Postponing or Cancelling Your Wedding during COVID-19; What’s the Best Option?
I wear many hats when it comes to COVID-19. Sometimes I am a concerned citizen thinking about my family and the families in my city. Sometimes I am a business owner, worried about my livelihood. How will I pay my bills? How will I help my husband keep our life afloat while the country deals with this pandemic?
In the midst of all that, I am also a wedding planner, devastated by how couples are feeling at this moment, uncertainty hanging over their heads. I remember the excitement and careful planning we put into the year leading up to our own wedding. At the time, we did not have a big budget, so, we decided carefully where we spent our money, how much we spent, while learning how to cleverly make a dollar stretch.
No matter the size of your budget, you have put a lot of financial and emotional investment into your wedding day. There is truly no way you could have prepared for something like COVID-19. Now you fear the vision you had in your head cannot become a reality because of a virus sweeping the globe… it’s something out of a movie!
You face a big decision: Should I cancel or postpone my wedding? Will I lose 12+ months of planning and money? It’s the beginning of April. I’m in my final weeks, counting down the days to “I do”… what choices do I have?
Postponing your wedding “Behind the scenes”
I want you to know that the wedding industry as a whole is heartbroken over what is happening during the COVD-19 outbreak. The conversations you can’t see happening between planner and planner, planners and venues, florists, photographers, etc. is one of empathy and shared responsibility. We know how much this day means to you, and we take our roles as an extension of our couples extremely seriously. Because of this, you do have options even now!
I have told my couples that postponement is the way to go. The execution might be different, but their wedding can happen if the couple and their vendor-team are understanding and flexible.
Postponing your wedding does not have to mean 2021. Most venues and vendors want to keep your wedding from going into next year, and they are willing to accommodate couples affected by the COVID-19 if possible.
Postponing Your Wedding: What should You Expect?
Postponing your wedding means flexible expectations: the date might be during the week (Monday through Thursday), the number of guests could be smaller (think elopement sizes), the room you originally book could be unavailable and you could now be in a smaller space, etc. Long story short you may need to compromise. This isn’t to say you will have to compromise, just open to it.
COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it. I strongly advise you and your financé to talk frankly about what compromise looks like for the two of you. Talk about what a Plan B “win” looks like: where are you, who are you with, how many of you are there, what is involved, why is this the win you want? Getting on the same page is crucial! At the end of the day, none of these plans matter if it’s not what will make you both happy.
COVID-19 Lingering – What Do I Do Next?
If you feel in your heart that postponement is what you need to do because of COVID-19, here is your immediate to-do list:
- Reach out to your planner if he/she hasn’t already reached out to you.
- If you don’t have a planner this is a good time to get one. You might say, “why would I do that? That’s more money, I’m already unsure about the money I’ve already spent.” I know, I get it. But trust me! Their connections to the community and knowledge are invaluable to you right now. Having a planner on your team will actually end up saving you time and money in the long run!
- Review your contract with your planner. Together get re-familiar with your venue/vendor’s Force Majeure, Rescheduling and Cancellation policies.
- Together reach out to your venue. Ask what’s their active policies around postponement (i.e is there a transfer fee, do they already have additional clauses implemented due to COVID-19 that you need to know about?) Get them to send you alternative dates. Decide what Month/Day you would be comfortable moving your wedding too.
- Confirm this new date (and potentially new time) with your planner and venue(s).
- If you have/get a planner, have them reach out to your vendor team (photographer, videographer, beauty, cake maker or bakery, florists and decor providers and transportation etc.)
- If you don’t have a planner you will need to do this on your own. Don’t be overwhelmed. Take it, one vendor, at a time.
Tip for reaching out to your Vendors
Go in order of their status on your wedding day: first, those that will spend 3 or more hours with you on the day (caterer and bartenders, other staffing, valet, photographer, videographer, photo booths, or performers etc.); second, those who will be dropping off items at your venue(s) (florist, decor, special furniture, cake maker, etc.); finally then the rest of your vendors like transportation, accommodations and attire. Be patient while you do this. Every vendor you encounter is going through a hard time and is being bombarded with inquiries about postponements. I address more about this here.
Now that You’ve Postponed Your Wedding?
Once everyone is on the same page, and new contracts /date movement agreements have been signed, take a deep breath. You just did a ton of work if you’re on your own. If you have a planner, reconnect about everything that’s happened, and then take the time to relax. No, planning isn’t over yet, but in light of everything that’s happened, it’s important now more than ever to take care of yourself.
Here are a couple of wonderful “change-the-date” templates that two of my favourite stationery friends have created to help people like you let family and friends know what your plans are going forward. Check out:
If you need any help please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, keep safe and healthy and we sincerely wish you all the best with your wedding day.
“Planning Your Wedding, During COVID-19 Outbreak!”, Kirsten Rezek, “Nóbl Essentials”, Copyright ©2020, Nóbl Events, Nóbl Journal