How to Pick a New Wedding Date, According to Wedding Planners

Photo Credit: Jose Villa

Whether they’ve been forced to move their wedding dates due to the ongoing shelter in place and social distancing rules, considered canceling altogether, or are in limbo—many of our brides are asking the same question in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. How do you then go about choosing a new wedding date? We got the scoop from wedding planners all over the country on how to handle the process, below.

1. Don’t cancel—postpone.

First and foremost, when picking a new date, opt to postpone your wedding to a new date—not cancel it. “Couples should never cancel their wedding!  I refuse to allow this temporary moment in time rob my couples of the experience that they deserve!” says Andrea Eppolito of Andrea Eppolito Events. While postponing your wedding may be an emotional experience, planners will always suggest doing so over canceling—for a multitude of reasons. “Cancelations are different and many times will incur major monetary losses and emotional regret too,” says Aimee Monihan of Tropical and Mountain Occasions. “Typically you will find a non-refundable deposit clause and then a percentage of the full payment due according to work done at the point of cancelation. Some companies even require cancelation fees to be paid.” She explains. 

2. Speak to your most prioritized vendors first.

In order to pick a new date that makes the most sense, you’ll want to make a list of your most important vendors—and speak to them first. “For some, this means securing the venue, the planner, and the florist.  For others, it means the venue, the photographer, and the band, ” explains Andrea Eppolito. From there, you can reach out to each and every vendor at the top of your list and check on their availabilities for a future date. But don’t jump the gun and announce a postponement just yet, explains wedding planner Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events“I am encouraging couples to not change your date officially until you know the status of all of your vendors availabilities, their possible date change fee and or cancellation fees. Once you have all of the information you can make the best decision for you and your soon-to-be spouse, family, and friends.” 

3. Review each and every contract you signed.

With each vendor you signed, take the time to read your contracts carefully before discussing new dates and announcing a postponement. This will save you time and money down the line. “When dealing with a postponement, understand that the wording of your contract is what you and your vendor will be held to under these circumstances,” explains Valerie Gernhauser of Sapphire Events. “Expect that your vendors will not return any retainers, deposits, or installment payments made toward their performance under the contract, in almost all cases. For those vendors that have yet to perform under the contract, you are more likely to be able to get money back.” Wedding contracts making your head spin? If you have a planner, now is the time to really lean on them to help. Each and every vendor will have different policies, and your planner will likely have an established relationship with them already, making the process easier to navigate. “A wedding planner’s job is to advocate for their clients and that can mean leaning on relationships to navigate tough negotiations and new date availability,” explains Aimee Monahan. Don’t have a planner? Don’t stress—like we mentioned here, many planners are willing to help during this time, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

4. Consider multiple dates.

In order to keep the majority of your most beloved vendors, make a list of a few dates that will work to present to each company in hopes that you can land on one or two that will work for most, if not all. Aimee Monihan’s team finds that making a spreadsheet with dates that vendors and venues were not available simplifies the process—leaving you with a few crossover dates that all companies involved are available to switch to. “Speak with your venue and ask what their policy is on changing the date. It is likely they will encourage you to stay in your year, just on a different date.” Jove Meyer suggests. Many of the terms you agreed on are likely more flexible if you stay within the same year as your original date. 

5. Be prepared to be flexible for the best outcome.

For the best results and the happiest outcome, try to be as flexible as possible—and this means with both your vendors, and your ideal date. Besides staying within your year if you can, Jove Meyer explains, “if you are set on a season or month, be flexible with the day of the week. If you are set on the day of the week, then be flexible with your season.” You’ll also be surprised at how flexible vendors are being as well during this time. Perhaps your chosen photographer isn’t available on the date you decided—but don’t stress, explains Jove—they may have an associate or assistant they can send instead. If all else fails, be open to the idea of working with someone else they recommend. “If they or their company have no one to offer the service then they would likely be happy to make recommendations to help their couples have the wedding of their dreams, even if it cannot include them due to the coronavirus date change,” says Jove.

6. Prioritize, make the jump and take a deep breath.

I always advise couples however to plan their weddings based on their own personal priorities,” explains Marcy Blum of Marcy Blum Associates. “If you’ve had a specific band or floral designer that you know you’ve wanted as long as you imagined a wedding, then their availability will be the piece that you plan your new date around,” she explains. With this in mind, choose the new date that feels right to you, whether that’s the date that works best for your family, your florist, your venue, or you and your S.O. And once you have that date in mind, pull the trigger. Make the decision as quickly as possible to secure the new date,” says Andrea Eppolito. “Give your family and friends notice, and then relax and enjoy the process!”

7. Know that everyone is understanding and trying to make things work in everyone’s favor.

Everyone in the wedding planning business understands that this is a highly stressful and emotional time for all engaged couples, and with that, know that professionals in the industry will always try their best to accommodate you however they can. “Ultimately, we all want to support our lovely clients and understand the tremendous emotional and financial turmoil that spring and summer weddings are experiencing right now. It is a trying time on all fronts, and we want to see you across the finish line for your best day ever!” says Valerie Gernhauser. Take a deep breath, make decisions carefully and quickly, and know that your wedding day (whenever you choose it to be) will still be the most amazing day for you and your soon-to-be spouse—because, at the end of the day, it’s about the love you share between you as a couple. 

Looking for bridal advice? Read our blog. 
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