Updated March 23, 2020:
- The CDC has announced official coronavirus guidelines – “15 Days to Slow the Spread” – which encourages all Americans to do their part in slowing down the spread of the coronavirus & flatten the curve by sheltering at home. Read more here.
- On March 16th, 2020, the White House issued nationwide guidelines for Americans to cancel (or hold virtual) events & gatherings of 10+ people for the next 15 days.
- States with highest number of known COVID-19 cases, such as CA & NY, have announced statewide Public Health Orders requiring residents to shelter at home, unless going out for essential needs (groceries, seeking medical care, etc.)
With the CDC and the White House publishing updated guidelines and restrictions on a daily basis, both wedding industry professionals and engaged coupled have been navigating the economic and logistic challenges of rescheduling/rearranging their weddings.
My goal in writing this blog post is to help you better navigate through this time of uncertainty and provide insight and guidance on how to move forward. You are not alone in this process – everybody is navigating the affects of this pandemic on their own terms, and I am here to help you make a decision that is appropriate for YOU and your wedding.
Considering postponing your wedding?
First, let’s examine the guidelines that are currently in place. As of today (March 23, 2020), the CDC advises that events/gatherings of 10+ people be held virtually or postponed. Given that the entire US is basically in lockdown, at least until the beginning of April, and with new updates coming out on the daily, it seems reasonable to postpone your Mar/Apr wedding. If your wedding is in May, there’s still a chance that you will be able to follow through with your wedding, but regardless, you should still prepare for postponement and start arranging backup dates with your vendors. If your wedding is in June or further out, it might not be a bad idea to get a head start in communicating with your vendors to pencil in backup dates, but as of now, I think it’s too soon to say whether current COVID-19 guidelines will still apply then.
When planning postponements, try to reschedule your wedding within this calendar year (2020) – a lot of vendors, including myself, still have some fall/winter openings, but dates are going quickly, with so many couples looking to reschedule. Please do not hesitate to reach out asap, if you are considering postponing your spring/summer wedding.
If I do decide to postpone, what will happen to my deposit?
I can’t speak for all wedding vendors here, as every business operates with different postponement/cancellation policies, but I am currently allowing my couples repurpose their original deposit to secure a new wedding date. Having to postpone your wedding is frustrating and sad as is, so I’m here to make this process as smooth & hassle free as possible. I want to show up for you during this time and do everything I can to be flexible and accommodating. With that being said, please consider weekdays and less popular weekend days (Fri, Sun) to get married – the more flexible you are willing to be in regards to your new date, the higher chances you have on keeping most, if not all, of your original vendors. We’re all in this together 🙂
What are the logistics involved with postponing? How should I communicate it to my guests?
If you are considering postponing your wedding, you’ll most likely have already sent out “Save the Dates” and official invitations. When you have set a new wedding date with your venue & vendors, send out an email to your entire guest list asap notifying them of the postponement. In addition, to ensure that everyone has gotten the memo and is on the same page, give your guests a phone call to let them know of your decision. If you still have not sent out official invites, but know that a postponement may be in the future, jot down a note on your invitations letting your guests know to simply “pencil” in the date, as it may be subject to change. Whichever method you choose to notify your guests, letting them know sooner than later is better, so just go with the method that will get the word out asap.
Lastly, remember to breathe.
It’s a scary time. With so much uncertainty and your wedding (something you’ve dedicated months & even years to plan) seemingly up in the air, it’s natural for you to feel frustrated, anxious, and overwhelmed. But something that I’m trying to be better at is focusing my energy on the things that are within my control and allowing those that are not to simply play themselves out. Practice self-compassion. There are no right or wrong answers on how to cope during this time. All of your coping mechanisms are valid.
As the entire world is left to problem solve, so many people are struggling to deal with the economic, social, and logistic repercussions of their lives & careers coming to an abrupt halt. The uncertainty of when things will return to normalcy has left so many with real problems, such as not being able to afford rent and make ends meet. Needless to say, it’s a tough time to be running a small business. It’s been a scary experience to see your income (for however many months to come) dissipate into thin air, while you still have a business to keep afloat & personal financial responsibilities/bills to pay. If you are in a position to support your past/current/future wedding vendors at this time, please consider doing the following:
- Check in on them. Shoot them an email, text, or DM to see how they’re doing 🙂 I promise they’ll love hearing from you!
- Support them by showing some social media love – repost their most recent work on your IG story, share their posts on Facebook, leave kind comments on their blog, send encouraging DM’s – it’s all in the small gestures of consideration & appreciation.
- Tell your engaged friends/family about their business and services. Give them work & something to look forward to when things return to normalcy.
- Buy a gift card for later or book a future session with them. This allows them to keep the business running and fill in some gaps made by cancellations and postponements.
- Leave a positive review on Yelp, Facebook, Google, WeddingWire, The Knot, etc., so when this is all blows over, their business comes out stronger. Help them be seen.
- Lastly, and most importantly – postpone, don’t cancel. Given the nature of wedding work, many wedding industry professionals depend on the # of monthly/yearly bookings to plan out their finances & support themselves/their loved ones.