If you're reading this post, it's likely because you're facing the incredibly difficult choice of postponing your wedding due to unforeseen circumstances. If that's the truth, allow us to firstly share our deepest condolences. This is a huge decision, fraught with many emotions.
Since the CDC has announced its recommendation to cancel or postpone gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks, many couples are left grappling with this heavy decision.
Whether you've been forced to postpone your wedding because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, or you've come to the decision because of financial hardship, this isn't an easy thing. We want you to know we are here to support and help you through it with the best resources and advice we can share.
In this post, you'll find a step-by-step guide to help you through this difficult time. Let us know how we can be of further assistance to you. This is meant to serve as an outline for those of you who don't have the assistance of a professional planner. (If you want one-on-one guided support from a pro, check out the resources available from our friends at The Wedding Hacker.)
Quick Tips for Postponing a Wedding:
Rule #1: Be Flexible
These times are certainly unprecedented. Remember that you are dealing with vendors and businesses whose livelihood has been impacted by this pandemic as much as your wedding day has. Aim to be as flexible as possible to ensure you can find a new date to use your original vendors to avoid cancellation fees.
Rule #2: Be Gracious
Again, remember that *everyone* is struggling with this situation in one way or another. Many wedding vendors are being flexible with couples because they truly empathize with your situation and want you to have the best day possible. Be gracious and kind to them for whatever they are willing to do for you under these unforeseen circumstances.
Rule #3: Focus on the Positives
Pushing your wedding back by a few weeks or potentially months could give you a bit more time to save money or maybe craft up some cute wedding DIY projects. Remember, at the end of this, you'll be marrying your person and celebrating your LOVE, so let's focus on that.
Alright, now that we've covered those bases, let's get into the step-by-step instructions!
How to Postpone Your Wedding
If your wedding is in March, April, or May of 2020, you'll likely need to postpone. Unless your guest list is under 50, in which case you should consult with your vendors about how to best move forward based on your local area. If you've taken out a wedding insurance policy far in advance of the current situation, consult your contract and reach out to your provider to find out if you are covered should you need to cancel completely.
Connect with Your VIPs
Consult with your closest loved ones, the folks you can't imagine having your wedding without. If any of them are unable to make it due to travel restrictions, illness, or because of their immunocompromised state, you might decide to postpone the celebration until they can attend. We outlined a list of things to keep in mind when making your decision in this post.
Contact Your Venue
Your first course of action after you've made your decision is to find out your wedding venue's availability for possibly rescheduling. If at all possible, move towards a postponement or rescheduling rather than a complete cancellation to avoid losing out on deposits.
Reach Out to Your Vendors
Once you've confirmed venue availability for an alternate date, you'll want to continue down the line of your highest priority vendors, such as your photographer/videographer, officiant, DJ, caterer, florist, etc. To make things as streamlined as possible, you'll want to contact vendors who are only available for one wedding per day, such as your photographer or officiant.
Vendors who can serve multiple couples per day or weekend might include caterers, florists, DJs, rental companies, bakeries, hair and makeup teams, etc.
Inquire with each individual vendor about their policies on rescheduling. Canceling your event completely could really cause some financial pain, so do whatever you can to reschedule with them if possible. You'll want to take a close look at your contracts to see what could happen in the case of a cancellation, especially on short notice.
Picking Your New Date
Of course, choosing a new date for your postponed wedding isn't the simplest task. You'll first need to make sure all your vendor team are available on the new date. Your best course of action will be to ask each of your vendors as well as your venue for their still remaining available dates in a certain period for your new date. If you can find one that overlaps the most with your vendor team, you should try to lock it down ASAP.
Inform your guests ASAP
Everyone is aware that the status of this situation is rapidly changing and they may already be expecting some sort of announcement from you. As soon as you've made a decision, you should take steps to inform your guests of the change in your plans.
We suggest updating your wedding website with a statement or announcement. You could also send an email to your guest list, or perhaps even a mass text message, especially if your wedding was scheduled to happen super soon.
Confirm that each guest has received your message by asking them to respond acknowledging your note. You'll want to make sure you've communicated the changes with anyone who was planning to travel, especially if it's short notice.
Cancel Any Travel Plans
You should probably say Hasta Luego (see ya later) to your honeymoon plans if they are within the next two months. Be sure to reach out to your airlines and hotels or other accommodations to cancel your travel arrangements.
