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Postponement 101


March 27, 2020

Wedding planners prepare for the unexpected. That’s the nature of our job. We have a Plan A, Plan B and sometimes Plans C through E if the situation calls for it. Island destination wedding during hurricane season? We’ve been there. Ceremony site and rain site both get flooded? We’ve handled it.

Global pandemic? Unfortunately now we can add that to the list as well.

The current COVID-19 situation is devastating. Travel and gathering bans, put in place to help flatten the curve, mean spring wedding plans are forced to change. Health and safety are paramount, and while it’s difficult (emotionally and financially) to think through postponing it’s necessary.

Here are some steps we’ve quickly formulated and used with our affected couples as we navigated this situation together:

  • Postpone, don’t cancel: many people have devoted time, money and energy into your wedding. Canceling will only serve to cause stress at the loss of money and sadness at the loss of the celebration.
  • Delay custom orders: depending on when your spring wedding was scheduled, chances are for late March or early April events some day of elements like stationery, signage or florals were in the final stages of ordering. Contact your planner or designated vendor directly to ask them to hold off until you have a game plan.
  • Consult your team: starting with your core vendors (usually vendors that take on one or a small # of events per weekend: planner, photographer, venue, caterer and band) narrow down future dates to consider. We strongly recommend keeping your wedding plans for 2020 as a) 2020 is your year and b) most vendors are being more flexible with contracts and plans when this is the case. Also being open to a non-Saturday option will help immensely. Thursdays may be the new Saturdays this fall and we’re here for it.
  • Be flexible: Chances are 100% of your original vendor team will not be available on your rescheduled date. If your ceremony and reception were in different places, consider having a ceremony at the same site of the reception. If your band is no longer available, consider sticking with the same booking agent who can help you find a similar vibe with another amazing artist and may offer some more flexibility with a transfer vs. a cancellation. While you may still face some fees or not be able to recoup deposits, you have a stronger chance of managing your budget effectively if you stay open to ideas.
  • Confirm changes in writing: Once you’re committed to a new date, ask vendors to make it official. Some will issue new contracts, some will provide an addendum to existing contracts and some will simply transfer your order over to the new date.
  • Remember travel plans: starting with your hotel blocks, see if you can transfer your room reservations to your new weekend. Most hotels are being as flexible as possible or applying force majeure clauses if your state is mandating restrictions that apply. Rates may change depending on the time of year, but you can likely find a similar # of rooms at the same hotels so guests can streamline their travel adjustments. From there encourage guests to work through changing flights or other personal arrangements as quickly as they can.
  • Communicate: In addition to close contact with your vendor team, keeping your guests informed is top priority. If you are unsure if your wedding plans will be affected a simple note on your website to acknowledge that you are monitoring the situation and will be in touch if plans are altered will suffice. Once you’ve decided you are officially postponing notify your guests. Some calligraphers and stationery designers are helping create “change the dates” or notes that fit your invitation suite which you can either email or print and send once it’s time to spread the word.
  • Be kind: Your wedding vendors are in unchartered territory. Time sensitive needs may take them away from an immediate response, so give them some grace (or feel free to nudge gently!). Know your guests will be supportive no matter what. They love you and will celebrate with you whenever it is safe to do so. And lastly, it’s ok to be sad. This situation is overwhelming. Take a moment to work through your frustration or even grieve the change in plans. But we repeat – health and safety are paramount, and above all, love. You picked your original date and planned your wedding around it to be a celebration of your love. So still celebrate! Maybe opt to get legally married on your original date or simply plan a nice couple’s dinner (at home!) to spread some merriment between the two of you while anticipating more to come.

Your marriage is the most important element of your wedding and no matter what that will be the focus. During this difficult time we extend our most sincere and heartfelt thoughts to you. We’re all in this together and will figure it out one step at a time.

{Featured image in this post by Kylie Martin}