In the last few weeks, our world has changed in unimaginable ways. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, Coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19 has now become a regular word in your vocabulary. The pandemic has not just cancelled sports, it’s closed businesses, and has really made wedding planning difficult
If you are one of the couples who’s wedding date has been affected by the pandemic, I first want to start by saying, I’m truly sorry. This is not how your dream day should be. It’s beyond heartbreaking to put so much time, effort and money into a day that may need to be changed. You have every right to be upset, heartbroken, and confused. Just know your feelings are totally understandable, and totally valid. As a wedding vendor, a past bride, and a human with a heart, know I am right there with you!
First things first take a deep breath; things will be ok! You will still get married to the one you love, and it’s going to be amazing! Right now, the universe is throwing you a curve ball, and you may be suck between not knowing when or how, and that can be tough and stressful. The uncertainty and unknown of this whole situation can leave you with a lot of questions. Should you move on with your date as planned, postpone or cancel? What steps are involved in changing the date of your wedding, and how do you let your guests know of your plans? All these questions are racing through your mind – and I’m here to try my best to help guide you through them. A quick note before diving in, that this is simply my opinion. Let’s take a look:
POSTPONE – DON’T CANCEL
As a wedding professional, and someone who sympathizes with how crummy these circumstances are, I would advise you to postpone and not cancel your wedding. Here’s why: You’ll find if you look back on your wedding contracts that most of your vendors have a non-refundable retainer clause or phrase written somewhere in the document. This non-refundable retainer holds your spot in your vendor’s calendar, meaning they have turned other weddings away in order to hold the date for you. If you select to cancel your wedding, you will lose your non-refundable retainer and legally cannot get it back. The good news? If you postpone your wedding, most vendors will apply money paid to the future date, and some are willing to waive re-booking fees in light of the situation.
*All vendors are unique and I would double check with each individually to see their policies on date change.
WHEN SHOULD YOU START CONSIDERING POSTPONING YOUR WEDDING?
If your wedding date falls within the next 8-10 weeks, it’s important to follow all CDC and local guidelines that are being put forth. While your wedding is most definitely an important day, it is not worth putting your family, friends, and vendors’ health at risk.
If your wedding doesn’t currently fall within the 8-10 week period, I wouldn’t stress just yet. I would keep an eye on how things are unfolding. At this moment, vendors are doing all they can do to work and help weddings that fall within 8-10 weeks so unless your wedding is right on the edge of that time, it’s best to remain flexible and patient. If you are nervous or have concerns, reaching out to your planner would be the best thing to do at this point.
YOU’VE DECIDED TO POSTPONE. WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?
The next step would be to review your contracts for different clauses that pertain to a change of date, or cancellation. Once you’ve studied your contracts, reach out to your venue and vendors to let them know of your decision to postpone your wedding. There’s a lot of strategic coordination when it comes to finding a date that would work the best to keep most of your original vendors intact. In some circumstances it may be impossible to get everyone together on the same date. Due to Saturdays being prime wedding days and already booked by future weddings, you may find a Thursday, Friday, Sunday, or even a winter wedding might be the best way to work it out. Email your vendors and get a list of all available wedding dates they have. Once you have this information, you can make an informed decision on what is the best date to change to.
YOUR WEDDING DAY IS IMPORTANT AND MEANINGFUL. WHAT IF YOU STILL WANT TO GET MARRIED THAT DAY?
You could have a small and intimate ceremony with just a couple of witnesses and someone who is able to marry you, and have a large celebration in the future. * This still requires coordination of a date change, but still allows you to say I do on the date you planned. Live streaming is a great option to share a private ceremony with those you love that can’t be with you.
* It’s important to adhere to all CDC and local guidelines and take note of any closing of government offices, they could prohibit you from going through with a small ceremony.
HOW TO TELL YOUR GUESTS YOU’VE POSTPONED?
1. Update your wedding website – As soon as you’ve picked out a new date and time, update your wedding website. If you still need a wedding website, The Knot or Wedding Wire is a great place to start.
2. Make a Facebook Event – Create an Event on Facebook and add all of your guests you are connected to on there.
3. Contact your Guests Digitally – Sometimes the best way to contact everyone is by email. Send an email to your guests to let them know of your date change, and to refer them to your website for more information. Etsy has some beautiful date change graphics that make it simple and easy.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
You will get married to the love of your life. Maybe it wasn’t exactly how you planned it, where you planned it, or when you planned it…but nevertheless you’ll still get married. Hang in there my friend, it will all be okay.
Keep yourself up to date on developments pertaining to COVID-19 – This article has last been drafted based on current information available on March 26, 2020.