Updated: Nov 11, 2020
We know that COVID-19 has taken a major toll on most brides planning weddings in 2020 and 2021. We've put together some common questions we're seeing on our Facebook group.
My Wedding is in November, December or January what should I be doing?
At this point you should be making the call if you are planning to postpone your wedding, continue with a small ceremony/ gathering of less than 25 people and have a reception at a later date, or cancel entirely. Update your guests on your decision and find out what is happening with your vendors moving forward.
Postponing Brides: Start with your venue: find their available dates and work from there to see if your other vendors are available. If you’ve lost a vendor in the process, work to find a replacement as soon as you are able. Make sure to confirm there are no additional charges for pushing out into 2021/22 as some vendors have annual price increases.
Small Ceremony with a Later Reception: See if your current vendors are able to offer you any portion of their services for your smaller ceremony, especially if they are not able to provide their services on your new reception date. This can be a nice way to make use of your non-refundable deposit. For your reception later, again start with your venue on finding a new date and work from there with your other vendors. Find replacements for lost vendors as soon as you are able.
Canceling Entirely: We are sad for you, but we know not everyone is able to handle the stress of “starting over again”. Reach out to your vendors and find out what their policies are but be prepared to lose non-refundable deposits. Perhaps see if they can offer you a portion of their services for other things, ie maybe your florist still makes you your bouquet or your bakery still makes you a cutting cake.
My Wedding is in 2021, what should I be doing?
Given we don’t know how long the peak will last, or when an acceptable vaccine will be available widespread, do your best to plan for several options and discuss with your partner now what your must haves are to continue with your day. Take the time now to have the hard conversations about what your minimum acceptable guest count is. Talk about if the dance/party portion is important and if you would have a larger reception at a later date if you did have to move forward with a small ceremony.
If moving forward, have contingency plans in the event of: reduction of guest count, curfew times, limitations set on dancing*, or vendor COVID exposure (work with your vendors on this one).
*Currently the dance portion of your wedding is HIGHLY DISCOURAGED. Consider something else fun to do during this time, maybe trivia or some other kind of game that allows guests to stay at their tables.
My Wedding is in 2022, should I be worried?
At this point, continue to plan as usual. Consider booking vendors sooner than what the typical timelines suggest, since options could be limited due couples from 2020 and 2021 that have decided to postpone to 2022.
How do I let my guests know what is happening?
If you have a wedding website, use this as a resource to update your guests if you’ve already made the decision to postpone. Post the new date and information there. If you haven’t made the call yet, put a date on there as to when you plan to make a call.
Another option would be to create a Facebook group for your wedding guests to allow you to update quickly and be able to see who has seen the new information.
For older guests and those who you can't reach on Facebook, consider calling them or sending them a postcard with the updated information. DO NOT feel like you need to send them entirely new invitations or save the dates. These are weird times for everyone, I think we all deserve some grace from the expected etiquette during this. With that said, check with where you bought your invites or save the dates from. Some are offering to reprint for free, but obviously that requires you to pay for new postage depending where you were in the process.
I’ve decided to continue with my wedding date but have decided to reduce my guest list significantly. How do I “un-invite guests” ?
Many guests should be understanding, especially with the CDC guidelines (check out our newest blog post, COVID Safety Measures for updated guidelines). We want to reiterate that your wedding day is about you and your partner, and what you guys chose to do! There is no right or wrong way to handle this, but we encourage you guys to do everything you can to celebrate in a safe way.
Some wording we have seen used: LOVE WINS - though corona virus has limited the amount of people we can have at our ceremony, we are still planning on getting married and would love to celebrate with you “from afar” / “in spirit” / “at a later date”. We suggested that you do not include registry information on any notifications.
We have also heard of people doing a drive by/parade celebration as a compromise. The couple stands outside of their venue / home and loved ones drive by for a quick hello so they can still celebrate, while still keeping safe by maintaining their distance.
What should I wear if I’m doing a small wedding on my original date?
This one is a personal preference! If you’ve decided to cancel your wedding entirely and opt for a smaller one/ elope / whatever it may be, HECK YES wear that gown you bought. If you’ve decided to postpone to a new date then it is entirely up to you. If you do want to wait till the BIG day for your SO to see you in your dress then we’ve heard great things about lulus.com for an alternate dress.
What should I do if I still get gifts delivered from guests?
If guests choose to send you wedding gifts early or on your actual wedding date (even though its been changed now) Go ahead and open them and start sending thank you's back. Keep track of what you got and from who so you can thank them.
I can’t get in touch with this vendor, what do I do?
If you are a November, December or January bride allow them a few days to respond, they are likely getting emails, calls and texts from a ton of brides with the new orders and will need time to get through everyone.
If your wedding is later in 2021 give them a grace period so they can attend to those who have wedding dates before you. We would hope that they would respond to you within a week or so to at least let you know what their process looks like for postponing or cancelling. While you wait, find your contracts with them and read through those. Prepare any questions that aren’t covered in the agreement.
What should I expect for refunds?
We can’t guarantee all vendors are going to react the same but generally this is what we have been seeing:
If you have chosen to postpone your wedding date to a new date and your vendor has that date open, most are allowing you to change the date without any additional fees. If they are not available on your new date, be prepared to lose your non-refundable deposit.
If you have chosen to cancel your wedding entirely, again, be prepared to lose non-refundable deposits. The non-refundable deposit is there to protect them and their livelihood. While it may not feel like they have done anything for you at this point in your planning process, there likely has been some effort on their part behind the scenes that you may or may not know about. They also have held the date for you and could have turned away business they could have had otherwise. For those who feel like this isn't your fault and they should still refund you, again, this isn't their fault either. You could always ask if you could use their services for something else or transfer the deposit to another bride to try and recoup any funds you may lose/may have lost.
What CAN I still work on and plan?
Loads of things! If you still need to hire some vendors, reach out and see if they can do a Facetime or zoom call with you. Venues may be able to do a virtual walk through with you, photographers/videographers can share their past work with you and chat via zoom. Bakeries may be able to let you pick up a sampling tray.
If you are a DIY bride this is the perfect time to get started on your projects. Many craft stores are still shipping items or allowing curbside pick up.
Plan your wedding ceremony out, pick out songs, readings, or other special events
Start getting gifts ordered for groomsmen, bridesmaids, parents etc.
Get bridesmaid dresses ordered, there are lots of good options now to get dresses delivered at home, look at return policies as always but azzazie.com, showmeyourmumu.com and lulus.com all have great bridesmaid dress options.
Practice your first dance at home! Check out youtube for ideas, see what you can learn. It makes for a fun date night too! If you were planning to take lessons, check in with them to see if they can still offer their services via zoom or Facetime.