By Reon Janse van Rensburg
It is with great excitement that you and your fiancé plan your big day. It is exciting to find the perfect venue, send out your handmade invitations to people from far and wide, and plan down to the last detail every possible thing the photographer should capture on his camera on the big day. Everything is in perfect order, just as you have always dreamt it would be. However, there is one thing you have not taken into account – Covid-19 wreaking havoc all along its path.
As for the large number of problems caused by the Covid-19 crisis, the impact on upcoming weddings and other social events is clearly of less importance than concerns about the health of the country’s population. This does not make the postponement of weddings or the cancellation thereof less important or traumatic for those who have been planning an event for months and now have the challenge of finding out what they must and can do next to be able to enjoy their fairy-tale day.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, numerous wedding plans have been ruined. Couples on the verge of getting married had to change or postpone their wedding dates at the last minute because of the pandemic as large groups of people are not permitted to congregate to celebrate a wedding.
As if the stress of the big day and the planning for the wedding are not enough already, couples who are getting married also have to struggle with the possible financial impact should the wedding be postponed due to Covid-19.
Is there a solution that could limit the damage and save your wedding day?
The answer to the problem is simple – wedding insurance!
You might not even have known that wedding insurance exists. It is easy to think that this is a money-making scheme that only wants to get you to part with your hard-earned money, but with the Covid-19 pandemic that prevents you from inviting your entire list of guests and the huge amount of money that is spent on the big day, it could actually be worth your while to make use of this type of insurance. Apart from the fact that you want to act responsibly by not exposing any of your guests to Covid-19, this is also the best way to make provision for the unexpected.
Most businesses that make their services or products available on your big day usually ask for a non-refundable deposit, but what if they are unable to deliver their services or products as promised? What if the venue burns down the night before your wedding? What if you wake up on the morning of your big day feeling too ill to get out of bed? Do you just cancel the wedding, or do you spend another heap of money to reschedule your big day?
The benefit of wedding insurance is precisely to protect your big day against unforeseen events. It is worthwhile for your own peace of mind.
With little certainty about when it will be safe to host events again, wedding planners and engaged couples have to make a number of difficult decisions. Those whose big days are around the corner may be struggling to find another way to celebrate, as it may be too late to cancel contracts.
The financial consequences of a wedding that must be postponed or cancelled can be reduced by cancellation insurance, depending on the actual policy involved. However, a huge amount of work still has to be done by wedding planners and couples who want to draw up a new plan. Here are some recommended steps to consider:
- Review your suppliers’ contracts and talk to your suppliers about it.
Reread every service provider’s contract so that you know wat the terms for cancellation are and whether you can expect any of your deposits back. Then contact all the service providers as quickly as possible to determine the availability of future dates. Because Covid-19 affects everyone in the hospitality and entertainment industry, suppliers may have more flexibility to reschedule.
Talk to your suppliers about the expectations for the future event. Is there a postponement fee if your new date is not in the same year? Do your suppliers have to repeat the work for the new event, and will there be additional costs involved?
- Request refundable deposits.
Some deposits are non-refundable. Others are refundable, and under normal circumstances many service providers will be willing to refund the money. However, given the economic setbacks most businesses are experiencing during the pandemic, suppliers may not be able to do so. If you are rescheduling the wedding, ask them if they would consider the deposit as a credit for the future date. If you have wedding insurance, you should have a list of non-refundable deposits and other non-reimbursable expenses for your claim.
- Find out what is covered by your insurance policy.
If you have insurance for your wedding, talk to your agent to see if the current circumstances are covered. Some policies cover cancellations due to Covid-19, but others do not. It will be important to know what financial relief you can expect, as it may influence the decision whether you want to reschedule the event or just try to make the best of the situation.
- Find a new date.
Talk to your most important providers – the venue, caterer, photographer and entertainment – to coordinate dates that can work for all the major role players. At this point, their schedule may already be full, so be prepared to look at dates that would not necessarily be your first choice.
- Keep your guests informed.
Your invitations have already been sent out. Send a physical or digital notification to your friends and family to inform them of plans that have changed. Guests come from afar and must have sufficient time to adjust their plans.
- Submit your insurance claim.
If your event insurance includes a cancellation policy for the Covid-19 pandemic, submit your claim. By now you will know what repayments you can expect and what will be lost. You need this information to limit the financial impact and to see what extra expenses will be involved.
Why wedding insurance is important and who to get it in South Africa – https://www.thenutfarm.co.za/weddings/wedding-insurance/
What to do when COVID-19 ruins your wedding plans – https://www.markelinsurance.com/resources/special-event/professional/cancelled-wedding-covid19