Today, I’m sharing some of my tips if you find yourself having to change your plans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And first let me say, I am so sorry that you are in this situation!! My heart breaks for each couple that has been planning their wedding (some for years!) and having to change their plans at the last minute.
You are not alone. So many couples are going through this across the world.
I have been working with a few couples that have found themselves in this camp and have needed to adjust their wedding plans. I have been so impressed with how each couple and their families have handled this stressful, and quite frankly, sad time.
In working with these couples, I have found a few helpful tips that I wanted to share with you.
Consider Hiring a Planner
Planning a wedding requires countless details, large and small. Let alone having to do it twice! If you didn’t hire a planner but are now having to shift all of your plans, it may be beneficial to have a wedding planner come aboard.
A planner can answer your questions, alleviate your concerns, coordinate and communicate with your vendors, work with your venue to confirm a new date and schedule, as well as be there on your wedding day to execute all these details.
In my case, I love planning weddings from start to finish. It’s my business’s niche. But at this time where so many couples are having to adjust their plans, I want to help in any way I can.
If you don’t need help on the wedding day but just want someone to answer your questions and help you coordinate new plans, that’s an option. I’m trying to be as flexible as possible during this time of uncertainty to lend a hand wherever I’m needed. I know so many others in the industry are doing the same thing– a true testament to this amazing community of wedding professionals that just want to serve others well.
Whether it’s me or someone else, definitely think about having a planner on your team to advocate for you and be in your corner to help you make decisions. Just as you would consult a doctor when you’re ill, or a mechanic when your car isn’t running properly, a wedding planner’s expertise and assistance can be a tremendous relief for you at this unprecedented time in history.
You may have already seen this on social media, but it’s so true…the best advice right now is to postpone your wedding, don’t cancel, if you can! Your wedding vendors are made up of dozens of small businesses. Each one is relying on your business to keep them afloat. Changing the date to another time of year or a new year entirely, has its own challenges for these small businesses, but it’s still so much better than if you cancel on them altogether.
For vendors like your rehearsal dinner venue (if it’s a restaurant) and hair and makeup salon, consider purchasing gift cards now that you can use down the road. The flow of cash now will help get them through this tough time of reduced business.
It’s also so important to let your vendors know of your change of plans as soon as possible. With thousands of couples having to adjust their plans, and with the fall season being the busiest of the year in the wedding industry, available dates are limited. Don’t wait to start your conversations with each vendor to gauge their availability and reserve your new date on their calendars.
Prior to contacting your vendors, be sure to read over each contract thoroughly. Pay close attention to the payment schedule, cancellation policy and other pertinent information regarding date changes. It will be helpful to have this information in your back pocket prior to connecting with your vendors.
Vendor Notification Checklist
- Ceremony, Reception and Rehearsal Dinner Venues
- Lighting Professionals
- Rental Companies (including tableware, linens, props, and furniture)
- Hair & Makeup Team
- Dress Shop
- Entertainment (band, DJ, cocktail hour musicians, etc.)
- Cake Designer
- Transportation Providers
Your Wedding Dress
If you ordered a wedding dress that wasn’t expected to arrive until the end of the spring/early summer, I would recommend checking in with your dress shop to make sure that your order is still on track.
I recently chatted with a local seamstress during my sister-in-law’s dress fitting, and she explained that many dress manufacturers, especially the ones overseas, are not producing any dresses at this time. Some have said they’ve closed shop indefinitely. And others have officially cancelled all of their orders that were already placed for the next several months entirely. One of her couples had her dress already in-hand and was getting alterations but needed an additional piece of fabric to place in the bodice, but was unable to get it because the dress maker is closed for the foreseeable future.
If you don’t already have your dress in your possession, definitely check into this one!
First, you’ll want to update your wedding website. Put all of the new details on it prior to contacting your guests.
If you are just changing the date of your wedding, but all other details (like venue) are staying the same, here are some options for getting the word out…
- Send a digital postponement announcement. You can post this on social media and/or send it to your guests via email or text. There are so many fantastic vendors out there that have created templates free of charge or for a few dollars. You can purchase, download the template and edit it with your details. This is a quick and easy solution, especially for couples that have only pushed their date back a handful of weeks to accommodate the latest restrictions.
- Send new invitations. If your wedding is going to be much further in the year, or next year even, your best solution is to send a completely new invitation suite in the usual 6-8 weeks from the wedding time frame. To let your guests know of the change of plans, I would update your website and still consider sending a digital or hard-copy postponement announcement in the meantime. You’ll want your guests to know as soon as possible that your plans have changed from the original date.
If you have to change your date and location…
I would recommend sending new invitations entirely.
This is obviously a bummer for your budget, but it’s the most seamless way of accurately updating your guests. I would treat this as a completely new event since so many details have changed.
In the case of one of my clients, they changed the complete part of the state that they are getting married in, so most of their vendors had to change as well. From hotel room blocks, to the cake designer, to the venues, almost every detail has had to be reworked.
As I mentioned above, I would still send a postponement announcement via mail or in a digital format well in advance of sending the new invitations. And if you have a wedding website, keeping that updated will be key!
If you are moving your wedding date, chances are you will also need to adjust your honeymoon plans as well.
Consider planning a one-year anniversary trip instead. It will give you something to look forward to in the year ahead!
If you still plan to take a honeymoon right after your new wedding date, be sure to do the following:
- Ensure availability at your destination hotel. You’ll want to confirm this first! And be sure to look over your contract in-depth.
- Consider the season you’ll now be honeymooning and make sure your destination is conducive to that time of year. For instance, is it now going to be hurricane season in the Caribbean?
- Cancel and adjust your flights.
- Cancel/adjust your transportation if you planned on taking a hotel or airport shuttle service.
- Make sure your passports won’t have expired by the time you’ll be taking your honeymoon– if so, start the process of updating them!
- Consider getting a travel agent if you haven’t already been working with one– they are fantastic assets and are pros at handling travel plan changes!
If you were not working with a wedding planner and now find yourself overwhelmed at having to adjust your plans at the last minute, I am here to help!
My team is ready to take your calls, emails and messages. You can reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to chat about how I can help you! I’m offering discounted pricing on my services as well.
The wedding industry and all of the couples affected by this pandemic are in my constant thoughts and prayers.