How to Move a Wedding: Guide to Postponing During COVID-19

An Introduction to Postponing Your Wedding

Nobody wants to move wedding dates, but during the current Coronavirus pandemic, many just do not have a choice.

Since this outbreak began, we've helped postpone many UK weddings, plus a handful abroad. The lockdown is putting pressure on people to make changes, from sorting everything like the venue and florist to the honeymoon. Some wedding insurance won't cover these changes, but that doesn't mean you can't get help — and we've quickly become industry experts as COVID-19 restrictions set in.

It's a difficult time for all of us, but more so for our lovely clients who've had a stressful time of it. From weddings down in London, Essex and Kent right the way across the country to Manchester, the scope of the Coronavirus crisis is far-reaching for every couple.

Having liaised with lots of suppliers and wedding planners since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, we've managed to get some excellent advice on how best to go about moving your wedding during Coronavirus.

So, how do you postpone a wedding?

Should I Postpone My Wedding?

Lots of people have been in touch to ask firstly, should we be thinking about postponing? For any couple getting married during the lockdown, the government has, unfortunately, had to make that difficult decision for you. While we are on lockdown, there are very few exceptions to social distancing measures; weddings are not one of them.

For those of you who plan to get married in July or afterwards, however, couples will find the virus means there is a lot more uncertainty. Many factors outside of our control are changing daily. Guidelines keep being updated, new information released, and marriage planning often now results in more questions than answers.

We don't know when we can see friends and family members again, or when lockdown will end.

Not knowing can be really stressful. The uncertainty of COVID is a horrible feeling. Even if your date is after the current lockdown measures are scheduled to end, I'd say it's a possibility you will still need to postpone. This is especially true of July and August weddings, maybe less likely as we head into Autumn.

At the very least, it's not going to hurt to start looking into options.

How Do I Postpone a Wedding?

I'm currently reading a very interesting book called Bird By Bird. What has this got to do with the current situation, you may ask — but bear with me.

The author tells of her brother who — at ten years old — needed to write a school project on birds. He'd had four weeks to do it and the night before it was due, having written nothing, he sat crying at the kitchen table surrounded by bird books. His father came to him and gave him the advice to write the project “bird by bird”.

It may seem like a massive job to postpone a whole wedding, but if we break it down into easy chunks and start on the first one, we'll get there!

So how do you postpone a wedding? You do it bird by bird!

How Do You Start Moving a Wedding?

Here's your to-do list for postponing your wedding during Coronavirus. It may seem long, but actually, 50% of the list are fun things!

  1. Have a cup of tea and biscuit (essential)
  2. Tell your friends, relatives and anyone else on your guest list that you are postponing your nuptials
  3. Talk to your wedding planner (if you have one) venue and suppliers about possible new dates
  4. Tell your everybody the new proposed date
  5. Relax with more tea and biscuits
  6. Celebrate your decisions, your old wedding date, and get excited about your new date
  7. Make any changes required as the latest developments are announced
  8. Have the most awesome wedding ever!

Easier said than it sounds, right? But we aren't just going to leave you with this list and hope you figure it out for yourself. Here are all the details you need:

1) Have a cup of tea and a biscuit

This is an important preliminary stage of wedding postponement that any couple will want to follow. It really can help relieve stress and calm the nerves. It is scientifically proven!

Biscuits will preferably have chocolate on. I'd choose a Maryland cookie but who knows, in this day and age, we'll take what is left on the shelves at Tesco. You might have to swap tea for wine or gin — you might have to have burgers instead of biscuits. Get creative.

2) Tell your friends and relatives you are postponing

So you've decided the date is definitely off. It's tough for any couple, but you're doing this the right way.

Those who must be made aware of the news — besides your future husband or wife — will be your close family and friends. They will all be a little worried for you and will want to know what your plans are.

If I've learnt anything from getting married, it is that while you aren't in your nearest and dearest's thoughts 24/7, they think fondly of you from time to time and are happy you have found the love of your life. They will usually go a long way to celebrate that love with you, so — as long as you are safe and happy — they won't be annoyed that you've had to cancel. They're all very understanding and want to help find any solutions that they can get involved in.

Some, in the high-risk Coronavirus category, may even be slightly relieved you've chosen to postpone as it means they don't have to let you down on your big day by being stuck at home — and they won't have to risk attending your ceremony. Some of your older guests may not be allowed to leave their homes after the lockdown officially ends, so this is worth bearing in mind, too. If there are important people you want in attendance that are high-risk, moving your wedding during Coronavirus is essential.

Have you got a wedding website? There should be a facility on there to update everyone with your decision. If not, put an email newsletter together letting them know you'll be back in touch as soon as possible to confirm a new date. I would recommend giving older guests and parents a ring. Don't assume they have email or, in the case of my mum, even know email exists. They'll probably welcome a phone call at the moment! Take this opportunity to connect and maybe even get some advice.

Ask for a reply from everyone you email newsletters to. Confirm they've got your message and make a note of who has replied and who hasn't. It's very much an RSVP-like experience.

It's also worth mentioning to your guests that you are keeping your dates as open if possible. Or, perhaps ask them to let you know of any significant engagements they have coming up that they can't get out of — especially the more important guests and members of the wedding party. It can be heartbreaking to double-book if you're moving your wedding date to another day in the near future; one that guests may not have availability for.

