Was your wedding crashed by an uninvited guest—COVID-19? Social distancing has forced thousands of couples to alter their plans. If you’re a spring or summer couple faced with the upsetting decision to postpone your wedding, WV Weddings magazine editor Nikki Bowman Mills answers your most pressing questions.
Who should be postponing right now?
April, May, and June couples should postpone, and honestly, July and August weddings need to start making “What if” contingency plans.
What are my first steps?
- If you have a wedding planner or venue coordinator, reach out to them. This is when you’ll be so grateful to have engaged their services. They will reach out to your key vendors and walk you through a plan of action.
- If you don’t have an event planner, contact your venue first. Look at available dates—probably late fall or winter. Also consider non-traditional dates like Sunday or Fridays. And don’t rule out Thursdays. By the time social distancing is over, everyone will be ready for a little getaway and, depending on your venue, guests might be excited for a long weekend getaway. Choose a couple of dates so that you can coordinate with your remaining wedding vendors. Use our free Change of Date Tracker.
- If you were planning a tented wedding on your own property, reach out to your tent provider. If you are moving to a cooler time of the year, you may need to add sides to the tent and outdoor heaters. Make those adjustments now.
- Once you have a few date options, check that your photographer is available.
- Now reach back out to your venue and let them know exactly which date you’ve chosen.
- Next, contact your band or DJ, videographer, florist, rental company, cake designer, and all other vendors. Do you have a room block? Contact the hotel to change the date. Use this spreadsheet to track their responses to your date change.
- Have you already planned your honeymoon? Then don’t forget about rescheduling your plans!
- Now it’s time to notify your guests of the change of date. If your invitations have not been printed yet, stop the presses. If they have, you can send a change of date card with any additional information needed. To download a free customizable postponement notification designed by Paper Hearts, click here. And given the circumstances, an emailed change of date card is perfectly acceptable.
How do you recommend couples go about picking a new wedding date?
It’s time to get everyone’s calendars out! I recommend looking at late fall and winter dates. But also consider non-traditional dates like Sunday or Fridays. And don’t rule out Thursdays. You’ll probably save some money by booking non-traditional dates, and you’ll definitely run into less scheduling conflicts.
Should I scale down? Uninvite people? How do I notify guests?
This is a deeply personal decision. Weddings are expensive. Times are uncertain, so it is completely reasonable to reevaluate your guest list if you haven’t already sent out invitations. If you’ve sent out invitations and your adjustments mandate downsizing, then I advise making a sweeping change—not just crossing off a few people here and there and risking offending your friends and family. You could notify guests that you are changing your date and, due to the circumstances, you are only inviting immediate family members and your wedding party. You can have a bigger reception and party later and invite all of your original guests. If you do something like this, you’ll want to book your photographer as well for your future celebratory party—and yes, you’ll most likely pay extra for that.
I’ve already printed my invitations, but not mailed them. Now what?
For couples who have printed their invitations but haven’t sent them yet, contact your stationery provider and ask them to create a simple insert with the new details and send that with your original invitation so you don’t waste your beautiful invitations.
Should brides and grooms expect any fees or charges for postponing? Should they expect deposits back?
Couples should not cancel. Just postpone. You most likely will not get your deposits back, because the deposit often covers time and labor already put into planning the wedding. Clear communication is key—and get everything in writing.
Most vendors are waving postponement fees—especially for March, April, and May weddings—if you move your date to a later time in 2020. If you choose to wait until 2021, you may have to pay a postponement fee.
If the scope of work changes for your vendor, you could be charged additional fees, so make sure you communicate clearly with each vendor on what your expectations or changes are.
Should couples shifting from a spring or summer wedding to a fall or winter wedding consider making any changes to theme and decor?
This is your wedding. If you want a pastel springtime garden theme in December, then stick with it. Just know that certain fresh flowers may be more expensive during off-season. Your strapless gown may now need a shawl or wrap.
This also provides an opportunity to be creative with slight pivots. If your spring wedding featured pink bridesmaid dresses and lots of greenery, just deepen the floral palette a bit by adding a burgundy accent color for a winter wedding. Instead of a summertime linen, add a touch of velvet.
Remember that this is a celebration of your love story—don’t grieve the loss of the day. It is only one day in a lifetime of days. This is now a part of your wedding story. Stay positive, and don’t make any rash decisions. The date, the venue, and the guest count can all change, but the reason you are getting married has not changed. Your love for one another remains, so no matter what happens, your originally planned wedding will morph into another stunning and even more special wedding.
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Do you have questions for Nikki? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.