When A Global Pandemic Screws Up Your Wedding

When A Global Pandemic Screws Up Your Wedding

Seriously. A GLOBAL PANDEMIC. I mean, really.

Most brides just have to worry about rain. Or “I hope it’s not too cold that day” or “too hot”. “I hope my dress fits.” “I hope the minister pronounces our names correctly.” For most brides – or at least those who came before March of 2020 – “viral apocalypse” wasn’t high on their list of questions to ask the venue when booking (“Yes, and what’s your refund policy in case of a viral apocalypse where the government enforces a ban on large gatherings?”)

We’re hearing more and more about “social distancing” and “non-essential business closures”, and all of a sudden the president of the United States is telling everyone to wash their hands? (because apparently we weren’t doing that before? whatever, we can talk about that later) — suddenly things like napkin colors and floral arrangements and “Do you think we should have our bridal party walk down the aisle to Bruno Mars or Ed Sheeran?”… well, suddenly we’ve got bigger things to worry about than “should my bridesmaids wear blush pink or petal pink“?

It’s not fair. You’re right – it’s NOT fair. It’s frustrating. And let me just say that I’m sorry this is happening to you. YOU”RE RIGHT – IT”S NOT FAIR. Months and months and months that you’ve spent planning —- all to have to re-plan everything? Ugh. As if planning a wedding wasn’t hard enough. One day you’ll tell your children “Well, mommy and daddy were SUPPOSED to get married in the spring of 2020, but then a global pandemic happened and weddings were BANNED.” (I mean, not ‘weddings’ specifically – more like ‘large gatherings’, but still. Maybe your children will think you’re rebels! Maybe they’ll think you’re cool!)

The good news is that you have options. No matter what happens, you always have options – even if they aren’t the options you were hoping for. It’s not like anyone said you can’t get married, ever. You just can’t get married right now …. at least not in a setting of more than… ten people? I think? What is it now? Five? I don’t know, maybe you and your fiancé can FaceTime the minister – that’s probably legal, right?

The truth is, some people are still getting married. It’s in their homes and their guest lists are basically seven people, but it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, they just wanted to get married – regardless of the food or the flowers or the party, so that’s what they did. They got married.

Others have chosen to postpone. Which can bring its own unique set of challenges. “We’ve already sent out invitations, we can’t postpone”, “Our venue doesn’t have another available Saturday until 2022, we can’t postpone”, “I’m thirty-two years old – if we postpone, that throws off our whole timeline of when we can start a family! We can’t postpone!”

Alright, so don’t. If you don’t want to postpone, for whatever reason (except maybe the invitations one, that can be worked around) but if you just want to get married, I encourage you to just GET MARRIED. Go to the courthouse (if it’s open) and get married. Why not? Carrie Bradshaw did it! And she didn’t even do it during a global pandemic! She just did it!

But if you do want to postpone, here’s a guide to help you through it –

Step #0.5 – Call Your Vendors
This needs to be done before step one. Do this first. Before you even start re-planning – make sure to tie up loose ends from the original date. If you’re postponing within ten weeks of your scheduled event, call your florist (and stationary designer, if you have one) – ask them to put a stop on what they’re doing. This way you’re not paying for something that you won’t use.

Step #1- Create a Plan
Okay. So now we’re postponing. That means we’re moving our wedding date, we’re not scrapping it, this isn’t a canceled wedding, it’s a change-of-date one. Wrap your mind around that before you start calling people. When do you want to move it to? The Fall? Next year? Winter wedding? Decide this before you call your venue and they start throwing around dates. Keep in mind that they may be booked up for the reminder of 2020, but could have some availability on Fridays and Sundays if you’re open to it. Otherwise I would start thinking about possibilities for 2021.

Step #2 – Call Your Vendors (Again)
Great! Now that you’ve got a plan – check with the venue and get a few new dates to play around with, then reach out to your vendors to confirm their availability. Once you’ve found one that everyone can settle on – call your venue back and nail down that date!

Step #3 – Tell Your Guests
Given the circumstances, they’ve probably been expecting your call. In fact, if they were having travel arrangements booked in order to attend your wedding, they’ve probably already reached out to you. No one will be upset that you’re changing your date. Just be sure to reach out to those who will be affected to let them know (especially if they need to book hotels, etc), and then send out new save the date cards with your new date!

<u>Other Helpful Tips To Remember:</u>

  1. Don’t forget about your wedding dress. (If you postpone a year out, you may want to postpone your alterations or schedule new ones. If your dress is still with a seamstress, be sure to give them a call. Chances are they’ll ask you to pick up your dress because they won’t be able to store it for that long, but don’t forget to check in.)
  2. Consider alternatives if your venue is completely booked for 2020 but you want to get married this year. (Try hosting the ceremony on one day your reception on another. Try for different times – maybe you could do a brunch instead of a dinner. Try for Fridays instead of Saturdays. The point is, TRY to be flexible.)
  3. Get your new date in writing. (Chances are, you already have a contract with a date on it. Be sure to ask for an addendum or other guarantee in writing that they are holding the new date for you.)

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