How COVID-19 affects your wedding in South Africa

Today I am writing an open letter to all my 2020 wedding clients. In light of the declaration of a global pandemic and the presidential speech, COVID-19 will have an impact on most large events and gatherings. The regulations change frequently, rendering any celebration to hang in suspense and making it almost impossible for your service providers to predict if you would be able to continue with your wedding as planned. It breaks my heart that you are all in a position where you have to make such a difficult decision; to elope, postpone of cancel?

Currently South Africa has declared a ban on all international travel, which will prohibit any friends and family from abroad to attend your wedding. In the initial stages a pax limit was enforced on all gatherings, but it has changed to no social gatherings are allowed. All religious, cultural and sporting events as well as conferences and expos have been cancelled. Schools and universities are now operating online, with no in-person contact, with a prediction to only return after September 2020.

I would love to encourage my couples to first investigate all of their options, before completely cancelling their wedding celebration. You have planned this celebration for such a long time, and I completely understand if the date has a special meaning which makes you hesitant to consider alternatives. Rest assured, no matter what you decide for your wedding day, this is not the end of the world. You can still marry the person you love!

My dearest brides and grooms, please know that I have your back! Below I'll share some insight on what my couples can expect of me during these uncertain times. A little disclaimer, these terms apply to my business specifically and might differ for other service providers depending on their business terms and conditions (You can find these in the respective Booking Terms and Conditions).


Due to very strict regulations by the South African Government, most large scale weddings had to made the call to postpone their events till the restrictions are lifted. If you have booked a wedding, event or couple session with me, you can postpone your event at NO ADDITIONAL COSTS / PENALTIES albeit the following criteria is met;

  • The new date falls within a year (365 days) of your original date

  • Your event location is still in the same travel radius as the original venue


We all have different financial circumstances and the uncertainty of, if you will be employed a year from now, or able to earn a salary, might force you to decide to cancel your wedding all together. I know this would be the hardest decision! I have to be transparent and share that being a small business owner, our services cover our running costs. Most small businesses don't have a surplus of cashflow and won't be able to refund all the fees they have received from their clients i.e. your booking fee might have been used to pay their rent / employee salaries!

In the case of a cancellation, the following terms will take action if you have secured Marli Koen Photography for your celebration / event;

  • The booking fee remains non-refundable and is kept as credit. The credit can be used for photographic coverage of an elopement shoot / adventure couple session / a anniversary session. (T+C's apply)

  • Our Terms and Conditions will be terminated with immediate effect and all outstanding services and products will be cancelled. No claims monetary or otherwise will be made to MKP to the client.

  • The remainder of the Package Fees (outstanding 50%) will be nullified and no claims monetary or otherwise will be made by MKP to the client.


As the regulations are amended during the course of the year regarding gatherings, we might find that only smaller / intimate celebrations are allowed. If you are adamant to say your vows on your original date (and it is allowed for less than 10 people), but you don't want to reject 90% of your wedding guest list, the following could be a viable option;

  • MKP can photograph your vows / intimate ceremony at a safe distance within the regulations on your original date

  • We schedule your wedding reception on another new date, which will allow your full guest list to attend.

This exact details of this option will be discussed on a case by case basis and would depend on what the client has in mind for their non-traditional approach.

Looking at what is starting to happen globally, I foresee that South Africa might soon follow suite. Even though this is going to be a hard winter, we will be documenting love stories real soon.

A HUGE thanks to all my brides who decided to postpone instead of cancel their celebration. I know this was an extremely difficult decision to make. I vow to, with the same amount of passion, assist wherever possible to find a possible solution which best suits your needs. I cannot wait to document your love story! We are going to have THE BIGGEST celebration - WHOOP WHOOP!