Creative Ideas for Saving Your COVID-Era Wedding
Many couples are getting creative to salvage their weddings during the COVID-era of social distancing and outdoor and virtual gatherings.

Many couples are getting creative to salvage their weddings during the COVID-era of social distancing and outdoor and virtual gatherings.

May through October is normally Canada’s peak wedding time. The beautiful weather and summer fun make for a perfect atmosphere to tie the knot–but not during the COVID-era. In April, Canadian officials banned large gatherings due to COVID-19 concerns. Since then, the country has seen over half of scheduled weddings cancelled or postponed. While data showed a decline in COVID cases over the summer, there has been a surge in cases this fall.

If 2020 was supposed to be your year, you joined thousands of other couples who are revisiting the drawing board and rescheduling, redesigning, and rethinking their plans during the COVID-era. Wedding planners encourage moving small weddings to larger venues that will accommodate proper social distancing. Larger weddings may create health risks for you and your guests. It may be best to postpone or re-vision these big events. Before you make your decision, consider going ahead with a wedding redesign that honors your original vision while keeping everyone safe.

Backyard Micro-Weddings in the COVID-era

Even prior to the pandemic, a “micro-wedding” trend had begun to emerge across North America. For reasons ranging from saving time and money to reducing the carbon footprint, couples have begun choosing smaller venues with fewer than 25 guests. Paring down your guest list to just the essentials and choosing a backyard venue with plenty of space may be the perfect solution for preserving your wedding. You can add a larger virtual reception to include your original guest list.

Virtual Celebrations in the COVID-era

You are undoubtedly familiar with the virtual options for gatherings through Zoom and other platforms which have become the norm during the COVID-era. A few creative touches can make your virtual wedding extra memorable.

In addition to the ceremonial elements you want to include, you can involve your guests in the ambiance of the celebration by sending them a pre-wedding guest package. This could include items such as your wedding favors, non-perishable hors d’oeuvres, Jordan almonds, place cards, table decorations, themed napkins or tablecloths, and of course, champagne. Include items that are specific to your original theme and personalities.

Some couples also include optional participation items, such as writing prompts or questions for the guests to answer about their connection to you. You might ask them to share their contributions during the ceremony and then send them to you for your memory book. Virtual weddings involve less physical celebration, so you can be creative with guest participation games and exercises that focus on you — the happy couple.

Stoop Weddings

This COVID-era idea involves supportive neighbors and a ceremony out on your stoop or in your front yard. You can ask your close-in neighbors to lend their front porches and yards to small groups of your friends and family for an evening. Your wedding march may be up the steps instead of down the aisle, and a catered meal can be served to tables spread out on the sidewalks. You may want to use a microphone and speaker to amplify your voices and for the music. Tie it all together with mini-lights and themed yard décor, and enjoy that first dance. You won’t even have to leave the house for this in-person, socially distanced idea.

The Great Outdoors

If you are nature lovers, that outdoor wedding you once considered may be a solution. Outdoor celebrations can be beautiful and memorable. You will want an adequate plan for rain or wind. Multiple pop-up tents will help with distancing. You can begin by researching outdoor wedding venues in your area. From Vancouver Island to Halifax, the Canadian outdoors may be the perfect backdrop for your wedding redesign.

If you’ve concluded that the show must go on even during the COVID-era and you are forging ahead with your wedding, that’s half the battle. Maybe the date is particularly relevant, or a beloved family member is only in the country temporarily. Whatever your reason, redesigning your wedding day can become a fun puzzle for you and your beloved. You never know — your wedding remix may be even more fun and memorable than the original plan.

Are We Living in a Simulation?
As 2020 comes to a close, and COVID-19 still wreaks havoc, some people might be questioning whether we are living in an advanced simulation.

As 2020 comes to a close, and COVID-19 still wreaks havoc, some people might be questioning whether we are living in an advanced simulation.

