For couples, engagement tends to be a stressful time. Throw COVID-19 into the Petri dish of wedding planning, and the affects on your plans can be as difficult as purchasing toilet paper.
Wedding professionals are also feeling the affects of the coronavirus, in a very real way. But as much as this sucks, we are all in this together. We are in the business of community and joy, we want you to be happy.
I'm here to help you succeed. So from my couch to yours...some answers on whether you should postpone, and how to postpone your wedding during COVID-19...
Should I Postpone my Wedding?
For couples getting married in April and May, here are a few options:
1. Reschedule your entire event
But try to keep a 2020 date, rather than going for a date in 2021. Why? A few reasons. One, you could lose a lot of your momentum in the planning. Second, it's a great way to do something positive for your vendors. If your wedding vendors don't have business supporting them this year, they might not be here to serve you by the time the 2021 season rolls around.
Since 2020 is an iconic year, many couples who got engaged in 2018 and 2019 have been planning their weddings for this year. Therefore, it's an extra busy time for many wedding professionals. So if you need to reschedule for the summer/fall/winter, check with your venue and other key vendors for open Fridays or Sundays.
2. Get married on your original date, and reschedule the big event
Ohio Governor DeWine's recommendations from on March 17th:
“People plan weddings for a long, long time, and again, we would just ask them to figure out a way to celebrate the wedding, but maybe postpone the big celebration," Ohio Gov. DeWine
The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland also addressed the issue with the same suggestion:
"Every effort should be made to reschedule weddings during this crisis if possible. If a civil license is available, a wedding can be celebrated with immediate family members only, keeping in mind the maximum number persons in attendance according to government directives." Catholic Diocese of Cleveland
If you choose to go ahead and get married on your set date with just a close few in attendance, then consider live-streaming it on Facebook. Then, reschedule the big gathering for another 2020 date.
Either way, the recommendation is to stick with postponements and avoid cancellations, as you will loose your deposits with your vendors if the event is cancelled. If you reschedule, your deposits should transfer to the new date. Vendors are on your side, and are happy to be extra generous and flexible during this time. We are here to work with you on the details of the rescheduled date.
Tip: If you haven't hired a planner already, and you decide to postpone, consider hiring a planner to do all the working out of the details. This is supposed to be a time of savoring for you, not of stress. That is what planners are there for, and there has never been a better time to hire one. (Check out 44th and Luxe Event Planning)
For couples getting married in June, July and August - it would be wise to check in with your vendor team regularly, especially your venue. Your key objective is going to be minimizing loss and stress for yourself.
How Do I Postpone My Wedding?
Here are the steps to take:
Decide if you are getting married now and celebrating later, or getting married later. Either way, you're going to need a new date for your big gathering.
If you are going to get married on your original date with only a few people, do you already have your marriage license? If not, check with your county probate office to see if they are processing marriage license applications at this time. (As of today, March 20, Hamilton County Probate Office is still processing new marriage licenses, and the fee is still only $75) Note that you need a marriage license for the county in which your ceremony is taking place, not where you are living.
If you decide to hire a planner, you will give them all your vendors' info and he or she will help guide you through the important decisions, and then work on the details with your vendors. If you don't hire a planner to do the legwork: first, contact your venue coordinator to find at least two new 2020 dates that they are available that work for you. Again, check Fridays and Sundays. Once you have a few options, send an email to your other key vendors: photographer, videographer and caterer to see if they are available for one or both of those dates. Next, check with your close family and bridal party on those dates.
If any of your booked vendors are unavailable on your new date, you will likely lose your deposit. This isn't because they are being greedy. They have put in work on your project, turned away other work for that date, and booked their own help in relation to your project. This could also be a positive for you though: Was there another vendor that you adored who wasn't available for your original date, that might be open for your new date?
If your save the date or invitations have gone out already, communicate with your guests ASAP. In best practice, rescheduling your wedding does mean that you should call your guests. Let them know you are thinking of them, and that their convenience and safety are top of mind for you. Weddings are a time of community and togetherness, and even though you can't be with everyone now, a quick phone call can be a kind and polite gesture that sets minds at ease and builds into your community of loved ones.
Send out a note in the mail with your new date and information for them to RSVP.
If you haven't yet sent your invitations, you may want to hold off for a few weeks. Or include a note in the invitation letting guests know that there is a possibility of a changed date, and that you will keep them informed if any changes are made.
Keep your wedding website updated with your new date and any other changes in the plans.
Remember, your wedding vendors are here to celebrate and support you both. In the meantime, since we suddenly have so much time on our hands, maybe foster a dog, invest in your relationship, or buy a drive through cake.