Even though the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect couples planning their weddings in 2022, we’ve come a long, long way in the past two years! Destination weddings, especially, are finally back on the table after travel restrictions and shut-downs forced couples to marry closer to home. This is definitely the season we expect destination weddings to make a comeback! But which questions do you need to ask before you go ahead and book that faraway destination wedding during COVID? And where can you find the answers?
Here’s everything you need to know before booking a destination wedding during COVID.
What are the latest COVID restrictions for weddings in Ireland?
As of March 2022, most restrictions on weddings have been lifted by the Irish government. There are no restrictions on guest numbers for both indoor and outdoor venues, and no curfew. Live music and dancing is allowed, rules around the number of adults to be seated at a table no longer apply, and masks are no longer required. Those with symptoms are still required to isolate and test.
If you’re travelling or returning to Ireland, you will need to provide a vaccine certificate where no more than 9 months have passed since your last dose, proof of recovery from COVID-19 in the last six months, or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
Can I ask unvaccinated guests not to attend my destination wedding in person?
While many couples feel uncomfortable demanding that their guests are vaccinated, others are setting what is being called a ‘vaccine boundary’. This is your choice, but it’s important to communicate it clearly and graciously, emphasising how important your guests are to you and showing empathy and respect. If necessary, you can also include them in other ways, such as broadcasting the ceremony on Zoom or via social media.
When should I send my destination wedding save the dates?
During COVID-19, we’ve learned how quickly things can change and had to be flexible enough to accommodate postponements. It’s possible we may need to work around this again in the future. I know some couples are nervous about sending out save the dates and invitations early because of this. However, if you wait, you also run the risk of guests making other plans or accepting other invitations (remember, it’s a wedding boom year!). So the rule for sending out destination wedding save the dates at least 6 months before the wedding still stands.
When should I book my wedding vendors?
As early as possible! Venues are filling up fast and so are the calendars of service providers from planners to floral designers. When you find someone whose work you love and who is available on the date you want, don’t hesitate. Decisiveness will save you from missing out!
How do I keep up to date with the latest COVID restrictions and advice?
It’s a good idea to check government websites in your destination (you can find the Irish government website here) but don’t be afraid to ask your wedding planner and venue for updates as well.
How many people should I invite to my destination wedding during COVID?
While restrictions on numbers in Ireland and many other destinations have been lifted, it might be smart to keep your guest list smaller, with a maximum of 60 people. Rules can change overnight, as we have seen, and a small guest list lowers the chance you’ll have to uninvite anyone or postpone. The good news is that, for many couples, a destination wedding would be more intimate anyway. A smaller group is a lot easier to co-ordinate and it means you can splash out on guest experiences and spend more quality time with everyone who attends.
How do I protect myself from financial loss in case of postponement or cancellation?
It’s important to work with vendors who have destination wedding experience as well as solid contracts. Always read the terms carefully before signing and ask questions if you need to. Discuss COVID cancellations with your vendors so that you understand exactly what will happen should things change. Discuss all the scenarios and agree on deposits, fees, and notice periods, as well as whether being unable to travel to your destination is included in the cancellation terms. After signing, obtain written confirmation of any changes.
These are the key questions around booking a destination wedding during COVID. If you have any more, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Slán go Fóill,
Images by Doreen Kilfeather, DK Photography