As life has a habit of being unpredictable, there are instances where couples need to postpone their wedding. Aside from current self-isolation and social distancing guidance surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, other situations such as family emergencies, someone falling ill, natural disasters or sudden changes in career can force couples to change their wedding date.
After months (or years) of planning, the prospect of postponing or cancelling your wedding can be soul destroying, nevermind the added pressure of the guest list and your wedding budget - but do not despair, I have some tips and steps to follow to make the whole process as painless as possible!
1. Don’t Panic
Your wedding is a huge event in your life, so you should make informed decisions throughout the planning process. The current climate is changing day by day, but resist the urge to make knee-jerk reactions and instead take a step back, breathe and think properly about all your options. If your wedding is towards the end of this summer, there’s a good chance your wedding can go ahead as planned.
2. Speak with your wedding venue
Speak with your wedding coordinator or venue to find out their policies on postponement. If you choose to move the date it will likely incur charges. However, if the venue cancels your wedding, they are likely to offer you a new date with no extra fees. Work with your venue to find a new date. If you’re getting married in summer, you may wish to move your date to next summer. Alternatively, you could look at an off-peak autumn or winter date this year, or perhaps even mid-week. Off peak dates are more likely to have availability from your suppliers and venue. You may find that independent or family-run venues are more flexible, while large chain venues are reluctant to change their stance on the situation.
3. Speak with your wedding suppliers
In light of the covid-19 outbreak, most suppliers are trying their best to accommodate the unprecedented change in circumstances. You should discuss potential new dates with them, and also check the terms and conditions of your contracts regarding event postponement or cancellation.
4. Check your wedding insurance
Carefully check the terms of your wedding insurance. Some policies only allow you to claim for cancellations and exclude postponed events.
5. Set a new date
When choosing a new date for your wedding, discuss it with your immediate family and friends or any that absolutely has to be there, including family members that are making financial contributions to the wedding. Also run it by your most important wedding suppliers and of course your venue.
Don’t forget to check when you gave legal notice to get married, as you may have to do it again.
If you are getting anything delivered to make DIY decorations, favours or gifts from, check if you can delay the delivery date, or have somewhere to store things.
6. Number crunching and your wedding budget
Expect that some guests that could attend, won’t be able to attend if you change the date. This is normal. You should request minimum numbers for your wedding venue / caterer so it is clear how many guests you need as an absolute minimum. Make a list of any additional charges you are going to incur and when these need to be paid.
7. Informing your guests
Keep your guests informed about the change in plans, have your new wedding date when you contact them about your postponement, and you could ask your stationer to design you a ‘change the date’ card with the new wedding details on it. To keep costs down, I provide digital ‘change the date’ cards which can be sent via email, Whatsapp or Facebook to your wedding guests. Much like paper ‘save the dates’ they will contain your names, new wedding date, time and venue address.
Don’t forget to ask for an RSVP so you can update your guest list.
It’s likely a few guests will now decline, but be careful about inviting new people in the second wave of invitations, as they may wonder why they weren’t good enough friends to be invited the first time.
If you have a wedding website or Facebook group, don’t forget to change the details on there too.
8. And finally, relax
Just remember that the current situation is only temporary, and whatever happens your wedding will still be a magical day to remember that your guests will enjoy.