We are in a time of uncharted territory. What’s currently happening not just in the U.S. but worldwide is crazy right now. With that being said, I understand as a wedding professional that there are many couples out there who have weddings within the next month or so and are beginning to get worried about whether or not they can still take place due to the restrictions that are being placed on us currently. Some of you are holding on to see how things will change over the next few weeks, some of you are questioning if it’s best to just go ahead and reschedule. Whatever your thoughts and worries are, I want to be here for you, to encourage you that everything is going to be okay, but I am here to help should worse come to worse and you need to reschedule your wedding day. I’m here to give you all the ins and outs on what to expect when rescheduling a wedding day, how to proceed and how I personally am handling wedding reschedules with my own clients.
What to Expect if your wedding must be postponed
Postpone, don’t cancel
You’ve already put so much money towards the wedding day you have always envisioned. If you completely cancel your celebration, you will likely lose out on a lot more value than you would if you were to just reschedule the date. Not only have you spent so much money, but also put so much time and effort into planning at this point. I know this is a very overwhelming situation and it isn’t fair that you’re having to make these decisions. But, don’t cancel, postpone your event, when your wedding day does finally get here there will be even more of a reason to celebrate!
Be willing to be flexible when choosing your reschedule date
When choosing a date, keep in mind that often many wedding vendors book up a year or more in advance. Saturdays are prime wedding days and it’s likely those are always the first to go on many wedding professionals calendars, so Saturday options may be slim. Perhaps you can be flexible and schedule on a Friday or a Sunday so that you can accommodate the availability of more of your vendors, in return losing you less money within this whole process. It’s likely not every single one of your vendors will be available for the reschedule date, this is where it’s important to prioritize the ones you really want to be apart of your wedding day and be willing to be flexible on reschedule dates.
Know that it’s possible you may lose some money
Most of your wedding vendors likely required a non-refundable retainer from you when you booked your date. Retainers are non-refundable. From the moment you book your wedding date to retain services or goods with any wedding professional, a lot goes on behind the scenes in preparing and planning for your wedding day. So, if you reschedule your date for a day that one of your vendors is not available, or you decide to cancel the day altogether, it’s best to expect from the beginning that your initial retainer will not be refunded to you. If you’ve made more payments on top of that retainer, it’s likely you can get those payments back, depending on how accommodating the specific wedding vendor is willing to be in this situation. I know during this difficult time most business owners are having a little bit more understanding and empathy towards clients whose weddings have to be cancelled. So if you’ve paid towards your final balance you still may not completely lose everything, but that is of course on a case by case basis and completely up to each individual vendor.
It’s okay to be upset
Above all, know that even though no one could have seen this coming, it’s no ones fault, and well, it just plain sucks for everyone right now and we are ALL making sacrifices. It is still 100% okay to be bummed out about this. It’s not selfish and it’s not silly. This was your wedding day, a day you have been looking forward to and planning for a long time! It is OKAY to be upset over this. Heck, on the inside I am throwing a complete toddler temper tantrum somedays and stomping my feet because I am so upset that many of my own plans are being ruined due to the pandemic. We all are! But then I realize there’s simply nothing I can do about it, it’s out of my control, and while it’s okay to get upset it’s not okay to continue dwelling in it and letting it affect the future.
How to Proceed with Rescheduling Your Wedding Day
1. Contact all vendors associated with playing apart on your wedding day
This includes your venue, wedding planner/coordinator, officiant, photographer, videographer, DJ, wedding band, caterer, cake baker, transportation services, bartender, florist, etc. It’s very important to contact each one of these vendors right away so that you can notify them that your wedding will need to be postponed. I would suggest that instead of bouncing around a ton of different dates with each vendor, you simply request a list of remaining available dates for 2020 from each vendor. That way you can view them all at once and compare what might be the best available date for you to reschedule and maximize the amount of money you’ve already spent.
