No one wants to have to postpone their wedding; it’s the absolute worst-case scenario. Unfortunately, there are many unforeseen circumstances that can make it inevitable. These may be a last-minute emergency, such as serious illness or an increasing concern, such as the current coronavirus pandemic.
Impacting everything from the wedding venue to travel arrangements, these situations make going ahead with your wedding increasingly difficult. If you have, unfortunately, made the decision to postpone, you can follow our handy guide here.
Broadly, there are two groups you have to inform when postponing your wedding: your suppliers and your guests. Both sets require certain considerations and approaches which we have laid out below.
How Do I Let My Suppliers Know?
Once you have made the difficult decision to postpone your wedding, you should begin informing your suppliers immediately. Check your contract to see how you should inform different suppliers. Some may need you to inform them in writing, while others would be fine with a phone call or email. In the case of postponement, you might want to talk to your suppliers directly in order to make future arrangements more easily.
With the coronavirus, many couples will be in the same boat as you. So, your supplier will likely be facing many cancellations and postponements. Try to be proactive and send a mass email to your suppliers with potential new dates and all your current information. This will make this difficult time a little easier for you and your suppliers!
Remember to let every single one of your suppliers know you are postponing. Of course, postponing your wedding is a difficult time for you but you don’t want to string your suppliers along unnecessarily! Notifying them immediately is more respectful, and keeping a good relationship with your suppliers is vital if you want to keep those you’ve already booked for your new wedding.
What Should I Do About My Wedding Dress?
Depending on how far along you are in your wedding planning, you might have already ordered or even received your wedding dress. If you do not physically have your wedding dress yet, speak to your boutique. They'll be able to inform you about how far along it is in the process of creation and it's estimated date of arrival. Your wedding dress might not have been made yet, in which case you should be able to postpone your order fairly easily. However, if your wedding dress is finished, it is likely you will have to store it yourself. There are companies, such as The Empty Box Co., which specialise in storing wedding dresses in protective boxes. These prevent yellowing or damage to your dress, so you don't worry about fitting it in your wardrobe for the foreseeable future!
What About My Finances?
Once you’ve told your suppliers, you will have to deal with the financial implications of your decision. Here we have the key steps so you don’t feel overwhelmed with all the different contracts and policies!
Will My Wedding Insurance Pay Out?
If you have wedding insurance, you should get in touch with them immediately as you would with your suppliers. Check what your policy covers as this will have an impact on how you then deal with your suppliers. Unfortunately, many wedding insurers will only pay out when a wedding has been cancelled and the reason is out of your control. It is unlikely your wedding insurance will cover coronavirus as a reason for the postponement, but it might be able to contribute to some of your costs. It’s certainly worth asking!
Don’t forget about your honeymoon! With the current closure of international borders, it’s likely you’ll have to postpone this as well. If you bought travel insurance, it should be valid if your flight has been cancelled. Other expenses will depend on what you booked and with who.
If you don’t have insurance, many insurers are not issuing new policies at this time due to coronavirus. However, you can usually book both travel and wedding insurance right up to the event, so keep an eye out and get a new policy as soon as you’re able to!
Will I Get a Refund From My Suppliers?
While you may be postponing, not cancelling, your wedding, this might still fall under the cancellation policy in your contracts. Different suppliers are likely to have different policies so read through your contracts to see where you stand. Generally, deposits are non-refundable, but you might be entitled to a percentage if you inform your suppliers by a certain date. So, it’s worth checking!
Most suppliers will try to be as accommodating as possible, especially in difficult times such as the coronavirus pandemic. However, unforeseen issues such as this are not necessarily covered in your contract, so it might end up being down to the suppliers’ discretion.
If you are simply postponing with the same suppliers, they might be able to offer you another date at no extra cost. However, they are not obliged to. You should be prepared that your suppliers may be unavailable on your new date. In this case, and in the case of some suppliers, any loss or additional cost will depend on the timing. Essentially, the closer you are to the wedding day, the less likely you are to get any money back. Also, your supplier might have already done work or spent money on your wedding. For example, caterers, florists or bakers may have ordered produce that will now go unused. The coronavirus pandemic is making it difficult for brides and suppliers, so you will need to be open, honest and understanding while dealing with your suppliers.
The CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) announced on 30th April 2020 that they would be issuing guidance on refunds and cancellations for the wedding sector. That report has now been published and will help couples and businesses understand their rights and reach a solution. Take a look at our summary of the report's findings for the latest information.
How Do I Inform My Family and Friends?
Now you’ve dealt with the finance and admin, it’s time to tell your nearest and dearest. It can be easier to speak to your close family, friends and bridal party at first. They are the ones who are directly involved in the wedding and the sooner you tell them the better. Try not to stress about the situation, everyone is being affected by COVID-19 and they’ll support your decision. They’ll also be there to lend a hand when you need it, either now or later.
The next people to speak to are your family and friends who aren’t directly involved in the wedding. Due to the circumstances, many would probably be aware that your big day would likely be affected already. It's still important to inform people though. Remember, they may need to cancel travel arrangements, which often have deadlines for refunds. Try to help them meet these deadlines by informing them as soon as you can. Those who don’t need to find accommodation will appreciate being kept informed on the situation too.
Telling your friends and family about the wedding postponement depends on how advanced your wedding planning is. The key question is whether, and how, your guests have been informed of your date yet. This influences how you should tell them.
What If My Wedding Invites Have Already Been Sent?
The decision you make would depend on whether you know the new date or not...
I know the new date for my wedding:
If you’ve already sent out invitations, it’s not the end of the world. For example, if all you’ve sent out are your save the dates, you can simply send out a simple card, matching your stationery theme, detailing the change of plans. If you already know the new date, you can include this within the note or even send a Change the Date.
When invitations have already been sent, you'll need to call each guest to let them know of the postponement. Start with those who have responded and then moving on to those who haven’t yet made a decision. Depending on the size of your wedding, this may be too large a task for you to handle alone. This is when you call in the reinforcements of your friends and family, asking them to help you make the calls. Or, if it feels appropriate, send out a mass email or text. This might be necessary if your wedding day is imminent and can always be followed up by phone calls.
My wedding is postponed until further notice:
If you are postponing until further notice, you should send all of your guests a note of postponement. Be sure to tell everyone on your guest list (even if they haven’t yet responded), prioritising those who are planning to travel.
If your big day is quite a while away, you can probably get away with sending everyone an email or sending a note in the post. However, if it's very close to the wedding, you’ll need to at least follow this up with a phone call.
If you haven't sent out your invitations, a wedding website link or a save the date yet, you only need to inform your bridal party or close friends and relatives, but you don't need to spread the word in any formal way.
Almost as much effort goes into postponing a wedding as it does organising one! But it will all be worth it if you are then able to celebrate with all your loved ones in a safe environment in the future.