If your wedding was scheduled somewhere within the next eight weeks or beyond, you might be panicking about what to do given the evolving situation with COVID-19. The coronavirus outbreak has thrown the wedding industry into chaos, but we’re here to provide you with support. Let’s start by addressing the most pressing and stressful concerns if you have to take quick and decisive action in postponing your wedding.
At this stage, it’s highly recommended to postpone rather than cancel. You’ll have a far higher chance of retaining your deposits with vendors and will lose a lot less money than a straight-up cancellation where all deposits might be lost.
If you are going to postpone, do it quickly! There will be tons of couples who have to re-book, and dates later in the year will already be filled, so you need to get ahead of the crowd.
Some couples have settled on holding a back-up postponement date with their venue. If you do this, you’ll need to settle on a cut-off date to decide to either stick with your original date or officially start the postponement process.
If your wedding is local, industry experts are advising to take a “wait and see” approach for now. The problem is that the coronavirus situation is so fluid right now that it’s difficult to say for certain when things will get back to normal.
If you have a destination wedding planned for June, it’s probably a good idea to start looking into postponement at this point.
If you don’t have a wedding planner, this might be a good time to hire one. Even if it’s just to sort out the re-booking process and to co-ordinate on a date that will work.
Some of your vendors might not be available for your new wedding date. In that instance, a wedding planner can help figure out which date will work for the most vendors. They’re also highly experienced and will help you navigate any concerns about deposits and contracts with vendors.
Photo: Twenty Twenty Photography
It can feel overwhelming to decide to postpone your wedding, regardless of the reason. Here are some things to keep in mind and to add to the to-do list to help you navigate the process as seamlessly as possible:
Before you settle on a date or communicate with guests, get everything straightened out with your vendors.
Dig out those contracts and know what you’re walking into when you discuss postponement with vendors. Most vendors are being super flexible with their couples as they understand that it’s an unprecedented situation for you both. But you may also have to accept a certain loss in deposits or lack of flexibility on the payment schedule.
Even if you have a wedding planner, try to engage with your vendors directly. It’s a nerve-wracking time for businesses that are looking at losing months’ worth of revenue. So connecting on a human level is what’s important for both vendors and couples right now.
Once you have decided on a new date, you’ll need to figure out how to tell all your guests. This throws up its own set of questions and confusion.
Update your wedding website straight away. Lots of wedding planning apps come with auto-update features so that your guests will also receive an email announcing your date change.
If you haven’t set up a wedding website, now is the time to do so. You can post to the website and ask your MOH and bridesmaids to help share the link and spread the word.
For some of your older guests, picking up the phone is a good idea to ensure they got the message. You could even send out a group text if you have a large guestlist.
If your guests are likely to lose money on flights and accommodation, it might be a good idea to call them individually to show your appreciation for their presence on your big day.
Photo: Twenty Twenty Photography
It really depends.
If you’re only postponing by a month or two…
Updating your wedding website and sending out an email is sufficient. But you can also mail out Change the Date cards, too! This is a good option if guests had to decline your original date due to scheduling conflicts. You’ll want to let them know in case they will be able to make it for your new date.
If you’re postponing until next year…
2021 is still a distance away, so it’s a good idea to send out Change the Date cards and start your RSVP process from scratch.
If the new date is that far in advance, many couples might consider sending cancellation notices for the original date and creating new invitations later on in 2020 for their new wedding date. However, this might be a little rough on your budget.
If your budget is hurting…
Just do what you can. At the end of the day, your guests are friends and family who love you and who will want to be there for your special day whenever it happens. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a simple text or email to keep people informed.
Pro tip: use a free graphic design tool like Canva to design a digital Change the Date card! It’s super easy to use and they have tons of free templates. That way your budget won’t take a blow but your Change the Date email will look great and feel more formal.
Photo: Willow and Wolf Photography
There’s a lot to think about, so make sure you add a couple more things to your “to do” list:
The situation with many wedding insurance providers is still a little unclear, but some brides have been informed that the insurers will only cover costs if the venue cancels. If you have wedding insurance, get in touch with your provider as soon as possible to get a clear picture of their current policy on postponement or cancellation due to COVID-19 concerns.
It’s stressful to cancel or postpone a wedding. But it can also bring feelings of guilt and upset for lots of reasons. Know that it’s ok to take the time to feel whatever you’re feeling as you move through the reorganization of your big day.
While this is the advice we’re offering currently, don’t forget how quickly things are changing due to the outbreak of COVID-19. No one can say for certain right now when we’ll all be able to socialize and celebrate together normally again. So, if you have a summer wedding scheduled, make sure to keep in touch with your planner and vendors regularly as the situation goes on.
Photo: Twenty Twenty Photography
Why not elope and have a celebration later? Lots of couples are choosing this option, especially when they’ve had to cancel a destination wedding. In times of uncertainty like these, it’s so hard to put off that “I do” moment with your partner when all you want to do is solidify that commitment together.
Here at Rocky Mountain Wedding Collective, we’ve heard from couples who want to elope in Banff instead of their original destination wedding. They’re opting for a mountain elopement and holding a big reception to celebrate with family and friends at a later date.
If you’d like to learn more about elopement options in Banff, Canmore, and beyond, get in touch! We’re here to help you navigate quickly changing plans and offer tons of advice.