Hey all. Phew. What a week it’s been. I’ve held off on writing this post until it felt necessary, partially because it’s so important to me that my little corner of the internet stays a positive place that’s full of love and happiness, and partially because I feel like so many people across the world are having knee jerk reactions to the current crisis, and that’s causing fear to spread worse than any virus.
Even in the midst of a global pandemic, I am still so in awe of the beautiful power of love that I’ve gotten to see when dealing with each of my couples as they’ve debating their reschedules, or planned their reschedules. Through all of the uncertainty, I feel so hopeful that life will get back to being livable soon, and I truly believe that we will behave more mindfully as a society because of it. My heart has broken for my spring couples who have either had to reschedule their wedding day, or who are currently debating whether or not to move forward with a reschedule, but I’m now even more excited to be there on their new wedding days!
I know the world, and especially the internet, is filled with unsolicited advice right now, but I wanted to hop on here and share some helpful tips and resources for couples who are currently working through a reschedule process, debating a reschedule, or about to start the booking process for a 2020/2021 wedding.
1. Communicate, Constantly
Some of the nightmare stories I’ve heard from both fellow vendors and my clients could truly have all been avoided by open and honest communication. I understand that fear is running rampant during this time, and that instant reactions and responses are to be expected; however, try to remember that everyone everyone is uncertain, and everyone is human. If you’re considering postponing your wedding, or are concerned about having to cancel your wedding due to a loss of finances, talk to your vendors. Be real with them, instead of coming from a place of fear or anger. When it comes to returned deposits, which is a hot topic right now, I think both sides just need to be sensitive. There are couples who are having to give up their dreams of a perfect wedding day due to job loss. On the other side, there are wedding vendors who are unsure when they will be able to put food on the table for their families again. I truly believe if both parties come to the table with authenticity and honesty surrounding the situation, then things can be resolved well.
2. Postpone, Don’t Cancel
This has been a huge catch phrase within the wedding industry lately. I understand that with times being completely uncertain, there is a part of you that may just want to give up on the whole thing. But this is your wedding, and while everything feels huge right now, I promise you that it won’t down the road. If you’re concerned about having your wedding because of finances, work with your vendors to reschedule for a date that’s far enough away that you’ll be able to get back on your feet. If you’re concerned about celebrating through such a tragic time, I promise you that a celebration is what the world needs. This is one of the biggest days of your life, and just because it can’t happen right now doesn’t mean it has to be sacrificed entirely. From a logistical side of things, most wedding vendor contracts state that your retainer is non-refundable, so you actually stand to lose money by cancelling. These are, as we keep hearing, times unlike any before – and for that reason, I’m willing to bet that almost any of your vendors are going to be willing to work with you in some way to ensure that your wedding day still happens, and is everything you dreamed it would be.
3. It Can Still Be 2020
I’ve heard from so many couples that they are concerned they won’t be able to reschedule all of their vendors for a 2020 date, and that the situation is still so uncertain so they’re hesitant to book within this year. My biggest pieces of advice here, as with everything throughout this, is to just communicate. If getting married this year is a high priority to you, as it probably is to most couples who were planning on getting married this spring, consider being a little flexible and be willing to get creative. I know that our current wedding world keeps most traditional weddings on a Saturday, but consider a weekday wedding, or a Friday/Sunday wedding as an alternative that will be easy to schedule. If those don’t sound appealing, look into a winter wedding, since most vendors are less frequently booked from the middle of November through the end of the year. If you were over the moon happy about getting married in 2020, you can still get married in 2020.
4. Take Extra Time to Plan
We’re all going to need something to look forward to after this is over. Speaking as a wedding photographer, I cannot tell you all how eager I am to capture the joy of a wedding day again soon. If you have a planner, plan to lean on them heavily during this time – and let them know how grateful you are for them! If you don’t have a wedding planner, there are plenty of great resources out there for helping you reschedule! Once you move through the process of getting your wedding date securely rescheduled, use this time to pin down wedding details or special touches to your big day! Before this all happened, I know you felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day to plan your wedding – well, now you have all of the hours.
