The Five Stages of Postponing a Wedding:
- Denial/Initial Fear: When I went to my bachelorette party, Covid-19 was still an overseas alarm. There was slow fear starting to edge into the United States but I put it out of my mind while I had a great weekend with my girls in New Mexico. When I got home to California there were signs of it starting to reach the United States and I started jokingly (fearfully) questioning how it would impact my wedding to my coworkers. I began the initial process of letting small pieces of my dream go, concluding that some people may not be able to travel to make it and that my wedding would still be great minus 10-20 people.
- Sadness #1: I went to pick up my wedding dress with my mom before shelter in place took affect and although my wedding was still 60 days out, I could feel that it wasn’t going to happen. I couldn’t get excited when I tried on MY dress and I know my mom was trying so hard to make it feel special. I spent $100 on books at Barnes and Noble and went home to cry on my fiancé’s shoulder as I acknowledge this is going to affect our big day way more than we want.
- Bargaining: I started making plan B in case plan A couldn’t go through. Plan B being a smaller ceremony followed by a delayed reception. My mom laid out plans to set up the backyard. Meanwhile I felt like others were breathing down my neck to talk to my vendors about rescheduling. I wasn’t emotionally ready yet to do that and may have snapped at a few people.
- Sadness #2: Cried in my fiancé’s arms again. Realized that things with Covid-19 were getting worse and not looking like they were getting any better any time soon.
- Acceptance: Sat down with my man and figured out we wanted from our wedding and what we wanted our marriage to mean and feel like. Things nixed off the list: courthouse wedding. Things needed: personal vows, married by someone we love. Finally sat down and created a postponement plan, reached out to vendors, and moved the F*** on.
It sucks. It sucks so much. We had already planned a long engagement of one and a half years. We’ve been looking forward to being husband and wife for so long, to have it delayed is heart wrenching. However, when it comes down to it, we plan on being together forever. What is another couple weeks, to several more months before we celebrate with a piece of paper? Our lives weren’t going to be different after the wedding besides for some new jewelry and a new title. Yes, it will mean something, but no it doesn’t mean the way we feel about each other is changing.
Easy Steps to Reschedule:
*DISCLAIMER: I am doing much of this wedding myself/DIY. So I have a small number of vendors*
KEEP ORGANIZED: I like to list everything in an excel spreadsheet to see all the facts listed together. As a wedding that is very DIY I have a lot of moving pieces between households. I made a list of all items I have stored at my house, my moms house, my future mother in laws house. (I also have items that are listed elsewhere, most that got stuck during shelter in place, so I don’t forget to pick them up as soon as I can: rings are at the Jeweler, my cake topper is in the storage unit etc). Now when I start to work on wedding stuff again in 6 months I’m not going crazy trying to remember where everything is. The more organized I am the less stressed I am and everything counts during the emotional task of rescheduling such an emotional event.
New Date: Have a serious talk with your significant other. Decide on a new date that feels right for you. Do you want it as soon as possible? Is it important to you to keep it within a certain season? Consider how easy it will be for your guests to reschedule. Does everyone live locally, or will they have to travel? Is it important to have the same number of guests or would you prefer to make it smaller with the new changes? There is no wrong answer. Just what is right for you.
For me and my fiancé we decided we had a strong attachment to the date of our wedding April 25th. We also decided that with the financial hardships brought on by Covid-19 we didn’t want anyone to have to worry about affording to come to our wedding while getting back on their feet. For a small guest list, we have about half who would need to fly in. We already knew our venue would push our deposit 12 months, so we made the decision to push everything back by one year.
Vendors: You should already have a list of who they are, how much you’ve left for a deposit etc.
- Relist them: Add whether you’ve talked to them, if you canceled the vendor or are going to reschedule them. Add how long they will keep your deposit for, how much is left to pay, the new date they are rebooked for, and where your new contract is located for easy access. Don’t forget to add if there is a deposit being refunded, how much you are getting back, and track when it has been returned.
- Talk to each vendor: figure out if they will apply your deposit to another date and the length they are willing to hold/apply your deposit for.
- Set new dates in stone. Reach out the Venue first. Without the venue you have nothing. Just like when planning the wedding originally secure your new date with your venue. At this point you should have a good idea of what vendors are going to work with you and their available dates to domino effect this easily.
- Find new vendors. If needed after you have an updated contract with your venue you can hunt out new vendors if any of yours dropped out or are unavailable.
Honeymoon: First decide if you would like the same honeymoon or if you want to start from scratch. We’ve decided to keep to very similar plans of our old honeymoon with some minor tweaks. That made it easier to reschedule hotels. Then the rest is very similar to the steps for vendors, and it involves spreadsheets. Does it sound like I love spreadsheets?
- Relist them. What’s the hotel/activity, what was the deposit, are you rebooking or canceling, will there be a refund, did you receive your refund back, how long will your deposit keep for (if rescheduling), what’s the new date you rescheduled for, is there a new confirmation number (i.e GET ONE!)
- Talk to each hotel/activity. Some items you can even reschedule online which makes it easier. Some hotels will hold your deposit to a new date or even reschedule with you over the phone if you already have a new date.
- Once you get your wedding finalized, finalize your new dates with your hotel(s) or book new ones. Just like when originally planning you will want to book in advance. If you are scheduling your wedding for sooner rather than later keep in mind a lot of original places may be booked up. Especially if you are trying to go for a particular room, like the honeymoon suite.
For a breakdown we have six items reserved for our Honeymoon (4 hotels and 2 activities), as we were planning a mini road trip. Two hotels we canceled out right and got full refunds. Two hotels applied our deposits to later dates. One activity refunded us our deposit to a gift certificate that is good for 12 months. The second activity we decided to book for our dating anniversary in September to have a little something to look forward to. Now I have a place to start, my favorite rooms still reserved at a couple of my favorite hotels and a clean slate to book the rest. (scroll to the end of this post for a basic spreadsheet example.)
♥♥♥ The wedding will roam again. ♥♥♥
Real life Example:
|Things to Reschedule|
|item||Canceled||total paid||total refund||Refund received||length deposit will keep||date confirmed||new contract?|
|venue||N||$ 6,000.00||12 months||Sunday, April 25, 2021||in email|
|caterer||EMLED 4/7 (2X)|
|makeup artist||N||$ 50.00||12 months||Sunday, April 25, 2021|
|Flowers||Y||$ –||$ –|
|Yosemite Hotel||Y||$ 251.10|
|Jeep tour||N||$441.72||Sunday, September 27, 2020||in email|
|Tahoe Hotel||Y||$ 254.03||Y|
|Boat Tour||N||$ 214.83||GIFT CERTIFICATE|
|Mt. Shasta Hotel||N||$ 252.75||12 months|
|Featherbed B&B||N||$ 220.00||12 months||Sunday, May 2, 2021||in email|