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You probably never imagined having to think about how to postpone a wedding, but it’s safe to say the coronavirus epidemic has forced many set-in-stone plans to lose their certainty. In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has drastically changed our lives with curfews, shelters and quarantines enacted throughout the country. It feels hard to believe that less than a month ago we were going about our everyday lives—booking vacations, meeting friends for brunch, and for so many out there, looking forward to a dream wedding.
With large gatherings banned indefinitely, many brides are unsure of how to handle their tediously-planned, emotionally-charged, no-doubt-pricey Big Days. Should one cancel the wedding altogether? Postpone indefinitely? Reschedule for the fall? What if this is all still going on come autumn—what then? With so many unanswered questions, we turned to the experts for their take on how to forge ahead.
Speaking to Kim Forrest, senior editor at WeddingWire yielded some answers. “Just last week, the White House recommended restricting gatherings to less than 10 people for the next two weeks, and the CDC recommended less than 50 people for the next eight weeks,” Forrest tells STYLECASTER. “It’s important for couples to adhere to these guidelines for their safety and the safety of their guests.” So, as tough as it may be, if you were planning on having a big wedding in the next eight weeks, it’s time to reschedule.
Don’t know where to start? Read on for tips on how to postpone and reschedule your wedding—and while you have every right to be devastated, try not to be too discouraged. If you and your partner can make it through this, you can rest assured that your marriage will be strong enough to handle anything you two encounter in the future. Love really does conquers all.
1. Lock In A New Date
Reminder: you aren’t cancelling, just rescheduling! So securing a new date with your venue should be a top priority. Fortunately, most businesses are understanding given the current state of things, so see if you can settle on a compromise that won’t cost either party too much coin. Dates for later in the year and early 2021 will undoubtedly be filling up fast, so acting quickly is key. Once you know the set date for your (new) Big Day, it’ll be easier to accept the change and more forward.
2. Inform Your Guests
Next on the checklist: updating your guests. If you have a wedding website, the easiest way to do so is by sending out a simple, straightforward message to the email addresses on your virtual guest list. Forrest suggests adding a list of FAQs that can provide guests with answers to questions regarding travel funds, updated dates and other concerns.
After you hit ‘Send’ on that email, feel free to sit with your partner and call up anyone you’d like to share the news with first-hand. Email is efficient, but often impersonal, so reach out to loved ones and allow them to comfort you. While you might feel strange announcing the changes, know that most of your guests will be relieved given all that’s going on, and support you wholeheartedly. They just want to see you happy (and happily married!)
3. Notify Your Vendors
“The couple should reach out to each one of their vendors to get a sense of alternative plans and sourcing a common future date that will work for all of their wedding professionals,” says Forrest. With this, there’s a good chance your photographer might have a prior engagement on your new date, or your fave florist won’t be able to create that seasonally-specific centerpiece you dreamt up in your head. It’s important to be flexible and prioritize positive changes. Rolling with the punches is a hard thing to do when it comes to wedding-planning, but once you’ve made the decision to postpone, it’s important to accept that things will be different and embrace the changes that come with your new plans.
4. Utilize Your Resources
You might feel alone right now, but there are tons of resources you can use to make this difficult process a bit easier. Zola, a go-to registry and planning source, offers tips and advice on its website, including a comprehensive “how to postpone your wedding” checklist, and even a mock email to send to your vendors and guests to notify them of a postponement or cancellation. Regarding coronavirus specifically, Zola is helping couples figure out what steps they should take given their wedding date, location, and guest list, strongly advising couples to “carefully consider their own personal circumstances” and act as they see fit. Basically, it’s all about doing what’s right for you and your partner.
For more help, The Knot and WeddingWire are here to help. They’ve partnered to launch a 24/7 hotline “composed of wedding experts on our customer service and events teams,” says Forrest. “Couples have been able to call us with any questions they have surrounding their weddings during this unfortunate time. We know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but our biggest recommendation is to reach out to their wedding planners, if they have one, and vendors directly to work on a plan.”
That said, consider hiring a wedding planner to help with rescheduling, even if you planned it all the first time around without one. “If it’s in your budget, hiring a planner [can help] take away some of the unnecessary stress and panic, and it gives the bride somewhere to lean on and look to for guidance,” says Ranu Coleman, CMO of Azazie, an e-boutique for bridal and bridesmaid gowns. If you’re too overwhelmed emotionally to handle the deets, asking for help is always an option.
5. Celebrate Your Love Anyway
Once you’ve locked in a new date, confirmed changes with your venue and vendors, and spoke with your guests, you’re good to go—from a planning standpoint, that is. Emotionally, you still might be a little rocky. When your would-have-been date rolls around, feel free to celebrate on a smaller scale, just you and your partner. Just because you can’t throw a traditional wedding, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate your commitment and love with your future spouse! “For most couples, the original date holds a very special place in their hearts,” says Forrest. Some couples also plan a vow renewal ceremony a year after their would-have-been date, to make choosing a different wedding date a little easier to accept. Double the celebration is a pretty good compromise, if you ask me!
When it comes right down to it, the reality of canceling or rescheduling a day you’ve been dreaming of and planning for months is extremely emotional, and it’s okay to feel those feelings! Just remember what is most important: the love you share with your partner, and the pact you made when you got engaged to spend the rest of your lives together. Even if you want to kill each other during this indefinite quarantine, know that this too shall pass. Consider it an opportunity to put those “in sickness and in health, for better or for worse” vows you’ll soon be taking to the test!