What to do when circumstances force you to change all your wedding plans.
Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life—and it should be. You’ve worked hard and planned everything out meticulously and your wedding day is fast approaching. And then a bomb drops—you must postpone your wedding.
I cannot imagine how that must make you feel—or how all this waiting has just resulted in more waiting. With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting globally, large and small events everywhere are being canceled, and weddings are being forced into postponement.
A wedding postponement or cancellation means a change of many plans for a ton of people, including your family, guests, and vendors. When you are forced to do this, you need to approach your changes with everyone in mind, keep a calm head, and press on as best as possible with your changes knowing they affect more than just you and your significant other.
Let us help you navigate these unfamiliar territories
You are not alone. Many, many weddings are being forced into postponement and cancellation at this time—so we’ve taken some advice from industry experts on how to make the smoothest transition possible and navigate this process like a pro.
Remember why you did this in the first place.
Every circumstance is going to be different and it is going to heavily depend on how far out your wedding is, who you are working with, and how your vendors can accommodate you. BUT—remember what the ultimate goal here is: you wanted to marry the person you love surrounded by the people that matter the most to the both of you.
Lead with your heart.
All parties involved in your big day want to hear you say, “I do”, from the wedding vendors to the wedding guests, they are there to make your big day the best day. Whether your wedding is two months away or twelve months from now due to postponement, the celebration will be incredible. Remember to have grace and patience during these uncertain times. Your vendors are struggling just as much as you are with changes to their schedules, try to work together to come up with a solution that suits you, your spouse, and all others involved.
Keep an eye on the end goal. Stay professional.
Keep the drama out of it all. Translation: do not take to social media channels to complain, overreact and overshare negative emotions. This is not the time for that. Keep a level head, relax, and problem solve with those involved in your big plans.
Use your energy wisely—there will still be a celebration to attend! When you finally do announce via social media, make it a happy one. Tell everyone that people have moved mountains to make your big day happen, even if it is 6-12 months from now.
Be prepared for financials to change
While some vendors may be willing to honor your initial agreement, you may incur additional costs depending on the time of year you are forced to postpone your wedding to. There could be potential losses on pre-paid retainers and final payments. You could end up paying for nonrefundable goods and services.
Before you panic—take our advice and consider the following measures.
Read the fine print of all your contracts.
Most contracts have a cancellation policy or even an “Act of God” clause, which is where COVID-19 would fall under. Read the fine print and see if you get money back, if anything is transferrable, or what exactly the clause covers. You can even ask a lawyer to go over your contracts with you and figure out exactly where you stand with all your vendors.
Plan for additional costs.
Vendors are doing their best to work with couples during this crisis, but it is not always possible to do this at the same cost. Especially for florists who may have to charge more for out of season florals. Many fees are based on the season, so if you are postponing your wedding this year, the seasonal change may affect your overall costs.
Be mindful of additional time and work when you make your changes. The situation is just as frustrating for the vendors and they have to cover their costs too. While your vendors may be happy to accommodate your changes, they should be compensated for the changes on their end as well.
Be open and communicative with your guests.
If you decide to postpone or cancel your wedding, you need to let your guests know as soon as your plans have changed. Communicate with your guests however you need to make sure they know the new date or that the date is TBD. When it is a situation such as COVID-19, there is no special etiquette in how you need to reach out to your guests—simply call, text, email, or use whatever form necessary to reach out to your guest list.
Be calm and keep your cool when you are informing people. Simply let them know that due to the current circumstances you are going to postpone your big day, but you look forward to gathering in the future.
Talk with your venue.
Venues are one of the hardest spots to book, especially if your chosen venue is an extremely popular one. It is important to talk with your venue and see if there is a possibility of postponing your wedding to a date for later this year. Give them three or four dates that you think would work and see if they can accommodate those or one close to those days.
If that is not possible, ask them if they have a sister property that could accommodate your wedding. Experts say there will be a rise in weddings on weekdays due to the change of dates, which may make attending a function harder for guests.
Although it is not the best option, see if your venue will honor your weekend a year from its current date. Yes, this pushes your wedding out, but you still get the beautiful Spring wedding that you wanted. At this point, it is all about what you are willing to change and sacrifice for your big day.
Choosing a new date can be a challenge—ask yourself these questions to make a final decision.
Once you’ve decided to postpone your wedding, you need to sit and figure out when. How far into the future do you want to postpone? What new dates will you consider? Consult your priority vendors and ask the following questions:
- When are we available?
- When are families available?
- When is our venue available?
- When is our photographer available?
- When are other important vendors available?
Consider your priorities. We know—you probably love all your vendors and your venue is a dream. But which of your vendors do you absolutely have to have, and which could you consider switching if you had to? Prioritize your list and start from there when you are considering a new date. If your venue is a must, then secure your date there and go down the list and see which vendors you can keep and which you may have to hire a new vendor for.
While these changes may seem overwhelming or daunting, keeping a level head during the process will make this transition smoother.
Be flexible with your changes. You likely booked many of your vendors 9-12 months out, if not more. While being forced to postpone due to current circumstances, know that getting a peak date in the near future will likely not happen. The further out you can rebook, the easier securing your top vendors may be.
You may want to rethink your details.
If you have the time, which many of us do at this point, you may want to rethink your details. While your wedding doesn’t necessarily have to coordinate with the season, many weddings tend to draw inspiration from their seasons.
Moving your spring wedding to fall or winter may mean your new celebration has a different feel and potentially a different look altogether. Consider your food selections, linens, floral arrangements, etc. and decided if they stay or if adjustments will need to be made. Rethinking the small details may change your costs with some of your vendors and rethinking your overall theme may be like planning a second wedding, but from a visual POV, it may be just what your “new” wedding needs.
Try to enjoy the process and be grateful.
This time is uncertain for everyone. While postponing a wedding is no easy feat, thank your lucky stars that you and your spouse are healthy and safe amidst the chaos. Take time to strengthen your bond and move mountains to make this special day even more special when it finally arrives.
Rely on your support system and coordinate with your wedding party. Use social media, video chats, and more to keep in touch and keep the magic of your upcoming day alive. Although your situation may not be ideal, it is reality, and approaching it with determination and positivity will make the time that much better.
We wish our brides good fortune as they navigate this very difficult time and know that we are here for them whenever they need a helping hand. Good luck—your wedding day will be BEAUTIFUL and MAGICAL and PERFECT no matter which date it is on!