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Photo Credit: Allan Zepeda Photography
The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every industry in the world—including the wedding industry, forcing many couples to postpone their wedding should it fall during social distancing lockdowns. But for those who have weddings in June through September, many are considering whether or not they should postpone at all, when they should make that decision by, and what the next steps would be if they did. We spoke to the pros about the process and got the scoop, below.
Before You Decide
Speak to your vendors about a backup date no matter what your original date is.
Air on the side of caution and consider reaching out to your vendors to find a date that you can place a tentative hold on should you need to reschedule—especially if you are a June or July bride, suggests photographer Jacqui Cole. “This way, you can rest easy that your preferred date will be available should you be forced to postpone,” she suggests. And as mentioned here, vendors are being incredibly flexible under the current circumstances. “If you’re worried, talk with your planner and reach out to your venue and vendors about postponement policies,” explains Emily Gaikowski of Heartthrob Weddings and Events, “Knowing your backup plan options can provide some peace of mind, even if you don’t end up postponing your wedding,”
June brides may be considering postponing, and July brides should be prepared for the possibility.
If you’re wanting to maintain your original vision of your wedding and your wedding date is in June, you may already be considering postponing. July couples should be prepared for a possible postponement, but it may be too early to tell. “June couples should definitely postpone, especially with the CDC’s latest recommendations that social distancing stay in effect until at least May 1st,” explains Emily Gaikowski. “You’ll be giving your guests a chance at a little peace of mind, and by not waiting until May, you’ll have a better chance of not having to push everything into 2021,” she says. The sooner you can make a decision here, the better chances you’ll have of being able to move most if not all of your vendors to a new date later this year, should you not want to wait.
August and September brides should consider a backup date and prepare to make moves.
If your wedding falls in August or September, it may be a little too early to tell—that being said, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. “We’re learning more every day about our new normal, and how long social distancing and shelter-in-place ordinances may need to be in effect,” says Emily Gaikowski. Things could change rapidly (hopefully for better, but possibly for worse), so Leslie Price of In Any Event NY suggests selecting a backup date with each of your vendors, and if things don’t look promising, be ready to pull the trigger by mid-June. “I’m cautiously optimistic…but that all depends on how well people follow the rules on social distancing to flatten the curve,” she explains.
If your guest list is high priority to you, consider changing your wedding date.
“If you were planning for 200 guests, would you be okay with only 125-150 of them attending?” Emily Gaikowski suggests asking yourself this question. “It’s time to decide if you as a couple are okay with the possibility of having a smaller wedding than you had originally planned, since some guests may still be wary to travel,” she explains. Sit down with your spouse-to-be and weigh out these options. For instance, even if your wedding isn’t until September, your vendors are on board and everything is going as planned, your grandparents or other elderly or immunocompromised loved ones might be nervous to make the trip—a possible game changer depending on the couple. Emily goes on to explain that most July to September weddings should expect a dip in guest count either way—”so now is the time to clarify contract minimums with vendors like catering, bar service, and your venue,” she says.
After You Decide
Reach out to your planner.
Once you’ve made the decision to postpone your wedding, call your planner. “Your planner is worth his or her weight in gold in this situation,” explains Valerie Gernhauser of Sapphire Events. “As the chief of staff for your entire event, your planner will be able to disseminate the information necessary to all of your vendors and your venue, and potentially save you a great deal of frustration and confusion in handling a postponement,” she explains. Don’t panic if you don’t have a planner though—if you planned your entire wedding yourself, you can tackle postponement just as well. “If you don’t have a planner, reach out to your venue first to discuss options,” suggests Leslie Price. Once you’ve spoken to your venue, it’ll be that much easier to handle other vendors that trickle down from the top—caterers, florists, music, etc.
Hone in on a new date.
Work with your planner to decide on one or two best-case-scenario dates that will work best for you, explains Valerie Gernhauser. “Your planner can begin inquiring with your original team of vendors for availability and start the process of switching over your contracts to the new date,” she says. The sooner you start this process after you’ve made your decision, the better—for both you and your vendors.
Consider a weekday wedding.
While you’re trying to pick a new date, talk about the possibility of getting married on a weekday. It might sound scary, but it may be in your best interest for multiple reasons. “I imagine Thursday weddings will become quite the norm this fall,” says Leslie Price. Being open to a weekday wedding gives you a better chance of keeping your most sought-after vendors. Plus, you’ll likely be able to pick a date that’s sooner than expected. Remember, countless other couples are moving their weekend weddings to other weekends—leaving weekdays open gives you more flexibility.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
We know navigating wedding planning during this time is especially stressful, uncertain and scary. Not only is the entire Kleinfeld family here for you during this time (get all your questions answered here), but “the entire event industry is dedicated to working together so we can all celebrate sooner!” Leslie Price explains. If you’re feeling especially overwhelmed, she suggests asking your venue for a planner they recommend, or don’t be afraid to call around to find a planner who is willing to help you. Remember, each and every planner, vendor and bridal retailer is here to make sure you have a meaningful and loving wedding, no matter the circumstances.
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