We know you probably never want to hear the words “coronavirus,” “quarantine,” and “unprecedented times” again, but unfortunately The Rona is still among us. Corona brides across the world are lost when it comes to what to do now that their wedding has been postponed or canceled. The days of saying “I do” in front of friends and family and taking shots with your bridesmaids at the open bar seem so distant, but we’re hopeful that the investment towards celebrating this new chapter in your life is worth the wait. For those of you that have officially made the decision to share your vows with your S.O. in 2021, you’re probably wondering WTF to do with all of your plans now? Don’t freak out, because we’ve gone ahead and asked the experts to share their thoughts on what couples can be doing in the meantime to ensure that all t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted before the big day.
Yes, you probably had everything planned out perfectly, right down to your personalized stationery before the virus happened, but now that your plans have changed, there’s some tricky re-thinking to do. “It goes without saying that trying to navigate the postponement of a wedding is mind-boggling, and it can be hard to know where to start, or better yet, figure out an organized way to keep track of your progress and your remaining to-dos,” says Lisa Bowser, Founder of Brite Lite, a company that makes LED neon signs. “Lists on lists on lists can be quite boring to look at, yes?” Um, yes! Bowser recommends the acrylic dry-erase Goals Calendar to eliminate your wedding stress. Bonus: you can still use it in your home after your wedding planning process is (finally) over.
Read Your Contracts
I know we’re all programmed to click “accept terms and conditions” without a second thought, but with circumstances constantly changing as our world adapts to the virus, it’s essential that you and your future spouse have your contingency plans up-to-date. As AJ Williams, Founder and Creative Director at Boston-based event planning company AJ Events, recommends, “When reading your contracts, make sure you have your planner and vendors develop a rescheduling contract or addendum, and to change the Force Majeure to include pandemics and decreased capacity due to government mandates.” This way, you won’t have to scramble to make things work any more than you’ve already had to.
See What Safety Precautions Your Vendors Are Taking
When you do end up walking down the aisle, you want to be sure all possible measures are put in place to ensure that your guests stay happy and healthy. AJ Williams reports that for all future events, his company “will require cleaning/sanitation measures from our vendors and venues working on our events and add sanitation efforts plus add supplies at attendee check-in to protect the safety of our work environment and your attendees while allowing us to continue to service our clients.” He adds, “We have created branded plexi walls on our bar and catering stations, adorable customized face masks with your favorite quote or funny message or emoji icon to include your signature style. Get creative while keeping safe.” So make sure you check with your vendors to see how they’re adapting to these (my brain: don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it) unprecedented times.
Enjoy Your Engagement
Though you’ve (understandably) been mentally designing your reception place cards since the moment you got a ring on your finger, take this unique opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy this extra time of being engaged to the love of your life. Of course, says Taylor Waxman of L.A.-based event design and production company KED & Co., “Changing your wedding date can be emotionally draining. Managing your friends and family travel plans, rescheduling your vendors to make sure everyone is available on the same day and overall reimagining a new date in a new year—you’ve been through it.”
When adjusting your wedding planning timeline, though, staying sane is essential. “Don’t over plan,” advises Waxman. “It’s very easy to focus on your wedding during this time, but our biggest advice is: don’t. Once you have your vendors and location rescheduled and all guests are alerted of the new date, take a step back to enjoy your engagement. Spend quality time with your partner, schedule outdoor picnics or Zoom dinners with family and friends, take this time to reconnect and appreciate what is around you.”
Make The Process Fun
Now that you’ve got some extra time to plan things out, you and your partner can hone in on achieving the wedding of your dreams. Sarah Kuhlberg, Creative Director at Colette’s Catering and Events, suggests that you “Cast aside what might be typical wedding traditions, and do what YOU really, truly want for your wedding. Explore bright colors, beautiful seasonal menus, wine flown in from your favorite winery, book a unique outdoor venue, mix and match your linen pattern choices, custom built backdrops from local artists, neon signage, etc. Now you have the time to really customize!”
While it’s easy to get overwhelmed with pressing health concerns on top of your color scheme choices, “Making the difficult decision to postpone your wedding should be the hardest part. Once you’ve done that, try to make the rest of the process fun,” advises Matt Ramirez, Senior VP of Marketing at Generation Tux. “Look at new wedding trends, new seasonal colors, and opportunities to update your wedding plans! Everyone in the wedding industry knows this is a tough time for couples, and we’re here to work with you. Take this time with your husband to design the look of your wedding suit or tux again, order some free swatches, and get a free home try-on delivered to the groom.”
If you want to get creative without overloading your plate, Taylor Waxman suggests designing your own thank you notes online, finding custom postage for your wedding invitations, registering for gifts, working on your wedding website, finalizing your guest list, and choosing meaningful songs to be played during your ceremony. She also suggested pulling inspiration images (as if you needed an excuse to add to the wedding Pinterest board you’ve had since college.). “Focus on your style and look, try not to go too deep in detail,” she recommends. “Keep this light and fun.”
Can’t Wait? Go For It!
As Nike says, “Just Do It.” If you and your S.O. are itching to get married ASAP, Sarah Kuhlberg suggests having a mini wedding and eloping in your backyard, and then scheduling a reception for a year later so you can celebrate your first anniversary with friends and family. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and feel free to “Create your dream celebration and know that this new wedding style is something we are all getting used to.”
