Help we have to postpone due to COVID19! What do we do next?
By now many of you who planned weddings or other events in the next 8 -12 weeks are now faced with a decision. Postponement does not equal cancelling, so first things first stay calm.
Pause for a moment of gratitude that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. Relish that you are engaged and have a committed partner that you will be spending the rest of your life with.
Lets look at some positives about postponing your wedding or event, before we move onto the steps to take.
More time to plan and save money towards the event itself, and a honeymoon.
More time to look at ideas for personalizing your day and for incorporating special touches.
Some guests who previously were not able to attend due to other commitments may now be able to be there – revise that guest list!
Even though, as a nation, we are currently facing a crisis, the love you share with your partner is not going to change, regardless of what is going on in the world.
We suggest postponing your celebration and not cancelling it! When couples postpone, most if not all, wedding vendors are helping couples switch dates without any charges.
Here is a checklist of steps to take:
Re-read your contract. Most contracts include a non-refundable deposit, you will not be able to get it back if you cancel.
Focus on contract language about penalties for rescheduling and time-frame in which the rescheduling might be required (within same calendar year, 12-months or just based on vendors availability) so that you know what to expect before you speak with your vendors.
Check your contracts for clauses regarding force majeure, cancellations and postponements and if you still aren't sure, contact the vendor for further clarification.
If possible, schedule a phone call or face-time meeting with each of your vendors, starting with your venue rather than emailing your vendors. We suggest that both you and your partner join the meeting vs. just one of you. This is a critical time for everyone, and you want to avoid any potential miscommunication that might occur via email so phone discussion will be the most productive.
Lean on your coordinator/planner during a time like this! They are knowledgeable in handling the unexpected and will be your best asset.
If you are seeking to reschedule in 2020, include all weekdays and Sundays in your date option list. Your venue and your other vendors will have some of these dates open. We fully understand that selecting a weekday or Sunday might impact who can attend your wedding, but that is OK, because if that really makes a difference to your guest, you can lessen your load on the catering bill!
If you are rescheduling in 2021, include Friday and Sunday in your date option list. Your venue and your other vendors will still have some of these dates open and moving to either of these days might result in a cost saving because most vendors offer discounts on Friday and Sunday weddings.
Contact all vendors to ensure that deposits made are not lost and to confirm that vendors are available for the new date.
If vendors are not available for your new date, try to look for a replacement vendor.
Contact all guests, new invitations may not be necessary, consider a “change the date” message as that can be done online to save money. Maybe order a few new invitations for close family and for a scrapbook.
Think about the need to alter color schemes or themes and decor if the postponed date falls at a different time of the year.
Consider the time of day you are getting married or hosting your event - if postponed to later in the year, the sun will set earlier, so you may need to adjust the timeline of the day and this will need to be communicated to guests.
Before you conduct phone discussions, remember you are in this together with all your vendors and they really want to make this happen for you. Whether you start with your planner or venue, be prepared to give them a few days to respond. They will need to review your new date options and they will also want to review their contract requirements. They are also dealing with the Coronavirus both personally and professionally and may be fearing the potential financial crisis facing them.
Once you are provided with open dates, work quickly to schedule your phone discussions with your most critical vendors (the ones that you have paid the most money to book). Again, expect each vendor to take a couple of days to confirm their availability. Leave the discussion with expectations of each other and a timeline for responses.
Once you have open dates from you key vendors, be prepared to select a date that works for everyone and immediately request amendments to your contracts. Do not drag your feet because your vendors will have lots of other couples making rescheduling requests.
We believe given some flexibility on wedding dates and creativity, rescheduling your wedding can still end in the wedding of your dreams.
With thanks and credit to the following for their input:
Debra and Lee Shepperson – Relish Photography
Jen Clifton – The Virginia Cliffe Inn
Katie Van Schooneveld- The Next Age LLC