Planning a wedding amidst COVID-19 is stressful and overwhelming, to say the least. It is unprecedented in that couples nor planners (or the rest of the wedding industry!) are not experienced in global pandemics. We understand this has been an incredibly difficult and confusing time, so we’ve compiled a list of our top tips for couples postponing due to the virus. We hope this serves as a resource for everyone planning during these uncertain circumstances. Our hearts go out to all of you!
1- Stay calm.
It’s certainly acceptable to feel all the things. You’re devastated, angry, scared, and possibly grieving your original wedding date. It’s okay to not be okay and it’s also acceptable to feel something different from moment to moment…there is a roller coaster of emotions to experience right now! Go ahead and have a good cry. Grab your ice cream of choice and a glass of wine, do whatever you need for self-care.
That being said, do not panic! You have hired a team of professionals that you can trust to keep you afloat in these uncharted waters! Know that your vendors are working hard behind the scenes to make this as stress-free as they can and have grace and trust in them along the way.
Newly engaged? Make sure that you *do* hire trusted and experienced vendors! Check out reviews, lean on your venue’s preferred vendor list, and be diligent about reviewing contracts before booking new vendors!
2- Determine your ideal Plan B (and C).
Prioritize what is most important moving forward…are you okay with a smaller guest count if there will potentially be social bans still in effect by the time your date rolls around? Or is having a big party with all your friends and family from your original guest list at the top of your priority list? One recommendation is to take a look at your guest list and determine those guests that will have to make significant/invested travel plans to attend…we would define this as anyone who has to take a plane ride versus a car ride (or a car ride longer than 4 hours). What percentage of guests would have to leave their home state to attend your wedding? This is now something to consider based on the varied state restrictions and guidelines.
Work with your venue and vendors to select a new date (or a potential backup date if you haven’t made the decision to postpone quite yet). Your ultimate goal (and your vendors’ ultimate goal!) would be to transition your entire vendor team to a new date but this may be an issue you encounter as you are checking all your vendors’ availability. You may have to determine which new date allows the majority of your vendors to re-schedule with you and ask the remaining vendors what options are available to substitute another vendor on their team for your new date. If you have a planner, communicate your priorities and let them reach out to your vendors. Keeping contact through your planner will ensure they can effectively communicate and coordinate with all your vendors to keep everyone updated and organized. Know that your vendor team is dealing with multiple couples re-scheduling their dates so they will likely not be able to hold more than one new date for you at a time.
Freeze any custom orders as soon as there is any question of a date change. It may be worth holding off on day-of materials (like programs and escort cards). Ask about turnaround times, rush fees, and cost of reprints so you have all your options whether you end up moving forward with the original date or postponing. For newly engaged couples starting the stationery process, consider digital save the dates as we see how long the pandemic progresses.
If the decision isn’t clear yet, set a date by which you want to make the call. We recommend deciding 8-12 weeks out from your wedding date to give guests enough notice.
Most importantly, remain flexible as much as possible. None of us know exactly how the next several months will play out and while we want to stay as optimistic as possible, the course may change from month-to-month.
3- Collect your guests’ phone numbers and emails.
You’re going to want to update guests as quickly as possible when a decision is made and having their contact info ready to go will make that process easier. We recommend downloading a text messaging app (WedTexts and Text Your Guests are two we suggest!) that allows you to send personalized messages to everyone at once so you don’t have to contact each guest individually. Go ahead and update your wedding website with any changes, new hotel room block info, etc.
4- Decide on postponement notifications.
Once a new date is selected, determine if you will be reprinting invitations or sending out a postponement card. You can also opt for a digital option, whether it be an e-vite or simply relying on email or a text messaging app. We’ve had couples send postponement cards or postcards (to save on postage) that have varied from formal to light-hearted. It’s completely up to the couple and their style…don’t worry about etiquette here, this is one time it doesn’t matter!
5- Plan for any seasonal changes on the new date.
Couples that postpone into a different season will want to start planning for seasonal changes. Can your outdoor ceremony happen in February? Will you need a tent or heaters? If you selected a seasonal menu, work with your caterer to alter the menu for your new date. Discuss the original plans with your florist to determine which flowers may not be available for the new date and find substitutions.
A common question couples are asking is if they should change their wedding colors to reflect the season of the new date. It isn’t reasonable for most couples to completely change their palette and we don’t think you should feel pressured to do so…absolutely no one is going to judge you when the fall wedding of your dreams has been postponed to spring due to a pandemic! If you’re concerned about it, keep dominant colors such as those of the wedding party attire and the neutrals, but switch out an accent color for something more seasonally appropriate.
Remember, you’ve got this. Your friends and family are going to be so thrilled to gather and celebrate you….and even if it’s a new date, you’ll still be married to your partner and have a lifetime of happiness ahead of you! We are here if you have any questions or need some support!