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When the entire world shut down back in March, I’ll be honest, my fiancé and I were not concerned at all about our September wedding being affected. We were exactly six months out from our wedding day when quarantine began. I was much more hopeful back then, convinced that my fiancé and I would really get to spend quality time together, finalize some wedding plans, and then all this would be over just in time for our outdoor wedding in Connecticut.
Fast forward two months later, and not only does March feel like it was 100 years ago, but my fiancé and I have made the tough decision to postpone our wedding to June 2021. After hours of discussion, it became clear that this was the right thing to do for us, and now that it’s done, I actually feel relieved. Here’s why postponing my wedding doesn’t feel like the end of the world like I thought it would.
I Don’t Wake Up Filled With Anxiety
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Well, at least not wedding-related anxiety. When we began our quarantining, I remember saying to my fiancé, “thank God our wedding is in September! It’ll be back to normal by then.” HA, I was so young and naive back then. As time went on and stay-at-home orders lengthened, we realized that this wasn’t something that would go away overnight. When we began to understand how much of a crisis this really was, I began lying awake at night wondering if this would, in fact, impact our wedding. As the weeks went on and we had to cancel our engagement party, my fiancé postponed his bachelor party, and we moved the date of our joint shower, the lead-up to our wedding was becoming more about whether or not it would even happen versus celebrating the fact that it WAS happening. We both hated that what was supposed to be one of the most exciting times in our relationship had been hijacked by anxiety. Since making the decision to postpone, it feels like we’ve taken back control of our day. Now, we can plan confidently, without question and really soak in this (once again) exciting time.
We Were Able To Get A 2021 Date
When we started talking with my parents about the possibility of postponing, I was very adamant about waiting until July to make the decision. I was worried making this decision in early May was jumping the gun. I kept wondering, “What if things get better by July?” However, my mom was very adamant that we needed to make a decision soon in order to secure a new date. And, as always, my mom was right. When we started calling our vendors to see what kind of availability they had for summer 2021, it was already slim pickings. In addition to all the March, April, and May couples rescheduling, there were couples who’d gotten engaged before and during the pandemic who’d already booked their vendors. We were luckily able to secure the last available June 2021 date that any of my vendors had. Had we waited until July to make the call, we would’ve been sh*t out of luck and would’ve had to wait another two years to get married. And trust me, after two months working, living, eating and breathing in the same one-bedroom apartment, I’m unsure if we would’ve made it to the altar (JK, love you!).
Vendors Are Being Super Understanding
Another reason I was hesitant to pull the band-aid off and postpone was the headache I thought it would be to reschedule all of our vendors. Since we’re getting married outside, we have a different vendor for everything. From catering to rentals to planners, etc., we had to find a date that worked for 10+ vendors and we were unsure what kind of financial hit it would take on our budget. Would they make us pay another deposit to secure a new date? Would we still have to fork over the money based on our original financial timeline?
Thankfully, right now, vendors are being super accommodating and basically doubling as therapists. From the pep talk I got from our stationery vendor to the reassurance of my hair and makeup artist that this was the right move, everyone has been so kind and considerate. We were able to move everything from one date to the other without extra payment or hassle. They simply updated our contracts and sent them back to us. They’ve made this process so much easier than I expected, and it makes me even more excited to work with them next year.
People Have Stopped Asking Us What Our Plan Is
“What are you doing about your wedding?” was the new “So when are you getting engaged?” The wave of anger and frustration that came over me when people would ask me that question was reminiscent of when I would be asked about when we were getting engaged. Since I couldn’t necessarily snap back with, “whenever we damn well please” in this instance, I was forced to utter “I don’t know” with a fake smile in an effort to mask the anxiety I was constantly feeling. Now that we’ve set a new date, I don’t get antsy phone calls from family members or friends wondering what they should do about their plane tickets or hotel reservations. That in itself is reason enough to just bite the bullet and reschedule, IMO.
We Wanted To Have The Wedding We’ve Always Wanted
I know some couples have decided to get married on their original date with a limited number of guests and then plan to have a larger celebration later, and I am all for that. However, for my fiancé and I, we want it all at once. When my parents told us we could keep our original date, but we’d likely have to make some concessions, like getting rid of our raw bar or seating people six feet apart, this picture of what our wedding would look like started to change, and we didn’t want that. We want all of our family and friends on a crowded dance floor, mask-free, without worrying that they’ll get sick if they attend. We didn’t want our older guests having to decide between their health and our day, and that was ultimately what pushed us over the edge. We wanted the day we’d always dreamed of to come to fruition, without any limitations.
It’s Helped Us Put Things In Perspective
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Okay, don’t roll your eyes just yet. One thing that was hard for me to wrap my mind around was the fact that on September 12, our original date, we weren’t going to be getting married. I had this date in my mind for so long that I couldn’t move past the idea that it was no longer ours. I said this to my fiancé, to which he replied, “It’s not about the date, it’s about the day.” He talked about how when he pictured our wedding day, it wasn’t about it being on September 12. It was about having it exactly the way we pictured it, whether that’s four months from now or nine or 100.
It hasn’t been an easy road to get to this place of being happy with our new plan. I never expected this—but since when is life predictable? If you’re considering changing your date, I’d encourage you to do it and get some control back in your life. Yes, it sucks, but I promise you’ll feel much better after you make the decision—which I highly recommend chasing with a bottle of champagne to ease the pain.
Images: Shutterstock; betchesbrides / Instagram