Planning A Wedding During COVID-19

Laura Neuzil

September 24, 2023


10 Min Read


Planning a wedding can be stressful, to say the least. Considering how to best plan for the safety and well-being of yourself and your guests during an outbreak adds an extra layer of complexity.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Weinman Photography

Couples across Iowa (heck, globally) are facing the harsh reality of whether or not to move forward with an event that may already be partially or fully planned.

Paper bags, down -- We’re here to help you and your partner navigate the ever-changing landscape of celebrating your special day during these challenging times. 

Make no doubt about it -- some tough choices lie ahead.

There are a lot of factors and parties to consider for every wedding, and the decision about how to proceed will be influenced by each and every one of these details. 

Let's take a look at some of the options you might be considering, things you can do to make adjusting your plans as painless as possible:

Proceed With Your Chosen Date...

Many couples are going this route and choosing to proceed with a smaller guest list and additional safety precautions. If you fall into this category, there are several things you can do to make your guests more comfortable.

Make sure you’re familiar with your venue’s safety and health protocols, and give your invitees a heads up.

For example, here are just a few of the precautions RCC will be taking for couples who choose to proceed with their wedding: 

  • All staff will be screened before starting their shift and wearing masks for the duration of the event. 
  • Tables will be spaced appropriately to ensure six feet of space between each group.
  • Increased sanitation measures before, during, and after each event. 

Adjust Your Guest List.

While venues in Iowa have been given the green light to operate beyond 50% capacity, many private event spaces are asking guests to limit the risk by reducing the size of their guest list.

Keep your headcount to a number that’s manageable and allows for extra spacing between guests and provides ample room for serving food and for cutting a rug on the dance floor.

For RCC, that tends to be up to 180 guests, while our normal maximum capacity allows for 250. 

Speaking of dancing...

You may be allowed to have a space for dancing at your venue, but consider encouraging your guests to limit proximity to only other guests inside their household. 

It will be up to each guest to decide what they are comfortable with and who is within their close networks of friends and family. 

Postpone to Another Date

It may be obvious, but the first thing to do is select a new date. Then, you will have time to plan separate occasions or start fresh.

Case in point, some couples have chosen to still have a ceremony on their original date, and postpone the reception to the new one. While others have decided to postpone the whole wedding. 

Be sure to ask your venue about choosing a back-up date. For example, couples booked at RCC in 2020 are given the option to select a back-up within one year of their desired date. 

When the time comes, you can make the decision with your family, vendors, and venue to move forward with the planned date, or hold it for a more private ceremony and hang on to the back-up date for a larger celebration.

Or, you might make the decision to postpone and transfer the entire celebration over to the new date. Make sure if you decide to transfer that your deposit will be applied towards the new date. 

For many venues, priority for selecting back-up dates is being given in order of current booking dates. So, being decisive and acting quickly is key.


The decision to cancel your wedding date entirely must be made on a case-by-case basis. Financial hardship and other major life changes (such as moving or accepting a new job) can throw a major wrench in already in-motion plans. And planning during a pandemic certainly exacerbates tough situations.

Cancelling your wedding is the last thing you or your venue may want to do, but let's face it -- sometimes cutting your losses is ultimately the best choice for you and your unique circumstance.

Trust me, your vendors will understand and most likely have reasonable policies in place. Be sure you are aware of any and all cancelation policies before selecting your date. In most cases, all venues payments, like deposits made at booking, are non-refundable.

In this scenario, be sure to terminate your contract before accumulating additional costs, like the remainder of your booking fee.

In Summary...

At the end of the day, nobody knows your unique situation or the best possible outcome better than you and your partner! Have open and honest conversations with your vendors about any questions or concerns. We’re all in this together and every partner in your special day will be more than happy to discuss what your options are. 

Rest assured that your venue, caterers, decorators, and planners all want to see your wedding day come together and be the special day you’ve been dreaming of! 

Whether it happens this year or next year, we are so honored to be a part of your special day!