We are all in this together! And we are here to help you all. First I want to start by saying, I am so sorry for anyone going through this. This is such a tough time for everyone, but especially those who have spent hours, day, even years planning for this special day and now have to consider changing all of those plans.
If your wedding is planned for the next couple of months, you may have to consider weighing your options. This can be overwhelming, I know. On top of all that's going on, trying to make a huge decision like having to postpone or change your wedding can be absolutely mentally and emotionally exhausting. To lighten your load, we've come up with a guide to help you make these tough decisions in the days to come.
Move everything to a new date. This option is best if you are set on all the details you have planned for you big day but are okay with a date change. To go with this option, first connect with your venue to see if they have any other dates open and are willing to switch your date for you. Next would be to reach out to all your vendors and tell them what you are thinking and see if they are available on any of the other open date options from the venue. Also ask them if they are not available what your options are for having to cancel your contract with them. Some contracts will state this information, but it is important to ask because most vendors are being very flexible with refunds, change fees, etc.
Prioritize your vendors - if you are set on and in love with your photographer, find a date that works for her and if your venue isn't available that day, look for another one that is. You might not be able to keep every single vendor for a different date, so prioritize what is most important to you and which is going to fit within your budget as well.
2. Get Married Now Just Not As Planned
You can still get married, it just may not be the wedding that you planned. Of course, you will have to weigh the pros and cons of what your vendors will offer you back for canceling completely. However, I've seen some of the cutest pictures and stories of couples quickly grabbing an officiant, photographer and witness, and either doing something at the courthouse, backyard, park, or wherever! This is obviously something you still need to be mindful about having others around and keeping a distance along with what orders your state has in place at the time, but if that date is special to you or you just want to get married sooner rather than later, this is a great option!
You can print out and send cute announcements or post to your wedding website to include your friends, family, and loved ones as well. But what a story to tell your grandkids someday!
3. Get Married Now and Have a Reception Later
You can go with option number two above, but you could still do a reception at another time! If your date was chosen because it is special to you and you would like to keep it, or if you just want to get married sooner rather than later BUT you still want to have a celebration with all your friends and family, then you should consider having just the reception at a later date. You would still need to follow the steps in option 1 to ensure you can move your date with your vendors, but this is a great options to get the best of both worlds.
4. Go As Planned (if possible)
Of course there is an option to not cancel or move your wedding if it is after the stay at home orders and other government recommendations. However, there is quite a bit to think about and consider with this option. Most likely, you are going to have a much smaller guest list. You are going to have to accept and respect people's choice not to attend, not because they don't want to be there, but because of what is going on in the world. You'll need to decide if spending that amount of money for only a fraction of guests is worth it to you. You also have to look at the bigger picture and put this in perspective. Is putting your family and friends at risk worth it to you, are their elderly or grandparents or others who would not want to miss you but could be put at risk here. Not only elderly, but are any of your wedding party or immediate family high risk. Even if they aren't, do they have family that is? They also should not have to quarantine from their loved ones for 14 days just to attend your wedding. If you were already planning something small or are not concerned with the guest list, then this may still be an option for you. But just be sure to weigh all the options, and all there is to consider first.
Things To Consider While Making This Decision
As stated above, if you are in contract with vendors already, you not only need to read through them, but also reach out to all of them. Ask what their policy is right now if you need to move or cancel your date because of Covid-19. Most vendors are being very flexible with this and want to help in anyway they can. But it's important to know for each vendor before making a decision.
As stated above, most vendors are being flexible with changes and cancellations right now. However, that doesn't mean you will always get a refund for any payments already made if you cancel. This is why it is important to know what your vendors are doing in this time and they weighing out what it is going to cost you to change, cancel, postpone, or go on as planned.
3. Vendor Availability
Again tying in to the two points above, you need to know your vendor availability to be able to figure out budget and make a decision. If there are vendors who you want no matter what, then you may need to go around what dates they have available yet. Or if you have already made major payments and they will not be refunded for a cancellation, then you will need to decide if it is in your budget to lose that deposit or to stick with that vendor and possible lose others if they aren't available for that new date. This is tough. You may have vendors who all work out for the new date, and that's amazing, however you might have to make some tough decision based on availability, contracts, and budget.
4. Guest Experience
If you are still planning and wanting a full and normal wedding as planned, you also have to consider the guest experience. We always preach that it is your wedding, do what you want, but you are also hosting an event. That means you do have to think about how your guests are going to feel and if they're going to have fun, etc. Are they going to be worried the whole time they are at the wedding and have to quarantine after? If they are going to be too worried to even enjoy themselves and the event you're throwing if it worth spending all of this. Or are you just planning to keep everything distanced and live stream the event and have hand sanitizer on every table? What can you do or how is this going to be also a good experience for your guests? If in your mind it is not about the guests, then maybe think of doing something smaller and get married with just a few people instead. What memories do you have to have from your wedding? People getting sick afterward or having to change because of a historic and crazy time in history.
5. What's going to cause you more stress in the end?
You also do need to think about yourself and your relationship and what is going to be best for you. If planning the wedding again and dragging it out is going to be too much stress and you just want to be married already, then maybe that's the route you should go. Or if your wedding is close to the end of the lockdown orders and you're worried that if they get extended then you'll have to quickly cancel and figure things out. To me, that would get more stressful to have to worry about it when it is so close.
6. Remember what this is all about.
It's easy to lose our perspective in the midst of all this chaos and planning, but this whole day, the hours spend planning, the money saved and spent, is still all for one thing - your love. It's to get married and start your life as husband and wife. It's not about the centerpieces, the amazing desserts you picked, or even the sparkler send off. You are still going to get married and start your life together in the end. In life and in marriage there is always going to be ups and downs and things you didn't plan for. This is just the start of your story. If your wedding is affected by the coronavirus, you may have to improvise and readjust and getting married differently than you planned. But isn't that what happens in life and marriage anyway. Things are going to come up that you didn't plan for, but how you and your future spouse use this time to strengthen your relationship and come out stronger together is what matters. You're laying a foundation for your relationship to be able to take on anything life throws at you in the future.
Lastly, I want you to remember it's okay to grieve this. Grieve your wedding, the plans, and the change. Your feelings are absolutely valid no matter how much worse it could have been, you are still allowed to feel sad, angry, disappointed, or whatever it is you might feel. But my tips to get through this - check your perspective, get creative, and take care of you!
We are here for you during this difficult time. We are offering full refunds for deposits paid for any of our current clients or ones who book during this time if there's a need to cancel because of the virus. We also are offering free services to anyone who didn't happen to have a wedding planner to help you through this to help you make the decision of what to do about your wedding and how to do it. We also are offering 19% (get it, cause Covid-19) off to any clients who book by May 1st, 2020. We are here to help - let us know how we can help you!
Photo by Cait n' Her Camera