Living in 2020 has been an adventure. Some problems like climate change, wealth inequality, and systemic racism have traceable human causes. But others, like COVID-19, seem to come completely from left field. If you’re wondering if we’re living in a computer simulation, you’re not the only one. Scientists and philosophers have tackled this issue for centuries, trying to figure out whether our reality is truly “real.”

Questioning Reality for Centuries

“Humanity has always seemed to have a healthy distrust for the nature of reality,” says tech writer and designer Donovan Alexander. Zhuangzi, a Chinese philosopher who lived in the fourth century B.C.E., described a vivid dream of being a butterfly. When he awoke, he wasn’t sure if he was a human dreaming of being a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming about being human. Vedic philosophy talks about Maya, or the physical world as a super-immersive illusion. Then there’s French philosopher René Descartes, who said, “It is possible that I am dreaming right now and that all of my perceptions are false.”

The Basics of Simulation Theory

If you’ve ever seen any of “The Matrix” films, you’ve witnessed simulation theory. These works by the Wachowski sisters have contributed to the long tradition of questioning reality. Games like “The Sims 4” would have seemed like far-off dreams in 1990, but we play them now to pass the time or escape our pandemic reality. Simulation theory posits that we’re living in a super-advanced version of something like The Sims’ world. Proponents point to several probable pieces of evidence: subatomic particles behaving strangely, quarks that contain computer code, strange events such as the 2017 Oscars envelope mix-up, and the like.

But if we are indeed in a simulation, who’s running it? Vox writer Sean Illing mentions Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, who proposed that advanced civilizations could create extraordinary simulated realities. In his 2019 book “The Simulation Hypothesis,” computer scientist Rizwan Virk speculated that we may be living in a simulation now and we’re remarkably close to creating simulated realities ourselves. Maybe the creators are humans living in a far-off future, recreating their past. Perhaps the programmers are extraterrestrials, incredibly advanced artificial intelligences, or a capricious omnipotent being like Star Trek’s Q.

The Skeptics Weigh In

We can’t prove we’re in a computer simulation, so it’s natural to find some skeptics. These aren’t garden-variety naysayers, however. Built In mentions Harvard University physicist Lisa Randall as a prominent opponent. The theory focuses mostly on humanity, which Randall finds suspect given the preoccupation with our species. Why would anyone running a high-level simulation bother with simulating humans, she asks, when there’s so much more interesting stuff in the cosmos?

There’s also the problem of data storage. Physicists Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhi experimented with simulating quantum particles and discovered that it’s currently impossible to simulate an entire quantum computer. Doing so “would require a computer memory that would physically require more atoms than exist in the universe.”

Bigger Questions and Ethics

In the “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” episode “Far Beyond the Stars,” Captain Benjamin Sisko has a vivid vision of himself as Benny Russell, a writer in racially segregated 1950s America penning stories about Deep Space Nine. At the end of the episode, Sisko quips, “For all we know, at this very moment, somewhere far beyond all those distant stars, Benny Russell is dreaming of us.”

Even in simulated realities, our actions have consequences. As a Black person, the pain Sisko as Russell suffered from discrimination and police brutality was very real. Yet Russell fought for what he believed in: his vision of a future that included multiple cultures and genders. Just as those around him couldn’t imagine a Black starship captain, perhaps we can’t yet imagine what lies beyond our limitations.

Evaluating the Safety Risks of Outdoor Activities During COVID-19
With COVID-19 still devastating many communities, but summer time upon us, many people are wondering how and when to engage in outdoor activities.

With COVID-19 still devastating many communities, but summer time upon us, many people are wondering how and when to engage in outdoor activities.

Conflicting news reports and uninformed political leaders have led to widespread confusion when it comes to safety and preparedness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though much is still unknown about the novel coronavirus, organizations like WHO and the CDC have been trying to offer as much information as possible on how people should be responding to this crisis. Unfortunately, the longer some people have been stuck indoors, the stronger the urge becomes to get out and interact with the world again. To avoid a resurgence in numbers, it is vital that people everywhere avoid rushing into anything uncertain, and take extra precautions when engaging in outdoor activities.

