It’s hit you… you’re finally in the position where COVID is severely cramping your style. Maybe you hate the idea of your guests wearing masks, or that you have to cut your guest list due to venue restrictions, or you’re sad that some of your favorite people won’t to travel due to understandable fears. Or more likely, you know in your heart, for the health and safety of your guests, you should postpone so that you can celebrate your marriage just like you’ve always dreamed.
First, I want to tell you that I GET IT. I feel sadness and stress and disappointment right along side you. We are human with real emotions and what you’re feeling is valid and important. Please keep that in mind as we move on.
“Now what?!” you say. I’m here to give you some step-by-step instructions, a little dose of reality and maybe some hope in the end. The first thing you need to do is have a heart-to-heart with your fiancé and your immediate family about what a wedding looks like under COVID times. If your goal is to just be married… then do it! Pare your list down, social distance your tables and just do the damn thing! There are so many unique and memorable things you can do with an intimate wedding and I’d be happy to share some thoughts down the road in another post.
If you’ve decided it’s best to postpone so that you can have your dream wedding down the road then it’s time to do the legwork of postponing. There is A LOT that goes into a postponement so bear with me here.
- Discuss ideal date ranges that work for you and your families, but remember to be flexible.
- Chat with your planner about options and next steps. They will be your ultimate guru to navigating through these muddy waters and can really help streamline this process for you. If you don’t have a planner proceed to next steps…
- Contact your venue about date change options, policies and fees. Yes, there are likely to be extra fees added. In order to minimize fees I’d suggest looking into off-peak months, week days, etc…
- Once your venue gives you some possible dates then contact ALL the vendors/creative partners you’ve already contracted. It is your responsibility to check with your vendors about their availability, change fees (yep, I said “fees” again!) and process to postpone.
- Once you have solidified vendor availability then move forward with a new date with your venue. You’ll sign new contracts with everyone, pay balances, etc…
- Send out new save-the-dates and update your wedding website.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room… fees. Back in March 2020 when official stay at home orders went out, vendors and venues alike went to great lengths (and financial distress) to accommodate all client date changes. We did it with calming reassurance and a smile on our face (with tears cried in our pillows at night). However, now that the C word has been around for nearly a year businesses can’t afford to keep pushing dates out just because clients prefer to get married under “normal circumstances.” We are sympathetic as to why you’re doing it and may even make the decision ourselves if we were in the same situation, but please know we have to keep working in order to stay in business. While I’m not a legal expect, all the research I’ve done says force majeure does not apply when a vendor can still provide their services. Your florist, photographer, beauty team, etc… can still work and give you amazing service on your wedding date even though the day itself might not look like you imagined. There are a slew of other reasons why your venue and vendors might charge fees, but I’ll save that for another time.
Now please hear me when I address this next point! It is your responsibility to check with your vendors before changing event dates. I’m going to say it again for the people in the back… IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CHECK WITH YOUR VENDORS BEFORE CHANGING YOUR EVENT DATE! If you move your wedding date without asking any of your vendors and they’re not available for your date then you are opening yourself up to some major loss and frustration. First, you are in breach of contract for changing your date… you’re technically cancelling your services. This leaves you open to losing your retainer fees and possibly owing balances based on what their contract stipulates. Plus, it leaves vendors feeling very unappreciated and disrespected that they weren’t consulted over such a major decision as part of your creative team. Working with your venue and vendors to find a mutually agreeable date is the key to a successful postponement.
Side note for those who are just starting their wedding planning journey – I’d advise you to read all of your venue and vendor contracts so that you know what to expect should you need to postpone.
I’m going to end it with this. The event and hospitality industry loves to serve people and we will bend over backwards to make your day as perfect and special as we possibly can, but we are “in business” to make a living and, in order to do so we have to continue to bring in income. As a reminder, we’re all humans all suffering through this sad and scary time. We are all being affected in an array of ways and doing our best. Continue to be gracious, be flexible and above all remember what your wedding day is all about… your marriage. Your wedding is only the beginning of the rest of your adventure together and the best is yet to come!