Wow. What a year this has been so far. I don’t know about you, but I am feeling more than ready to make it through the next few weeks and hopefully receive a little more clarity on where COVID-19 will take the wedding and event industry. I know a lot of you have the burning question of “what does the coronavirus mean for my wedding?” so, I am hoping this will give you guidance and a little relief moving forward. I’ve spent a lot of time discussing COVID-19 with other vendors in the industry how we should move forward so before we get too far in I want to link you a couple of resources to check out in case you aren’t the reading type.
LIVE CHAT: COVID-19 & Wedding Planning Advice – Check it out on IGTV
Before we get too far in I want to mention that this is a quickly evolving situation and based off of the knowledge I have now this is the best advice I can give. I am doing my best to speak from my experience as a professional and as a fellow bride.
Let’s dive in | Should I postpone or cancel?
First I want to start by saying, it is okay to grieve. You are more than valid in feeling completely heartbroken over the idea of what everything was going to be like when it comes to your wedding but it is time to accept our new reality and move forward because at the end of the day, you are marrying the love of your life and now more than ever, it is important to keep that as the forefront of your decision making. As a 2020 bride myself, I more than get it but let me tell you, your vendors have your back. We are going to make it through this.
This is the most pressing question for most brides and grooms right now so it only seems fitting to start off this novel addressing it. I want to start by asking you to PLEASE postpone, don’t cancel. My livelihood and the wedding industry is totally depending on all of you couples out there.
When should I postpone my wedding?
As of right now, I am advising clients to wait until a maximum of 60 days from their wedding to begin the discussion around postponing or canceling. With that being said, a lot of venues are only working 30-45 days ahead of time when addressing postponements and cancellations so you may need to wait even longer to start that conversation.
Why should I wait?
- The biggest reason to wait to make the call is that it will be in your best interest financially and emotionally to do everything you can to have your wedding on your originally scheduled date. Date changes can incur additional fees, redesign costs, etc. and can require a lot more stress overall.
- Your vendor team! When you book your vendors, you are entering a partnership and they will do everything they can to help you through this difficult time so they need you to help them out too right now by holding tight. The fewer weddings that postpone the lesser the impact COVID-19 will have on your wedding vendors and their ability to service events.
- Most mandates and stay-at-home orders are being given in 30 days increments so currently, we are not able to 100% say what anything past that will look like.
What if I want to postpone my wedding to 2021?
I have heard this question A LOT and also have worked with a few clients that are looking at postponing to 2021. I think it is very important for couples to fully consider all implications any scenario might have so I have just a few points to share.
- Moving your date so far out can cause you to lose momentum and fall into a halting pattern which can be difficult when creating the perfect day.
- Some vendors are charging rebooking fees or updated pricing for rescheduling to 2021, especially on Saturdays in the peak wedding season. While this may seem unfair, it is important to think of it from a more business-oriented point of view which is that you are displacing business (income) from 2020 and 2021.
- Planning a whole new wedding in place of your current one or even extending your contracts out another 12 months may create additional work outside the scope of your existing wedding contracts which could result in additional fees.
- The best thing you can do right now to support your vendor team if you HAVE to postpone your wedding is to do everything you can to keep it in 2020.
What can I expect if I cancel my wedding?
Oh, man. This is the hardest conversation to have for both parties involved. If you decide to move in the route of canceling your wedding the number one thing you can expect is to NOT receive a refund of your booking retainer. While this may seem unideal, it is important to realize that your vendors are also passing up approximately 50-75% of their expected income for your wedding due to the cancelation. As a small business, which most of your wedding vendors probably fall into that category, this loss can pose to be detrimental to them especially if more than just a couple of their clients go this direction so be gentle with them and understanding.
How do I move forward with postponing my wedding?
So, you’ve made the decision that it is time to postpone but you are unsure of where to go to next. Below is a quick list of steps to get you started in the right direction and to help you assess your top priorities.
- Reach out to your planner! If you don’t have one, this is a great time to consider hiring one. I am offering virtual consultations to help you develop a plan and advise you on how to move forward. If this interests you, please email me at email@example.com. If that is not in the budget, start with your venue but be patient as they are extremely busy right now.
- Be Flexible! This whole situation is out of any one’s control. It is important to know that we are all going to have to be flexible & if you can go into each conversation with that mindset, you will end up being a lot better off. Right now you can assume most Saturdays in 2020 are going to be booked especially in peak periods. Midweek weddings may be the new normal for the rest of this year but that is okay. Monday weddings are great.
- Contact all of your vendors & VIPs! Start a spreadsheet to track availability across the board. Reach out to family members then the rest of your weddings. This is also a great time to decide which vendors are your most important. Is your photographer the one you always dreamed up? Is your venue your dream venue? Etc.
- Notify your guests! – Updated your wedding website. Don’t have one? Quarantine is the perfect time to build one to keep your guests in the know. Think about withholding invitations for now & not printing until you have to. Send them 6 weeks prior instead of 8 weeks prior. Push your RSVP date back or make your RSVPs online to help with the turn around time in receiving updated RSVPs. Have you already sent out your invitations? Think about sending a postponement announcement ASAP and reaching out to your guests personally. TIP: while you are reaching out to all of your guests, make sure to collect email addresses and phone numbers to make future communication easier!
- Continue planning! Eventually, life (and wedding planning) is going to continue.
We got this!
I truly hope this post has given you a little guidance and a start to your action plan moving forward. At the end of the day, you are marrying your person. WOW. Can we all just take a moment to let that sink in? Love truly conquers all. I wish you and your partner the best while navigating this difficult and uncertain time (or you’re a vendor reading this – I’m cheersing you with my glass of wine as I type).
If I can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
Stay safe & healthy!