If you’re losing your mind indoors with your partner or family, you might be curious about what is actually safe. Consider these points and make a decision that will help to keep your family protected without accidentally adding to the rising number of cases.

When To Stay on Your Property

How you should be responding to the pandemic comes back to where you live. Those living in rural areas where residences and businesses are spread out might not need to be as cautious as those who reside in bustling cities or even packed suburbs. This should inform how far you go with your family and how you engage in outdoor activities. Going to a park in your neighborhood once your state allows it might be legal, but a crowded park is a crowded park.

As tempting as it might be to go to a local park or public spot, it is definitely much wiser to refrain from these activities until you start seeing hard data that case numbers are in control. Stay on your property when you need fresh air and sunshine. If you live in a city, take a walk around your block while wearing a mask and whatever other gear is required. It might be difficult, but taking these steps now helps to increase the odds of everyone being able to enjoy outdoor activities sooner rather than later.

When To Venture Out

In America, states are rolling out plans for reopening at wildly different paces. With many politicians and economic stakeholders concerned about losing capital, public health is being sacrificed in the rush to open businesses again. This hastiness is causing even more confusion about whether or not it is actually safe to go out and about. According to all major health organizations, the pandemic is in no way contained and reopening can easily lead to more complicated problems at a faster pace. If you’re concerned about your state’s decision to open, try to refrain from going out even though you’re allowed.

The politicization of the novel coronavirus has caused a serious disruption of fact-based information from informing the decisions of average citizens. To weed through the noise and know when it is safe for you to go out for more than essentials, you need to get your information from health organizations and sources that are not affiliated with major media. Though the news is trustworthy to a degree, media conglomerates will often publish material with a political slant for more internet views. Avoid sensationalist clickbait to cut to the heart of the situation and develop an informed perspective.

Why You Need To Stay Informed

Though being obsessed with news surrounding the pandemic can be quite unhealthy, you also need to keep yourself informed on developments. Until you know it is safe to resume your usual outdoor activities, limit your excursions. Places like gyms might be sorely missed by patrons, but you can easily exercise at home until the coast is clear.

Information surrounding the novel coronavirus might change on an hourly basis, but making any decisions without consulting current data can be irresponsible. While you might be eager to lazily hang in the park with friends, showing a bit of reservation will definitely yield better results for all.

Taking Extra Care of Your Family Pets During Quarantine
Read through these suggestions for making the most of the COVID-19 lockdown with your pets and making sure they get the love they deserve.

Read through these suggestions for making the most of the COVID-19 lockdown with your pets and making sure they get the love they deserve.

The COVID-19 pandemic might be taxing on human beings, but it is a unique situation for the furry members of the family as well. Cats and dogs are experiencing an unprecedented period of time during which owners are home all hours, which can bring about a mixture of excitement and confusion. Though you’re likely showing a bit of extra love and affection to your pets lately, there are specific ways you can encourage a calm, relaxed attitude when things are tense. Consider these tips and learn how you can best take care of your pets during lockdown.

Pets with a Ton of Energy

Is your dog running around the house more than usual? Have you noticed that the pup is more demanding of your attention throughout the day? Most of the time, dogs are conditioned to be chill during the day when owners are at work or taking care of errands. This is evident in the bursts of energy that a dog has when the family returns to the house. Of course, this is no longer the case for most households. With the family constantly present, a dog might not know how to react and need to suddenly work through these emotions.

While the simple solution to an overactive pup is a walk, you’re definitely not going to be able to keep up with the demands your dog is placing on you during this time. Instead, try to dedicate small chunks of time to play whenever possible. Helping your dog work through its excitement in a healthy, controlled way can limit the odds of the habit persisting throughout the entire lockdown.

