Couples need to take action quickly if they need to postpone their wedding due to unforeseen circumstances.
It’s never an easy decision to make when you’ve put a lot of time, energy and money into wedding planning. But when illnesses, accidents or other traumatic life events occur, sometimes it’s necessary to postpone the big day.
When couples must regretfully delay their vows and celebrations there are certain tasks that need addressed first. Of course, there are plenty of other things to take into consideration to avoid unnecessary expenses.
Keep reading for expert advice on postponing a wedding and setting a new date.
Steps to postpone a wedding
As heartbreaking as it is, engaged couples need to quickly let guests, vendors and venues know about their decision to delay their wedding and make alternate plans.
Here are a few tips from wedding experts:
Cancel and reschedule your wedding
Lauren LaBelle of The Knot recommends contacting your vendors right away to work out a plan.
“Couples can work with their vendors to find a common date in the future, which could help save lost costs for both the couple and the vendors,” she said. “Their wedding pros should be understanding of their decision and can help provide additional guidance on next steps, from securing a future date to contacting guests.”
Jason Romer of Romer’s Catering & Entertainment Facilities in St. Henry, Ohio, suggests rebooking with a business that will handle various wedding tasks for you.
“Since it will be really tough to reschedule all the different vendors for the same day, it would be best to find a company that can be a one-stop-shop and take care of your food, decorations, DJ, etc.,” Romer explained.
Take a deep breath. You don’t have to set a new wedding date right away. But it is important to cancel your current wedding plans in a timely manner.
Try a different wedding plan approach
Romer suggests planning a small ceremony now, if possible, and a big party later.
“Since a Saturday reschedule may be hard to find, treat it like a popular destination wedding,” he said. “Couples can have a very small, private ceremony now and then a large reception a month or two later with all their friends and family.”
These unusual destination weddings seem to be much less stressful and more relaxing than working everything into one day, Romer said.
Let guests know the wedding is postponed
LaBelle of The Knot suggests being as thoughtful as possible when notifying guests about your decision to delay your wedding.
“It’s important to keep guests informed in a timely manner,” she said. “Couples should be supportive and offer any assistance to guests where they can.”
LaBelle said the easiest and simplest method of contacting wedding guests is through the couple’s wedding site, such as those offered by The Knot. Keep the message brief, she added.
“A simple message that’s to the point is best,” LaBelle said.
She also recommends creating a list of FAQs if you think guests may have similar questions regarding travel refunds, your new wedding date or other issues.
Other communication options include sending guests emails or making phone calls. If you choose the latter, LaBelle suggests splitting the guest list among you, your partner and close friends or family.
Help your guests with hotel bookings
If you reserved a block of room for guests, ask hotel management for a full or partial refund for those with reservations. Relay the information you receive to guests as soon as possible.
Read through all vendor contracts
Make sure you know exactly what you agreed to when you hired that photographer, florist or cook. Read the contracts you signed before contacting them so you are aware of what your options are for full or partial refunds, LaBelle noted.
“Consult a lawyer if necessary,” she said.
One of the most important contract clauses deals with “force majeure,” which may relieve vendors from performing contractual obligations due to circumstances beyond their control, LaBelle said.
“This clause is contract specific and subject to interpretation, but a lawyer will be able to answer any questions,” she added.
Also, be aware that many airlines and hotels offer refunds to customers whose travel plans have been nixed. Sometimes they will reschedule to later dates without adding fees, according to WeddingNews by The Knot. This is good news for brides and grooms who need to reschedule long-distance honeymoon plans.
Seek help to handle stress
Your big day isn’t going to happen as planned and that’s tough to handle. You have a right to feel sad and overwhelmed right now. But don’t let it get the best of you.
“It’s OK for couples to feel disappointed or upset, and to acknowledge their feelings and understand they are valid,” LaBelle said.
She encourages couples to voice their concerns to their wedding planner, partner or close friend who can help with the coping process. The wedding experts at The Knot also are available to help at 833-998-2865 and [email protected].
If you’ve ordered guest favors or wedding reception supplies from Totally Promotional, let your account representative know if you’d like to change your production or delivery dates.
Stay positive and focus on your future wedding
Postponing a wedding isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of work to undo the plans already made and make new.
Delaying a wedding also can be a kick in the gut to couples. Just remember your family and friends are there to support you. Lean on them and accept any help they can give. You’re not alone!
This blog was updated June 1, 2023.