Cancel, Wait, or Push Through: How Covid-19 Cripples Wedding Plans in the Philippines

Lance and Ayessa have been planning their June wedding for almost a year now. Almost everything is set but with her groom working in the US, Ayessa fears that the most important wedding detail might not make it on time.

“My groom and some guests will be coming from the US, and if the situation gets worst, travel bans may be imposed, and we fear that he may not be able to come home in time for the wedding. This is my biggest fear!” Ayessa, Bride

With the rapid development of Covid-19 in our country, soon-to-wed couples are starting to feel anxious on what to do about their big day. Wedding planning can already be stressful enough on a normal day, but this outbreak is making it twice as challenging. What should you do?


Cancel, Wait, or Push Through: How Covid-19 Cripples Wedding Plans in the Philippines

Stay Calm and Don’t Panic

With all the news updates about the rapid spread of the virus all over the world, it’s easier to panic than to look at things with clear eyes. It’s very easy to feel that this situation you’re in is shoving you against the wall with no other option but to back down. Before you make any decisions, lay down all your cards in front of you and ask yourself the following questions:

Is there a way for my wedding to push through? What will it take to make it happen? Am I open enough to make any changes to my plans so my wedding can push through? When is it acceptable for me to postpone?

Make Adjustments

Angela is scheduled to get married in Manila this month so she has been monitoring the news everyday to help her decide about what to do next.

“We have yet to talk about a plan B, but we do have a workaround for now. We will be providing rubbing alcohol at the venue and make sure that there is enough supply of soap and water. We’ll also be advising our guests in advance and on the day itself to take necessary precautions as advised by public health authorities.” Angela, March Bride

We talked to a Manila-based wedding planner to get some insights on what changes couples can make during their wedding day.

“Be prepared and don’t be too hard on yourself. There’s no need to feel stressed. Just think of everyone’s safety. If there’s a need to postpone or to cancel, then be it. Then, we just start again with planning towards a new date.” Rhona, Canaan Celebrations by Jets and Rhona, Wedding Planner

Taking extra steps to make your guests feel safe will go a long way. The risk they are taking to join you on your special day is no small feat. For sure, your concern will be appreciated.

“We encourage couples to make the extra effort to make the guests safe: give out sanitizers and provide masks at the registration table for anyone who needs.” Rhona, Canaan Celebrations by Jets and Rhona, Wedding Planner

“We discourage couples from doing a buffet style for the reception at this time. If budget permits, shift to plated meals so guests won’t have to use and touch the same ladle when getting food. Another option is to situate waiters to scoop the food for them.” Rhona, Canaan Celebrations by Jets and Rhona, Wedding Planner

Assess Your Situation

What are the cards you’re dealt with now and is there a possible workaround? For example, if you’re planning to have a destination wedding where the majority of suppliers and guests are coming from all over the world, you might want to rethink your plans for now. If you’ll have your wedding in Manila, what are the limitations? These are just some questions to help you assess your current situation.

“We're reading up on the latest news and information about COVID-19, but we're continuing with the plans we have so far. Just like any other challenge that may come our way during the planning, we will continue to talk about it, pray about it, then decide on how we can adjust most effectively.” - Angela, March Bride

Accept Things You Can’t Change

While couples will naturally do everything in their power to push through with their wedding plans, some factors just don’t have a workaround. And this is what soon-to-weds have to accept. Rhona, wedding planner, shared with us one cancellation they recently had.

“Since most affordable flights from Europe have layovers in Hong Kong and Japan, their guest list was cut down to 40%. They decided to postpone the wedding to December instead.” Rhona, Canaan Celebrations by Jets and Rhona, Wedding Planner

David, together with his fiance, was supposed to have their wedding in Italy this May. But because of the outbreak, they decided to cancel it for a later date.

"Our wedding was initially planned to be in Italy on May, however our wedding plans are compromised due to the lock down and travel ban. We also don’t want to risk the health of our loved ones by subjecting them to a virus that is potentially lethal." -David, May Groom

Go Back to What’s Important

If there’s one good thing we can squeeze out from this whole crisis, it’s us being brought back to what’s important. If at the end of the day you realize that the most important thing for you it to get married even if no guests showed up, then go ahead. Consider trimming down your guest list just so all your paper work and documents won’t expire.