A Cat With a Message

Cats are fickle creatures with seriously vindictive personality traits. If you offend a cat in a specific way, you can expect feline retribution. What’s worse, you might not realize what you did wrong. Since most cats are solitary ambush predators that don’t enjoy being in a crowd all day, your constant presence in the house might be seen as an affront. This can manifest in many ways, including a kitty who decides to forego the litter box in order to send you a specific message. Missing the litter box on purpose is a sign your cat is literally pissed.

Since you can’t talk this problem out with your cat and you can’t leave the house the way you usually would, you need to get creative with your approach. In most cases, the cat will decide to pee on items of personal significance to you. This can be shoes, a piece of clothing, or even furniture. To curb the habit, invest in a spray meant to deter cats from this action. When your cat gets a whiff of the spray, it will likely stop showing its frustration in this way.

The Loneliness Is Real

People need other people. Science shows that physical contact and emotional connection play an integral part in a person’s overall health. What most people don’t realize is that the same can be true for pets. Dogs in particular become accustomed to receiving attention from other humans during walks and outings. When this comes to a halt due to social distancing measures, the dog might feel or act depressed from this lack of contact. Showing your pup some extra love during moments when he or she seems bummed can help to distract from whatever lethargic feelings have come about.

While cats and dogs might be loving the added hours with the family, there are bound to be some bumps along the way. When you notice a peculiar habit developing with your pet, address the issue and come up with a sensible solution. Showing this level of love and attention to your furry pals can be a good way to make this difficult time easier on even the smallest members of your group.

The Value of Solitude in the COVID-19 Age
Solitude can present a unique opportunity for spiritual, mental, and emotional growth, and what better time to experience it than during a pandemic.

Solitude can present a unique opportunity for spiritual, mental, and emotional growth, and what better time to experience it than during a pandemic.

Humans find a lot of value in community, especially sharing spiritual experiences with others. Nearly every major religion integrates communal fellowship into its traditions. However, they also stress the need for solitude in deepening one’s spiritual life. With the coronavirus pandemic forcing billions of people to stay inside their homes, the potential for solitude is at an all-time high. If effectively harnessed, it can present a unique opportunity for spiritual, mental, and emotional growth.

Examples of Solitude From World Religions

For those seeking spiritual enrichment in solitude, plenty of examples exist. The Tanakh mentions Moses, Elijah, and Jacob meeting alone with God. In Islam, Muhammad’s first revelation occurred when he was alone in the cave of Hira just outside of Mecca. The Bible’s New Testament describes Jesus frequently going into the wilderness by himself to pray.

There are more examples outside of the major Abrahamic religions. Buddha is said to have meditated under the Bodhi tree for several weeks. Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith, said that “he who meditates in solitude attains supreme bliss.” Some Neopagans embrace solitary practice instead of joining covens or other groups. Patti Washington, a historian and pagan high priestess, explains that some Wiccans don’t live near any covens and others benefit from setting their own pace and avoiding covens’ interpersonal dynamics.

Why We May Avoid Solitude

In a piece for The Atlantic, journalist Brent Crane observes that most humans try their best to avoid solitude. “It has been considered an inconvenience, something to avoid, a punishment, a realm of loners,” he comments. Humans are social beings, thanks to thousands of years of evolution. Recognizing strength, safety, and better survival odds in numbers, our earliest ancestors lived in small tribes containing several families. Without the protection of a larger group, social outcasts would have been more likely to die from animal attacks, lack of shelter, or starvation.

It’s easy to conflate solitude with loneliness, especially when solitude isn’t deliberately chosen. For some, their busy schedules make it impossible to savor a few quiet moments alone. Others try to avoid their chaotic inner lives: minds filled with anxiety, regret, fear, worry, or other things that make them uncomfortable. Whether it’s a throwback to ancestral fears is uncertain, but being alone can be a significant source of stress.

