Ugh. That’s all we can say right now, just ugh. We are feeling your pain of having to postpone your wedding during this crazy crisis. We know no one wanted or expected this and it just isn’t fair. I’m sure you loved your original wedding date and hate the idea of picking a new one. I’m sure you’re worried your friends and family won’t be as excited to celebrate with you later (they will). And I’m sure the thought of the extra work to move the date sounds miserable (trust us, we know, but we can help).
The whole thing is new for everyone so it’s ok to not know how to handle it and not know how to feel. It’s ok to be worried about your finances, people losing their jobs, people getting sick, essential workers risking their own health to keep the rest of us safe AND mourn the loss of your OG wedding. If you’re anything like us lately, you probably have some sort of drink in your hand, so lets pour some out for our fallen homie. RIP spring 2020 weddings 🙁
Ok, now it’s time to get excited about the NEW date; about hugs and celebrations with your friends and family when it’s safe to do so again. Now lets sit back, figure out what day of the week it is and carry on.
Should You Postpone Your Wedding Date?
Most likely if you had an April or May wedding, you’ve already postponed or are in the starting steps of doing so. You may have pushed to later in 2020 or even to early 2021. Take a mental health break and use the time to get excited about the new plans.
If you’re a June or July wedding, you may be still trying to make that decision, and its a tough one. Things past May (shoot, past April even) are still so unsure, so is it worth risking having a smaller guest count if your family and friends don’t feel safe gathering yet? Does your venue or caterer have minimums that you’ll still be required to meet? Will you lose popular wedding dates for 2021 with your vendors if you keep waiting? There’s so much to consider and you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons for your specific situation.
For August and onward, we are still moving forward with planning as normal. There’s no reason to think that things won’t be back to normal by the end of summer. So we are keeping our fingers crossed and chugging along.
We’ve had couples make the decision to postpone end of May weddings in March because they didn’t want to spend the last couple months stressing. We’ve still got some end of May weddings holding out hope that things will change and they can celebrate as planned and are ok with a smaller guest count (heck yeah, saving some $$$$!). Our own Alex K postponed her September wedding so that she can be here for her spring couples pushing their date back. Props to her, it was a hard choice to make (and honestly, I wasn’t going to survive the fall without her). You know your guests better than anyone. Trust your gut, there is no wrong decision.
When Should You Make Your Decision?
We’ve been guiding our clients to at least wait until 2 months prior to the wedding. It seems most states are making decisions about stay at home orders about 6 weeks out and we feel that’s the best way to judge this ourselves. Some venues aren’t even entertaining the thought of postponing weddings after June at this point, so you may be at their mercy. We would, however, recommend giving yourself, your vendors and your guests a month notice to make the change. Any later than that and your florist and caterer may have already ordered your goods which could cause you additional fees.
You’ve Decided to Postpone, Now what?
This is our step by step process for how we’ve been handling this. It’s been pretty fool proof so far considering this is the first time any of us have had to deal with it.
1. Find out if your planner has contacted your vendors about their process during this. Are there postponement fees? Are the fees only for 2021 dates? If you choose 2021, do 2020 prices still apply or are you looking at an increase? If the vendor isn’t available on the date you choose, is there a refund for your deposit? Not likely, but it’s good to know either way.
Side note: We also don’t recommend trying to negotiate postponement fees if they’re in your original contract. There is a reason this fee is in place. Vendors are not trying to take advantage of anyone due to the situation, in fact many are waiving fees for certain time frames to help, if possible. Moving the date takes away from new clients that help keep businesses going and for some, business may not be sustainable without it.
2. Shoot an email to or jump on a call with your venue and wedding planner. Get available dates from the venue and decide with your fiancé and planner on 3-4 that will work for everyone.
3. We’ve been using a spreadsheet with the info we gathered from each vendor on their COVID process and then added the potential postponement dates columns.
4. Send an email to all of your vendors offering each date you’ve decided on. Ask them to let you know their availability for each so you can make a decision based on the most vendor availability. Here’s the email we’ve been sending:
“Jack and Jill on (date) at (venue) are planning on postponing. Their preferred date to postpone to would be 6/27/20 with 8/1/20 and 9/12/20 as their backups. Could you please let me know if each date will or won’t work for you so that we can make a decision based on the most vendor availability? Please respond ASAP so we don’t lose the potential dates to other couples postponing. Thank you!”
