First of a two-part blog post, here are my thoughts and insight on postponing and planning a wedding during a pandemic.

It’s a strange and surreal time right now and we’re all experiencing a range of emotions and trying to navigate our way through this unprecedented uncertainty.  The wedding industry as a whole has been hit hard, and if you’re a couple in the midst of planning your wedding or have had to postpone, it’s a balancing act.  Working through all the emotions, finances and practical decisions is not easy.  You might find yourself questioning whether you should continue with your wedding planning – feeling upset and guilty is allowed and honestly, it is expected. 

Take this time as an opportunity to really think about what matters most to you, this could mean re-prioritising things that you thought you wanted, that actually on reflection, are not that important to you now.  Keeping positive and excited doesn’t mean you are taking this situation lightly, it’s just that you’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as we all navigate our way through this journey.

While none of us know what is going to happen, or when things will be back to some sort of normal and weddings can take place once again, keep making educated decisions and don’t feel pressured to rush into anything.  We’re all in this together and supporting each other as we go through this will help us all out come out the other side.

Your top priority right now is staying safe and healthy, and keeping your loved ones and guests safe and healthy too.  Here’s some advice on practical things you can do to make that happen and minimise risk to your wedding:

Wedding Date
If your wedding is within the next month or so it’s more than likely you will need to postpone to a new date.  This will be dependent on government guidelines so make sure to keep in contact with your venue and suppliers and keep communication open.  Keep your guests updated also so they know the situation.  I would advise having a contingency plan in place, it’s always best to have a plan B just in case.  Try not to be reactive, and don’t make any rash decisions.  Discuss with your suppliers possible alternative dates in case you do need to reschedule.  They may be willing to hold the new date for you at no additional cost, it’s always worth asking and getting all the information in case you do need to reschedule.

Ensure you read all contracts thoroughly and in detail to be sure you don’t miss anything.  Keep communicating and being open and honest about your situation.  Ask if any new policies/clauses have been put in place due to the current circumstances.  If you’re wedding is this year, there’s the possibility you may still need to postpone so make sure to check any Force Majeure and cancellation clauses and payment terms.   If there isn’t anything in the contract about rescheduling/postponing ask your suppliers and venue their position on this.  This is a difficult time for everyone including wedding suppliers so remember to be kind (which works both ways of course).  Always get any changes to the agreed terms in writing, an email thread will be sufficient.

Supplier Search
if you still have suppliers to source for your wedding, don’t delay.  It might seem like there’s plenty of time for researching and booking your faves, but your preferred date might already be booked by other couples who have had to postpone their wedding from this year.  As soon as you’ve found the supplier you love, try to book them straight away.  They may take a little longer than usual to get back to you so don’t worry if you don’t hear back from them straight away.  They will likely be focusing on their couples who are due to get married in the next few months but they still want to hear from you.   Most suppliers will be taking bookings for next year, and some for 2022 so don’t be afraid to ask about their booking process, timelines and payment deadlines. 

Save the Dates/Invites
Guests will want to know what is happening with your wedding and that can cause added stress in itself.  Being able to communicate quickly with everyone is preferable to having to drip-feed the same information over and over via the phone, adding extra stress to you and them.  I would advise having an updated list of contact information for all your guests, including their email addresses.  Sending a mass email to everyone letting them know the situation, and if you are having to postpone or can continue with the date as planned is a way that everyone will get the same information and will avoid Chinese whispers.  Reassure them that the health and safety of everyone is paramount.  Your stationer may be able to create something bespoke for you to send to your guests digitally, notifying them of the change – most designers are offering this as a complimentary service during this situation.  

Communicate Digitally
As we’re in lockdown it’s not possible to have face to face meetings with suppliers or undertake venue visits.  Instead, communicate using the phone, Skype, Zoom.  Suppliers will be more than happy to accommodate this request, just bear in mind the internet is a little overloaded right now with everyone working from home and home-schooling.

Some venues are offering virtual tours of their properties which is an alternative way for you to see the venue and spaces during this time.   Once lockdown is over, venues and suppliers may offer face to face meetings with social distancing measures in place, so make sure to ask ahead of what these will be to keep you and them as safe as possible.  Some guests will naturally be concerned about social distancing measures and social gatherings, so include all this information on your wedding website (if you have one).  If you don’t have a wedding website, now’s a great time to set one up – WithJoy, Appycouple, Gettingmarried and Minted offer good solutions.   You could also create a private Facebook or WhatsApp group to keep your guests updated.

The second part of the blog post will talk about things you can do while you’re planning your wedding during this time.