Postponing A Wedding: Expert Tips For The Process
Start with the venue
The top item on the to-do list is to contact the venue and see what days are available for the new wedding date during the period that you have in mind. Once you have an idea of the availability, then you can contact the rest of your vendors and suppliers.
“The first thing you need to do is discuss alternative dates with your venue. Once you have options of dates that work with your venue, send a group email to all your suppliers to see which date they can do. From there you can commence planning your postponed wedding," says Mark Niemierko, founder of Niemierko Events & Weddings in London.
Also make sure you are constantly checking in with your contact point at the venue.
“Stay in regular communication with the venue and keep a good relationship with your contact point for updates. Venues are no less eager to maintain the same booking dates for all their clients than you are in wanting to keep yours, so know that they are there to help you as best as they possibly can,” says Evelyn Mills, founder of Marriage Maestros in Hong Kong. “Everyone is in this together so approach discussions calmly with compassion and flexibility—these are by far the most effective ways when trying to negotiate a win-win situation.”
Adjust your budget
Given all the uncertainty right now as to when the travel restrictions will be eased and when large gatherings are allowed again, Niemierko suggests that scheduling the new date for Spring 2021 and onwards will be the safest bet. If your new date is sometime next year, do bear in mind that there might be an increase in fees and rates because of inflation.
“Couples do need to expect a potential increase in prices and fees if they decide to postpone their wedding by a year. Part of this challenge lies in the current economic situation, coupled with a multitude of postponements—as vendors need to make sure they have bandwidth to serve existing clients while being available for new clients,” says Lisa Vorce, owner and creative director of Lisa Vorce Co in Orange County, California.
“Some venues and suppliers might charge a small cancellation fee. They shouldn’t be making you lose all your deposit or full payment; they should carry this over. But every venue and supplier have different terms—as this is unprecedented, I would suggest we look beyond what’s written in contracts and have a friendly communication,” says Niemierko.
Given these are unprecedented and particularly tough times for small and medium businesses, pay it forward by being more aware and sensitive of your vendors’ situation.
“Being aware and sensitive to how this situation affects your creative team will certainly be appreciated,” says Vorce. “Ask nicely, be sensitive to their business needs and take time to understand their individual policies. If it feels appropriate, ask if they are willing to extend their original rates to you.”
“I would ask couples to be considerate of small suppliers. If you want these independent firms, whom you selected and love to still be in business for your new date, support them. If you are in a position to pay them part of a schedule payment earlier, by way of helping their immediate cash flow, it will be greatly appreciated, and you are likely going to help ensure that firm stays open!” says Niemierko.
Expected the unexpected
Once you have postponed your wedding, be prepared for other adjustments, with some potential surprises among them. “To expect the unexpected, to be pragmatic and prepared for possible further changes. Don't focus on the little things, work together as a team and see this as your test to how you approach and handle your marriage in the future,” says Mills. “There are silver linings in everything that happens, so look for yours—as there will be many—and cherish them all.”
There is a chance that there are elements from your original wedding plans that you won’t be able to include at the new date, whether it is because of availability or seasonality. However, sometimes that could be used to your advantage.
“Couples who have postponed may need to manage expectations. Understand that postponing might result in a wedding that was different than what you originally envisioned,” says Vorce. “At the same time, there may be a new, exciting opportunity on the horizon from a design and experience perspective. For instance, you may have the opportunity to integrate different flowers into your design that may not have previously been in season. Or, your rental company may have fresh inventory available for linens and tabletops that could accentuate your original vision.”
The change in circumstances means that you might have to focus more on big picture, more so than you would have had to otherwise. “What I hope will happen is couples will now focus and realise the most important aspect of their wedding day is a celebration and not get lost on worrying about the details,” says Niemierko. “Don’t get me wrong, those details are important, but having your loved ones witness you say ‘I do’ and raise a glass is far more important!”
See also: 5 Things To Know Before Planning A Destination Wedding