Thank you to Kristina Allen, WPICC, DWC for this insightful article.
Kristina Allen is the Owner, Creative Director and Principal Planner of Elysian Weddings & Events, Prince Edward Island’s largest Wedding Planning firm. Having completed her WPICC in November 2016 and CWD in November 2019, Kristina and Elysian have made their impact count in a short three and a half years. Kristina was a finalist for WPIC’s Wedding Planner of the Year for 2017, was awarded Fusion Charlottetown’s Entrepreneurship and Employment award in 2018 and most recently won WPIC’s Wedding Officiant of the year for 2019. Her passion for her craft shines through in her work, and quickly earned her the informal title of “PEI’s Passionate Wedding Planner.”
If you were planning on getting married in 2020, you may be one of many couples that have had to make the difficult decision to postpone your wedding, maybe to later this year or to another year. The good news is that the hardest part is behind you. Likely that was a pretty gruelling decision to make and you deserve a pat on the back for making it here!
If you read my last COVID-19 post discussing how to decide if you should postpone, then you should have already contacted all of your vendors and lined them up for a new date at this point. If you’ve decided to postpone without knowing when you’re postponing to, the first step is to go ahead and reach out to your vendors and try to line up a new date that works for everyone. For most of my couples, I’ve advised lining up your priority vendors – that typically lines up with the ones you’ve paid the biggest deposits to – venue, photographer, videographer, coordinator etc. If you already have this date in place and your vendors on notice that a postponement is on your mind, then be sure to notify them ASAP.
Once your vendors are all lined up for your new date, I know you want to let your friends and family know ASAP, but it’s important to let the significance sink in and let yourself feel anything you might be pushing down right now. Give yourself some time to breathe – unplug for a day with your partner if you can. Cook a nice dinner, go for a walk or a drive, have a day to the two of you to allow yourselves to be sad – don’t feel guilty about that.
Next, notify your friends and family. Most of my couples have asked for guidance on how to go about this, and there are a few things to consider. First, how much time do you have? If your wedding was within the next few weeks, or many guests were travelling for it, choose a notification that will get that message out soon. Some couples are doing Facebook and/or Instagram posts, some simply e-mailing or texting their guests, or some are taking a more formal approach. I am a big fan of both Green Envelope and Paperless Post for great e-vites that can be e-mailed and texted to your guests which is both quick and also a bit more upscale if you don’t want to go the regular e-mail or social media route. Bonus – if you hadn’t sent your invites yet and need to collect addresses, both of these services can collect mailing addresses from your guests when they open your notice. If you have the time, you can have new Save the Dates printed and sent out – but don’t feel pressured to rush into it. You can still send a new formal invite later on! If finances are a concern, new paper invites are not a must.
An important thing to note when sending these updates is to think positively about your announcement. I know this sucks, and you’re sad, but if your announcement is sad, then you’re starting off your new planning journey on a negative note. Try not to use words like “unfortunately” or harshly negative words, instead, try to find positive spins you can put on this. “Now we all have an extra year to work on our dance moves, so you better bring your A-game!” or “We can’t wait to see you all in 2021!”
Next, because I’m anal and need to triple check everything (vendors please don’t stone me for saying this) check in with your vendors again. Many vendors are currently inundated with postponements, tentative postponements and new couples requesting their services right now, so once the dust has settled, it doesn’t hurt to check back in with your vendors to re-confirm your new date. This can simply be one e-mail with every vendor CC’d saying a simple, “Hi, hope you’re well! I am just checking in with everyone to triple check that we are booked in for X date – I know everyone has been swamped and calendars might be more jammed than usual!” I know I have been cross-referencing three calendars multiple times a day to make sure I don’t miss anyone, along with two colour-coded spreadsheets, but I am still constantly nervous I am going to miss someone or something! It never hurts to check. Also, if you’re in a position to, ask your vendors to see if some might like or could use instalment payments towards your package. Many vendors are taking huge financial hits and may appreciate the income over the coming months, and checking those payments off your list early means you don’t need to worry about them as the wedding draws nearer! Don’t forget to thank them and let them know how much you appreciate them if they’ve made the postponement process easier on you – they’re likely going through a rough patch right now too! This has been hard on everyone.
The next I hope is a no-brainer but celebrate your original date. Some couples are opting to still get married on their original date with however many people might be allowed, while others have decided to move the legal marriage as well. Even if you’re not getting married on your original date, make sure you make it a special day and spend quality time with your partner. Maybe even have a bit of a Zoom party with your friends and family! Have a nice dinner, splurge and go for dessert too – you’ve been waiting for this day for months, even years. You deserve to celebrate it and celebrate your love, even though things didn’t go as planned.
Don’t rush to make any more big moves. I know the temptation will be there to change your event design entirely – and if that’s where you land eventually, then that’s fine! But you’ve just made some really big decisions, so don’t rush to anything else. Some of us use managing things and changing things as a coping mechanism – how many of you have rearranged your furniture or changed your hair after a major life event? Yup, it’s a real thing! That’s not to say that you can’t change your design, but there’s likely a reason that you chose your original theme and colour scheme, so don’t feel like you have to change anything. Yes, trends do progress, but also consider that there will be a lot fewer weddings happening this year, so wedding trends may not move as fast as they usually do.
I know you’re getting tired of reading at this point, but I just have a couple more!
Use this time to more thoroughly work through the things you may have been worried about before. Were you stressed about how your guests were going to find transportation, what your backup photo location will be in case of bad weather? You’ve just been given the gift of time (shoutout to Jenna at J Marie Weddings for her IG post with that wisdom!) so use it to make sure you’ll be going into your wedding day with as little worry as you can!
It can also be fun to connect with others in the same situation! I have a very near and dear friend who I became close with when we both got engaged on the same day – and we were strictly internet friends until I flew to Oshawa to attend her wedding! Going through major life events with someone who’s experiencing the same thing can be really comforting. You can cry and complain to each other because you’re both feeling the same pain, and you can also cheer for each other through your wedding wins in the months ahead! The Bridechilla Community is a great Facebook group of (mostly) brides – and I know that many are in the same boat. You may even find a friend who is still working on their decision to postpone and may find yourself in a position to help them.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for stopping by! I truly feel for you and I hope that now at least you are feeling some relief that you’ve put the hardest part behind you. If you have anything to share with other couples experiencing the same, feel free to leave a comment below!