Is it just me, or is 2020 giving a whole new meaning to the entire concept of anxiety? No amount of chronic overthinking could have prepared me for this level of chaos. Coronavirus is scary. Travel restrictions are scary. And a bride having to consider postponing her wedding due to these, or another related event? Downright terrifying.
We’re all dealing with a lot right now, but figuring out if you should postpone your wedding is another stressor that more and more couples are dealing with as the CDC recommends canceling any gatherings of over 50 people for the next eight weeks and travel restrictions continue to get tighter. We all want to keep our family, friends, and loved ones safe and healthy, and many couples are now grappling with whether shipping their wedding party to another country (or state) is in everyone’s best interests—or if it’s even a possibility anymore. Having to consider postponing and/or rearranging the biggest day of your life to date is sh*tty, and no one can deny that. But, if that’s the boat you’re in and you’re looking for some solid tips on how to get it all done, you’re in luck—a concept none of us have experienced since, IDK, last year?
Let’s start with the fact that if you are considering postponing your wedding right now due to concerns about COVID-19, you are not alone. Other couples are canceling and moving things around, and if you’re like me and truly believe that misery loves company, take small comfort in knowing that. And it’s not just couples who are dealing with cancelation and scrambling; it’s also wedding vendors.
World-renowned wedding photographer Lucy Cuneo had a highly-anticipated Mexico wedding postponed last week. Popular elopement photographer Anni Graham is based out of the hard-hit West Coast and has had two weddings canceled so far, both based in Patagonia, Chile, with more upcoming weddings that are at risk of being postponed or canceled altogether. We’ve gathered advice for you from both of these experts on finding the best way forward and discovering alternative options for every aspect of your wedding day.
First things first: couples have to decide for sure whether they’re going to postpone, adjust, or move forward with their plans, and a big part of that decision can be based on the type of wedding itself. If you have a huge destination wedding planned for next week involving international travel for a large amount of guests (or even a wedding with more than 50 guests), that’s looking less and less likely. On the other hand, if you’ve got a backyard soiree lined up with your parents and fiancé as the only attendees, there’s a good chance you can still make that happen. Or, Lucy Cuneo puts it this way: “If a large proportion of your dearest guests will have trouble making it to your big day, or perhaps they will be risking their health traveling to celebrate, you may decide it’s best to postpone the celebration.” Along with following the CDC’s recommendations, Cuneo advises, “taking into account travel needs, number of attendees and age of attendees will provide the most clarity on how you need to adjust your wedding day.”
Making the initial decision to postpone can be the hardest part, but she also thinks couples will feel much less stressed once they’ve nailed down whether they’re postponing or moving forward. She adds, “Making a decision with confidence will allow you to have the clarity to move forward with your plan, whether it’s an adjusted plan or not.”
If you do decide that postponing is in the best interest of you, your fiancé, and your guests, anxiety can spike again when thinking about what your new wedding date will be. On the bright side, you don’t have to choose one immediately. Cuneo thinks it’s totally fine to take some time to really decide when you want to move forward, saying, “I’ve been encouraging my clients to remember that it is okay to make the decision to postpone without knowing when the later date will be. Many have spent months planning this big day. You’re not expected to come up with a solution in one week!” This is super comforting for a couple who is in the midst of group texting everyone they know to try and keep everyone informed and also check everyone’s availability. Updating your wedding website is also crucial at this point. It’s one of the easiest ways to connect to a large number of people at once. Even as you figure things out little by little, keeping your website as up to date as possible as you navigate will help you efficiently communicate with all your invitees in a way that doesn’t make you want to yank your hair out.
Speaking of yanking your hair out, let’s take a second to acknowledge all the non-refundable deposits you’ve probably put down. This has to be one of the most difficult parts of being forced to postpone your date, and it may not seem fair, but try to keep in mind that no one, literally no one, could have predicted the current challenges facing couples with spring wedding dates, including your vendors. Cuneo assures brides, “While you have not experienced this situation before, neither have your vendors, meaning we’re addressing this on a case by case basis and we are all working on how we can best support each other during this time.”
The good news about that is your vendors are still there for you and they will do all they can to work with you on an alternate date. Anni Graham says, “Coming from the wedding photographer’s perspective, we absolutely want to shoot your rescheduled or postponed wedding if possible. It’s a huge dent in our projected income for the year which has to be carefully anticipated as the ebb and flow of wedding income is and always will be inconsistent.” Try to contact your most crucial vendors and see if they have any dates free that could work for an adjustment (another tip for your peace of mind: try calling it an adjustment, instead of postponement. It’s slightly less depressing.) If your photographer and videographer, florist, and food/drink vendors can all commit to a new date later on this year and your closest family and friends don’t have any immediate protests, you have a starting point.
Hopefully making progress on your new plans is encouraging and gives you something new to look forward to. But, if you’re feeling majorly down in the dumps after deciding to reschedule, I feel you. Once you’ve got some tentative options in place and are feeling less immediate panic, try to do something with your fiancé that isn’t talking about how crappy a situation this is. It can be something totally simple, like ordering a ridiculous amount of takeout from your favorite local restaurant (bonus points for helping your local economy), or planning an updated honeymoon later in the year to make up for everything you’re dealing with now. Graham says, “Couples who have had to change their date should try to make the most of it! Spend the weekend together, do something special, eat cake, or do whatever might help.” It may not be what you had planned for your wedding weekend, but it might be comforting to be reminded that even if you’re adjusting your wedding timeline, having someone who still wants to marry you when you’re stuck in a tiny apartment together during a pandemic is still a major bonus.
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at least I can practice my vows while also practicing proper hand-washing protocol
If nothing else, remember that despite the completely overwhelming feeling all of this has unleashed, it’s still your wedding, and your decision. You can even take this situation as an opportunity to tweak some of the details you were less-than-thrilled with now that you have extra time. This is a time to think hard about what’s most important to you as a couple on your big day. If that means the two of you heading down to the courthouse and having an impromptu ceremony, then go for it. Maybe you can make a midweek wedding work for you later on in the year. Cuneo says simply, “In the end, the most important people who need to feel good about the celebration you and your fiancé.” If you’re feeling like your 300-person extravaganza just isn’t the best idea right now with all the restrictions and risks in place, but you can’t imagine your big day without having the biggest party ever, then postpone and find another date. I promise you that the ones you love and want there most will work it out, and you’ll just have a little more time to finalize your reception playlist. (Making the best of things is a skill that will serve you well in your marriage, too, so there’s that.)
This chaos is all temporary, and it will pass. The important thing is to keep your wellbeing and your guests’ wellbeing top of mind right now, and plan a celebration that will be just as special in a few months as it would have been this spring.
If you have more questions or need help with any aspect of your wedding, WeddingWire has also set up a hotline and email you can reach out to at any time: (833) 998-2865 | [email protected]
Images: Tiko Giorgadze / Unsplash; betchesbrides / Instagram