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“Advice for Having or Cancelling a Wedding During the Pandemic”

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“Dear PoPville,

We are have an unfortunate choice between cancelling our D.C. wedding at total loss or have it anyways for the sake of having it.

Our wedding was originally scheduled for late March, but as the pandemic rapidly spread we sought to change the date. Although initially reluctant, the vendors did allow us to reschedule for a Sunday in September. As we rescheduled only a couple of weeks before the original wedding, we have already paid everything in full. We would have chosen a date in 2021, but an upcoming government move half way around the world with an unclear schedule makes that impossible (don’t worry, we will probably be back in a few years (my husband-to-be fully expects it!)).

It is clear that the pandemic is far from over.

Our RSVPs – originally ~80 – have fallen to less than 30 but many, including our staunchly supportive parents will be traveling from out of the local area.

We have asked about cancelling entirely, hoping we could obtain most of our money back given that the pandemic is raging, that the new DC quarantine makes the attendance of most of guests technically illegal, and that my transfer makes rescheduling impossible.

In previous conversations with the venue, we have been told “oh don’t worry, we won’t be counting” and reminded that under our contract no refunds this close to the event will be given. The caters remind us that they are able to comply with all legal requirements and similarly there will be no change to their refund policy.

I spoke to a military lawyer about this, but was told that our only recourse would be lengthy legal action with little guarantee.

While I have reservations about people traveling and while I think there is a lot of questions about how we will manage the social distancing aspect at the wedding, we are probably going to just have it because doing otherwise would be a huge (for us) financial loss that we had saved for.

I am curious if anyone has any insight they can share about pursuing legal action for a pandemic wedding or otherwise have any tips for safely running a fun pandemic-friendly wedding.

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