In this uncertain time of social distancing and the shutdown of non-essential services, many couples are finding that the wedding they’ve been planning for months or even years is in jeopardy. A lot of couples have already had to navigate the postponement of their special day, and many more are in the process of investigating their options.
First, let me say to you that if you are in this situation, you have my sympathy. If I were more articulate, I’d come up with a better way of saying this, but the only way to put it is that this sucks. It’s a crappy situation for everyone, and it just sucks. Know that it’s OK to be upset that your wedding has become a casualty, and it’s OK to grieve, and be angry, and cry.
BUT – know that there are SO many wedding vendors out there who want to support you through this, and help you postpone your day to the best of their ability. Most of your vendors are likely small business owners who care deeply about your wedding, and who will do whatever they can to accommodate a date change for you.
If you are navigating a postponement, here are the FIVE STEPS you need to take:
- Have a conversation with your partner BEFORE you even call your vendors. Determine what your priorities are, and which vendors are the most important to your overall day. In a perfect world, you’ll be able to find an alternate date that works for all of your vendors, but in reality, you may need to book a date where not all of them are available, and have to source new ones.
- Make a spreadsheet. Make your own, or copy my Google Sheet here.
- Understand that most small businesses, like everyone, are being hard hit by this. You’ll likely find that they’re dealing with the potential financial ramifications in one of three ways:
- Encouraging you to postpone to a Friday or Sunday (or, perhaps an available Saturday) in 2020 with no financial adjustments.
- Encouraging you to postpone to a Friday or Sunday (or, perhaps an off-season Saturday) in 2021 with no financial adjustments. (Or, they may ask for an additional ‘retainer’ amount to be paid in order to postpone, but this amount would not be additional to the original contract – in most cases, this is an amount that will help sustain the vendor’s operating expenses in the intervening months before your wedding, as they were planning on the revenue from your wedding in the 2020 calendar year)
- Should you need to postpone to a Saturday in prime 2021 wedding season, many vendors are being forced to increase their re-booking fees by a percentage of the original amount. First, know that NO vendor wants you to have to pay more for your wedding than you’d originally budgeted, but understand that, as a small business, they have a limited number of 2021 Saturdays available, and if they must reschedule half of their 2020 weddings to 2021 Saturdays, they have effectively just reduced their 2021 income by half. I’m sure you’ll realize the effect that would have on their business.
- Begin making phone calls, or sending emails. Connect with all of your vendors and find out what their postponement process is. Make notes on that in the appropriate cell on your spreadsheet. Once you have that information, you and your partner can make an educated decision about the date to which you’ll move your wedding.
- Re-contact your vendors and confirm your new date. Ask them to send a revised contract, if necessary. If you need to cancel some vendors, make sure you ask for the required paperwork to terminate your contract, and begin the search for new vendors. Track the process on your spreadsheet so that you don’t miss anything.
This process is tedious and exhausting, and I wish you didn’t have to deal with it. If we can help, please reach out to us, even if you just need advice, or new vendor recommendations. We’re happy to have these discussions with you at no cost. And if you’re changing your wedding to a Friday or Sunday, or even a mid-week date, check out our ideas for super fun, non-traditional weddings on our blog or Facebook page.
Finally, you’ll need to find a way to notify your guests – in this day and age of social media, that can happen pretty quickly, but if you’d like to go a more ‘formal’ route, there are online services like Greenvelope that are currently offering their services completely free. You can send out a really pretty date change notification digitally and keep with the theme of your wedding.
Again, we here at Unmistakably You want to support you through this process, so don’t hesitate to reach out. We wish you strength, health, and determination as we all pull together to get through this global pandemic, and we are so excited to help you celebrate when the time is right and in the way that’s right for you as you marry the human you love.
Take care and be well.