Love in the time of Coronavirus: What to do if the bride, groom, or wedding party get sick on the wedding day

Tags: destination-weddings, coronavirus, china, cancellation

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 5th, 2020


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If your nuptials are forthcoming and you’re experiencing more than just the typical pre-wedding day nerves, we’re guessing it may be because you’ve been streaming coverage of the spread of the new coronavirus outbreak.

In China, officials have advised couples to delay their weddings and asked families to scale down funeral services in order to prevent the spread of the virus, which has claimed hundreds of lives in China and infected over 20,000 people around the world. Here in the U.S., there have been more than 10 confirmed cases (six in California, one in Massachusetts, one in Washington state, one in Arizona, and two in Illinois) and there’s a possibility that this tally will continue to rise.

We know that these stats are concerning, especially if your wedding day is on the horizon, but does this news mean that you should think about postponing your event? The short answer is, no.

While this virus has dominated the headlines, it’s spread has so far been controlled stateside. That said, this is a great opportunity to talk about what to do if you feel yourself getting sick with a wedding right around the corner. 


If the wedding day is very soon:

The truth is, you are far more likely to get the flu than you are to get the coronavirus. (There’s a heartening perspective for you!) Your next course of action will be dependent on this.


We all get sick, it's just a part of life.


If you’re currently feeling the onset of symptoms, don’t freak out. Typical flu symptoms include the usual: fever, cough, sore throat, achy muscles, runny noses and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. The most common symptoms reported in cases of the coronavirus were fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to information from The Lancet. But if you just have a sore throat and/or a runny nose, you’re more than likely just looking at a common cold or the flu. (Still, if you have any doubt, get yourself or the person you’re worried about checked out. Follow the CDC’s instructions for what to do here. )


… and it’s just a common flu:

Even if it’s just a regular cold or flu, it's still annoying, especially if you’re a bride or groom, but it’s not the end of the world. If you’re feeling symptoms a few days before the wedding, just do everything you can to relax and take care of yourself. You can resort to over-the-counter medications that will help curb or lessen the symptoms, but sleep will be your best illness-kicker, in addition to drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutrious foods.

Now, if you’re a guest who is feeling ill the night before the event and you’re debating whether or not you want to attend, no one will blame you for choosing to stay home and prevent spreading the infection to other guests. Just make sure to let someone in the wedding party know -- preferably not the bride or groom, who already has enough going on -- and let them know to pass along the message. When you’re feeling better, just send your gift and/or card in the mail (if you haven't already).


Sometimes it's better to just unplug, decpompress, and not worry.


...and if it’s the coronavirus:

In the extremely unlikely scenario that it’s the coronavirus, obviously you’ll have to cancel the event if either members of the couple are infected. But for calling in sick in general, if you do have to cancel, don’t spend any extra energy stressing or fretting. Acts of God and other unforeseen obstacles like (hurricanes and tornadoes) do happen. Most vendors will be understanding and open to re-scheduling, especially considering the extenuating circumstances -- and wedding/event insurance can save you additional pains, aches and financial loss.

If this is the course of action you are forced to make, be sure to email everyone on your guest list as soon as you can, but if possible, give everyone a direct call. (Some people don’t regularly check emails and there’s always the chance it will get lost in the Spam folder.) Don't be afraid to enlist the help of others for this task, especially if you're feeling unwell and unable to handle long explanations or conversations.


If your wedding day is further down the line:

If your wedding is still a few weeks or months down the line, good news! There are a few things that you can do to help prepare for the worst and soothe your anxieties.

• First, go to your local pharmacy and get the flu vaccine if you haven’t already (and advise your partner and your wedding party to do so as well.) It’s the best way to make sure you don’t end up puking on what’s supposed to be the best day of your life. There is no vaccine for the coronavirus available yet, so hold tight on that one. 

• Then, look into purchasing wedding insurance (also known as event insurance) - and yes, this is a real thing! Some companies allow you to purchase it even the day before your wedding, but don’t wait until the last minute. Do your research on the various different companies’ policies, such as Travelers, Progressive, and WedSafe, among others. Depending on the kind of coverage you want, premiums average $200 to $1,000 per policy - a small price for your peace of mind in case all hell breaks loose.


On a final note, if your wedding date is mid-May or later, you’re probably in the clear, anyway. A research group in Hong Kong estimates that the outbreak will peak in late April to early May, which is about two months after the end of peak flu season.

You can also bookmark the CDC’s Risk Assessment page to keep a close eye on the situation in the U.S., which is being updated with new information frequently.



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