Wedding Planning in a Pandemic - 8 things to think about before you postpone your event
When you chose your wedding date for 2020, you had no idea that you would need to postpone it due to a worldwide pandemic… but here we are.
In March when all of this was becoming real, it was time to make some decisions as a company. Anna and I put together a letter expressing our concern for our brides and grooms and their families. As much as we wanted to be able to say, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” it just wasn’t the prudent thing to do. We left the decision to postpone or not to our clients since we had no more information than they did concerning the issues we faced. Ultimately, all of our April, May, and now June weddings have been postponed.
Now that we are experts, so to speak, in the postponement of weddings, we have learned a few things:
1. But we loved that date!
Then get married! Going ahead and tying the knot in an empty church or your mom’s living room will create a precious memory. Do it. Then, the pressure is off… and the big ceremony and party can be even more fun later! Don't forget to have your mom take a few photos for your wedding website.
2. Talk to your planner first! If you don’t have a planner, get one!
You may have thought that you and your favorite aunt could handle all your wedding planning tasks but postponing everything was another thing altogether. A planner who knows the vendors and the area will be a life saver for you. When my brides make the final decision of a new date, I get to work. I call each vendor personally, check the new date and follow up with an email. As each vendor confirms that the new date works, I keep a running total then send my bride the list. I must admit that I enjoyed reporting to Chelsea & Dan, Jordan & Colby, and Lindsey & Allen that their entire vendor team would be changing the date right along with them. The couples took the time to find the photographer, florist, cake, DJ/band, and especially the venue that they wanted, and it’s difficult to start the selection process over again. Having your planner take care of those difficult phone calls takes a huge weight off your shoulders.
3. Choose your most crucial vendor to help to determine your new date.
Where do you start? You took the time to choose each vendor carefully, how do you begin to see if they are available for a new date? Start with your favorite. Which vendor would you change your date to suit – the venue? The band? The church? The caterer? The photographer? Work out the new date with your number one and go from there. That vendor will love to find out that he or she is your number one. Your planner can help you to replace vendors if that becomes necessary. Remember, these all are businesses, so there may be fees involved.
4. Be flexible.
Be as flexible as you can with your vendors. The florist may not be able to get your favorite flowers at a different time of the year. Your photographer may need to use a second shooter for your event because she now has three on the same day. Your planner may need to leave the reception for an hour to go to run a rehearsal across town, so she has an assistant to help with your reception needs. Know which things you will insist upon but be flexible everywhere you can. Remember if you are kind and flexible with your vendors, they will work even harder for you – it’s just human nature.
5. Pay your bills.
Your vendors are not your high school buddies who are working your wedding out of the goodness of their hearts, they are running small businesses that have been hit with huge losses during this time. Some vendors may have the ability to move your final payment date to the new wedding date, but others may need you to finish your payments with the originally agreed upon dates. They may need this to be able to keep their staff during the down time. We also understand that you may have financial issues right now, so if that is the case, talk about a compromise. Work together. Create a new payment plan. Communication is the key. If you are having difficulty with a vendor who is insisting on the original payment plan, and this is impossible for you, talk TO the vendor… don’t complain ABOUT the vendor on social media. This helps no one.
6. Have you considered a weekday?
The need to postpone may be a blessing to your bank account. With so many weddings going into the late summer and fall, the Saturdays are getting bombarded with events. If you choose a Friday or Sunday or any other day of the week besides Saturday, you may be in for some significant discounts. ASK your vendors if there would be a discount for another day of the week. Rustic to Ritz has a Sunday, a Friday, and a Thursday wedding already planned this fall. Think about it!
7. Consider your A-list of guest, but none other. Some people just may need to miss it.
Some people on your guest list may be unavailable for the new date. That is just the way it goes. Do not move your date around to please your guests. Consider the schedules and conflicts with you’re A-list only – immediate family, very best friends – even attendants can be replaced if the need arises. Five bridesmaids and groomsmen look just as pretty as seven of each. It will be okay. This may be a good time to look into getting a good videographer if you don’t have one already, and then share the fabulous video with everyone.
8. Be wise. Be safe
Your wedding will be a banner day in your lives and in the memories of your family and friends, but it is not more important than the health and safety of your loved ones. If you have chosen to postpone, you already understand this. Your wedding planner wants the best for you and your family, so we will do everything we can to make the new wedding event even better than the original one.
Here’s hoping that everything moves into a new phase of this new “normal” in which we all can see each other again without the 10 person and 6’ rules, but until then, stay safe and take care of your family. If you must postpone, know that your planner is your very best advocate and sounding board. We are here for you... just on Zoom, or WebEx, or Skype, or FaceTime...