It’s an overwhelming and unprecedented time in the world at the moment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For those couples with weddings due to take place in the next few months, its an especially confusing time.
We have set out our thoughts around postponing your wedding and making those difficult decisions.
Should I postpone or cancel my wedding?
After planning your dream day for several months or even years, the decision on whether to postpone or cancel your wedding is no doubt difficult. There are a number of factors involved, including financial consequences and emotional implications.
The official advice is that all weddings taking place within the next three weeks must be postponed and it’s advisable that anyone marrying within the next 12 weeks (i.e. before the end of June) postpone their wedding.
All Church of England churches have closed with immediate effect so no church weddings will be taking place until further notice.
Registry offices are closed until further notice, meaning civil ceremonies cannot go ahead, nor can couples attend to give notice of a marriage. Check with your local registry office for more information on your area – they should have updated their website.
Our advice is to Postpone NOT cancel. We would advise that anyone planning on getting married between April and August should be considering their options on postponing now. For weddings taking place in September onwards, we would suggest that you keep an eye on government guidelines due to the unpredictable nature of the situation and start a dialogue with your vendors to pencil in potential reschedule dates IF needed.
Remember, every wedding is different, and you need to assess with your venue, your suppliers and your guests what the right thing is for you to do as a couple. Communication is absolutely key: talk to elderly relatives, talk to your insurance provider, talk to your suppliers, talk to friends and family. Above all, this needs to be a decision you and your partner are 100% happy with so don’t forget to be totally honest with each other.
Amongst all the chaos, maintain a level head, make decisions jointly and never lose sight of why you made the commitment to get married in the first place.
I have decided to postpone – where do I start?
- Consider a wedding planner
If you don’t already have a wedding planner, now might be the time to invest in one as it could be the single best headache remover you’ve made yet.
As your wedding planner, we would take the burden off of you with regards to postponing your wedding, with tasks including:
- Contacting your vendors to find available dates to postpone to
- Reading through all of your terms and conditions to ensure financial loss (if any) is mitigated
- Redesigning your wedding invites and communicating with any key guests re new arrangements (hotel, travel etc)
- Recreating your wedding budget and suggesting any variations
- Anything else to keep you both stress free.
If any of this interests you, we would be happy to schedule a phone consultation to discuss this in further detail.
- Communicate with your venue and suppliers
If you haven’t yet been contacted by your venue, it is important to speak to them straight away to understand their current policy. Many venues will allow you to postpone to a later date with no extra charge – just bear in mind if it is a popular venue dates can get booked up years in advance.
If your venue offers a refund, you might want to consider alternative venues with dates that suit all of your suppliers to minimise any lost deposits.
Next you will need to discuss the postponement and potential new dates with your vendors. If you have a large number of suppliers it’s good to update them as soon as possible, as finding a date that works for them all may take some back and forth! A good idea would be to create a WhatsApp group with all of your key suppliers (caterer, photographer, decorator) so you can reduce duplication.
You will need to consider that you may have to incur an additional fee from some vendors, who may have already incurred costs.
- Understand where you stand
It is important to read through the terms and conditions of your vendors before making your decision, so you are aware of all your possible options. As mentioned above under these exceptional circumstances your venue and vendors are likely to allow you to postpone your date for no extra charge, regardless of their existing terms.
If cancellation is your only option (for example, the new date isn’t available for a particular vendor), a refund may be more difficult to obtain and may not be possible.
- Consider your wedding insurance (if applicable)
Irrespective of your response from your venue and vendors, you should contact your wedding insurance if you have one. If you must cancel or postpone any of your bookings and potentially lose deposits or more, you should understand whether you are able to claim this back from your insurance.
If you need to spend money on a new venue or supplier, it might be worth considering purchasing wedding insurance if you haven’t got it already. Be mindful that some insurers would have suspended taking on new clients during this uncertain time, so be sure to research thoroughly. Do this before making any further deposits and bookings. Maybe picture of like a blurred note pad and pen?
- Pick a New Date
You need to start thinking of the date you would like to postpone to. If you had your heart set on your original date, because it was significant to you both, its always worth seeing if the date is available in the next couple of years. Just be prepared that you will possibly need to change venues. If you dreamt of a summer wedding, you may still have the opportunity to have one. But now is not the time to be picky on the summer month or day. Remember venues are booked years in advance, and busy seasons are always the first to go. Why not consider moving the date to a less busy period. You have more chance of getting availability in the winter months on a weekday, especially if you want to get married in the same year. This may not seem ideal, but winter weddings are just as beautiful as summer ones, if planned right.
- Inform your guests
The next thing to do is ensure you notify all your wedding guests that your current wedding date is not going ahead. Send out wedding postponement card’s or do this electronically to save some money. Rather than sticking to the same setup as your previous invites, why not change things up a bit and write your postponement card using a poem or send an electronic video using a song to inform them.
If a lot of information is required, consider setting up a wedding website to provide all the updates. This is more efficient and will save you money. It’s always good to think about how you could help guests out at this time if possible. If people have booked out hotel rooms in advance for you wedding. Try to speak to the hotel, explain the situation and attempt to get your friends and family refunded. Guests will be more understanding then you think, so don’t over stress about the situation. Just remember this wedding is about you and your partner!
- Celebrate your original date
If you were set on your initial date for reasons that are sentimental to you both, you can still celebrate together and toast to the day. Video call friends and family and share the moment together.
- Get the spark back
Remember communication is key. If the slightest issue arises let the person it affects know, keep everyone in the loop. Once all the difficult conversations are out of the way, remember wedding planning can be fun, you and your partner can enjoy the quality time together. It also gives you the chance to think of little details you might like to add to your wedding (welcome bags, personalised favours, menus, place cards) that you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of. In the midst of all that is going on, just remember, the love you and your partner share is all that matters and you both will get to say, ‘I do’.