2. Let your guests know, update your wedding website
You by no means have to go and reprint all new wedding invitations, but you do want to notify all of your guests as soon as you have your new date locked in place with your vendors. The best way to notify all wedding guests might be a mass text message in addition to a mass email, maybe even a mass facebook message if that’s easier. Some of your guests might require individual phone calls to be notified. I understand if you have a large guest list this could be overwhelming, so this is something you could even delegate to a family member or bridal party member to do for you. Maybe pick 3-4 people to help you out and give them a list and contact info for each person. I’m sure they would be more than happy to assist you during a very stressful time! Like I said, I personally don’t think it’s necessary to reprint all new invitations if that is just absolutely out of your budget right now, you can still simply just let everyone know the updated details. But if you can swing printing some new invites, it’s not a bad idea either, plus that way your photographer can still photograph your invitation suite for you on your wedding day!
Don’t forget to also update your wedding website if you have one with your new date and any updated details.
3. Reschedule any honeymoon travel plans
As I mentioned above, most businesses, not just in the wedding industry but even in the travel realm and more are all trying to be very accommodating during this time. You likely can’t expect to get full refunds on your honeymoon travel, but I would say you could most definitely expect to be given a credit towards your account so that you can reschedule your honeymoon plans for a later date.
4. Enjoy your wedding day once the day finally arrives!
Its no fun to be looking forward to something so much and then have to all of a sudden push it out even farther. But, when your wedding day gets here, we now have double the reasons to celebrate because you held out for even longer and you deserve THE best day ever! Soak in this day a little extra, knowing you survived being a bride/groom-to-be in the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic and now it’s time to celebrate getting through that and finally getting to your long awaited wedding day.
How I’m proceeding with my own wedding couples
To start off, I want to first say I know that with the news and things changing daily this can be a very overwhelming and stressful time for you as a couple about to get married this year. I want to ease your worry and be proactive in answering any questions you might have. I also want to ensure that you have the confidence I will do whatever I can on my end to help make your wedding day successful, whether that be modifying it to meet your needs or rescheduling it if you’d like to postpone.
YOU are my priority and I’m here to be a resource. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or would just like to chat.
I will proceed with letting you know how I do plan to handle all wedding days affected by covid-19 below.
If you’re rescheduling for a date I am available:
All wedding retainers and any fees paid to date can be transferred to your new date at no extra cost to you. Legally, my contract states non-refundable retainers cannot be transferred in the case of a wedding cancellation, however, in light of this difficult situation I am allowing all weddings being affected by Covid-19 to transfer their full retainer and any additional payments made towards a new wedding date. I will do everything I can to make this process easy for you and can send you a full list of my remaining 2020 available dates for you to keep in mind as you decide on a new date.
If you’re rescheduling for a date I am not available or cancelling altogether:
Please know it would make me so incredibly sad for you to cancel your big celebration altogether. I value each and everyone of my couples and am truly looking forward to photographing your big day just as much as you are for it to get here. Should you decide to reschedule on a date I cannot accommodate, or just cancel your celebration altogether due to covid-19 restrictions, all other payments made outside of your initial non-refundable retainer will be returned to you. The initial retainer you paid to secure your date from the beginning is non-refundable because from the second you book your wedding date with me, lots of work is already happening behind the scenes within my business as I prepare to photograph your specific wedding day. However, in regards to the non-refundable retainer and this being an extenuating circumstance, I would still love to apply your retainer towards one future 1-hour photo session to be used within 12 months of your cancellation.
Every wedding couple that is being affected is in my thoughts and prayers, I truly feel for you! I’m also feeling for not only anyone whose industry is directly being affected by this, all small businesses and even bigger businesses who’s workers are currently out of work, but I’m thinking about the event industry especially, as that is where my heart is. Times are tough, but we’re in this together. At this time, the best we can do to handle a situation like this is to be a positive light for others and seek positivity daily. If social media and the news is constantly putting out negativity that is really starting to affect you mentally, shut it off. Get away from it. At this point, there’s so much going around that isn’t true, so it’s hard to know what is. No one knows how long this will last. It’s something we’ve got to just play be ear and make decisions daily to continue having hope.
Sending love to you all and your families during this time. Stay safe and enjoy this down time right now if you are stuck at home!
I look forward to seeing you all soon♡