You chose the date, booked a beautiful venue, and found The Dress or The Suit, the one that made you feel like a million bucks. Then seemingly overnight, the world turned upside down and you are faced with the overwhelming task of postponing your wedding. My heart aches for you – no one should have to delay their wedding day; the day they get to embark on the path of marriage with their Forever Valentine.
Please don’t fret – as an experienced Bay Area wedding planner, I am here to walk you through how to postpone your wedding, so you can postpone with ease and keep your wedding on track.
First things first, start with your Wedding Planner.
She (or he) will guide you with the knowledge they have acquired in talking to the vendors and planners in their market (the region where you are getting married).
If you don’t have a planner
This post is for you.
An Easy step-by-step Guide
The most important thing to remember is to postpone your wedding, not cancel. It may seem hopeless at this time, but I am here to say it’s going to be okay. Your wedding can still happen!
Step 1: Start with a tracking system
You’ll want one central place to track expenses and vendor availability, so you can see everything related to postponement at a glance. Using a collaborative tool like Google Docs could be incredibly helpful, as you can share the document with each other and if need be, financiers or family members.
I suggest a date tracker & a budget tracker. In the date tracker you’ll be able to see which vendors are available for which dates, as well as which dates are best for your VIP family members.
In your tracking system you’ll want to create a Postponement Budget, so you can see what monies and payments are owed to your vendor team before postponement and what monies are owed due to postponement.
Step 2: Gather your contracts
Review each contract, specifically the postponement clause and the fee schedule. Some contracts ask for a rebooking fee, and others have parameters around how far out you can rebook. It is important to know this information before you move on to the next step. If additional monies are due per the contract, make sure to add that dollar amount into your Postponement Budget.
Pro Tip: I’ve seen a lot of flexibility surrounding postponement clauses, so its good to know what your contractually held to as a baseline. Then you can see how each vendor is working with you during this mutually difficult time. From what I’ve seen vendors are doing their absolute best to be flexible and accommodating while ensuring they have the capital to remain in business for your new date six, nine or twelve months from now.
Step 3: Start Gathering Dates
The first vendor to contact is your venue. They will tell you how they are handling postponements and what dates are available in 2020 and possibly 2021. Enter these dates into your tracking system and any monies due into your Postponement Budget.
Pro Tip: from what I’ve seen in my region venues are offering off-dates (Fridays, Sundays, or Mondays – Thursdays) in 2020 and/or 2021 for no additional monies due and applying all paid monies to the new date. Being prepared for this offer from your venue will help you when talking to your VIP guests about new date options.
Reach out to your top vendors and find out their availability. Your top vendors are the most integral and highest priced vendors. Enter those dates into the tracking system. The goal here is to rebook the most important and the most expensive vendors to lessen the financial impact and increase the efficiency in which you postpone your wedding. Saving yourselves time and money will help reduce postponement stress.
Pro Tip: once you get the dates from the venue you can enter those into a Doodle and send that link to your vendors. It’s easy for them to fill out – all they have to do is click the dates they are available. Check out Doodle’s features and give it a whirl.
Now reach out to family or send them the tracking system and find out what dates are optimal for them.
Step 4: Choose Your Date & (re)Book Vendors
One you have a new date you’ll need to rebook vendors. After you choose a date that accommodates the most integral, highest priced vendors (lessening your financial impact) and many of your most-valued guests (ensuring you get to celebrate with your most loved friends and family) you will need to confirm all of your vendors for the new date.
Most vendors will send you a new contract for the new date or an amendment to the original contract. This process nullifies the original contract for the original date and puts everything in place for the new date.
Pro Tip: you might find that some vendors are booked for your new date and that’s okay. If you’ve prioritized your can’t-live-without and highest priced vendors, the financial impact and any disappointment should hopefully be small. If you find out someone is booked and you are really bummed, don’t be afraid to come up with creative solutions – a few photographers I know are helping each other out by Associate Shooting on double-booked dates. Your vendor team cares about your wedding and they want to support you in any way they can. We are all working to be as creative and flexible as we can to support our couples through this and retain business.
Step 5: Get Back to Planning
Notify guests of your new date and give them a way to update their RSVP.
You can have some fun with your new date announcement or keep it more formal. I have seen some cheeky ones that say things like, Shit Happens, or Let’s Try This One More Time, or Second Time’s a Charm, Right? Connect with a local stationer to support local small business or you can support small business on Etsy. Minted has a good variety to choose from as well.
Pro Tip: As a part of this, be sure to keep your wedding website up to date. Update the new date and time of your wedding. Keep travel information updated, such as hotel room block information.
Additional Services are Available
If you would like to schedule a call or book Postponement Services, head on over to the Postponement Planning services page for more information.