Then fill in their responses in the spreadsheet like I did above. Once you’ve heard back from everyone, hopefully you have at least one date that will work for all and you can lock it in. If not, you may have to choose which vendors you really don’t want to lose or who you will lose the least amount of money on the non-refundable deposit.
Side note: Don’t just choose a new date without checking with your vendors. They won’t be as flexible with you if you didn’t even give them the option of moving to a new that’s available. You’ll likely fall in their “cancellation policy” if you picked a new date that they can’t accommodate, meaning you wont get any money back.
5. Once you decide on the new date, send another email to your vendors and let them know when it is. Ask for new contracts and/or confirmation that they’ve moved your date on their calendar.
How Do You Inform Your Guests?
If your invites have already gone out, we think the easiest way is to call/text/email each guest right away to let them know you decided to postpone the date. Start with guests who will be traveling in for it so they can rearrange their plans. Divide and conquer with your fiancé, parents and wedding party if you can.
If your invitations haven’t gone out yet but Save the Dates did, you can send a postponement announcement or a new Save the Date.
What Else Do You Need to Do After You Postpone?
These are the things we are reminding our clients to do (or doing for them with full planning clients) to prepare for the new date.
- Change the wedding date and other events as needed on the wedding website.
- Change the dates on your hotel blocks and update with new booking links on wedding website.
- Decide if you’ll send all new invitations for the new date or just contact everyone via phone, text or email. See if your invitation company will give a discount for purchasing from them again.
- Make sure your ceremony time works with the sunset time on your new date. If you postponed from spring to winter, you will likely have a very different sunset time and don’t want an outdoor ceremony in the dark.
- Notify your work of time off for the new date
- Change the date on your wedding insurance
- Adjust the dates for your rehearsal dinner, welcome party, bridal luncheon, post wedding brunch, etc.
- Double check these items to see if they include the date and determine if you’ll buy new ones or keep them as is: guestbook, cake topper, cake knife/server, card box, etc
- Check with the place the mens attire is coming from and postpone the date. They may want to get refitted closer to the new date to make sure they’re the same size.
- Decide if you’re sticking with the wedding colors as is or if you need/want to change them with the new season. If you’re moving from spring to fall, you may want to make a few tweaks.
Should You Still Get Married on Your Original Date?
Sure, why not! Go to the courthouse, have a small ceremony with family in the backyard (with chairs 6′ apart of course), heck go to Vegas for a long weekend (when travel is allowed again) and have Elvis marry you. If you want to still have that as your wedding date, there is nothing wrong with this option. You can tell your guests and gather on your new date to celebrate or keep it secret (it wouldn’t be the first time).
At the end of the day, you’ll still get married and that’s all that matters.
Can We Hire You to Deal With This for Us?
Heck yeah! More than ever, you need a planner/advice-giver/wedding therapist now. If you don’t continue to plan your wedding, someone else will. Our dates are certainly filling up with postponements and new clients ready to plan their 2021 wedding. We’ve booked 4 weddings in the last two weeks.
Here are some reasons to continue planning:
1. You have more free time these days. You may still be working, but most likely from home. That means less time spent getting ready (honestly, who is getting dressed and putting on makeup these days?) and less commute time to and from work. Use the time wisely to contact vendors and start pinning on Pinterest. Soon enough, life will be back to normal and you’ll wish you’d spent the free time on the wedding when you could.
2. Vendors are booking dates quick. Between postponements and new clients dates are filling up, meaning less availability for those who are waiting to plan. If you have your November date but are waiting to book your photographer until you know if your wedding will happen for sure, by the time we know what’s going to be happening in November, the best photographers will be all gone.
3. You’ll be helping small businesses stay afloat. Just like ordering takeout from your favorite restaurants during this time, you’re helping ensure they’re running like normal when this is over. Wedding vendors like that florist who does the most amazing arrangements and caterers with the cutest appetizers are small businesses just like the restaurants and they need your business too! What do you think you’ll remember more, those to-go margaritas or the best wedding day ever that your planner made happen? Ok, honestly we will never forget to-go margaritas either.
4. It will make you happy! Stop thinking about the chaos of outside life right now and think about the happiest day of your life instead. Seeing a florist get your vision (through a Zoom meeting obvi), talking details with your planner and tasting some wedding menu to-go food from your favorite caterer will be fun and exciting.