Coronavirus: How to Postpone your Wedding
Updated: May 5
Your dream day has been planned for months, but with the new coronavirus here, you’ve decided to postpone and rebook or cancel your wedding. What do you do?
As an Event Planner, I am constantly planning for the unexpected and dealing with situations as they come up on my clients behalf as part of my job. The new coronavirus, now dubbed Covid-19, is an unprecedented event and dealing with the fallout has been a learning experience for many venues and vendors.
In this difficult time, you may feel lost and unsure of what to do should you have to postpone your wedding. My heart goes out to all the couples out there facing this challenging time. In this difficult moment, it's important to remember that weddings are about your love, which has no limit or timeline. Your day can happen at any time. Parties might be cancelled right now, but love certainly isn't!
Here are the steps I've been working on with my clients for postponing their weddings.The most important take away: It's better to postpone then to cancel to protect your investment.
First and foremost, make sure you update your wedding website constantly. Your guests should be aware that you are working on postponing the wedding. If you don't have a wedding website, get family and friends to spread the word and work on sending out updates as soon as possible via email. You can send out update cards once all the details are final as a formality.
Thankfully, many airlines have waived rebooking fees, so this will ease the burden of guests rebooking flights.
If you have insurance, check to see what it covers. I always recommend insurance to my clients, so if you've got it, see what's covered. If you don't, make sure you get insurance for the rebooked date.
If you have a wedding planner, they can start working on the following with you. If you do not have a planner, make a list of all the people you need to contact and try to assign a couple friends or family members to work on the list with you, so you do not get overwhelmed. It's going to take a lot of phone calls.
We are now providing rebooking consultation services for new clients. Please contact us directly for details if you feel you need help.
The good news is that the current trend in the industry is leaning towards transferring deposits towards a new available date, provided there are no perishable goods, such as food or flowers, already purchased. Many reputable venues are allowing clients to transfer their deposits and payments to a new date and waiving their contracted non-refundable policies. Venues and vendors are being very generous in this sense, so please keep that in mind when reaching out. Check with your venue and pick a few options for a new date if possible to make it easier to coordinate with you vendors.
Here's the tricky part: before you choose a new date with your venue, contact all your current vendors. They may be able to transfer your deposit and payments to a new date. Ideally, you'll want to choose a new date where as many of your vendors as possible can transfer over.
Please remember, some of your vendors will likely be booked for your new date, especially if you are rebooking for 2020, and unfortunately, you will likely have to give up your deposit if they cannot transfer it. Your understanding and compassion in this matter is going to be greatly appreciated. Many vendors are very small businesses and it may already be a financial burden to transfer the deposit.
Reputable vendors will do their absolute best to work with you as they understand this is a devastating blow to couples. They are doing their best, but they too are experiencing a huge financial blow thanks to Covid-19. If they are booked on your new date and cannot give you a refund, you can always ask if the deposit can be transferred to a different event in the future, which they may be open to. Birthday parties, bridal showers, baby showers, charity events and anniversaries are all great opportunities to use those deposits and payments.
Communicate with your vendors in a timely manner. Give them as much time to work out a solution or contingency plan should you have to rebook. They are likely getting flooded with requests to rebook right now. As the situation escalated quickly, many were left scrambling to rebook last minute. My current suggestion is to rebook all weddings over 50 people until 2021 and all weddings under 50 people to late 2020 should your date be between May and August 2020. Do not wait until the week before your wedding as it will be very stressful, difficult and potentially impossible for your venue and vendors to accommodate a postponement.
As I mentioned before, you may lose some deposits when postponing, but your goal should be transferring as many as possible to salvage as much of your financial investment as possible.
Many vendors are asking for another deposit instalment to be made towards the balance upon selecting the new event date, so expect some additional payments to be made. Typically, they are allowing between 12-18 months for couples to pick a new date, though I advise deciding on a new date sooner rather than later as there are many couples that will have to rebook and dates will likely become harder to secure the longer you wait. Once confirmed, send out update cards to your guests and ask them to update their RSVP if needed.
Make sure you talk to your travel agent about rebooking your honeymoon as soon as possible as well. They will be able to discuss your options in detail and give recommendations as to next steps.
Remember, your goal when you booked your wedding was to get married to the person you love, surrounded by the people you love. That is the most important goal of any wedding. Keep that in mind when rebooking and lead with your heart over everything else. It may not be exactly what you wanted, but it will be a beautiful, memorable day with the people you love regardless of when your wedding takes place.