“I would suggest that you go through the wedding as planned but with just your family or closest friends. Once the virus clears out, you can have a renewal of vows with all of your original guests. Expired documents are harder to renew.” Rhona, Canaan Celebrations by Jets and Rhona, Wedding Planner


If your wedding day is affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, tell us about it! Remember, you’re not alone in this.

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  1. Our wedding is by the end of March. Principal sponsors from abroad cannot attend because of Ncov, my parents are from HK and they’re worried to be quarantined when they come home but still pushing through. Lastly, I’m just scared that the church might cancel our wedding ceremony because of the “social distancing” protocol 😩

  2. Been planning the wedding for over a year now and we had been looking forward to it ever since 2020 started! We are overseas and will be celebrating in Manila. August is only 5 months away and all the plans were coming together. But of course, since the outbreak of the virus and with the recent developments both in Norway and the Philippines, it was a no-brainer: we must cancel!! Definitely no stress with the decision. Totally at peace with our choice, it definitely is the most responsible thing to do.

  3. We are also set for our wedding ing June in Ilocos, we were both working in Singapore…the situation here is already stable, but we are not sure in the Philippines if after 1 or 2 mos evrything will be ok…For now Singapore OFWs are not in a 14 day quarantine however We heard there is a 14 day home quarantine at the moment in our local government unit, we already booked our ticket for 12 days and Im confused on how should it be,. . honestly the virus is more stressful than the preparation of the wedding.,for now We don’t still have plan B, we are still hoping for the best.,

  4. Maybe the guest can cancel, but as long as our immidiate family are present I think there’s no reason to cancel the wedding.

  5. We had our wedding last February 8. I came from London, my husband was from the US. Some of our guests from the US had to cancel their flights last minute because they became so scared of the Covid19. Some of our guests from UK had to rebook ticket because the stop over was either in HK or China and those flights were banned to go to Philippines. We were fretting and upset bcoz of the last minute cancellation but we just had to let it go. I told my husband that the most important thing was our parents and siblings and really close family and friends were present. I had to spend extra (which I didn’t mind since I am a nurse and I understand how it is transmitted) for a loot bag that contains alcohol and tissue paper. I’d say the wedding is still perfect.

  6. My fiancee and I are both working/living in KSA. Hes italian and im a filipina. We have already set out wedding in Boracay in May 30 and the civil wedding in Italy in April. However, due to travel ban to both countries, we are afraid that the wedding will be postponed til next year, summer. We are not losing hope though, everyday we are monitoring the news and updates from the government of these 3 countries. 😔

  7. We are getting married on April. Double the stress, double the prayers and double the faith. We are trying our every best to not panic and to trust the process. It’s not easy but we have to pray harder. Hopefully this dilemma ends very soon.

  8. We’re having an August 2020 wedding. I’ve been on the fence wether or not to push through with it especially since most of my suppliers have already asked for non-refundable downpayments. I’m so torn between having my grandfather who has lung cancer attend my wedding. We did after all plan to have it this year in hopes that he’s still strong enough to be there. Now, it breaks my heart to think he won’t be there, or that if he does go he might contract the virus there. We also pushed the wedding date up from September just so our friends and godson from canada can attend and be part of the entourage but with the high risk of being infected from their layover in Japan, that may no longer be possible. It’s so overwhelming. I just pray that it will all be over before summer even ends.

    1. Hey I have the same concern as yours but I had no choice but to cancel and learned that DTI actually has stand on this so we are protected. B&B hope you can help us voice out this concern please 🙁

  9. My fiancée and I have been together for about 10 years and have been planning our dream wedding for over a year!. We were set to have our destination wedding in Boracay, Philippines in June with the over 100 guests RSVP to attend from all of the world. The majority of our guests our booked with flights, accommodation, and PTO all set, but with many of their layovers in high risk areas, we had to make one of the hardest decisions ever. Unfortunately we have made the ultimate decision to postpone our wedding due to the covid 19 pandemic. With all the uncertainties and risks of our family and friends of contracting the virus and self quarantines, we know it’s the safest and best decision to postpone. Our wedding coordinator Amanda Tirol has been great and very supportive with everything. I am crushed and heartbroken that we will have to postpone, and we don’t know until when. As well of the all burdens, hassles and inconveniences we may be causing our guests. On top of the expenses we have put forward towards our special day. We are just so overwhelmed on how fast and rapid covid 19 has spread and how it has affected our wedding. We still have wishful thinking, hopes and dreams that our wedding will pull thru, just not on the date we have had planned.

