Not acknowledging the coronavirus would likely make me the happiest right now. If you're like me, the important thing to remember is that burying your head in the sand ostrich-style and hoping this all clears up stat won't help matters. It's best to be proactive even if the government hasn't yet called for canceling your event. I was interviewed last week by The Everygirl on rescheduling your wedding (link to original post here). I have taken a few moments to elaborate. I hope this helps any brides who may find themselves in the difficult position of needing to reschedule their wedding. This is not the best sitation, but it doesn't have to be the worst. Photo for attention: Emilie Anne Photography at One Eleven East.
For many vendors, fall 2020 dates have been filled since last fall or even earlier, as fall is the most popular time to get married. With so many weddings rescheduling due to the virus, the best bet is for you to reschedule early. Moving your wedding date is heartbreaking, but ignoring the problem won’t help. For April and early May weddings, or even later, if you want to err on the side of caution and be sure to keep your family and friends safe, start rescheduling today. The later you postpone, the less likely all of your vendors will be available, and the more likely your guests will have trouble rescheduling travel arrangements.
Florists especially need to know that you’re canceling your wedding and need it in writing at least 14 days, if not 30 days, in advance. Once flowers are ordered, they will not be able to give you a refund or reschedule your date. (This is the nicest way for me to say that we need to know like yesterday). The same goes for caterers ordering food for your wedding.
Touch Base with All of Your Vendors
With any luck, you should be able to reschedule your wedding within 48 hours. The key is to touch base with all of your vendors at once. If you can connect everyone in a single email and ask about available dates, everyone can then work together to accommodate your reschedule. Do not schedule calls. Email is the appropriate way to handle situations like these. You want to have everything in writing it to protect yourself and to be sure that everyone is on the same page.
Thursday Is The New Saturday
You’ve never considered getting married on a Thursday or Sunday or in August? Start considering it now. Flexibility is vital if you want to work with most of your vendors. While prime vendors may be booked every Saturday, September through November plus many Fridays, most can come together on a Thursday or Sunday date. In recent years we’ve seen more and more weddings happening on weekdays. Don’t rule out the weekdays. Having a wedding on a Thursday or Sunday evening in August may require your guests to take off on Friday or Monday, respectively, but many guests don’t mind a three day weekend. Thursday may seem like an odd day, but because it gets dark so late in the summer, your ceremony can take place at 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm, depending on your location. This is perfect for weddings where most guests are not traveling far and can plan to be at the ceremony after work.
Rescheduling for 2021
Maybe you’ve deemed that 2020 just is not your year, lol. Wedding-wise, hoping to reschedule your 2020 spring date to a 2021 spring date is unrealistic unless you’re willing to pay rebooking or rescheduling fees. Vendors already taking a loss cannot afford to give you their premium spring 2021 dates and lose the income that they would make with a new client without charging a rescheduling fee. Most rescheduled weddings will need to occur within 2020.
Some Vendors Won’t Have Your New Date Open
You can expect that some of your vendors will not have your new date available; you can also expect to lose your deposits for those vendors. It sucks for you, and it sucks for them. You’re losing your long-awaited original wedding date, and they are wondering how they’re going to feed their families this spring. Many of these vendors work year in and year out never missing a wedding and have even taken care to have a backup plan in place for you, in case something were to happen to them. No one expected something like this to occur in modern times. None of us have ever experienced a pandemic, and we are all doing our best.
Hire A Planner
Hiring a wedding planner seems counterintuitive if you’re losing some of your deposits paid and trying to save money, but it’s not. Hiring a planner can take a lot off of your plate, especially if you’re still working, learning to navigate working from home, or for those in healthcare.
***While I am lucky to say that this isn’t the case for us, with all of the event cancellations happening in spring, many planners are out of work and having to lay off employees. Your deposit for a future date could help small businesses stay afloat through this tough time.
Compassion Is Key
It’s important to remember that having a wedding is a luxury for those getting married, but for those working in the wedding industry, weddings are their livelihood. I’m confident in speaking for everyone throughout the wedding industry: We want you to have the best wedding day. That said, many businesses are hurting right now. Approaching the situation with a positive attitude is going to yield the best results.
You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
— American Proverb
Another thing to consider is that if you are in an area that has been struck by coronavirus, many people are sick, and there have been deaths at this point. Your wedding is very important, but also be sensitive to those around you who may be dealing with life and death situations.
Wedding insurance can be purchased through your current insurance agency if you don’t already have it. While most insurance policies will not cover pre-existing conditions, preparing yourself in the event the virus is not cleared up by fall is a safe bet. Be sure that whatever policy you choose will include cancellation in any event. Insurance will protect your deposits and final balances.
Cancellation vs. Rescheduling
If you’re considering canceling your wedding instead of rescheduling, know that in any case of cancellation, you are unlikely to receive deposits back from your vendors. Also, if your wedding is paid in full and you’re within 30 days of the date and have paid final balances, you are unlikely to receive any monies back. The best most vendors can do is to work with you to reschedule your wedding for a different date.
Instead of canceling, consider scaling down your wedding or even an elopement if rescheduling is just too much. You can apply deposits paid to your new plans. Your photographer, florals, dress and dinner can be everything you ever dreamed of and maybe even more so for just the two of you or a very small group of family and friends.
Last but not least: If invitations have already gone out, call all of your guests. Going down your address list and calling each of your guests to be sure that they know that the wedding will be canceled is ideal, even if you don’t have a new date yet. Contact your vendors first and your guests immediately after regardless of if you have a new date set. Promptly giving them a heads up is only fair to guests who have travel arrangements in place. Now is a great time to collect everyone’s email addresses and to let them know to expect a virtual save the date with your new wedding date as soon as plans are finalized.
Thanks for tuning in during this most stressful time. Praying for you AND your vendors! XOXO