Although your wedding day is exactly that – your day, any change in plans has further-reaching consequences to more people than just you and your partner. There is a host of people who will be influenced, from family and friends to the service providers. For this reason, it’s important to approach postponing or canceling your wedding with grace, kindness, and a touch of compassion.
With our country, as well as the world, in some state of lockdown or quarantine, many happy couples are either considering or being forced to change their wedding date. If you are in the same boat, then read on!
Should you be making the call to postpone right now?
With the lockdown only being half-done, but with the possibility of an extension looming, we are advising all our May brides to rather postpone. June and July is a grey area, with a lot of uncertainty over whether the lockdown will be extended, and if not, if there will be any restrictions on guest numbers, traveling, times, alcohol, and more. For that reason, if you are getting married in June or July we strongly advise that you have a plan B in place, with possible available dates already tentatively booked with your most important vendors.
At this stage, we would like to point out that if you were supposed to get married before April 16, 2020, the lockdown law is forcing you to postpone your wedding. If your date is after 16 April 2020, then the postponement, at this stage, is up to you. And the best way to make that decision would be in conversation with all of your key wedding vendors or service providers.
So you are postponing – how do you decide on a new date?
Firstly, get into contact with your most important service providers, the biggest one being your venue. Find out which dates they have available, for the rest of the year or even 2021. Some couples have a sentimental connection to a certain date, so for them, they would rather postpone with a year than give up the date. If you are not that invested with your date, then you have a few options to get an available date. Consider getting married on a Friday or a Sunday, or even a weekday wedding.
We are really encouraging our couples to consider a weekday wedding. Not only will it make moving the wedding a bit easier since most service providers will probably be available (a Thursday is not your traditional wedding day) and you have the chance to still get married within this calendar year. Plus, your guests will probably be more than happy to have a joyous celebration to look forward to and jump at the chance to get dressed up.
Once you have received the available dates from your venue, you can send them to your other vendors to find out which of the dates they would find the most suitable. At this stage, you might have a vendor or two who cannot assist on the date that the others can – if that is the case you need to have a conversation with them regarding canceling their services and finding a replacement. They should be able to make a few recommendations.
Please just note that if a vendor is unable to assist on your new date it is not because they choose to not do your wedding. For us small businesses, having work is a privilege, not a choice, and losing work in this current economic climate is not something that we take lightly. So as far as possible, we are certain, your vendors will try to accommodate you on your new date.
If you have to postpone services, or even cancel, should you expect any fees or financial burdens?
First, should you have to cancel the wedding or any individual services, you should not expect to get your deposit back. The initial deposit secured your date, which means the service provider more than likely had to show away other enquiries. With the date now open after you cancelling, there is little to no chance that they will be able to fill the date again. So they have lost out on potential income. The deposit also covered the cost of the initial work and time vendors have already put into planning the wedding. There is a big chance that your deposit is the only way that vendor succeeded in remaining in business.
Couples should also keep in mind that there may be postponement fees for moving the date, especially if the new date is past 2020. Lastly, if a vendor is going to be providing additional services, or if there’s a design change and the vendor will be spending more time to redo or alter the services they are providing for the event, there could be some additional fees.
In our experience, we have found that most service providers are being more than understanding, and incredibly compassionate. They realise that couples postponing because the events are out of their hands, and also because they have the welfare of their guests and service providers in mind. For that reason, most vendors support couples postponing and would, therefore, go out of their way to help these couples get a new date that they’re excited about. So overall, financially, there isn’t too much that couples should be worried about.
What’s the best way to inform guests of the date change?
If you have already sent out invitations, the best way to do this is to send a postponement notification, whether that be a physical product from your designer or an email announcement. Several stationers are already offering beautiful postponement announcements that can be sent out online, and most are providing this service free of charge. If you have a wedding website you should include the link on the postponement announcement so that you can keep your guests up to date on any changes.
For couples who have printed their invitations but haven’t sent them yet, you can reach out to your designer and ask them to design an insert with the new details so that you can place this on top of the invitation in the envelope. This way you aren’t wasting the beautiful invitations that you already have, and paid for.
In the meantime, remember to send all your guests an sms, Whatsapp or email to inform them that you are going to postpone. This should help to put a lot of guests’ minds at ease and give them a chance to cancel their own plans – which might also have financial implications for them.
Our final words of encouragement for couples coming to terms with the need to change their plans
What we always tell our couples – your wedding, although a special day – is not the most important day you will ever have. It is a day to celebrate your love, to tell your love story, and to share this joy with your family and friends. If you need to change a date, a day, the look and feel, even the season, it will not change your story. So if you decide to enjoy your wedding no matter what, postponing the date will not have an impact on you or your joy.
Best of luck in this time, we will all get through this together.