your payment schedule accordingly. Vendors should send an updated contract with a new date. If they don’t, you should request one.

Scenario: One of your vendors is unwilling to reschedule, cancel or issue a refund.

Solution: Refer to your contract before negotiating. There are cancellation clauses in almost every vendor’s contract. If you cancel outright, you may lose your deposit, but your vendor should be able to work with you if you decide to postpone. “You may be able to ask for extra time or services that wasn’t initially included,” said Caroline J. Fox, a lawyer based in Richmond, Va., whose practice represents businesses in the wedding industry. “For example,” she said, “perhaps you can ask your photographer for a free engagement session or photography for your day-after brunch at a reduced rate.”

Scenario: You carefully chose your wedding date for sentimental reasons and don’t want to postpone or cancel.

Solution: Get married at home, even virtually. Options, of course, will vary by state. “Do your research in advance to understand your local requirements,” said Leah Weinberg, the creative director and owner of Color Pop Events, based in New York. “You’ll want to be sure that any type of ceremony, legal or not, is performed in accordance with your local laws and guidelines regarding group gatherings,” she added.

A backyard wedding with just you and your beloved, the officiant and a few witnesses six feet apart from one another is one option. “The limitations right now on what’s possible are being set by what’s legal and safe,” Ms. Weinberg said, “but as long as you’re within those boundaries the sky’s the limit to how creative you can get.”

  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 20, 2020

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      Over 38 million people have filed for unemployment since March. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, data from a Federal Reserve survey released on May 14 showed, and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in people reporting symptoms of chilblains, which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another symptom of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How can I help?

      Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


Scenario: You’ve had your heart set on a wedding in some far-flung place. Should you go ahead with these arrangements, or call it all off?

Solution: If your destination wedding is planned for this year, it’s probably time to change course. Current social and travel restrictions, both domestic and international, will likely make it difficult and stressful to put together an event away from home. “Destination weddings take a lot of planning far in advance and that’s just not possible right now in such an uncertain time,” Ms. Michelle said.

Although destination events are risky and unadvisable at present, there’s no need to completely give up on a dream wedding. “If you don’t want to lose the luxurious edge to your big day, you can always go above and beyond with local vendors and a unique venue that’s closer to home, such as a tropical garden or historic cathedral,” said Eddie Zaratsian, an event planner and owner of Eddie Zaratsian Lifestyle and Design in Los Angeles.

Scenario: Your post-wedding getaway was all planned and paid for, but will now have to wait.

Solution: As with your wedding, it’s better to postpone rather than cancel and lose out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience, not to mention any deposits you’ve already paid. “Couples have many options when it comes to rescheduling their honeymoon, such as moving it to a later date, perhaps even making it a first anniversary trip,” said Jen Avey, the vice president for marketing at the Destination Weddings Travel Group in Wayland, Mass.

Most airlines, resorts and travel companies have flexible policies toward future trip credits. “Reach out to your travel agent or resort to find out about options, alternatives and benefits available,” Ms. Avey said. “Your resort may offer an additional free night due to the circumstances, provide a room upgrade upon arrival, or allow you to switch to another property in their portfolio.”