Your Website Is The Way To Communicate With Your Guests

About Changes, Coronavirus, All Of It

If you are one of the folx who is getting married in the next few weeks or months, you may very well be in the heat of making one million urgent decisions.

Let’s start with: we are so sorry for the added stress and anxiety you are facing. As we all know, the changes that are coming as a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19) are happening almost too quickly to keep up with. Here at APW, we’ve been focusing a lot on how to help all of you who are on the ground handling your own weddings, and all our vendor friends who are facing all of the same issues from the other side of the contract. (It’s an understatement to say that it’s really bad for everyone.)

One of the side effects, of course, of everything that is happening, is that your phone will not stop buzzing. Right? Your friends and family are surely curious about what the heck you’re going to do. But I mean, you have no idea either. You can’t. Honestly, if it were me, I’d be sending those calls to voicemail and those texts would be going unanswered. You have my permission to continue to do that… but you do HAVE to communicate with your guests somehow. It’s mandatory.

I hear you yelling at your screen right now. HOW? Deep breath. Your wedding website, of course. This is the prime time to hop onto your wedding website (and honestly, if you don’t have one… it might be time). You’re going to have some key steps to take to be sure that your guests are well informed, that they get regular updates from you, and that your phone stops buzzing while everyone gets the answers they need in a uniform manageable way.

We’re going to walk through the steps of what to add to your site, why it’s all so important–we’ve even got wording ready for you, and there are no rules here. Just copy and paste our examples right onto your wedding website. In a time when things are literally out of control, we want to help you take back some of your power, at least in a small way.

Here’s the thing… no one wants to have to do what you might be doing. Rescheduling, waiting to figure out what the eff your plan is, or *shudder* canceling. All of this is horrifying, unpredictable, and literally the worst. While your feelings are the ones that are on the line in all of this, sharing details with your guests is important too. They don’t want to be bothering you about all the details, asking you silly questions, adding to the hardship of your month. A reader made the best point on a post last week, and I think you should just read it and feel empowered in knowing that you are doing the right thing as you move forward with sharing these details with your guests.

Screenshot of a comment on disqus.

Don’t have a website yet?

This isn’t the thing to panic about. We have bottomless resources for you. We recently compiled a 10-step guide to help you out, plus some wording examples you can steal. So go, now, and create a wedding website. It can be quick and simple, but a place to compile the information about your upcoming wedding is going to be vital in the coming weeks and months. Come right back over here when you’re done and we’ll talk about how and what to communicate to your guests.

Screenshot of a website that says Things Are Changing.

It’s time to set up a noticeable announcement

What you write here may or may not feel easy, but getting the word out there will be. Hopefully, no matter where you’ve built your site, you can quickly and easily add a big noticeable notification. Adjust the title, the first paragraph, add a pop-up… whatever you can do to catch the eye of anyone who visits your site. Here’s a few examples you can steal:

  • “We’ve got important Coronavirus updates! Click here to read more!”
  • “Jason & David
    We’ll keep you updated right here.”
  • “Alison & Jonah
    November 14, 2020.”
  • “Things Are Changing. Unfortunately, with the outbreak of Coronavirus, our wedding plans are in flux. Keep an eye here for our updates.”
  • “Head to our FAQ for COVID-19 Wedding updates!”

Making some decisions (ugh)

This is it. The nitty-gritty of the moment. It’s time to tell your guests what is happening, what you’re thinking, and what plans you and your fiancx are moving forward with. Again. We are so sorry. At this point, no matter what your choice currently is, it is time to tell your family and friends. You want to lead the conversation and guide your guests with transparency. You’ve probably been chatting with your immediate family, but everyone else will appreciate your guidance.

APW, and a lot of professionals we’ve chatted with, are suggesting that people who have wedding dates that fall between today and the end of May should be actively making decisions about their upcoming events. If your wedding is in June or further out, you have a bit more flexibility and time to see how things shape up in the coming weeks. As far as I can tell, there are a few different options at this point, if your wedding is coming up in the next few weeks or months.

  1. Pause, don’t make any decisions just yet.
  2. Postpone/Reschedule your wedding.
  3. Minimize your guest list (as in… just you two!) or change your plans.
  4. Cancel your wedding.

Screen shot of a Squarespace FAQ Page

Writing the FAQs

Depending on which of those options become your choice, you may use any number of the following FAQ options. You may include different things, things we haven’t thought of yet. In the meantime, please feel free to steal these for your website:

  • Will your wedding go on?
    •  No. It’s breaking our hearts to have to do this, but in order to keep each of us, our families, and all of you safe, we have decided to cancel our wedding. Celebrating with our community was our goal, but risking the health of our community is the last thing we want to do. We’ve decided to cancel our wedding at this time. We love you all so much and hope that you each stay healthy and safe as the world shifts around us. Sending you love.
    • It will… eventually. We regret to inform you all that we are going to have to delay our wedding. Keeping our family and friends safe is our top priority, so with the concerns that currently exist, the best choice for us is to push out our celebration. We don’t have exact details and dates just yet, but we will keep you informed as soon as those decisions are made.
  • Can we change our RSVP?
    • Yes, you sure can. While we’d love to see each and every one of you on our wedding day, we also know that with our new wedding date announced for fall, you may not be able to make it anymore. Please know that we love you and support any decision you make, and we appreciate all of you for supporting us in our love. If you’ve already decided, click right here to let us know. If not, feel free to wait until our new RSVP by  October 12, 2020.
  • Wait, you’re eloping now. Is there a way we can still join?
    • We love you so much, we want you with us to celebrate, but given the circumstances… we all need to stay home. We’re following all the CDC and WHO guidelines, as well as local regulations. So instead, we’re going to live-stream our private elopement! Join us on Google Hangouts (link) on Sunday, April 19th at 5pm.
  • Has your wedding venue/city/county released any guidelines for gatherings?
    • At this point, we’re just following along with the news. For now, the overarching guideline is to limit groups to 10 or fewer. Since our wedding is still 4 months away, we are going to wait and see what happens. The unfortunate reality is that we may not get the wedding we envisioned originally, but follow along here for updates. We’re so sorry that we all have to be waiting to hear what’s to come. Thank you for loving us through this craziness. Here’s a link to our local city guidelines.

I know these are just the beginning. I know that we can only help so much. But I hope that having some guidelines about how to talk to your wedding guests, how to get the word out, and how to handle all these changes helps a bit. We are here for you, we hope you are taking care of yourselves during this time.

Please share your ideas and how you’re handling your wedding in the light of this coronavirus outbreak. We need to band together in this hectic moment. Hugs… or, air high-fives.

This post was sponsored by Squarespace. In more peaceful wedding planning times, and these more hectic times, a simple wedding website that you can update easily will help save you some stress. We’re so grateful to Squarespace for helping us share these tools with all you folx who are currently navigating weddings in 2020. Click here to get your website (of any kind) started today with a free 14-day trial from Squarespace. APW readers get 10% off your first Squarespace purchase when you use the code APW2020 at checkout.

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