As it becomes clearer that summer wedding plans are off the table, and fall weddings are next on the chopping block, couples are figuring out new ways to make their special day special. We’re seeing Zoom weddings, drive-by parades, and elopements. For anyone who can’t (or doesn’t want to) get on board with the microwedding vibe, plans of a postponement need to be communicated to guests—even if the details are still TBD. So, we chatted with experts on both coasts to see how changing the date can be done, and as much as it sucks, it’s not impossible. There are multiple ways to convey the 411 of your new day, and rockstar wedding vendors are making the postponing protocol as smooth as possible.
For Krystel Stacey, Founder, Creative Director, and Lead Stylist at So Cal’s Couture Events and wedding planner to Bachelor in Paradise’s Hannah Godwin and Dylan Barbour, it’s about being supportive and honoring her clients’ wishes.
“We’re hopeful that later-2020 weddings will go on as planned, but just in case our brides and grooms are worried, we’re working around the clock on contingency plans,” Stacey says. At the end of the day, she wants her clients to stay true to themselves, adding “What is best for your mom, best friend, cousin, or sweet Aunt Sally should be considered secondary to what is best for you both as a couple.”
Timing Wise, Most Pre-Fall Weddings Should Postpone
We’ve been polling our 2020 brides on Insta @betchesbrides for weeks now, asking whether they’ll be keeping or postponing their wedding dates plans—and truthfully, no one has a definitive answer or a magical cut-off date. While it’d be amazing to see into the future and find out more about this virus’s end date, unfortunately we can’t exactly speak to the manager of coronavirus. That’s why New Jersey-based stationer, Becca Goldberg of Suite Paperie, feels that clients who have chosen to postpone their weddings before October 2020 are making the best calls (and tbh, that’s what it seems like most of you are doing, based on all the recent Insta feedback on @betchesbrides).
“We’ve had a few couples who were supposed to get married in late March/early April postpone to later in 2020, but a couple who is planning a summer wedding isn’t going to be thrilled about swapping to a winter date,” she offers. “Their entire vision from invitations to dress to food to flowers will have to shift to an entirely new season—and that’s a whole other dimension of change that a bride dealing with COVID-19 rescheduling shouldn’t have to face.”
She explains, “Most of my October-December brides are hanging tight right now and moving forward as planned. Since we’re NY/NJ based and in the epicenter of the crisis, there’s a chance that, by law, the weddings will not be able to take place. However, we do have plenty of couples around the country who are having their weddings in lesser COVID-affected areas and proceeding with considerably less caution—for example, we have gorgeous acrylic invitations going out this week for an August wedding in Colorado Springs.”
Once You Have A Date Secured, Get Moving With Regards To Your Guests
Both Stacey and Goldberg have seen the majority of their couples postponing to 2021, and they’re behind it, too, especially if couples can either get their original wedding date just a year later (something that a lot of venues are advocating with their clients so that their event calendars are balanced). After all, a wedding planned for June 12th this year will probably look similar, if not identical, to a June 12th wedding next year. If the exact date isn’t available, then another date in the month should work just fine. Stacey let us know that even though she’s had some couples push till later this year, most are looking into 2021 for their new dates.
Of course, once you’ve gotten your date penciled in at your venue, with your vendors on book as well, you’ll want to notify your nearest and dearest so that arrangements can be made. Fortunately, since the social event scene at large has been totally eclipsed by the pandemic, most guests can expect that you’ll be making course changes, but you’ll still need to tell everyone sooner rather than later. A few ways you can notify guests are:
Your wedding website: You can seriously make one for FREE like anywhere, so if you don’t have one, make one (if only just to keep people from nightmaring you about your wedding status). As soon as you have your date, update your homepage with something along the lines of “Due to current COVID-19 circumstances, we’re going to celebrate on another date!” And then share said date, timing, and change of venue, if you have one.
Your inner circle: If you’re going crazy dealing with this postponement and can’t send out a personalized email yourself, then this is the perfect time to enlist your wedding planner, your bridesmaids, your MOH, and all your ride-or-dies. Have them text, call, or email all of your wedding guests and share your new date, along with a link to your website for real-time updates.
Your social channels: Not every couple will feel comfortable sharing all the I Do deets on their social feeds, but Stacey notes that with any “official” correspondence (i.e. change-the-date announcements), an identical social version should go up as well. “For ALL posts we suggest sending out the same change-the-date,” she says, adding, “if you are sending a physical save the date card, just send the digital version of that via email and then also post that digital version on your social media (the order in which you do so is totally up to you).”
