It’s near impossible to get through a day without being bombarded by some news piece or article about the Coronavirus. It’s everywhere right now and is affecting more than the infected. Not only has it affected our economic landscape but we have had couples call us and heartbreakingly tell us how they are cancelling their entire wedding. Couples flying in from out of town for their engagement session have cancelled their flights. Wedding guests are fearful to get on planes and couples who have already locked in deposits for their wedding venues and wedding vendors are left trying to pick up the pieces.

If you are recently engaged or currently planning your wedding please read on with our best advice on how you can navigate your wedding planning in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak.

The World Health Organization Director General released a statement on March 11, 2020 stressing the importance of Prevention. Preparedness. Public Health. Political Leadership and most of all people. The WHO and ICAO have come out with several public statements in regards to travel. They recommend not traveling internationally to areas affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, sorry to any of you planning that beautiful Italian honeymoon it is best to wait. Travelers are advised to follow proper hygiene practices. I will link the article here so that you can read it for yourself and make your own decision on international travel or travel in general during this time.

So what does this mean for you when trying to plan your wedding or honeymoon amidst COVID-19?

Now may be a better time than ever to elope

There are so many beautiful places to elope right here in California so you wouldn’t have to fly. We are so spoiled in southern California with amazing elopement locations like Joshua Tree National Park, The Glamis Sand Dunes, Yosemite National Park, The Anza Borrego Dessert State Park and gorgeous beaches galore just a car drive away.


Eloping during the COVID-19 outbreak has its benefits because it wouldn’t require a large wedding where many guests have to fly in from out of town.

If you book an expensive venue with a minimum guest count and people decide they aren’t comfortable traveling during this time you’re throwing your money away.

Eloping in San Diego won’t feel like you’re settling or sacrificing, we promise. There are so many beautiful places and it is such an intimate experience.

Guess what our wedding videographer can stream it LIVE if you want your family and friends to still experience your day with you.

Encourage family members and friends to use alternate forms of transportation

If you can’t imagine eloping without all of your friends and family there and want to stick with your original wedding plans then provide your family with as much information as you can. You can check out the WHO website for information about flying but also encourage family to drive rather than taking any form of public transportation if they feel uncomfortable with it. If you have friends or family members within the same geographical area recommend they go in together on renting a large vehicle and travel out together to cut costs on attending the wedding. This way they can split the rental, gas, lodging and food along the way.

Don’t set a date or book a venue until the storm “blows over”

If you are really recently engaged and haven’t yet dived into full wedding planning mode then you have the freedom to choose a date down the road rather than something too near in the future. It’s totally up to you again, no opinion here just trying to display the facts that are out there but if all of the talk of the COVID-19 virus has you feeling nervous about how it may affect your wedding plans then it may be best just to set your date for later into 2021 before you’re tied into all of the deposits on your wedding venue and wedding vendors.

Do a civil union and plan the big party for a later date

We photograph big weddings, small elopements and courthouse weddings alike so if you really want to marry your partner you can always do it small at the courthouse and have it photographed and then save the big party for down the road. We actually see people choose to do this all the time even before the outbreak of COVID-19 so it’s an awesome option to kind of have your cake and eat it too (yum!).

Postpone Altogether

If you want to postpone altogether we recommend looking at what’s at stake. Based on most contracts if you are within 30 days of the event date you are not entitled to any money back. If you are further out from the 30 days then many contracts will give you everything but the deposit back. It’s important to pull out all of your contracts and weigh out your options.

After you’ve done that contact your vendors, let them know you are cancelling. We have had a few cancellations and we are committing ourselves to photograph our couples weddings down the road as long as we are still available on that date. Our heart is going out to anyone affected by this awful situation right now. I know as someone who planned and looked forward to my own wedding for so long this is not an easy decision to make and it truly must be devastating. We are here and trying to work with our couples any way that we can.

Just go with it, those who choose to come will come and those who don’t, won’t but you are choosing to not let it affect you.

Just go with it, you heard us “Let it go, let it goooooo.” (Cue Frozen soundtrack). You may already have your plans in place, deposits have been made maybe even final payments submitted and you are not wanting to let anything get in the way of what you imagined your wedding day would be. Well hey, we say you go for it then. Keep your plans as they are but the caveat is that if you do have family or friends not willing to travel for the big day don’t let it get you down, we repeat don’t let it get you down. This is a day you’ve long imagined and you can’t let anything spoil that for you so if you choose to stay the course that’s great enjoy your day no matter who decides to be in attendance and who doesn’t.

Stream it live

Make all of your friends and family from around the globe a part of your day. It’s like the real deal they get to witness every tear, laugh and sweet moment but they can do it from home in their jammies if they want too (win-win). You can reach out to us here about having your wedding or elopement live streamed.


You can choose to travel abroad just as you would had COVID-19 never reared its ugly little head. Or you can choose to do a mini-moon and plan the bigger honeymoon for down the road. Again there are so many gorgeous places in California to honeymoon. You can drive along the coast and just camp the two of you or head up to Big Sur. If you want to stay local to San Diego then Temecula is just a hop skip and a jump east for you to get in on a little wine country action. Get creative the truth is it’s less about where you go and more about you two just being together. Epic locations are great and I promise you two will have a lifetime of opportunity to adventure together so don’t let it get you down. I could have a grand ole time in a paper bag with Ryan just making each other laugh so don’t lose sight of that. Finally if you have already booked your tickets but are not comfortable with traveling contact your airline and hotel. Given the current circumstances many airlines and hotels are willing to refund you or work with you in some way to make it right.

What You Can Do

Stay informed, stay positive. Practice proper hygiene. Help lift the spirits of the small businesses in your community. You can do this by ordering takeout or delivery, if you are working from home take the time to leave a local business or maker a positive review on google, their website, facebook or yelp. Receiving that positive message during this time will help lift their spirts. Shop local and shop small, the big guys are sold out of everything anyway. Like, comment, engage and share the pages of your small local businesses to help boost their visibility and cheer them up. If you are frequenting a local business that is keeping their doors open during this time, sanitizing their door handles and doing everything they can to keep their environment clean and healthy for their customers give the a huge THANK YOU. It takes a village guys and together we can uplift our local small businesses and communities.

We hope this helped you get some sort of resolve if it felt like everything was up in the air or all of your plans were crashing down around you. As small business owners ourselves we are trying to stay positive while knowing that our business may be heavily affected. We want to know, have any of your plans been affected by the Coronavirus? How have you chosen to proceed? Let us know in the comments or over on the gram.

Cover image credit Photo by Freshh Connection on Unsplash


Ryan + Emily Burhop

of emry

We are wedding photographers for those who believe in love, because Emry originated out of love. Love for each other, for imagery and for creating things that were made to last. We serve southern California & beyond. Outside of photography, our life revolves around our son, Jude and our families.

read more