3) Talk to your wedding venue and suppliers about possible new dates

The first to speak to is the venue! I've found the majority of venues have been fantastic about postponing dates and transferring deposits to future dates for clients. If you've booked a peak date — which is probably the case — please bear in mind they may not have a similar summer Saturday available for you at the same price. You may need to look at moving your wedding and having it take place next year if this is important to you.

It's currently a tough time for everyone in wedding and events business services, most of which can't afford to offer off-peak summer dates as postponements. If they did, they'd lose out on a whole year of work. At The Band Boutique and in my wedding band Mister Kanish, we are offering all available dates between September and March as possible postponement options. These include Sunday to Friday. Your other suppliers are likely to be doing the same. In some cases, we can offer peak summer dates but your best bet for getting the suppliers you want, and the amazing day you've planned, is to go for a more off-peak option.

I've been suggesting to clients to use a doodle poll to get all their suppliers aligned. It's super easy — Doodle. You could also include key members of your wedding party in the poll to make sure their dates align too. Any caterer, vendor or person who could impact your wedding through non-attendance should be included.

The date is the part of the rescheduling where you're going to have to be most flexible and manage what's a priority to you.

Is weather important? Or is the band or photographer? If I'm honest, having been to at least fifty weddings a year for the last 12 years, it rains at almost 30% of summer weddings, so if it's a choice between getting the amazing suppliers you've always wanted and a 70% chance of sun, I'd go for suppliers. Yes, I'm trying to sell you the idea of an off-peak wedding. But your wedding will be amazing — even if it rains. My wedding was on the May bank holiday and it rained all weekend! We still had the best time because the food was tasty, the company was fun, the band knew all the right songs to play, and we had lots to drink — oh and the bride was lovely!

Top tip — The best way to make sure your suppliers and family are free is to go for a Saturday in January. No one books their wedding in January — but maybe they should!

Most of your suppliers will be happy to change the date if it's possible. Wedding suppliers are some of the friendliest people you'll come across — they are in the business of celebrating love after all — so they'll all bend over backwards to help you as best they can.

Not all of your supplier's dates will align so make a list of your priorities. Think about:

  • What are you most excited about?
  • What could you live without?
  • What could be replaced easily?

Make sure you check through your contracts to see where you stand with cancellations, especially the force majeure clause, which will let you know where you stand moving your wedding during the Coronavirus epidemic.

If you can't claim deposits back or need to pay cancellation fees for any suppliers that can't make your new wedding date, see if they would be willing to offer you something — for example, a photographer. Although they can't make your day, they may be able to offer a photoshoot at a different time, your cake maker might be able to do you a “wedding postponement” cake, which could be used in step one to replace the biscuits with your tea, and a band could play your birthday. If suppliers can't make your new wedding date, it will be for a good reason, but they'll often be more than willing to make compromises given the money you've spent.

So once you've found the perfect date for you and your suppliers, what's next?

4) Tell your friends and relatives about the new date for your wedding!

Basically the same as telling them your old wedding isn't happening but telling them it's back on! Email everyone — call older guests. Get RSVPs. Also, it's worth emailing those people who might not have been able to come to your previous date but may be free for the new one. You never know your lovely aunt who couldn't come before might be able to now! There's a silver lining!

5) Relax

You've just postponed a wedding! A celebration is in order. You and your partner can take it easy for a while knowing your wedding event, including travel, venue hire and vendors are all taken care of. Struggling to let the nerves settle during these tough times? Have another cup of tea and go online to read stories from other people in your position.

6) Celebrate your old wedding date

If you can't have a wedding on the day you wanted then at least have an amazingly romantic night in with your fiancé! Get a takeaway, bottle of wine or drinks, watch a movie, play a board game, dance to your first dance or why not do a zoom / online meet-up with a few key members of your wedding party while stuck at home? Celebrate your original wedding date before the COVID-19 move, and then look forward to the new date that'll let you walk down the aisle.

7) Make any changes required/perfect the day.

If any of your suppliers haven't been able to agree to your new date, get in touch with your wedding insurance company (if you have it) to see where you stand with regards to reclaiming any deposits or cancellation fees. Due to the circumstances of Coronavirus, you may no be able to claim a refund on your wedding. However, if suppliers cannot make your wedding date, you should be covered for any deposits and payments already made.

If you haven't already thought about it, it's worth looking into wedding insurance for your next date — just in case!

Talk to your current suppliers to see if the new date makes any difference to how your day will pan out. The biggest change will be with florists so ask them what sort of flowers are in season. Another thought would be what you're going to wear. If it's going to be a winter wedding when before it was summer, get yourself a wrap or add a waistcoat to that suit!

8) Have the most awesome wedding ever!

Use this extra time to perfect the day! Make some amazing favours and decorations. Learn a dance, learn the trumpet and play with the band! Then, when your big day does come around, have a fantastic wedding without a second thought to your previous date. Trust me — whether your new wedding date is later in 2020 or next year, it will come around quicker than you know it!

If you get stuck with booking a band for your wedding or your band can't make your new date — give us a shout. We're doing our best to help clients find new bands for this year and next. Here's a link to a list of all of our wedding bands! Contact us if you would like to enquire about any for your new date!

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