planning a wedding during COVID — things to ask your photographer

January 15, 2021

Jared & Anira
Matt & Scott
Abigail & Daniel
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We all know that wedding planning is inevitably stressful. With a solid vision and professional vendors on your team, though, the process should still feel exciting and hopeful. That is, unless you’re planning your wedding during COVID — in which case it might be a little more stressful than it is exciting.

With the right vendors, your wedding can still run smoothly no matter the circumstances. Yes, even in the midst of a pandemic. Yes, even when the world is so unpredictable that your plans are up in the air until the week before your date.


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The key is to be proactive, to be in early communication with your vendors, and to have your plan B and C ready to go. (I’ve even had one couple fall back on their plan D!) This conversation will look a little different for each vendor, but here are the ways you should be preparing for COVID-related scenarios with your photographer:

  1. From the very first consultation, get extra-familiar with your photographer’s contract. In pre-COVID times, the contract was treated somewhat like a formality. Most photographers’ contracts include policies about Force Majeure and Acts of God, but rarely are those policies actually implemented. Then 2020 happened. I bet I speak for most photographers when I say we now know these policies like the back of our hand. Ask your photographer what will happen if you need to postpone, cancel, or alter your coverage amount due to COVID. These should be three separate questions because they likely have three very different answers. Be sure to clarify the policies in regards to COVID specifically; many photographers, myself included, are treating COVID postponements + cancellations more leniently than we would a standard postponement or cancellation.

    Questions to ask:

    • Will we be charged an additional deposit or fee if we need to postpone?

    • What happens if we need to postpone and you are not available for our new date?

    • What is your COVID-specific cancellation policy?

    • Do we have the option of reducing our coverage amount if we need to scale down our plans?

    • Is there a certain date by which we need to postpone/cancel to avoid owing our full balance?

  2. Decide early on what your priorities are when it comes to your wedding day so you’re ready with a backup plan if needed:

    • Do you have a large family that you insist on being there to witness the ceremony? Then your plan B will likely involve postponing to a date when large gatherings are allowed. In this case, understand your photographer’s postponement fees, if any, and a general idea of their availability.

    • Do you only care about signing that certificate and finally calling your partner a husband/wife? Your plan B might be an elopement, in which case you’ll want to make sure your photographer is willing to alter your coverage amount and possibly travel (what are their travel fees?).

    • Can you squeeze your most important people into the size of group gathering that your region allows? Consider keeping your original date and relocating to your family’s backyard if needed. (Wedding planners can do incredible things with just about any space!) In this case, will your photographer allow you to drop the second shooter from your coverage or sub it for an additional hour of coverage?

  3. Keep in mind that your photographer is a one-person small business and they are likely doing the best they can to balance empathetic customer service with their own income needs. Know that most photographers aren’t charging fees or sticking to “non-refundable” just because — they’re doing so to keep the lights on. In some cases, refunding retainers would require them to dip back into income from years past while simultaneously losing income from the year ahead. Unless your photographer goes off-contract, they are likely doing the best they can. A photographer who sincerely cares about your day will lead you through the postponement/scaling-down process and help you get to your plan B (in other words, they’ll be earning those additional fees!)


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Planning a wedding during COVID is stressful, but it doesn’t have to be much more stressful than your average wedding. Hire a planner, check and double-check your contracts, ask lots of questions, and understand the potential cost of each backup plan. The most important thing is that you marry your person — all the rest can be figured out.

Happy planning + hang in there, 2021 couples!


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