5. Lean in to Your Fiancé
This is a tough time. There’s no way around that. But you’ve committed to a future, good and bad, with the person likely sitting next to you all day every day right now. That’s an amazingly precious thing, and my biggest piece of advice to you right now is to cherish and nourish that relationship with this extra time. You’re getting married to this person because you trust them to walk you through the rest of your life. Don’t be afraid to be open and honest with them, but also have compassion that they’re working through their own unique set of feelings as well. Also use this time to really enjoy being with each other more than usual – you’re only engaged once, and what better opportunity to make the most of it! If you’re looking for some creative in-home date night ideas, check out this blog post I made!
7. Take Care of Yourself
During a period of great uncertainty, there’s a huge amount of stress and and confusion running through our society. Use this time to take care of yourself, and be gentle with yourself whenever possible. Drink lots of tea, because it keeps you healthy and because it’s calming. Take lavender epsom salt baths, once a day if you feel like it. Go walk in nature, or just sit in your backyard with a book. Drink a glass of wine on your front porch. Take advantage of the plentiful online workout classes that are now available for free. Use this time to give yourself love, and see it as such a gift that you have this time before your wedding to get all of the self care in!
The Specifics: How to Reschedule
First of all, breathe. Like I said, if you have a wedding planner, they should be able to walk you through all of this with ease… this is what you hired them for! As far as picking your new date, sit down with your fiancé and try to determine a general timeframe, as well as priorities – are you hoping to get married as soon as possible? Or are you dead set on a spring wedding? Once you’ve figured that out, start the process of reaching out to your vendors to check on availability. Keep in mind that you picked this dream team for a reason, and do try to find a date that everyone can be a part of – partially so that you don’t run the risk of losing any deposits, but also because your vendors are truly looking forward to your wedding day. Once you have a new date firmed up with all of your wedding vendors, let your guests know that you’ll be changing your date – here are some really beautiful suggestions for Change the Date cards!
The Specifics: Thoughts on Summer Weddings
As of right now, according to the CDC, social distancing is only in place for the next 30 days. With that in mind, AS SOMEONE WITH NO MORE INFORMATION THAN YOU HAVE, I personally believe that you will be safe to continue to look towards a wedding as early as June or the very end of May, although you’ll want to plan to touch base with your planner at the end of April to check back in on the state of things. Unfortunately, it’s a little bit of a waiting game, and I know that isn’t what anyone wants to deal with; however, since we know so little about what will come from the next few weeks, if there’s a chance that this could pass and your original wedding date could still be the perfect day you had planned for, I want you to hold on to that! If the idea of playing the “wait and see” game gives you major anxiety, one step you can take to give you a feeling of action is to ask your planner to get in touch with your vendors to lock down a few alternate dates, just in case. That way, if the COVID virus continues on the worst case scenario, you have a plan in place and rescheduling is a simple and easy process.
The Specifics: For Couples Who Haven’t Booked
REACH OUT! If you were planning to start your wedding planning in the spring or summer, go ahead and get moving. Due to reschedules, your top vendors are going to be much busier than normal this fall, and even through next spring. If you’re newly engaged, go ahead and inquire with all of your potential vendors to make sure that you can get the date and the team that you dreamed of! From a vendors point of view, every wedding inquiry that I’ve gotten during this time has caused me to shed some serious happy tears, because it reminds me that we WILL look back on this, that it won’t last forever, and that there will be so much light and joy and celebration on the other side of things.
I hope that was helpful to you all as you navigate the current climate. If you’re looking for more education on how to postpone your wedding, or how to work through that process, check out this incredibly helpful article on the subject by Harpers Bazaar.
Stay at home, read a book, take a breath, do some yoga, and wash your hands. We’re going to all get through this together, and be stronger than ever on the other side. I truly believe that.
(Ps, all photos from this post are of my 2020 couples, and I am counting down the days until each of your weddings!!!)