As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, the death toll rises and global supply chains are greatly impacted, it’s no longer just panic-stricken bridezillas who are wondering how this outbreak could impact their wedding here in New Jersey. In fact, the longer the outbreak continues and the more countries it affects, the greater the likelihood that the virus may have an impact on you and your big day. Without causing alarm, here are the facts on how the outbreak may affect your New Jersey wedding—and what you can do about it…
The impact coronavirus may have on your N.J. wedding:
- Your wedding gown, veils and accessories: Eighty percent (yes, you read that right!) of the world’s wedding gowns are produced in Suzhou, China, and here’s why this is a problem. Not only are the factories that are creating these wedding gowns being temporarily closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, but the factories that produce silk, chiffon, lace and satin for designers elsewhere in the world are also facing temporary closures and delays, which means that these fabrics are not readily available. China is also responsible for the intricate handiwork and beading on many wedding gowns and accessories, so Chinese seamsters and seamstresses not being able to come to work have far-reaching implications. Veils, belts, laces and other accessories may also be delayed. While some designers and manufacturers are currently reporting a one-month delay, the longer the outbreak and factory shutdowns continue, the greater the problem becomes. Inventories of both gowns and fabrics will significantly drop, transportation to deliver the gowns will continue to be delayed and there literally could become a shortage of wedding gowns worldwide.
- David’s Bridal brides: James Marcum, CEO of David’s Bridal, told CNN Business that “We have spent a lot of time monitoring the situation in China and I believe a lot of disruption is going to happen. It’s not only with bridal gowns but there’s the bridesmaid side of things, too.” The good news for David’s Bridal customers is that, according to Marcum, all of their factories in China are currently open, with only half of the brand’s wedding gowns being produced in China. David’s Bridal also produces its gowns in Sri Lanka, Burma and Vietnam. Marcum said David’s Bridal currently has enough inventory set aside in its warehouses and in its 300 stores nationwide. Marcum even went so far on Monday of this week to guarantee all David’s Bridal customers that their dresses will arrive in time: “We know how stressful a delayed order can be to a bride, so I’m here to unequivocally say that every customer will have the dress of her dreams in time, before her event date,” Marcum said.
- Bridesmaids gowns: Yup, they’re produced in China as well. But since they don’t take as long to produce as wedding gowns, the delays may not be as long. Bridal and special-occasion dress company Azazie told us that their production times have only been slightly delayed to nine weeks (versus the standard six weeks), whereas their competitors are seeing delays up until August 2020. This is because Azazie keeps sufficient stock of their fabrics and also works with vendors in Vietnam that have not been impacted by the virus.
- Hair extensions: China is the biggest exporter of human hair, so chances are that the gorgeous hair extensions you’re interested in buying for your wedding are made in China as well—yes, even the blonde ones! There are likely to be delays or increases in prices as the supply decreases worldwide.
- Your wedding guests: If you have a lot of out-of-town guests who will be flying to your wedding in the next few months, follow the CDC updates and keep an eye on the state of coronavirus here in the United States. The CDC reported on February 25, 2020, that the coronavirus is a serious public-health threat, and that while it is not recognized to be spreading in the United States currently, it warned of disruptive measures that may need to be taken (such as school dismissals, cancellation of mass gatherings and working from home) if sustained transmission is identified. This alert caused the Dow Industrial Index to drop about 2267 points. Some are accusing the CDC of spooking both the stock market and American citizens, while others are concerned about the real possibility of an outbreak in the U.S and what it could mean for day-to-day living. It’s too soon to tell what will happen, so you shouldn’t panic. But you should keep an eye out for updates in the coming weeks and months. CDC updates are the best place for information.
- No-travel zones: The most affected countries right now are China, South Korea, Italy and Iran at Warning Level 3, Japan at Alert Level 2 and Hong Kong at Alert Level 1. Many colleges are bringing American students studying abroad in Italy home this week, so the concern is real. If you have a honeymoon or destination wedding planned for any of these countries, you should consider postponing. Even if you want to still go, many airlines are canceling flights.
- Honeymoon plans: Even if you’re headed to a honeymoon destination in the Far East that has not been affected by coronavirus yet, your flight may have a layover in mainland China or Hong Kong (at Watch Level 1). Be sure to consult with your airlines or travel agent to see if your flights are being canceled or rerouted. Airlines and some major hotel chains are relaxing their cancellation policies and waiving change fees, but recouping all costs associated with the fear of traveling due to coronavirus is not guaranteed.
- Travel insurance: A standard trip-cancellation policy is unlikely to cover cancellations due to the fear of coronavirus. According to travelinsurance.com, “In the case of the coronavirus, the only type of coverage that will allow you to cancel your trip and be reimbursed is an optional Cancel For Any Reason upgrade, since it is a known event and excluded by standard travel insurance.” For more information about insurance that will provide coverage for the coronavirus outbreak, click here.
What you can do:
- If you have already ordered your wedding gown, contact your wedding-gown salon to find out if the production of your wedding gown has any connection to China and whether there are any delays anticipated. It is not the wedding-gown salon’s fault—nor do they have any control—but they should have information from their vendors and gown designers as to whether delays may be expected. There’s not much you can do if your gown is delayed, but at least having the correct information is better than worrying if it’s not necessary.
- If you have NOT ordered your wedding gown yet, give yourself more time to factor in these fabric and gown-production delays. This means that if you were planning to look for your gown nine months before your wedding, you may want to start looking 12 months before just to be safe. Also ask WHERE your gown is being produced so that you’re aware if delays may be an issue. And remember, it’s not just where your gown is being produced; it’s where the fabric to make your gown is coming from.
- The same applies for bridesmaid gowns: If you’ve already ordered, call to find out if your dresses are being produced in China and if there is an expected delivery date. If you’re shopping right now, ask WHERE the gowns are coming from. You may want to choose a designer or style that is not made in China.
- Perhaps put your Far East honeymoon plans on hold—or at the very least, confirm where your connecting flight is and whether this could be a problem city/country. There are fabulous destinations in the Caribbean and the United States that may be a safer choice right now. For ideas, click here. The bright side from all of this is that with airlines canceling more than 200,000 flights worldwide, jet-fuel prices are down sharply to more than two-year lows. This may result in less-expensive plane ticket costs in the near future, making your honeymoon more affordable than you had initially planned for.
- Purchase travel insurance for your honeymoon with the Cancel For Any Reason upgrade. This is the only type that will provide coverage for cancellations due to the coronavirus. For more information about this insurance, click here.
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