As hopeful as I am for the year ahead, I am also aware that many of you with spring (and even early summer) wedding dates are facing the daunting task of postponing your celebrations. The initial decision is certainly one that fills you with disappointment, but I can safely say that once your plans are realigned on a date that makes you, your partner, and your guests feel truly comfortable, relief will hit and excitement will return.
1. Reach out to your venue as soon as possible.
Your venue is the foundation of your wedding plan, so connect with the team there first to see what dates they have available that would work for your postponement. The earlier you can have this conversation, the better. They will not only have more dates to choose from, but also be more forgiving in adjusting your existing contract. Most venues are being incredibly accommodating to these sorts of changes, considering the state of the world over the past year, but it always helps to give them as much courtesy as possible and come ready to compromise.
2. Next, connect with all of your booked vendors.
Once you’ve received the go-ahead from your venue, reach out to all of your vendors to inform them of your postponement plans. If you’ve decided to work with a wedding planner, I highly recommend recruiting their help with these communications so you don’t have to spend your days fretting over multiple email threads and reorganizing all the details. Similar to your venue conversation, you will have to adjust existing contracts with your vendors. Again, most are understanding of the situation and will make the move fairly easy for you, but some may require additional deposits for your new date. Come prepared for those conversations, balancing your budget and your understanding how their businesses are impacted by these kinds of changes.
3. Give everyone several new date options to choose from.
Based on your conversation with your venue, in which the team should offer you at least two new available dates on their calendar, share those date options with all of your vendors to see where all schedules align. With a little luck, you won’t have to ask for a third or fourth date option from your venue to continue working with all of your booked vendors. Again, the earlier you have these conversations, the better!
4. Make a quick checklist.
To keep all the responses from all of your vendors organized and easy to skim, I highly recommend creating a simple checklist. Include the vendor name, whether they are willing to move to another date with you, the new dates proposed, the new dates they have available, and whether they will require any sort of fee or deposit to make this change. That way, as your responses roll in, you can see where the team is aligning. And as soon as you see that everyone has said “Yes!” to the same date, you can book it in a matter of seconds — and before another couple does. The list will also just give you peace of mind that everything is organized and that you aren’t forgetting anything (or anyone) in the shuffle.
5. Update those contracts.
As soon as everyone gives you the green light on a particular date, lock it down with all parties! Send that flurry of emails, and get ready to start reading the fine print of the new addendums to your contracts. You might have to spend a little time adjusting your budget to accommodate a couple of additional deposits as well. Just take a deep breath and know that this is the final step to officially securing your new date. Phew!
6. Inform your guests.
Now that you have a new date set, it’s time to let all of your guests know about the change. The way in which you communicate the details is entirely up to you. Some folks prefer phone calls, others take to social media, and others send letter-like emails. Regardless of your method, be sure to share the new date, any information you want to offer regarding why you’re postponing, and that you’ll be sending a snail mail change-the-date soon. If any of your guests planned to travel to your wedding, consider acknowledging how you’ve adjusted any hotel blocks as well.
7. Order some change-the-date postcards.
Reach out to the company you initially purchased save-the-date mailers from to see if they are offering any discounts to couples who need to postpone their celebrations. Some offer a free reprinting of the exact same design with a simple date change, and most provide a nice coupon code for a percentage off a brand new order. Either way, expect some help here as you get round two ready for printing and mailing. And don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your new design, should you choose to make one!
8. Take a weekend “away” with your partner.
Now that your wedding is officially postponed, guests are informed, and planning can take the backseat for a little while, take a much-needed break with your spouse-to-be! Regardless of whether you rent a quaint Airbnb cabin in the woods for a couple of days or simply commit to an unplugged staycation with one another, give yourself a moment to sit back, take lots of deep breaths, and focus on your love for each other. After all, you’re still getting married! And while it was difficult to postpone your big day, that decision will ultimately make it all the more special. Let the new countdown begin!
Happy Wedding Planning!
Sarah Keenan, Photographer
Westland Farms Studio