San Diego Weddings in the time of COVID

To say that 2020 has been a crazy year is an understatement. We have all been deeply affected by the goings on during this horrific world-wide pandemic and for people planning weddings during this time, we are aware that it’s been even more challenging. There is an inordinate amount of uncertainty and anxiety for engaged couples at this time. As the months have gone by and we’re starting to see 2020 wind down, we have started getting questions from our 2021 couples, asking for guidance on what they should do. We would like to use the platform of this blog to communicate to you what we have learned and what you should expect about weddings moving forward in 2020 and into 2021. Our goal is to help alleviate anxiety and stress and help you make the best decision for you. 

San Diego Botanic Garden Micro-Ceremony – Photo by: Heidi-O-Photo

In the past 7 months we have learned a lot here at Breezy Day. We have helped over 90 couples postpone or make alternative plans for their weddings. We started back in mid-March like everyone else; we had no clue what to tell our clients and we assumed things would get back to normal by May of 2020. When May rolled around with nothing better to report, we started feeling frustrated that we had no good news, or news at all for that matter. As a company that offers coordination (and floral) services we needed to be able to confidently speak to our clients and help them make well-informed decisions about their wedding plans. We have written letters to the state government asking for guidelines, we have spent hours waiting to speak to the city council, we have reached out to countless other vendors and venues to see if they feel as lost as we do. We are aware that many of our clients are currently struggling with making the correct decision right now and many are even wondering if they should postpone a second or third time. 

We would like to share with you a little bit about what this year has looked like, what we are currently seeing in the wedding industry and most importantly things you should consider when moving forward with your wedding planning. We would like to note that this is just coming from Breezy Day and we by no means represent other wedding vendors or venues. It is our goal as a company to help you plan a safe wedding and we cannot speak for other wedding professionals on how they are handling these uncertain times. 

Photo by: Tim Otto

First of all a quick rundown of what has happened since March 15, 2020 with our Breezy Day couples: 

-Most of our 2020 couples have postponed to 2021. A few of our couples who were originally scheduled for April/May 2020 postponed to the late summer/fall of this year and for those who are determined to have a big party like they’ve always dreamt of, have now postponed a second or third time. 2021 is now jam packed full 

-A lot of couples have decided to do a courthouse wedding and then continue to plan their big reception in 2021. We’ve been helping them by providing bouquets and other personal flowers to make their day special!

-Some have decided to just elope and cancel the big party. Some go to the Courthouse and some secure a permit to get married in a favorite public spot in San Diego. 

-Lastly, the Micro Wedding has been invented! We’ll speak more about that further down below. 

What does San Diego County Allow? 

As of October 18, 2020, the state of California continues to be one of the only states in America without guidelines for hosting weddings. For the County of San Diego the following is true: 

-Ceremonies are allowed. Either in a church (at 25% capacity up to 100 guests) or outside where guests are seated with their family unit socially distanced and wearing masks. 

-No receptions or gatherings of any size allowed. This means no cocktail hours, no dance floors, no indoor dining. This is why a lot of your venues may not be able to answer your questions when you call them and ask them what you should do. Most are at a standstill if they do not have an outdoor ceremony site to offer you. We will discuss a loophole below that is allowing some venues to legally host “receptions” at this time.    

-Wedding Licenses are being issued but it can be difficult to secure permits for ceremonies at popular public ceremony sites such as Cuvier Park or Sunset Cliffs.

So why am I seeing weddings happen on social media? 

Yes, we are starting to see life again in the events industry. People are finding ways to have their weddings albeit with some major sacrifices. As Gov. Cuomo of New York said this week in regards to a wedding that New York Health officials put a stop to due to 10,000 guests (that’s not a typo), “Look, you can get married, you just can’t have 1000 people at your wedding.” While we freak out over the logistics of a 10,000 person wedding, here are some ways to have a safe and beautiful wedding during the time of Covid in San Diego County… 

The Courthouse Weddings- The Marriage Hut at the County Office located in Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego is a beautiful location with tons of great photo opportunities within walking distance. Have a small intimate lunch or dinner with your immediate family afterwards. 

Courthouse Wedding – Photo by: Sofia Ann Photography
Courthouse Wedding – Photo by: Sofia Ann Photography
Courthouse Wedding – Photo by: Sofia Ann Photography
Courthouse Wedding
Courthouse Wedding – Photo by: Jalea Photography 

Micro-Ceremony/Elopement- Check with your venue to see if they offer an outdoor socially distanced ceremony option. Or secure a permit to host a ceremony in your favorite San Diego park. Remember a permit is required to secure the space. Socially distanced means that all guests should have assigned seating with their family unit and should be wearing a mask at all times. 

