No couple wants to postpone a wedding, but unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the hand of couples all around the world. Stay-at-home orders, bans on group gatherings and a recommended moratorium on travel have been put in place to protect our health, causing spring, summer and even early fall wedding plans to unravel.
The good news is, if you’re facing down the possibility of postponing your big day, you’re not the first, and you’re not alone! Earle Brown has a wealth of experience and knowledge to help you manage every checkbox on your list with less stress. Here’s our quick, five-step guide to rescheduling your wedding:
Freeze your custom orders
As soon as you’ve decided that you will be postponing your wedding, your first call should be to any vendor with whom you have a custom order: Think stationery designers or printers, florists, bridal boutiques and any other business for whom time may be of the essence.
This step is especially important if you are postponing within 10 weeks of your original wedding date — notify these vendors of an immediate postponement ASAP. After you’ve figured out a new date, you can update them and discuss your options for either resuming, altering or cancelling your order.
Find a new date (or even day of the week)
Once you’ve put a halt on any pressing orders, it’s time to call your venue to find out what alternative dates are available. Be open to Friday, Sunday and “off-peak” dates — at Earle Brown, our autumn Saturdays are filling up fast, but a Friday wedding is an equally wonderful option! You’ll likely want to look at dates in the late summer, early fall, or even later, if you’re willing to wait.
If you’re planning a destination wedding, you may want to hold off on choosing a new date until more information is available regarding international and domestic travel in the coming months. The only thing worse than having to reschedule your wedding would be having to do it twice, so play it safe!
After you’ve spoken with your planner and venue about rescheduled dates and understand your contracts and postponement clauses, reach out to your vendors again to discuss rebooking. Send a mass email (or two, dividing communications into waves: first primary services like photography, florist, band and caterer, then secondary services that could handle multiple weddings in a day, like cake bakers and rental companies,) to your vendors with the dates you’re considering to get the ball rolling on finalizing a date that works for you, your venue and your vendors.
Inform your guests—twice
As soon as you’re certain you’ll be postponing your wedding, planners suggest you reach out to guests immediately to let them know of the change. While a phone call is traditionally best practice, in this day and age, an email blast is just fine, and will save you a lot of time and energy. Let everyone on your invite list know that the wedding is postponed due to coronavirus, new date TBD.
Then, once you’ve officially chosen a new date and squared things away with your venue and vendors, formally inform your guests with a new invitation or announcement card (digital or paper, whatever your preferences and budget allows.)
Of course, you can adapt this step to suit where you are in the planning process: If you’ve postponed into 2021 and had not sent out invitations prior to the coronavirus crisis, feel free to send a digital update, then proceed with a traditional timeline, sending your formal invitations out eight to ten weeks before the wedding. If you’ve already sent invitations, it’s not necessary to send out a whole new, printed set — consider sending a digital, updated invitation in the same style or color palette as your printed invitations instead.
Get ahead of guest questions
Your bridal party and guests are undoubtedly going to have questions beyond a new wedding date, especially if they were planning on making — or have already made — travel arrangements, hotel bookings, etc. Get ahead of their inquiries by doing the legwork for them: Call the hotel to learn about their policy for cancellations within the room block, and do the same for any airlines or airports you recommended to guests. Once you’ve compiled all the information you need, relay it to guests in one easy-to-refer-to email. It shows that you’re taking their investment in your big day seriously, and will go a long way to calm the worries of any stressed-out relatives.
Keep an open mind
Ultimately, postponing a wedding, especially under unprecedented circumstances like the coronavirus pandemic, means your big day may end up looking very different from what you originally envisioned and planned. Consider whether or not you want this wedding to look and feel different in addition to having a different date or season, and keep an open mind about details large and small. Your big day will come, and when it does, it will be every bit as joyful and romantic as you’d dreamed — even if you had to make some changes along the way.
Earle Brown is here for you
Making the difficult choice to postpone a wedding can be an emotional, overwhelming experience, but Earle Brown wants couples to know that we’re here to help accommodate any changes to your plans. Please, don’t hesitate to contact us about any rescheduling and postponement questions you have as we navigate this tumultuous time together. We’ll be here for you during and after the coronavirus crisis, and we can’t wait to see your beautiful wedding take shape.