  10. Less than 2 weeks from now we will be having our wedding, however the government announced community lockdown in Manila starting on March 15. Principal sponsors cannot come since some of them are from the US. Some of our secondary sponsors also said that they cannot vome since they are from Manila. Most of our suppliers, who are based in Manila, also advised us that they will message us after talking with their team. Looking at everyone’s safety, we still need to decide whether to push through with our families and closest friends or reschedule.

  11. My husband and I are set to return to Philippines in less than 4 weeks for our wedding in Boracay 7 weeks from today. Some guests have already cancelled their trip and most of them are sending love and prayers. At this stage we are being calm and keeping our plans. Hopefully this ends soon.

  12. August 2020 wedding ceremony here. We already had our civil wedding and are currently residing overseas. We are already contacting our suppliers of possibly moving our date next year, same date since most of our guests are elders and coming from overseas.

    We’ve been planning this wedding ceremony since 2018, we have faith in God and we’ve been praying, but like they said God’s no is not a delay but a protection.

  13. Our wedding is supposed to be on May 20, 2020. My partner of 7 years proposed to me last December so that gave us roughly five months to prepare.

    However, we chose to postpone it because most of my bridesmaids (highschool bestfriends) are flying from overseas (London, Ireland, Australia). My matron of honor (sister) is flying from Manila and we are not sure if the community quarantine will be extended.

    I was stressed out at first because we’ve been waiting and praying for this for how many years now. However, this is an important day for us and we want to spend it with the most important people of our lives. Our health and safety is a primary concern too.

    Btw, my other bestfriend and I will be having a back to back wedding (2 days apart) in the last quarter of the year so our HS bestfriends could attend both our weddings. It’s exciting! Every cloud has a silver lining

  14. My sister’s wedding was set on March 21. Everything was set. Guest from overseas already en route to Davao and then on March 12, the City Mayor of Davao issued an executive memorandum mandating the cancellation of mass gatherings and events which includes the wedding. The hotel refuses to cater the reception for fear of being penalized. My sister’s been crying since she learned the news. She had to take a leave from her work in UK for this wedding which we cant push through. I suggested instead they hold a civil wedding before the judge so they need not apply for a new license and move the grand church wedding on a later date. Good thing suppliers are ok with moving everything to a later date. Hopefully COVID will be contained if not cured by the time of their church wedding. *fingers crossed*

  15. I and my fiancé are getting married in first week of July in Iloilo. I am working in Vietnam and he’s in Iloilo. We alloted 8 months to a year of preparation and it isn’t easy for couples to plan when both are geographically away but somehow we are 60% ready so far. We booked for our prenuptial in May in Vietnam and even have flight bookings for our families going to Iloilo and for our honeymoon after the event. However, due to the threat of Covid-19 and travel and community restrictions are implemented, we are in dilemma whether to pursue in July in hope for the situation to settle down for even just a private and intimate wedding, or to move it some time later following our original plan. But we have to cancel our prenuptial plan in Vietnam because of the threat of quarantine in both countries to and fro. Praying so hard for God’s guidance and for sure He will make everything beautiful in His time

    1. Hi Angel, given the situation now, we are not sure if this is possible for now. You can inquire with your parish to be sure.