Del Mar Micro-Ceremony – Photo by: Let’s Frolic Together
Sunset Cliffs Elopement – Photo by: Magaly Barajas Photo Arch by: Cedar & Pine
La Jolla Micro-Ceremony – Photo by: AshGabes Photography
La Jolla Micro-Ceremony – Photo by: AshGabes Photography
San Diego Botanic Garden Micro-Ceremony – Photo by: Heidi-O Photo
Luce Loft Micro-Ceremony – Photo by: Kara Reynolds Photography
The Thursday Club Micro-Wedding – Photo by: Alexis Metz Photo
Sunset Cliffs Micro-Wedding Arch by: Cedar & Pine

Micro-Wedding with Reception- Here’s where the loophole we mentioned above comes into play! If your venue also acts as a restaurant, it is likely that they are allowing “receptions” to happen. Please keep in mind that this reception will look vastly different from what you may be used to. Guests will be escorted to their table by a server, some venues may require a temperature check before entrance is allowed). Guests will be seated at tables with only their family unit. Drinks from the bar will be brought to the table by the servers, appetizers will be served to the table, no mingling between tables, no chatting with friends on the other side of the room (which believe us, is hard to control after you’ve had a drink or two!). No dancing for the guests, but don’t worry, all the important dances like your first dance and father/daughter and mother/son dances can still happen. Enjoy a lovely meal with your guests, invite close friends and family to make toasts and collaborate with your DJ for some fun entertainment ideas. Please note that all venues will vary on what they will allow and not allow especially until we get further guidelines from the State so be nice to your Catering Managers, they’re doing the best they can. 

Cuvier Park Micro-Ceremony – Photo by: Tim Otto
Cuvier Club Micro-Ceremony – Photo by: Tim Otto
The Prado Micro-Wedding – Photo by: Mauro Salcido Photography
The Prado Micro-Wedding – Photo by: Mauro Salcido Photography

The Zoom Weddings- We know that no matter what choice you make for your wedding, you’ll be missing some important people there. So fire up that live stream and invite those who can’t attend to watch from the safety of their own homes. 

Backyard Zoom Wedding – Photo by: Olga Kubrak Weddings
Backyard Zoom Wedding – Photo by: Olga Kubrak Weddings
Backyard Wedding

What is Breezy Day’s Covid policy? 

We’ve thought long and hard about this. Like many wedding professionals, we are self-employed entrepreneurs and 100% of our income comes from weddings. We listen to the scientists and the governor and city officials. We take into consideration our family, for we have high risk parents and family members whose daily care we are responsible for. So everything we do is done with care and safety in mind. We simply draw the line at coordinating or setting up events where there is no permit involved (if you have further questions about this, drop us an email!) We’ve been doing everything we can to reschedule our clients or help them come up with alternative plans. We’re firm believers that all weddings, no matter the size, need flowers and a good coordinator! 

Heather with Breezy Day setting up a Micro-Wedding at Sacred Mountian Julian
Cuvier Park Micro-Ceremony – Photo by: Tim Otto

Things to consider when you’re making that big decision about your wedding: 

What is most important to you in terms of your wedding celebration?  What would you regret missing out on and what doesn’t really matter that much to you. Do you care about a packed dance floor and a crowded bar? 

Consider money and what makes the most sense financially for you. Go thru all of your contracts with vendors and see what you need to know about the deposits you’ve paid. Most wedding vendors have a non-refundable deposit or a fee to reschedule although most vendors have been very flexible and understanding about covid related rescheduling. And maybe check to see if the deposits can be applied as a credit for a different service. For example we are offering floral clients who canceled their celebrations their non-refundable deposit as a credit towards their bouquets/personal flowers for their elopement. 

Consider additional costs to accommodate Social distancing. For example, a wedding with 50 guests, socially distanced at a restaurant, will result in more tables than a normal reception where 10 guests are seated at a table. This means more linens to rent and more centerpieces for the tables. Talk to your venue catering manager to see what a socially distanced room diagram looks like and see how that fits into your budget. 

-Consider your guests. We feel it’s important to respect the decision of your guests on whether or not they choose to attend. We believe it’s a good idea to check in with them and gauge their comfort level. Make a list to see how many are traveling, some may not feel safe making the trip and some who are local may not feel comfortable either.  Try not to take it personally if they decide not to attend, these are hard times and we know they would be there if they could. 

-Set a deadline to make a decision, your guests and your anxiety will thank you. If a lot of guests are traveling, they will want plenty of notice before they make travel arrangements that can’t be changed. Also, the act of not knowing your plan will loom large in your mind and can cause a lot of anxiety. So our advice is to set a day on your calendar to make the call whether to reschedule or not. Our recommendation is at least 2 months before your date. 

Use the help of your coordinator.  Once you make the decision to postpone or change your plans, contact us and we’ll help you with all of those details of rescheduling. Whether you’re tryin to find a new date that all of your vendors are free for or if you’re changing it all up, this is what we’re here for, to make this a breeze! 

-Being Bummed Out is Okay. It’s totally ok to be bummed out but we can only tell you that so many brides have told us that the minute they made the call to reschedule, they felt instant relief. The anxiety of uncertainty had been weighing so heavily on them and now that was all gone, there was a plan B!  Allow yourself the time to feel sad about everything. But our advice is to try not to linger in your sadness, there’s too much fun to be had while engaged!! 

If you have any more questions about rescheduling your wedding or changing plans, send us an email. We’re here to help! 


Heather & Courtney

Sunset Cliffs Elopement – Photo by: Magaly Barajas Photo
Luce Loft Micro-Ceremony – Photo by: Kara Reynolds Photography

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