If coronavirus is threatening your big day, here’s what I learned about how to postpone your wedding!
One silver lining of the past few weeks has definitely been connecting with other 2020 brides. It’s been incredible and comforting to chat with people who understand the stress, sadness and uncertainty of this weird situation – along with hearing about the inspiring people who are going through WAY more than I am. The couples who planned weddings for the next few months who are also working in health care right now?? I BOW DOWN TO YOU.
While I wrote my letter to brides affected by COVID-19 mostly for cathartic reasons, today’s post is more about logistics. I was actually surprised that a bunch of you requested that I write about how to postpone your wedding when I asked for content suggestions, because I certainly have not felt like an expert these past few weeks. Turns out, there’s no guidebook for What To Do About Your Wedding During a Global Pandemic! Honestly, I wish there was. I’d order it ?
That being said, I do have some insights from going through the process ourselves, so I’ve complied them here. I hope that this is helpful for you, or a friend you know who is going through this craziness. But above everything listed below, I think it’s important to remember that this is a completely unprecedented situation. Try to have patience with yourself, with the people in your life who are offering opinions, with the vendors who don’t know what to do either… it’s a confusing time. Take deep breaths, let yourself have a few good cries, and lean on your fiancé. The most important thing is that you two get to spend your lives together ❤️
How To Postpone Your Wedding Due To Coronavirus
Get on the same page as your fiancé.
First things first, have an honest conversation with your fiancé. How do you want to handle this? There are no right or wrong answers since everyone has different priorities and feelings about this – the only thing I wouldn’t recommend is ignoring health experts and government mandates. I also wouldn’t recommend pretending like this isn’t an issue. Even if your state hasn’t put a stay at home order in place, this is a big deal. If you are getting married within the next 2-3 months, it’s important to be honest about how this could affect your big day so it doesn’t catch you off guard. That doesn’t mean you need to make a decision right away – just have the conversation!
Here are some of the questions to discuss with your fiancé:
- Do you want to get married on your original date no matter what? Could you do this safely? Is it okay if it’s just the two of you and an officiant with “guests” on zoom? Or do you want immediate family there?
- If you still get married on your original date, do you want to postpone your reception or cancel all together?
- If you don’t want to/can’t get married on your original date, how long are you willing to wait for a postponed date?
- Are you willing to take a gamble on a postponed date that might need to be postponed again?
- Is your venue willing to place a soft hold on a future date?
- Are you willing to get married on a different day of the week (like Friday or Sunday) instead of a Saturday?
- Do a lot of guests need to travel? Are any of them high risk or immunocompromised?
- Are you worried about your guests feeling unsafe or unable to enjoy themselves?
- How stressed is this making you? Are you okay with holding out hope or is this driving you crazy? (This might help you figure out if postponing will lift a weight from your shoulders or if you should keep waiting it out!)
Just a reminder, these questions are HARD. You might not have all of the answers right away… and even if you do, it’s likely they will be accompanied by a lot of tears. I know it sucks, but working through this will help you figure out what to do, I promise.
This is also the time to loop in your parents, especially if they are paying for the wedding. How do they feel about all of this? Are they on the same page as you two after talking through these questions?
Pick your top 3 important vendors.
If you plan to move forward with postponing your wedding, pick the 3 vendors that you absolutely want to keep. Obviously, it would be ideal to find a date that allows you to keep every single one of your vendors, but with so many other people postponing too, it might not be possible. Try to figure out your top 3 priorities, and do your best to find a date that works for those.
Create a spreadsheet.
Once you’re ready to postpone, or at least come up with a backup plan, create a spreadsheet. Details can get overwhelming REALLY QUICKLY – so it’s incredibly helpful to have a place to plug all of the information in so you can easily compare and contrast. For me, I put all of the possible dates across the top, with each vendor representing a different row. You might also want to add a row for immediate family/bridal party/etc. I tried to keep track of that aspect just with phone calls and texts, but in retrospect it would have been easier to include the responses in the spreadsheet too. Here’s an example of what I mean (X means that date works!):
Contact your venue.
Before you start filling out your spreadsheet, contact your venue first. Cancelling your venue would likely be the hardest “vendor” to replace, and unless there are specific closures on your wedding date, it could also possibly be a big financial loss, too. Contact them and ask for what dates are still available. Once they send those, add whichever dates that could work for you guys across the top of your spreadsheet. This will help as you reach out to your other vendors!
Contact the rest of your vendors.
Remember when I said that this can get overwhelming really quickly? Asking your vendors for any and all available dates will do that. Instead, reach out to them and only ask them about the dates that work for both you and your venue. Plug their answers into your spreadsheet.
Ask venue and vendors what happens if you have to postpone again.
This one is a bummer, but as the revised contracts come in, ask them what happens if this isn’t resolved by your new date. Like I said, it’s a bummer to ask, but it’s important to know – especially if YOU think it isn’t safe to hold your wedding on the new date, but technically you’re allowed to. The only thing that’s for sure right now is that this next year is going to be very hard to predict!
Look for the Force Majeure clause in any contract you have to cancel.
Obviously postponing is better for everyone, but as I mentioned above – it might not be possible for every single vendor. If your vendors aren’t willing to cancel (or postpone!) without a penalty, look for the Force Majeure clause in your contracts. If it’s not there, you might be out of luck… but if it IS, you might be able to get your deposit back/get out of your obligation to pay anything.
Be ready to move fast.
Alright, let’s say you’ve gone through all of these steps and found a new date that works. If you feel good about it, it’s likely that you’ll want to secure that FAST. Obviously, if you have decided as a team that you’re willing to wait a while or if your venue is willing to place a soft hold, ignore me. But if you found a date that works for you, your family/friends, and your vendors – GRAB IT. When we were going through this, 2 of the dates that worked for us got booked within an hour and a half as I collected all of this information. Unless we were going to switch to looking at 2021 dates, we needed to just make the call and sort through the emotions of it after.
Create a communication plan to inform your guests.
This seems like a no brainer, but you definitely cannot assume that people will see the change on your wedding website or your recent social media status. We made phone calls, send out mass family emails, and then updated our wedding website. We are also going to send out a “Change the Date” from Zola, since they are offering them for free for any couples who ordered their Save The Dates from them. SO nice!!
Let yourself feel whatever you feel.
If you haven’t read my letter to brides going through this right now, give it a read. Then maybe let yourself have a good cry. Allow yourself to be sad for a little bit. Join bride support groups on Facebook and chat with other ladies in the same boat. Eat some carbs! Pour some wine! Watch your favorite rom com or trashy tv! Whatever it is, just try to give yourself a little grace to feel whatever it is you feel before dismissing it.
Celebrate your original date somehow!
While I think it’s important to feel through your feelings, it’s also important to remember how lucky we are! If your date is approaching and you’re worried about feeling down, plan something to make it a special day for the two of you. I’m already thinking about putting on my rehearsal dinner dress, popping some champagne, and dancing with Adam to our song in our living room. The Knot has a few other really great ideas, too!
Do any of you have any other tips for how to postpone your wedding?
If so, leave a comment so our fellow brides can see! Thanks, friends!