      1. Our wedding should be May 14, 2020, everything is ready, church, venue, hotel accommodation for prep, HMUA, host, we had our prenup shoot and food tasting was done. Everything is set, even bridal gown is ready for pick up. We’re on little details na lang sana 😥 but sadly ECQ was declared and extended (until April 30). So, we decided to moved our wedding to June 11, 2020 (this is before ECQ extended again to May 15) hoping that this pandemic is over. But now, I don’t think we could have our wedding as originally planned. We’re still deciding what to do, we’re considering many aspects. Our papers will be expired on June 25, 2020. So I don’t know yet, still gathering infos and suggestions. In God’s will! Everything will be fine. 😊

  16. We are getting married on June but it will be an intimate wedding with only the immediate families and 2 witnesses around. My fiancé is a seafarer so as long as the lockdown is not lifted, he can’t come home. Good thing we haven’t spent anything yet for the wedding so it’s easy for us to adjust the date if ever.

  17. our wedding was postponed (april 18). Im wondering if the marriage license (will expire on July) will have extended validity due to extended ECQ?

    1. Hi Amanda, you can just renew your marriage license once it expires. It will be best to talk with your wedding planner also to help you out.

    2. You have to renew your documents. It has a limited period of validity thus after the date allowed it will no longer be valid. Just apply for a new one in case you want to push through with your wedding.

  18. I know some couples are getting married earlier than me (mine’s in October 2020), but we are already considering on moving our wedding since some of our relatives will be coming from other countries… Any insights?

    1. Same here. Wedding is on October 2020 but we have decided to move thebwedding to a later date or even better, to next year. There is no way of telling if what the new normal will allow hence we want to wait out on the guidelines which will be set for mass gatherings such as wedding. I believe the CBCP has already released a statement that only simple church weddings will be allowed, no more lavish celebrations. It’s sad but we always have to consider, safety first.

  19. Our wedding will be on December 2020, our coordinator is already looking for availability by January 2021. We are both coming from Canada and what scare us is that when we arrive we might still have to be quarantined, we plan to arrive with only 2 weeks before the wedding, as of now we are still waiting until June or July to decide if we will push through, wait, or cancel. We already had an intimate civil wedding at home here in Canada but the church wedding will happen in Tagaytay, with all the suppliers booked and paid downpayment for reservations since last year. If we cancel can we still a refund?

  20. For my co-bride to be,
    Our most awaited moment may be cancelled due to Covid-19
    What matters most for now is that you and future husband is safe and healthy
    Some may be physically separated due to quarantine or working overseas but
    What matters most is that your hearts belong to each other
    At the end of the day, what matters most is that…
    You are in a relationship with the person you love most
    Supporting and building a future with each other
    whatever it takes.
    -From a B2B supposedly on 27June2020. However, we cannot even have a simple wedding because my future husband is a seafarer and still on board and we don’t know when he will be able to be back home because of restrictions on crew changes. This is hard. Every day I cry as we didn’t know when he will be able to be back, no regular updates from their company. In addition, as we are aware of, our government is struggling to accommodate thousands of repatriated OFWs and with all the quarantine protocols.

    I am hopeful. I am lifting up all my hopes to our God Almighty that soon I will be able to be with my future husband, we can have a simple yet meaningful wedding rights, and continue with our plans.

    PS: I prepared a wedding vow even if our wedding is postponed. Will send it to my dearest future husband on our supposedly wedding date.

  21. We are meant to be getting married next April 2021 in Boracay but most of the wedding party will be coming from the UK, including myself and my OH. We are waiting another month and then may postpone until April 2022.

  22. I know how this feels! I flew from Canada to Cebu on the 1st of March for my wedding which was supposed to be on the 29th March 2020. My groom’s family is from Manila and I am from Cebu. My husband’s family all could not fly to Cebu which meant our entourage was cut to only 30%. On The 14th of March, the archdiocese announced that they will not hold any mass gatherings anymore. Imagine our horror! The very next day, we went to the Municipality of Consolacion, Liloan, Compostela, Danao with hopes of getting a civil marriage instead but they all told us they can’t marry anyone for now until further notice. Our hearts were crushed. So on the 16th we went to the church asking and begging if they can still accept us. We were told they would if we can do it on the 20th and only 10 people will be allowed inside the church. We grabbed the chance. We told our coordinator and they got to work. A year long of planning ruined and we have to come up with a totally new EVERYTHING in 4 effin days. On the 20th, we got married and it was nothing short from magical. Thank you to our coordinator. They made it happen.

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