An Opportunity for Growth

Indeed, too much isolation can harm our physical and mental health. In small doses, however, it can be beneficial. Vox’s Sigal Samuel describes it as a skill. “Lean into it,” she advises, then draws examples from people who’ve dealt with involuntary isolation. “You have to learn how to deal with yourself,” says Keith Lamar, an American man who has spent 27 years in solitary confinement. Professor and researcher Matthew Bowker adds that making the most of being alone can “generate meaningful and valuable experiences in the internal world.”

Being plunged into social isolation while sheltering in place isn’t easy. Recognizing our discomfort is key: Observing and sitting with the emotion is vital, but it’s important to stay detached. Emotions bring with them sensations, and those sensations can and do pass.

Reconnecting with our internal world during periods of solitude is beneficial, but experts warn against completely disconnecting from outside reality. Sensory awareness and grounding techniques are useful for combating anxiety. Keeping track of something in our outside environment can also help ground us, such as rainfall, temperatures, or the birds outside our windows. Routines also help us stay connected and provide structure to our days.

Remembering Purpose in Your Solitude

People all over the world are struggling with pandemic-related isolation. Rather than running from solitude, learning to embrace it can improve our lives. Balancing time spent alone with engaging in technology is a useful strategy to process our discomfort, find relief when we need it, and remain connected with those who matter to us most.

Spirituality and Religious Worship in the Age of COVID-19
With most houses of worship closed to the public during the coronavirus pandemic, believers are finding alternate ways to practice their faiths.

With most houses of worship closed to the public during the coronavirus pandemic, believers are finding alternate ways to practice their faiths.

The novel coronavirus has significantly changed life on planet Earth, including how humans approach spirituality. With multiple nations enacting shelter-in-place measures and urging citizens to practice social distancing, houses of worship have closed to the public. Many belief systems are inherently communal, so how are devotees practicing their faiths in these unusual times? With flexible approaches, perseverance, and a little help from modern technology.

Impacts on Communal Worship

Religious authorities and communities all over the globe have taken steps to keep worshippers safe. Vatican News reported on March 30 that Pope Francis is broadcasting his daily Masses to isolated Catholics worldwide. Similarly, Catholic dioceses across Canada and the rest of the world have canceled public worship and are now livestreaming Masses, the Holy Eucharist, and other services.

Muslims have also been affected. Al Jazeera reveals that mass prayers have been suspended in several countries. Writing for The Star, Muslim legal scholar Shaikh Ahmad Kutty and lawyer Faisal Kutty decry religious leaders who have kept their mosques open. “One of the five higher objectives of the Sharia is the preservation of life,” they argued. “Therefore, Muslims are mandated to take all steps to prevent harm…[including] to prevent the spread of diseases.” Canadian synagogues have also halted public worship, with many rabbis conducting online services.

Devotees of other religions are following social distancing guidelines during their spiritual practices. Buddhist, Sikh, and Hindu temples have halted worship services. Buddhistdoor Global mentions that several organizations are offering online retreats and livestreamed programs. Neopagans and followers of African and Indigenous spiritual traditions continue solitary worship while reaching out to their online communities.

Social Distancing and Solo Spiritual Journeys

Despite the strange new reality created by COVID-19, social distancing has provided some unique opportunities. Some are using the extra time at home to better cultivate solitary spiritual practices. Depending on the person, these may include prayer, creating or developing in-home altars, reading religious texts, and meditation. Even people who aren’t particularly religious have turned to meditation to help themselves cope with the pandemic. YouTube hosts tons of guided meditation videos, and health coach Amanda Capritto profiles several meditation apps in a March 27 CNET piece.

For others, social distancing offers a chance to evaluate their beliefs and seek answers. “At this time of self-isolation and social distancing we have a lot of fear of not knowing,” reads the front page of the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple website. “This will be a good time to listen to the Dharma but also to ask questions.”

