May 27, 2020
Some of you may be facing the hard reality of postponing your wedding day. I’m so sorry, my heart aches for you. You have probably been riding a roller coaster full of emotions before landing on this page and ultimately the decision to postpone. Know that you are not alone. Many couples all over the country have been faced with the same obstacles in front of you. I know that planning a wedding is a very large task no matter the size of your event. Below I’m going to give you some tactical, practical, and real advice on where to start and what to expect – obviously, every couple’s situation and event is different, so if you have specific questions, please reach out.
Step One – If you have a wedding planner, that is the first person you should be contacting. Many local planners have already been in touch with vendors and venues. Know that many planners are slammed busy right now helping other clients pivot their plans to accommodate new guidelines or postponing their events as well. Give them some grace if their response times are slower than usual. If you do not have a wedding planner and can afford one starting now – I highly suggest it. I’m glad to give you my recommendations on rock star planners who can help you during this time and take some of the heavyweights off your shoulders.
Step Two – Contact your venue. Reach out and ask for their current availability for 2020 and 2021. Realize that many weekend dates might already be taken (and probably were before COVID) so have an open mind when it comes to availability. Include the VIP guests into these potential dates such as parents and siblings.
Step Three – If you already haven’t I HIGHLY suggest that you set some time aside to sit down and read through the contracts you signed with your vendors before contacting them. Realize each can be extremely different and we all have an array of policies and procedures that may not align with one another. Write down any questions you have as you go through each of them and use this as a base to reach out individually. Let me say it for those of you who may need reminding (I mean this in the most loving way) yes, your vendors own and operate a business, but many of us are small. We are not large corporations, we do not have huge profit margins, some may or may not have employees they have had to support or lay off during this time + truthfully many of us were not equipped in the legal department for a global pandemic. I KNOW I WASN’T! My policies, procedures, and contracts have since been revised. We are all empathetic to the situation you are in because many of us are facing the same opticals. Many pros are being extremely accomodating and understanding, so remember we are all humans at the other end of the email, text or calls you have to make. Many are allowing minimal or no fees for rescheduling and sacrificing our personal needs to allow you to change dates. Do not be surprised upon changing your date, that you will be asked to sign new contracts and agreements (which may have changed) so please read your new contracts. I know many of you breeze through them the first time around in excitement.
Step Four – After reaching out to the venue with open availability dates in mind and reading through the contracts with other existing vendors, it is now time to reach out to those other vendors with the new possible date/dates. Many of us will not be surprised if you are exploring your options of rescheduling – so no you are not bothering us! In a perfect world, everyone would be available for the dates you have in mind – but it is possible that they were already booked or another couple has beat you to the punch. Depending on the type of service they might be able to offer you an alternative provider under their company or give you suggestions on vendors they know, love, and respect. TRUST ME they are gutted if they can not be apart of your wedding day, especially if they have been in communication/planning with you for a while. Many of us pour our hearts and souls into our work. With that being said, understand you might be out of your non-refundable deposit with them. This is why step 3 is so important.
Need some help? Here is a sample of what I’d love to see come across my inbox and will cut down on a lot of back and forth for you with multiple people as well!
We are exploring the option (or have decided) that we need to postpone our upcoming wedding date booked with you for XX/XX/XXXX at X location. Because of the current COVID-19 situation (if you have a personal relationship with the vendor and feel the need to elaborate, you can)
With all of that being said we have been going over our contracts with our vendors and reached out to the venue for new potential dates. We have a few options in mind (X/XX/XXXX or X/XX/XXXX) we would love for you to still be apart of our wedding day. Are you available?
If so, what are the next steps to moving our date and keeping you? We have read your contract and understand X/X is the policy, but we just wanted to make sure that was still the case.
If you are not available, what are our next steps? Do you have any other recommendations for professionals like you? (Similar style or personality, if that is important to you)
Thanks so much for your time, we are thinking of you. Chat soon!
Step Five – By this point, you have done a lot of the hard stuff and been so brave. Congrats! Your immediate family has likely weighed in on their availability and helped navigate this or any other VIP’S in your life – so now it’s time to let the other guests know. Do not underestimate the power of simplicity here, an email, FB group, or simple text will do to start. You just want them to be aware that plans have changed, so they can cancel any travel arrangements or lodging accommodations they have previously made. You can later get creative and witty with new physical change the dates or e-vites! Be sure to update anything you may have posted on social media or the wedding website too.
Step Six – If this has taught us anything, it’s that being overly cautious is not a bad thing. It has brought up situations and questions that we may not have considered before. From now on I will be suggesting wedding insurance to my couples. From my research below are some of the best in the business. I encourage you to do your own and make an informed decision for yourself/situation.
Travelers Wedding Protection Plan
Why have insurance? You can read this article published by The Knot.
Step Seven – Mentally prepare for things to change. You are going to need to reimagine the wedding celebration you originally planned. This may include a lot of out of the box ideas in order to remain within guidelines or new social “norms”. Your wedding day is arguably one of the most important days ever. So take the opportunity to create a meaningful and memorable experience for not only yourself but the people there to celebrate with you! This may include a weekday wedding, morning, or afternoon celebration. Brunch anyone?! The event is entirely fair game for breaking tradition at this point in time. Frankly, I’m here for it. Consider a small indoor ceremony to have a larger outdoor reception. Rethink the way cocktail hour and food are going to be served to your guests. Now more than ever we will be worried about occupant numbers and restrooms. With that being said, be prepared to reimagine the guest list and those who you REALLY want to celebrate with you. As of now, in-person gatherings have been limited to 50. So you can ditch all of your parent’s friends that you felt you “had to invite” you can uninvited people you haven’t talked with in years, and not everyone needs a plus one. Also, consider your venue guest limit may drastically decrease while following social distancing protocols.
Step Eight – Things to consider if you are planning business as usual for the rest of the year. Know any guests who do attend are “doing it at their own risk” please do not feel bad. You aren’t forcing anyone, try not to take it personally if they decide it is best for them not to attend. Ask your vendors if they can provide a virtual experience during the key moments of the wedding such as ceremony and first dances! If you don’t have a planner I would suggest someone at least for the day of who can help you logistically plan guest arrival, seating, and general safety protocol. Such as hand sanitation stations, PPE for either guest and staff.
As all of you know this is very new and will be ever adapting as we all learn what works/doesn’t and is logical. Remember LOVE IS NOT CANCELED. I am here for you and can’t wait to see what creative ideas we come up with together!
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