Events big and small are being canceled left and right due to the coronavirus. From the 2020 Olympics to music festivals like Burning Man and Coachella, no event is left uncanceled amid new social distancing rules.
How long will this cancellation policy last? When can we come back together in larger groups? Unfortunately, at the moment, the answers are still unclear, with the best bet being to err on the side of caution.
What does that mean for your big day? It means you may have to postpone or downsize your wedding.
Postponing a wedding isn't ideal, and it's undoubtedly a difficult pill to swallow—you've planned, fantasized, and done the hard work, and now, there's no follow-through. Let's take a moment to acknowledge that any hard feelings you have right now are only natural and human!
But, once the moment has passed, it's time to get back to planning again. Do you have questions concerning canceling, rescheduling, or postponing your wedding?
Here, we provide answers to these queries in the hopes that you'll be able to navigate the situation a little smoother. Keep reading for sound advice from an experienced event planning company.
You may be wondering, “Should I cancel the wedding?” or “Should I have a wedding at all?”.
Depending on the social distancing rules in place around your wedding date, you may be able to still have a wedding—with a hefty downsizing. Perhaps you wanted to have a larger, more lavish wedding, and you and your future spouse invited everyone and their mothers. Maybe you also had a lot of people flying in from out of town, and now they're nervous about traveling.
You may have to downsize your wedding to those who can stay local. If you can reduce the travel and hotel stays, you'll dramatically reduce any potential issues.
Doing this, you can still have your wedding (with added safety precautions), but it'll be smaller than you imagined—and that's okay! At the end of the day, the most important people there are you and the love of your life. Of course, things won't be exactly as you'd hoped, but if you're okay with this decision, you can begin having frank discussions with loved ones from out of town, or those that are considered high-risk.
The key here is transparency and communication. If you know for sure you're postponing your wedding, let your guests and vendors know. You don't necessarily need a new date to do this.
You don't have to send out save the dates (or, more aptly put, change the dates) either since you don't have a new date yet. In this case, perhaps you can reach out individually to each vendor and let them know of the changes. And of course, if you've got quite an extensive guest list, you may have to send out letters announcing your postponement—but you can always create something from home to avoid paying high costs.
Be sincere and honest and assure your guests and vendors that you'll communicate as soon as you know about any new plans. Once a new date has been set, you can consider sending out new invitations and scheduling new vendors.
For new save the dates, consider wording such as, "Due to current circumstances, we'll have to postpone our wedding. New details to be announced soon." Or, "Don't worry—it's still happening! ...Just at a later date than expected. We'll update as soon as details are confirmed!"
Your guests will understand.
Before coming to this conclusion, be sure to reach out to each individual vendor to try to keep as many of the same ones as possible. Most vendors were also unprepared for a situation like this, and they'll be disappointed (but hopefully understanding) of your changing dates. Carefully review your contracts and understand each vendor's policy on changing or canceling appointments, and what financial ramifications may incur.
So, you've decided on a new date, and your caterer or DJ isn't available then. Now what?
Unfortunately, the obvious and most straightforward answer is to find a new vendor. If you really wanted that specific vendor, you may have to alter your new date based on their availability—but you'll have to decide if that's truly worth it (which it might not be if you've already sent out new save the dates).
Another excellent option is to find an event venue that offers a variety of services under one roof. Try to contact venues that supply most of what you need—an event space, food and drinks, valet services, ceremony space, and more. An all-encompassing venue will be able to accommodate your new date with a range of services.
The answer to this question is relatively similar to that above. Before you send out new save the dates, make sure you've booked new vendors and a new space, confirming the details.
Perhaps you can work directly with an event venue that has a variety of event spaces available. Many hospitality companies have several venues under their name, from restaurants to banquet halls and more. This plethora of choices can allow you more leeway when it comes to choosing a new location for your wedding.
To err on the side of caution, you may want to start considering a back-up date.
Of course, if you're willing to change the scope of your wedding, you may still be able to get away with a fall wedding. Perhaps you and your spouse can elope instead, and plan a small reception for later. The answer to this question all depends on what you're comfortable with, the guidelines in your state, and what your vision is for your special day.
We know it's not ideal—but your best bet is to send out new save the dates.
If you have a concise guest list, say twenty people or less, you can consider calling each person individually. But if you can splurge a bit on new save the dates, it'll be worth it. This act helps people stay organized when it comes to their calendar.
It may sound stale, but try to confront the situation almost as if it were a business transaction. Try to be transparent and fact-based and set emotions aside—for now. Doing so will show your guests that you made sound decisions based on the safety and well-being of your loved ones, and there's nothing wrong with that!
Remember, your wedding is your wedding. You couldn't have predicted the changes that came with the Coronavirus.
Assure the friends and family that you have to uninvite that you genuinely wanted them there, but due to present times, it just wasn't feasible. You can also consider hosting a reception with these guests down the line when restrictions start to lift.
You're likely wondering how to uninvite someone to a wedding.
This act takes couth, respect, and honesty. You should certainly avoid doing so over text or email, which feels impersonal. If possible, meet with these individuals or video chat with them face-to-face, and if not, at least pick up the phone and call. Unfortunately, it also helps to expect some repercussions, as these guests are bound to be disappointed.
You should also do so as soon as possible. As difficult as doing so might be, don't procrastinate letting this person (or persons) know. Additionally, be clear and committed to your decision, and don't allow their (albeit persuasive) sadness convince you to change your mind.
In these trying times, being creative is vital.
Perhaps you can host a large Zoom party or conference call that allows everyone to congratulate and celebrate you and your new spouse. You can even consider hiring a videographer (or doing so yourself!) and sharing the video with friends and family. And of course, don't rule out planning an additional reception in the future.
Since many other couples are postponing their weddings too, it may be hard to find an ideal date for your new arrangement.
Try to schedule your new wedding date during non-peak months. Nearly 80% of marriages occur between May and October—can you find a date outside of those months? January, February, and March are the off-season months, and you may have better luck finding a date within those time frames. You can also consider rescheduling your wedding to 2021 since more peak dates will remain available and event size limitations will be less likely.
Be flexible, and everything will work out.
While it may come as little comfort, it sometimes helps to know you're not alone in this situation. All over the globe, people have to deal with the inconvenience that comes from COVID-19. Because of this, you're likely to experience more understanding from your friends, family, and acquaintances.
Postponing a wedding isn't exactly easy, but you can do it. Allow your love for your future spouse to help you navigate these trying times, and rest assured, your wedding will happen in due time.
Contact us today for more answers to any of your questions. We can provide careful insight into the planning process, as well as help you find new vendors, event spaces, catering options, and more. Together, let's plan a fantastic, safe, and beautiful wedding!