Charity and Community Support

Communities of faith are providing financial and social relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian Jewish News profiled Jewish Free Loans Toronto, which offers several interest-free loan options to people impacted by the outbreak. Some churches have kept their food pantries open while practicing social distancing measures to avoid infection. The Washington Post reported on March 19 about an Alabama megachurch that hosted drive-through coronavirus testing.

COVID-19 has proved especially challenging for Sikh communities, which typically offer free community meals at their gurdwaras. Some have kept their langars open while practicing extensive precautions to keep visitors safe. The Surrey Now-Leader mentions Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib, which switched to drive-through and takeout langar meals. The temple also provides grocery delivery to senior citizens, disabled individuals, and international students.

Faith in a Time of World Crisis

The COVID-19 outbreak has altered human life, perhaps for good. However, it’s also proven humanity’s resilience and indomitable spirit. Many are looking to their faiths during this crisis for comfort, community, and answers. Developing inner peace, reaching out to other believers, or finding ways to help others are all salient examples of how faith and religion can have positive impacts in our uncertain times, even without the group worship component traditionally associated with many religions.

Grooms: How To Take Better Care of Yourselves
Preliminary data indicate grooms may be at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19, as men tend to have poorer health habits compared to women.

Preliminary data indicate grooms may be at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19, as men tend to have poorer health habits compared to women.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be more fatal to men. CNN reported on March 24 that males make up 70% of those who died from coronavirus complications in Italy and 54% of total COVID-19 deaths in South Korea. Yet even without a global virus outbreak, taking care of oneself should be a top priority, especially for men who seem to have poorer health habits compared to women. While grooms are figuring out what to do next about their upcoming weddings, practicing healthy habits can ensure that they’re around to say “I do.”

Why More Men Are Dying From COVID-19

Medical professionals are trying to determine why more men have succumbed to COVID-19. Scientists haven’t determined any concrete causes, according to The Guardian, but they have some theories that may fit the facts. Unhealthy behaviors seem to be the key to higher death rates: More men smoke, drink, and don’t practice healthy habits such as handwashing. Men are less likely to seek medical attention when they are ill. MDLinx reveals that they’re diagnosed at higher rates with serious health conditions:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Lung cancer

Grooms and General Risk Factors

British Columbia’s Centre for Disease Control explains that people with chronic illnesses are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 complications. However, they also face a generally greater risk of dying earlier. That contributes to Canadian men’s lower life expectancies: 79 years versus 83 years for Canadian women. Harvard Health mentions that more men are employed in high-risk occupations such as construction, the military, and firefighting. Canadian men are three times more likely to successfully commit suicide, less likely to have significant social connections, and less likely to seek mental health treatment.

Staying Healthy and Beating the Odds

Understanding your risk factors is important. But don’t worry: This article won’t turn into a lecture or sound like a 1950s educational film. What grooms can do, however, is focus on potential ways to maintain or improve their health. Harvard Health suggests choosing one goal to tackle first rather than trying to make a ton of lifestyle changes at once, so pick something attainable right now. Simple steps are a great way to begin your journey, and many helpful resources are available to get you started:

  • If you use tobacco, take steps to quit. Several provinces and territories offer free accessible support for going nicotine-free.
  • People who drink alcohol should do so in moderation. If you’re concerned about addiction, check out this treatment guide from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction.
  • The Canadian government offers a food guide snapshot, plus some tips on how to shop and eat better.
  • New to exercise? Sports medicine expert Andrew Lavender provides several suggestions to get started as a beginner.
  • The Loop lists several national and provincial mental health resources.

If you’re dealing with food insecurity due to COVID-19, try Food Banks Canada’s food bank search. Each provincial and territorial government operates social assistance and welfare programs. Also, California-based Dignity Health supplies several tips for eating well if you lack regular access to fresh, healthy food.

