I’m thrilled to have the expert event planner and designer behind my very own wedding as the guest writer of this post. Coronavirus is affecting the wedding industry in new and confusing ways, with very little resources for those being affected. It made sense to bring in a professional, and have her walk through tangible, actionable steps for brides-to-be having to postpone their wedding or are being affected in some way.
Written By Katie Jethwa of Kate Elizabeth Brides
To the many brides-to-be and those getting married out there right now, let me first start off by saying, you are not in this alone and we are all on the same team – trying to accommodate and make this the best it can possibly be for you, your partner and family. This unforeseen time is an opportunity to practice your patience, kindness, empathy, and gratitude.
Things to do & remember
Planning a wedding takes up a lot of time and energy, so it’s understandable to feel sad and disappointed, but please remember, this was completely out of your control and the best thing you can do, is stay calm. Everyone’s event will be case by case and there is no direct road map, but you will get through this. Likely, it will be even more magical, thoughtful, and you will appreciate the ability to celebrate such a special day with those you love.
Try approaching this turn of events with the attitude of doing what’s best for everyone right now – even though it’s easy to internalize and “why is this happening to me?” Take this moment to regroup and reevaluate what is important to you.
Here are some ideas from me to you:
Create ambiance in your own home!
Have a bath.
Find an activity to take your mind away from planning.
Do a face mask – like you would in preparation for a night out.
Make a special meal.
Dress up for “cocktails”.
Try new wines – maybe one you will want to feature at one of your events in the future.
Light a candle with a calming scent.
Start and end each day by being grateful that you have your person and that is an incredible blessing.
Steps to Take
1) Write it out.
Sit down with a pen and paper to reassess – perhaps you recognize you got caught up in the moment, made quick decisions or your guest count doubled in size overnight. Now is the time to possibly consider changes…. because you can! Try journaling what is most important to you. Maybe getting married on your own personal terms with immediate family is most important and you have a grand party at further notice. I see both sides, as a planner and a bride, but as a bride, I was ready to get married and start my life together with my now husband, so a personal and intimate ceremony could be something truly special. As you talk through your options with your partner, family, and vendors, know that at the end of all this, you are still going to be marrying your person and it was just a date.
Pro Tip: When I ask brides what they wished they could have changed, if anything at all , their answer is almost always that they would have had a smaller guest count. No time like the present to condense if it is something you are considering!
2) Utilize available resources.
When you start reaching out to your vendors (venue and location being the first) to coordinate your new date, here are some suggestions to consider:
Hiring a planner if you haven’t already!
Consult with a planner – many companies and planners are offering remote services at hourly rates right now, to brides going through this and assisting with rescheduling.
3)Postpone, Don’t Cancel, if possible!
Start by re-reading through all your contracts, terms, conditions and your wedding insurance. Insurance does not always guarantee cancelations or cover a situation like COVID-19 or known pre-existing conditions, so please do your homework on this. We may also see some incredible vendors closing their businesses. Try to be open to options and understanding of the difficult circumstances these businesses are facing.
4) Have a call with your venue or the vendor and team creating your venue.
When you start communicating with your vendors, a form is a great tool. It can allow each business to fill it out on their own time. Ideally, you can already provide alternative dates you are considering. This is a great way to start the conversation with your vendors. However, it can easily be done by email or call.
Pro Tip: Keep in mind your vendors are dealing with a lot of change and rescheduling right now – so this may be an easier method for them to get back to you, with a clear answer.
A sample email could be:
Subject: Wedding rescheduled due to COVID-19
Due to Covid-19 we (insert names) are rescheduling our original wedding date (insert date). To make this as easy as possible and to keep our additional costs low, we are working on coordinating a new date that works for most, if not all, our original creative team for the original date. Please let us know, at your earliest convenience, if any of the below mentioned dates work, and you are able to provide the same service or inventory contracted for. This will help us tremendously in narrowing down our options! In addition, if you could outline any contingencies with the new date or unforeseen financial charges, that would also be appreciated.
Option 1: (month, date, year)
Option 2: (month, date, year)
Options 3: (month, date, year)
Thank you so much and hope you, your family, and team are doing well.
5) Review your options.
Start a spreadsheet and track your vendors availability, the deposits you have already made, upcoming payments and any associated fees that may come into play due to the changing of your date. Cross reference and see where your vendors are aligning and hopefully it will be a clear decision on the new date.
If a vendor is not available or has gone out of business, I suggest asking them for a recommendation or alternative creative partner to work with that is most similar to their work and craft. If you are able to continue working with your creative partner, I encourage you to keep deposits and rethink payment plans to help one another out.
Small businesses likely need your commitment to survive right now, and keeping your faith in the partners you selected, is the reality right now. However, decisions will need to be made and may need to be entirely dependent on finances and contractual terms.
Once the new date has been confirmed – ask for new contracts with the updated date and signatures.
Set up a virtual meeting with all of your vendors to talk at the same time, on the same platform, especially if the vision, team and direction has changed.
Pro tip: For those that have not been required to postpone in 2020 or planning a 2021 wedding, please start thinking about how you could pivot, or book your 2021 team. Many of the vendors you may have been waiting to book or hoping to hire, are now booking up quickly. That said, some will be entirely shut down, floral will be difficult, and your artist’s print shops could be on pause. If you don’t have a plan already in place or able to wait this out, I would.
6) Communicate with your guests.
This is key. Technology can be your best friend right now – selecting a medium you feel is most responsive to your guest list is best (and you and your partner will know best!)
I suggest talking with your invitation artist and seeing what they can come up with that ties into your invitation suite (if already designed, printed or sent out)! As a rule of thumb, etiquette states invitations don’t need to go out until 2 months prior, and printing typically takes 2-3 weeks.
To address “change”, a digital announcement (your invitation artist can likely draft a complimentary digital version of your invitation), an email, a call, an “updates” page or a note on your website can help keep your guests in the know regarding the postponement, new date and necessary details. They likely will already expect this (which in a way, is easier for you) and they will know this decision was made for the health and safety of others.
Pro Tip: In the case you are having a destination wedding, I would encourage all guests to get travel insurance, just in case they had not done so already.
7) Find Ways to Show You Care.
A note to the friends and family of these brides-to-be and those getting married. Reach out in ways to boost their spirits, make them smile and still feel special! Think of ways to keep plans in an innovative way – whether that be a virtual happy hour or game night, sending a gift via mail, or having a self-care night. When you think about it, how fun would it be to receive a wedding gift right now, especially if it is for the kitchen or home, when you can really take the time to enjoy it!