The coronavirus pandemic has put a halt on the wedding plans for a lot of couples. Nobody really wants to cancel the plans that they have been dreaming up for a long time and that’s why we are here to help guide you on what your next steps should be and answer any and all questions you have about postponing your wedding..so let’s dig in and just know that the thought of re-planning the whole thing may sound daunting, you WILL get through it!
Do we cancel or postpone?
If you wedding can no longer go on as planning, it’s definitely better to try to postpone rather than cancel. If you wedding was planned for April or May, postponing is probably the safest choice as we don’t know what the future will hold and according to the CDC guidelines, gatherings of more than 10 people are not advised. Focus on postponing rather than canceling to avoid losing deposits. You might not have a date that you feel comfortable postponing to and that’s totally fine! If you speak to vendors, you can hopefully negotiate a middle ground, such as keeping your payments as a future credit to use when a date is set.
Choosing a new date for your wedding
Choosing a wedding date isn’t easy but re-choosing it is even harder. Here are the few people you should check with first before you postpone and pick a new date.
• Your fiancé
• Your vendors
• Your immediate family & your wedding party.
Talk to your people and figure out which dates work the best for you. Just know that not all of your VIP people may be able to make a date work. Work with your inner circle to figure out the best possible date based on everyone’s schedules. If your parents are financially involved, discuss the numbers with them and how the date change will affect the budget.
Once you have figured out the weekends that definitely won’t work for you, contact your vendors starting with the Wedding Planner and tackle the postponing to-do list together. They will help you make some of those calls as well as navigate the vendor contracts. If you don’t have a wedding planner and you are doing it yourself, start getting in touch with your vendors starting with the photographer since a lot of couples have goo relationships with their photographers and also because photographers book up a year in advance and may only take one wedding a day or weekend. Some vendors are able to take on more weddings per weekend so they may be able to honor your new date but if there is a vendor that you just cannot imagine your wedding without, call them first.
If you are thinking of postponing to a fall date, know that it may not be possible. Fall is the busiest time for weddings and 2020 might be even impossible as people who got engaged in 2018 were planning weddings in 2020 to keep that iconic date. Be flexible with your dates & days maybe even seasons. There is nothing wrong with getting married on a Wednesday or a Friday. If you are changing seasons know that your style and wedding colors may change accordingly. If you are okay with keeping your same style then perfect, if not then it may require you to do some replanning. If you want to keep your seasons, you might want to consider changing to 2021 but know that vendors may not be as flexible to move your date to another year without an additional deposit.
Once you have figured out your new plans with your vendors, get it in writing. Most vendors will send out a new contract with changes that you would sign but some won’t. In that case, make sure to have your conversation in email for future references.
Let your guests know
Next stop is to notify the rest of your guest list. If your invitations have already got out, phone calls are necessary. Even though you are spreading the news with emails & phone calls, it’s still good to send out a formal event change card in the mail. This doesn’t need to be a full invitation suite but it will serve as an official announcement for every one who has to change their plans. For those who are traveling and have bookings, it’s good to let them know as soon as possible so they can make any travel changes.
In addition to just letting them know, offer support. If you are able to negotiate cancellations and reimbursements on hotel rooms, let them know how they can do that. If you have a contact for the hotel rooms, give your guests a direct number so that they can reach that person instead of going through the general hotel line and having to wait to speak with someone. Like mentioned above, not all your guests will be able to attend. Try to be understanding of their schedule and maybe consider live streaming the wedding later on for the ones that weren’t able to attend.
Postponing or Canceling your Vendors & Contracts
First things first, take a look at all your vendor contracts. Every vendor you have booked have different stipulations for cancellations and deposits when it comes to postponing, so read the fine print before calling them. Check the vendor’s rescheduling clause and find out if there is a fee.
As mentioned previously, try to go for postponing instead of canceling so you don’t have to pay another deposit. Due to the circumstances, a lot of vendors are allowing date changes at no additional cost as long as your new date falls within the year. Know that all your wedding vendors are small businesses and are not earning any income right now either so they may not be so open to changing your date to next year.
Consult your Wedding Insurance Policy
If you didn’t take out a wedding insurance policy, now is the time to do so and review all of their terms. In case your venue closes or are unable to host your wedding then you would be entitled to compensation.
Some items to look for in your policy are:
How much of the total wedding cost does your policy cover, and does it cover postponement or cancellation costs or change fees?
What circumstances are covered in the event that you need to cancel or postpone your event—natural disasters, travel cancellations due to weather, personal circumstances like sickness or injury, etc.?
What if the honeymoon needs to be canceled or postponed—will the insurance costs cover this?
Once you have a better idea of what may or may not be covered, you can reach out to the insurance company and explain your circumstances and figure out what may be covered. Be thorough and take your time speaking with experts.
Steps to Postponing
We know that it’s a very stressful time but take a deep breath and remind yourself that you can do this. With some patience and flexibility, you will still be able to have the wedding of your dreams and everything will fall into place. Take this time to prioritize the things that mean the most to you.
Here are the most important steps to get you started on this difficult take and a handy checklist you can hang up on your fridge.
1. Contact your wedding planner. You wedding planner is not only there for the good things but also for things when everything goes sideways. They will know the correct steps and have guidance for you on what your next steps should be.
2. Confirm your new date with your vendors. Find out what weekends work for you and see if your vendors are able to accommodate. Don’t be afraid to pick a weekday. Be flexible.
3. If some of your vendors are not able to make the date, find out their cancellation policy and find replacements. Chances are your vendors and wedding planner has a network of people they can refer you to and someone will have the date available.
4. Send out the change of date cards to the rest of your guest list. Make sure to also call and email them first.
5. If you are changing your wedding seasons, reconsider your style and details. If you have picked specific seasonal colors or florals, they may not work for the season change. Talk to your vendors and figure out what your options are.
6. A bonus tip: Relax, take a deep breath and have a glass of wine or maybe multiple and know that everything will be perfect no matter what you decide to do.
You can elope
If you don’t want to do all the replanning and postponing but can’t have a large amount of people gather for the wedding and if you have always thought about eloping, now might be a good chance to do that. If you decide to elope now, you can always have a big reception with all your friends and family when people are allowed to gather in large numbers again.
A lot of couples are also having a virtual wedding where guests attend the wedding via zoom or google hangouts or they can live stream the wedding. Friends and family can pour their own champagne glass at home and do their toasts over webcam. You can also enjoy an at home reception with a dance party and can even invite friends to dance with you virtually. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
Celebrate your day anyway
If you have to postpone your wedding and if you feel up to it, celebrate your original wedding date with your boo or even your invite some friends and family members for dinner. Or if you want to keep it low key, grab a cake and couple drinks and spend the day relaxing or watching movies with your fiancé.
Remember that whenever your wedding day ultimately takes place, it will be beautiful and your loved ones will be there to celebrate with you. Until then relax, remember to wash hands and drink some alcohol.
– Happy Planning!