Your Journey, Your Choices, Your Health

Life is precious. Besides your quality of life and goals, there are friends and loved ones who care and would love to see you stick around for a long time. Grooms also have a wedding to look forward to, whether or not COVID-19 has delayed their plans. Remember that change won’t happen overnight: This isn’t a race to see how quickly you can accomplish your goals. Nobody’s expecting you to become musclebound or become a whiz at CrossFit. If your first benchmark is eating one piece of fruit each day, that’s fine. The bottom line: Take care of yourself. The world needs you.

Could the Coronavirus Affect Your Wedding? A Brief Situational Analysis
The rapid spread of the coronavirus is impacting many couples' wedding plans, so take these issues into consideration and remain flexible.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus is impacting many couples’ wedding plans, so take these issues into consideration and remain flexible.

As of March 30th, CNN reported over 700,000 coronavirus cases worldwide. Global News reveals there are over 7,000 confirmed cases in Canada, with 1,700 in Ontario and just under 1,000 in British Columbia. While governments all over the world decide how to handle the coronavirus outbreak, many people are concerned about how it affects their everyday lives. With summer and fall weddings just on the horizon, what could this epidemic mean for Canadian couples about to tie the knot?

Plan Extra Time for Your Wedding Attire

If you’ve already selected your attire, it doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan. IBISWorld estimates that China’s apparel manufacturing industry generated $390 billion in 2019, but CNN’s Parija Kavilanz mentions that many production facilities have closed because of the outbreak. Around 80% of the world’s wedding gowns and formal dresses are made in China, along with a large percentage of suits, tuxedos, and other formal apparel. With some clothing retailers already facing a month delay in receiving new shipments, that could leave many nearlyweds and their attendants scrambling to find new attire.

Coronavirus Causing Food and Drink Shortages

The coronavirus pandemic impacts other parts of the global supply change, including food and beverage production. ABC News’ Kelly McCarthy details these disruptions, including factory closures, employee travel bans, and increased food quality control measures in the United States. How these actions could impact your reception food and drink remain to be seen, but it’s a good idea to talk to your caterer about your concerns and develop backup plans in case your first choices aren’t available.

Travel and Lodging Issues

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists dozens of countries with confirmed coronavirus cases. Some of the hardest-hit nations include China, Italy, Spain, Germany, Iran and the United States. Every European nation has reported cases, along with countries that are popular tourist destinations such as Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Australia, and Indonesia.

In the wake of the outbreak, the tourism and hospitality industries are feeling the effects. Hospitality Net columnist Ahmed Mahmoud mentions losses by several major chains such as Hilton, Wyndham, Hyatt, and Radisson. Major airlines have stricken many routes from their offerings and are operating at reduced capacity, severely reducing their revenue.

Naturally, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the news if your honeymoon location is in one of the affected areas and planned for the near future. Follow government-issued travel advisories and be prepared to cancel and adjust plans. If you’re using a travel agent, work with that professional to choose alternative destinations and itineraries. Keep in touch with your vendors and venues to remain updated about any impacts the outbreak has on your big day. Many countries and locales are issuing stay-at-home orders at this point, and many of those continue to be extended. Social distancing guidelines now extend at least through April 30th in the U.S.

Wedding Insurance Issues To Consider

With the outbreak threatening many industries, you’re probably tempted to buy wedding insurance if you don’t have it already. That’s a smart idea, but you need to know what you’re getting for your money. The Balance’s Mila Araujo lists typically covered losses such as venue closings, illnesses, and damage or lost attire. Some policies may not cover weddings outside of Canada, so confirm what your policy includes before you finalize your purchase.

As human beings, we tend to take many things for granted. However, the coronavirus epidemic is a serious reminder about the fragility of life and how much uncertainty is involved in our daily lives. Staying aware and considering alternative plans are both important as you arrange your wedding. In the meantime, don’t forget to take good care of yourself. With smart precautions such as washing your hands, avoiding people who are sick, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve, and staying home if you are ill, you’ll hopefully protect yourself and those around you. In fact, you should probably stay home except for essential errands even if you are well in order to “flatten the curve.”