Most brands are being generous with their policies at the moment in light of this unprecedented situation. Airbnb is giving full refunds, and we've heard good things about many airlines being more flexible with their typical policies as well. Of course, this all depends on the type of tickets you bought, so you'll have to reach out to find out for sure.
Allow Yourself to Feel Whatever it is You Feel
We've seen a wide range of emotions from the effected couples in our Facebook Group. From distraught to distressed, frustrated to enraged, and even downright numb. Whatever it is that you are feeling in this moment? Know that it's completely your right to feel that way.
You've likely been planning for your big day for many months (if not years). The time, effort, heart–not to mention MONEY–you've put into planning this thing wasn't all for nothing. Take the time to mourn that idea of what your wedding was going to look like and be like on this particular day.
Once you've had your moment to wallow, know that you can still have an incredible day no matter when or how it takes place. And if you want to just run off and elope, that's totally fine, too!
As soon as possible, move with positivity towards your new wedding plan. Your Plan B, with the help of your partner, your loved ones and your vendor team, will still be an unforgettable day. We are wishing you all the best for your wedding day, no matter when or how it takes place. 💗
Free Resources for Couples Who are Postponing their Weddings
Planning to postpone? Check out these wedding postponement email templates to send your guests from our friends at Every Last Detail.
There have been several vendors who have instated a “Flexible Event Policy” such as Zazzle – they will re-print your previously ordered invites at no charge if your date or venue changes between now and April 30.
Alternatively, you could send a Change of Date notice to your guests via mail or even email. Check out this free editable PDF printable from JesMarried.
Free Printable Change the Date Card from JesMarried
Obviously, our Facebook Group exists to help support one another through these difficult times. So if you're not a member yet, come join us to get some support. We'll all get through this difficult time together. Sending love to you all! xoxo
Rescheduling Your Wedding: Key Things to Know
This is pretty uncharted territory where the pandemic situation is concerned, but based on our conversations with many brides and wedding business, we think these are some important points to know:
1. You might need to choose a day other than Saturday
Many Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Saturday dates will likely be taken by other couples who were planning on those dates as their original plans. It's good for you to acknowledge this upfront and know that it might not be possible to have your postponed wedding on a Saturday, especially during prime seasons like Fall or Spring.
As with everything, your experience with postponing will vary greatly depending on the particular vendors or companies you work with. Every business is handling things their own way, based on their policies. Your best bet for getting the best date is to move quickly. Just remember rule #1: be flexible.
We've heard some vendors or venues have blocked rescheduling couples from booking Saturdays at all. This is obviously up to each particular company and depending on how their contracts are structured, they may be within their rights to do so.
2. You'll need to check with all your vendors before changing your date.
Rescheduling your wedding isn't just dependent upon finding a date that works for your venue. You'll need to check with all of your vendors to find the best availability for everyone involved. There is a real possibility that every single one of your original vendors will not be available on your new date, so be prepared to deal with the financial implications of rescheduling your wedding.
If you don't have a wedding planner to handle this task for you, start with the vendors who are only able to service one wedding per day and work your way through. Ask your vendors for a list of available dates and see where you can find overlap.
3. You may end up losing your original deposits and having to spend more to hire new vendors.
Be sure to check your contracts to find out which vendors have cancellation, postponement or rescheduling clauses and look for the terms. If your new date doesn't work for every vendor, you may forfeit your deposit for the original date for any contracts that you aren't able to transfer to your new date.
Not only will you lose the money you've put down on deposits, but if you want to find another vendor to accommodate your new date, you'll have to pay additional monies to cover a new vendor contract. This is why it's in your best financial interest to be flexible with your new date to avoid added costs.
It's important to keep in mind that your wedding is likely not the only event your vendors are having to juggle in this current situation. Unfortunately, the pandemic has caused a ripple effect of cancellations, postponements, and reschedulings that these businesses are having to address. While many vendors may typically be more lenient on policies of couples who find themselves Most businesses simply cannot afford to provide refunds on deposits under these circumstances since the effects are so widespread.
4. Keep calm and plan on
We know that this situation is so very difficult and emotional, but do your best to keep your eye on the prize. Whether you decide to have an intimate elopement or a virtual wedding ceremony and have your big celebration at a later date or postpone the entire event until next year, we wish you peace, love, and health during these crazy times. Just remember to lean on your partner– together you can weather any storm. 💕