How to Reschedule a Wedding During the COVID-19 Pandemic
How to Reschedule a Wedding During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Four luxury wedding planners share how couples can stay positive and prepared when rescheduling their weddings during a pandemic.
By Lani Allen
Keep calm and stay inspired – that was the unanimous advice of four wedding-industry experts when asked how couples should navigate rescheduling their wedding amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Having planned over 250 destination weddings, I thought I had seen everything” says Alison Laesser-Keck of Alison Bryan Destinations. Reminding couples that it’s okay to feel unsettled, she emphasizes that “this is a really crazy situation, and something that we can’t always have control over.”
Encouraging couples to stay motivated, Jove Meyers adds that they should “feel their feelings – they are fair and valid.” The creative mastermind behind Jove Meyers Events, Meyers stresses that “love is not cancelled,” and we could not agree more.
Calling on a need for togetherness and collaboration, Aleah and Nick of Valley & Company Events highlight that “Communication with your vendors is key… and will help everyone stay connected” during this uncertain time. “Your wedding may look different… but you ARE going to get married,” finishes Valentina Ring of The Stars Inside. We second that notion.
In our comprehensive guide to re-planning your nuptials, these wedding gurus cover everything from changing dates to DIY date nights. So slip on those sweatpants, grab a glass of wine, and get ready to leave your wedding woes behind.
Rescheduling a Wedding: Don’t Cancel
“At the end of the day, we understand how unfair this situation seems,” says Laesser-Keck. While you may have to reschedule your wedding, there will still be opportunity to “experience and celebrate your love with friends and family” down the line. From Puglia to Portugal, Laesser-Keck and her husband Bryan procure magical, transformative events that invite couple and guests to indulge in local flavors, dive into surrounding nature, and celebrate love in a way that’s unique to each destination. “When you prevent people from celebrating and prevent people from travelling, it’s going to be pretty amazing when this thing ends,” she concludes.
Meyers agrees: “Love is not cancelled, and weddings should not be either.” While weighing your options is important, and every couple should do what is right for them, “if couples cancel, odds are they will not get their money back from vendors.” With a gift for curating colorful, out-of-the-box events that wow guests and reflect each couple’s personality, he understands that “it may be hard now to think about your wedding amidst a pandemic,” but emphasizes that “people will want to gather, dance, and celebrate love after being isolated for so long,” so rescheduling your wedding is the better option.
Plus, according to Ring, a lot of vendors are being flexible and approaching events on a case-by-case basis: “Most vendors are honouring bookings and allowing date changes for little or no additional cost.” A hopeless romantic who curates magical wedding experiences filled with style, spirit, and personality, Ring feels passionately that couples should ”not let go of the plan they’ve worked so hard to lovingly curate until now.”
Rescheduling a Wedding: Rely on Your Team
Your planners and vendors are just as passionate about making your big day happen as you are, albeit on a rescheduled wedding date. Based in Seattle, Washington, Aleah and Nick create inspirational experiences sprinkled with fun, personal touches and unmistakable luxury. Despite current circumstances, the Valley & Company dream team wants couples “to feel as excited as ever about their wedding.” When working with vendors, they are finding that “all of their creatives are as eager as ever to get to work… we all want to see weddings through.”
Laesser-Keck attests that “a lot of vendors are being fantastic and are allowing people to postpone even though their retainers are non-refundable.” And, despite the reality that “many small businesses are currently facing severe financial distress and uncertainty, the wedding industry has got your back, and is hearing you” confirms Ring. “Vendors are doing whatever they can to make rescheduling your wedding less stressful and heartbreaking for you.”
“Keep the momentum going,” suggest Aleah and Nick, “chat with your team now about rescheduling, gather 3-4 dates that might work for everyone,” and “get everyone on a big Zoom call to keep the fun and plans rolling along.”
Rescheduling a Wedding: Practice Patience
“Feeling concerned about your wedding plans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is a totally normal feeling,” Meyers reassures couples. “You have put so much time, energy, love and work into your wedding and now it is in limbo.”
