You have planned the perfect wedding day. One that you have dreamed of your entire life or at least for the time that you got engaged. In your mind it’s a perfect 72 degree, partly sunny with a slight breeze kind of day. All your family and friends are there. Everyone is getting along. Nothing goes wrong. All the guests think it is the best wedding they have ever been to. You are so happy.
For some, that is reality. For others, those plans have been turned upside down when Covid-19 hit the United States. Now, what do you do? How can you postpone your wedding and still make it the day you have imagined?
First, I can sympathize with what you are going through. Everyone in the event industry is in the same boat. We can’t plan events right now. No one is planning new events for the future because we don’t know what the future will look like. Event Industry leaders have had to let go of at least 80% of their staff because we simply don’t have work for them and can’t afford to keep them on the team at this time. It’s heartbreaking, scary and an uncertain time for so many in the event industry.
Now, you are faced with the facts that you must postpone your wedding. I am personally so sorry for you. I understand the great loss you must be feeling. But it WILL be ok! You will have that dream day and I’m going to talk you through the process to having the perfect wedding day. Here are the steps for postponing your wedding.
Let Yourself Have Your Moment
When I work with a bride on her wedding day who gets rain, no one is happy. It is important on the day of the event that she gets to be sad for a moment. It’s only a moment. Then, we move on and accept that fact that it isn’t the perfect day she has been dreaming of but it isn’t a bad day.
Having to postpone your wedding for any reason is never something anyone wants to do. Let yourself feel the disappointment for a moment. Take it all in and experience how sad you really are. When you are done, get up and move on. This is out of your control. You can’t change it and even the best wedding and event planners in the world can’t fix what is happening. One thing that you CAN control is your perspective.
A wedding day is the first day of your life with your new partner. It isn’t the only special day you will have. It’s just the beginning. When I am working with a client, through Sarah Lizabeth, and we are making the decisions about their big day I always speak with them about perspective. No one will remember the food you had. They will only remember if it was good or bad. It’s about the big picture…your marriage. If you can get to what’s most important, which is your marriage, then you will be fine, and it will be a great day.
When Do You Postpone?
In an uncertain time, it is hard to put a cut off date on when to postpone. I have been telling my clients by 30 days out. Typically, that is when all of the vendors are paid and we have the final guest count. All our April brides and half of our May brides have postponed their weddings at this point. We are currently working with some of our June brides to move their wedding as well.
The issue is not necessarily if the venue will allow your event, it’s if your guests will come. Most vendors are not going to give you money back at this point if you go from 200 guests to 50 guests. The question to answer is: Is it more important to have the date or to have guests at your wedding? Sometime people get fixated on the wedding date. It’s just a date. There are 365 days in the year. Any of those days we can hold events. Again, this is about perspective. Figure out what is most important to you when you decide to postpone your event.
Celebrate Your Wedding Date
Have you thought about what you are going to do on your original wedding day? I would suggest you celebrate it! Get your bridal party together online and do a toast! Plan a romantic dinner at home with your fiancé to acknowledge the day. Do not sit in your PJ’s all day and pout. What good does that do? How is that productive? This is another day that you and your fiancé get to celebrate. It isn’t a day that you should feel sad. Remember above, you already let yourself have that sad day. Now, we move on and celebrate.
How To Pick A New Wedding Date
The first thing you need to do is confirm the new date with your venue. Some of this decision will be based on the venue’s availability. Another factor is the time of year. If you were having a spring wedding, do you want another spring wedding or will the fall feel the same. What is your schedule of events for the day? If you plan a wedding in the spring, then you will have to change your timeline for a fall wedding because the sun sets earlier in the fall. Will it change if you see each other before the wedding or do a first look? These are all important things to consider when picking a new wedding date.
Inform Your Vendors
The chances of your vendors being available is higher if you pick a year later. In Nashville, our wedding seasons are spring and fall. We have lost our spring this year and most of us are already booked for the fall because it is an amazing time to get married in Nashville.
If a vendor if not available for your new date, you will have to break the contract with them and take the penalties that come along with that. Please remember, the small business owners has been greatly impacted by this as well. Income that sustains their businesses is not coming in now. The last thing anyone wants is to have a bride or groom cancel their contract. If a vendor is not available, check and see if they have a team under them that can assist. Try and stay in their network of vendors so that everyone wins.
When you have settled on a new date, let all your vendors know and sign new contracts or amended contracts with the new date in place. This will protect you and the vendor for the future event.
Inform Your Guests
We have all seen the “Save The Date” postcards or cute magnets. Now, we must do “Change the Date” postcards. I have seen some cute ideas such as “Making Lemonade Out of Lemon’s”, “We Still Do”, “Let’s Try This Again” or “Change of Plans”. Acknowledge that the plans have changes in a unique way. Send out the new card with any important information such as a time change. They already have the invitation, so they don’t need a new one. A postcard or announcement on your wedding website is enough.
I would send out new RSVP cards for your guest to return. This is important because if your event fell during a time where people were unsure about if they could come or not, then you probably didn’t get an appropriate RSVP count in the first place. Have your guest RSVP for the new date again. Don’t wait to do this. Go ahead and get that number so that you will be more prepared for your vendors on how many guests are attending the wedding.
What Are Weddings Going to Look Like After This Is Over?
Consider what weddings will look like when this is over. Check in with your vendors and make sure they are taking the steps they can to be certain we are all safe in the future. I see party favors going from koozies to hand sanitizers and masks. Help your guests feel safe in the future. This is an uncertain time and people need to know that you are considering that in the future.
Enjoy The Time You Have
Now, you have some time…enjoy it! One thing that the quarantine has done is allowed us more time to work on projects we didn’t have time for. So often all a bride does is plan for her wedding that she doesn’t know what to do with her life after it’s over. There is life after wedding planning. It’s called the Bridal Blues and it’s a real thing.
Start a new project with your fiancé. Do things that you love to do together. Plan a trip…when we can travel again! Live life together! The wedding day is not the most important day of your life. You will have so many important days. Make each day special and choose joy!
You are going to be fine. Everything will get back to normal. Just as we have seasons with the weather, this is just a season. It will change. I wish you the very best in your wedding planning and look forward to seeing how you will choose to accept the things you can’t change and move on to your perfect day!
Facebook Live Post on How To Postpone Your Wedding
Sarah Lizabeth, is a Nashville based wedding & event planner, florist, venue owner, venue manager and educator in the events industry. Her mission is to serve well and share her perspective on wedding and event planning.