Wedding planning is stressful enough without a worldwide pandemic. The effects on the wedding and hospitality industry are unprecedented. We are working closely with our couples to make decisions about when to postpone your wedding and if you need to postpone, how exactly to start.
First, it is OK to feel stressed, disappointed, frustrated, even angry about postponing your wedding. You have been pouring your heart and soul (and your money) into your wedding planning for months. It is completely normal to have all the emotions right now. So cry, yell, eat a pound of chocolate – whatever you need to do to get those negative emotions out.
When you’re ready to discuss your wedding plans, the entire wedding industry is here for you. And you are in good hands. As an industry, wedding vendors are the best at being flexible and remaining calm in sticky situations. We thrive on finding solutions quickly. As wedding planners it’s our job to proactively plan for disasters and to mitigate them before they appear. I have rescued weddings with mishaps ranging from lost rings, broken shoes, flooded venues, severe allergic reactions, fist fights, drunk family members, missing children, you name it – I’ve fixed it. Global pandemic? We’ve got this. Trust me, there is no one better equipped for weathering a global pandemic than wedding pros.
When should I postpone my wedding?
We are closely following the CDC, California State, and local mandates about gatherings during this COVID-19 outbreak. The CDC and White House have banned gatherings of 10 plus people through March 31, while gatherings of 50 plus are banned through May 11. Some local cites, like Del Mar, CA have banned events through May 31. We are advising our couples with wedding dates through May 31 to postpone their weddings.
If your wedding date is in June, we are advising you to hold tight until the end of March and see what the revised mandates are from the CDC and State. However, if you are anxious and stressed and about your June wedding date and feel like you absolutely have to take immediate action, then move forward with your postponement plans – the wedding industry will support you.
How do I postpone my wedding?
If you are postponing your wedding, you will need to communicate with both your wedding vendors and your guests. Let’s talk about the vendors and logistics first.
1. Your Wedding Planner
If you have a wedding planner, connect with her now. She will be able to handle all of the rescheduling, payment details, changes in vendors (if necessary) and be able to advise you on how to handle guest communication. If you do not have a wedding planner, follow the steps below to postpone your wedding. If you are feeling overwhelmed at tackling the postponement process yourself, connect with a local wedding planner for help.
2. Your Wedding Venue
Your wedding venue should be your first phone call when postponing your wedding. You will need to talk with them about changing the date and any financial restrictions for a date change.
Availability – When discussing postponing your wedding with your venue, you will want to inquire about dates that are available after the restrictions on gatherings are lifted. The Fall is the most popular season for weddings in San Diego, so most Saturdays in August, September, and October may already be booked. Consider holding your wedding on a Friday or Sunday for more options. When this social distancing period is over, your wedding guests will be so happy to celebrate with you, that the day of the week won’t matter at all! Ask your venue for a few date options so you can check them with your family, wedding party, and your wedding vendors.
Deposits and Payments – If your original wedding date is within the window of the CDC and/or local gathering restrictions, you should be able to move your wedding date without financial restrictions or losing your deposit. (We can’t guarantee this, but this has been our experience with the venues so far). If your original wedding date is not within the gathering restriction window, you may be charged a fee to change your date. If you choose to cancel your venue altogether, and your original wedding date is not within the gathering restriction window, you will most likely lose your deposit and possibly any other payments made so far. You will need to read your contract with the venue and talk with them to learn their policies during this time.
3. Your Wedding Vendors
Once you have some new options for your postponed wedding date, connect with your wedding vendors for their availability. You will want to check with your vendors who can only do one wedding at a time – your officiant, your DJ or band, and your photographer and videographer – before your other vendors. (Florists, bakeries, rental companies, transportation vendors usually manage more than one event per day, so they will have more flexibility with their availability) Hopefully, most of your vendors are available on the alternate dates provided by the venue. Many other couples are in the process of rescheduling their weddings at this time, so don’t get frustrated if one of your vendors is no longer available. Most wedding vendors will be willing to refer you to another vendor who matches your style, energy and budget if they aren’t able to make your new wedding date work.
The same information about deposits and payments listed above for venues applies to your wedding vendors. If you need to cancel your contract with a vendor because they are not available on the new date, you may lose your deposit. Read through the contract you signed and talk with that vendor. Much depends on how much work has already been done and if items have already been ordered for your wedding.
4. Your New Wedding Date
Once you find a new wedding date that works for your venue, your family, wedding party and most of your vendors, you will want to lock in that date! You will want to read and sign a contract amendment for your venue and each vendor with the new date, cancellation policies, and revised payment schedules (if necessary).
Once your venue and vendors are set, it’s time to let your guests know about your new wedding date. If you have already mailed your invitations, send an email with the new details as soon as possible. Then, you can either resend RSVP cards or set up a form on your wedding web site to collect new RSVP information.
If you have not yet mailed your invitations, send a quick change of date email or card (similar to your save the date information) and then get to work creating your invitations to reflect the new wedding date.
Also, note if you already received your marriage license from San Diego County, you will need to get a new license within 90 days of your new wedding date. The license for your original wedding date is only valid for 90 days.
5. Your Wedding Planning
Social distancing does not mean your wedding planning needs to stop. Lots of your wedding planning can be done online and through zoom calls and emails with your vendors. Florists and rental companies can create style sheets for your wedding. DJs and bands can create play lists and share videos. Officiants can help with your ceremony order and your vows. Photographers can create shot lists. Do as much virtual planning as you can during this time. Schedule your in-person meetings like tastings, fittings and engagement photo sessions now so that those dates are locked in when the social distancing restrictions are lifted.
6. Your Peace of Mind
Most importantly, take care of yourself and your family during this time. Your postponed wedding may not be exactly the same as you originally planned. But you will still marry your best friend and create a beautiful life together.