Times have certainly changed the last few months, with the majority of people around the globe having seen their lives greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Couples that were due to marry in spring have made the difficult decision to either cancel or postpone their wedding to a late summer or early fall date, with the uncertainty still lurking in the back of their heads that those dates still may not happen. Because let’s face it, we really don’t know what the future holds and how things will be in three months’ time, or even whether this pandemic will be over.
Most couples will probably have seen the ‘postpone do not cancel’ messages and hashtags everywhere, as local businesses and suppliers are scrambling to stay afloat during this challenging time with little or no income while trying to secure postponed wedding businesses for the future. However, no two weddings are the same nor are any two couples the same, and there are several sides to this story. The first is, you still want to get married but your guests’ health is your number one priority and that cannot be compromised, so you change the date to later on in the year so travel restrictions will be lifted and everyone will be safe to attend. You work together with your wedding planner, vendors and suppliers to reach an agreed date to have your wedding. Along with postponing a wedding, many couples will probably feel a sense of regret and guilt because they had really wanted to go ahead with the initial date.
The second side is that some couples may not want to postpone their wedding to six months down the line or next year, because for some couples, planning a wedding is stressful and causes anxiety. Therefore, these couples may prefer to completely cancel their wedding altogether and will be happy to head to the registry office or have a very small gathering at their parents’ house. This is not ideal for vendors and suppliers but we are living in challenging times. Each couple is doing their best to navigate through the countless questions or unknowns that have suddenly appeared, as well as making the best decisions possible for their loved ones and their dream wedding. For those that plan on postponing their wedding, below is a step-to-step guide to postponing your wedding.
1. Speak To Your Wedding Planner (if you have one)
Your wedding planner should help you navigate through this difficult period; not only will they offer psychological support but they will also help you to efficiently postpone your wedding. The first thing your wedding planner will need to do is to review in detail the provisions in the contracts with the venue, suppliers and insurance company (assuming you have made a wedding insurance policy) because everything depends on what is written in you contract. Even if a couple has wedding insurance, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are completely covered as the majority of insurance companies don’t currently cover for a pandemic. In addition, particular attention should be given to the exclusion and Force Majeure clauses in contracts. Do they cover cancellations or rearrangements due to government acts such as a lockdown, or due to a government ban on public or social gatherings, and/or travel restrictions? In addition, for those that are having a destination wedding, please check the governing law of the contracts that you have, which may be affected by the country you are getting married in. There is a great deal of information in your contracts that your wedding planner will have gone through meticulously in order to be able to provide a table advising you of the financial impact of postponing your wedding.
2. Call or Email Your Suppliers
Call or email your suppliers and explain to them that due to these exceptional circumstances, you feel it is in your best interest to postpone your wedding to a later date in the year. Paying an additional fee to postpone your wedding will really be up to the supplier’s discretion. Suppliers may decide not to charge you an additional fee, even if it is written in the contract that they can do so, because these are extraordinary events we are living in and people tend to become more compassionate. By postponing your wedding, there will be a risk that some of your preferred vendors won’t be available at a later date. Also consider getting married in off-peak months or mid-week to provide you with more options.
3. Choose a new proposed date
Inform all your suppliers and guests.Suppliers may charge a fee if the wedding date moves to the new tax year because you are essentially taking availability away from new couples that will offer future business income to the supplier. Therefore, the supplier may not charge you if you plan to change your wedding date for a different day this year but may do so if it moves to the next taxable year. In addition, make sure you call your guests as this is the fastest method to notify them of the postponement of your wedding as well as offering the perfect opportunity to check in on them to see how they are doing. Given that it is an extremely stressful period for everyone, many guests may not see any announcements on your wedding website (assuming you have created one) which is the reason why it’s advisable to call them. Especially for destination weddings, the guest list is not large so it can be done fairly quickly. If you do have a wedding planner, she can do a follow-up in writing by WhatsApp or email. Lastly, notifying your guests well in advance gives them the opportunity to manage their financial costs, change their annual leave, rebook flight tickets and accommodation. Also create a list of FAQs if you think your guests will have similar questions around travel, refunds, your new date, and email them your list.
4. Take out wedding insurance as soon as you’ve set a date
If you have wedding insurance, then no one will lose money and it will give you a peace of mind.Purchase wedding insurance policy once you are in the process of making bookings and/or paying any deposits to book your venue. Most insurance companies who offer wedding insurance, let you take out a policy up to two years before your wedding, so it is worth getting it sooner rather than later. Make sure you know how much your wedding is likely to cost so you get the right level of protection. Also, given the latest turn of events with Covid-19, make sure that that all types of events that may cause your wedding to have to be cancelled/postponed (e.g. pandemic, lockdown) are covered within your policy to ensure you don’t have to worry about it in future.