While you practice patience with yourself, try to keep in mind that your vendors are feeling the uncertainty, too. Approach conversations around plan changes with “a calm mind and understanding heart. This is our livelihood, and it has already been severely affected,” he explains.
Ring seconds this, recommending you “communicate clearly with your vendors and guests, and try to stay calm and positive.” We are in this together, and “vendors are on your side!”
Because of the volume of postponements that are happening right now, some vendors may charge a fee to move your date. “It is very possible that rescheduling your wedding day from 2020 to a peak day in 2021 would mean potentially losing income from a wedding they could have had on that day,” explains Meyers. If some of your suppliers can’t accommodate all the changes you request at no additional cost, “try to be understanding and discuss whether there are any compromises that could be reached that suit you both,” completes Ring.
Rescheduling a Wedding: Enjoy Quality Time
Marriage is about celebrating your love, honoring your relationship, and being with your partner. With your wedding rescheduled and extra time on your hands, you can take advantage of this pause to spend quality time together. “While this time is crazy and uncertain, remember your why,” says Meyers, “and take it one day a time.”
Getting married through a pandemic can be “traumatizing,” agrees Laesser-Keck. “It’s important to practice self-care, and “ take this time learn more about your partner. Lean on one another.” When you’re feeling overwhelmed, “remind yourself that it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when.”
“If you have to reschedule your wedding, it’s completely normal to feel sad and grieve your original wedding not being brought to life” Ring echoes empathetically. As you mourn your original wedding date, she suggests making something special of the day. “Find small, meaningful, and exciting ways to still celebrate together on that date. Wake up with breakfast in bed, reminisce over favourite photos, relax together, order some fancy dinner, dress up for each other, and watch a fun movie.”
Think of this day as another precious memory to archive for your future children and grandchildren.
Rescheduling a Wedding: Get Creative at Home
While you’re home with extra time on your hands, there are many activities that can engage your creativity and keep you inspired for your wedding day.
Aleah and Nick suggest, “creating a new Pinterest board that’s zeroed in on food styling to get you excited about the menu.” Or, if you’re looking for wedding décor inspiration, “you can take a virtual tour through a museum to find inspiration through art!” Another fun way to keep things romantic is “taking dance lessons in your living room,” they continue, “or write creative copy and add photos to your website.”
Now is also a great time for couples to make their wedding “extra personal,” highlights Laesser-Keck, “like writing your vows and focusing on your music.”
“Spend some time curating playlists for your ceremony, drinks reception, first dance, and so on” Ring contributes. “Also a play/do-not-play list is very helpful to give your DJ or band so they can learn more about your taste in music.”
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If you’re missing your family and friends, writing handwritten notes to your guests is a personal way to both connect and share a change-of-date. “It also helps keep momentum and positive energy abound. Who doesn’t love a handwritten note?” chimes Meyers. And, if you want to take some decorations into your own hands, you can even “experiment with calligraphy, or craft personal favors or décor.”
Rescheduling a Wedding: Plan Ahead
If you’re feeling out of control right now, set yourself up for the year to come so you can hit the ground running as soon as the world reopens. “This is about preparing for 2021” comments Laesser-Keck. “Work with your team, do your research, and really make sure to have your ducks in a row,” she underlines. “You have to be ready to jump on opportunities as soon as they present themselves.”
Suggesting helpful next steps, Meyers comments: “avoid brash decisions, collect all of the information, review your contracts, check in with the CDC guidelines, and decide from there.”
“Most vendor contracts have clauses in place that increase the financial penalty of postponement/cancellation as the notice for this decreases – that is, the closer the wedding date is, the less flexibility they can offer,” Ring points out. “The sooner you reschedule your wedding to a new date, the sooner you’ll be able to refocus on the new plans.”
“We encourage couples getting married in July and August to talk with their venues, planners, photographers, and other vendors about a potential Plan B” add Aleah and Nick. And if you don’t have your own team, they recommend couples “create their own Wedding Dossier – a big file that includes all plans, menus, logistics, rentals, timelines, and design plans” so it’s easy to account for changes, and brief any “new vendors who might come on board with your new date.”
Don’t forget to “take planning breaks” says Laesser-Keck. Remember this process is about you, so take the time to enjoy it.