Stationery Going Out Should Follow A Cadence, Somewhat…
Most vendors will tell you that code of conduct is nowhere near normal now, because WTAF is happening these days? Stacey and her team at Couture Events say, “You cannot please everyone and they will have to understand that COVID was not your choice and is out of your control. What you can control is what you want to do next.” We’re 100p aligned with their outlook, especially since changing the date costs money—creativity, on the other hand, doesn’t have to cost a thing…
Stacey even suggests that couples take advantage of the time spent at home during quarantine to experiment with sending a cute video in lieu of a traditional change-the-date card. Just try to avoid making something that might land you on our cringiest TikToks list.
PSA for brides: there’s no such thing as wedding etiquette anymore you officially get to do whatever the f*ck you want.
— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) May 8, 2020
If all of the above sounds a little too informal, or if you want something tangible, e-commerce stationer sites like Minted and Basic Invite are offering a completely curated selection of change-the-date cards. Basic Invite will even handle your mail so that you can avoid going to the post office #socialdistancewin. Just upload your guest list and they’ll print, stuff, and mail your cards directly to your guests. It’s legit so fast and easy, and the looks are luxe and stunning.
If you’ve been working with a custom stationer one-on-one, though, you probably have even more possibilities to put out the good word about your wedding. Plus, you’ll have someone helping you through the pain-in-the-ass process of when to send things, what to send, who to send to, etc.
Here are some general guidelines that Becca Goldberg, girl boss at Suite Paperie, has been following with her clients:
For couples who’ve postponed before invitations were sent: “We’re sending snail-mail change-the-date announcements at the time that the guests would be receiving the invitations (approximately 8-10 weeks out),” Goldberg says. “These can still read ‘formal invitation to follow’ on the bottom, since the guests haven’t received the actual invites yet.”
For couples who sent out invitations, but now need to postpone: “Since time is of the essence, we’re typically sending out an email with ‘formal re-invitation to follow’ to let guests know that they’ll be receiving something else in the mail when it gets closer to the date in 2021.”
Just writing out “re-invitation” makes me cringe, because I know how much invitations can cost. But Goldberg totally gets it, and she hates to imagine making her clients re-up their already-pricy investment. “Some things that we’re doing are digitally printing their invitation on duplex or even triplex paper and giving it the same finish as their original suite (beveled, foiled or painted edges), but at a fraction of the cost of letterpress or foil stamping.”
She adds, “The other thing we’re doing is keeping the additional information online. So, instead of a suite that has a RSVP card and envelope, details card, brunch card, etc, we’re just sending a main invitation and a single insert that sends guests to the couple’s website to RSVP, find new hotel dates, and more.”
For couples whose invitations were printed, but not yet mailed: “These are the trickiest scenarios, where we need to get clever,” she says. “Some couples are opting to reprint their main invitation with the new date, while others are OK with an insert stating the new date.” Goldberg relays that one of her favorite executions of this route involves using an annotated overlay. “We essentially “mark up” the invitation, cross out the old date, and print the new one on a 100% clear transparency that lays over the entire front of the invitation. This is a bit more on the fun side, but we’ve had a few couples go this route, and it’s been very well-received.”
And then when it comes to invitees, here’s who Goldberg says should get the stationery:
For couples with a postponed date (and a wedding of roughly the same size): “Everyone who received the save-the-dates the first go-round should be getting the change-the-date as well,” Goldberg advises.
For couples who want to scale back the celebration altogether: “In some instances, couples are opting to keep their original date, but instead going more intimate, with immediate family only,” she explains. “In this case, of course the change-the-date goes out to only those in the intimate group, but additionally, a follow up wedding or ‘elopement’ announcement should be sent to the rest of the guests. Share a photo and have fun with it, because at the end of the day, this alert really helps to make your friends and family feel connected to an event they were originally invited to in-person!”
Paperless Post is rallying hard with the “love is patient” point of view during this COVID crisis, and not only are we obsessed with their dynamic designs, we’re also loving on their well-rounded wedding extras for after the postponement.
“With digital wedding postponement cards, you are able to upload a copy of your email list and send it to your recipient’s inbox in minutes,” reassures Paperless Post. Then, “Once you’ve ironed out a new date, let friends and family know it is time to get together again. You’ll have the option to send out a new design from our online wedding collection or update your postponement announcement with the new event details. If the latter, you can use our follow up tools to send a message to your guests letting them know it’s officially time to RSVP.”
We get it, it’s a lot to postpone your wedding, but if you’re making it through quarantine with your S.O., you’re doing amazing, sweeties… You’ll get through this too!
Images: Unsplash; Basic Invite; Suite Paperie; Greenvelope