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How to Handle Freaked Out Couples Who Want to Reschedule their Wedding

In order to give our wedding professional clients some insight as to how to handle upset couples who wonder whether they must cancel their weddings, I came across this article from Carrie Goldberg of HarpersBazaar and thought, "OMG this is perfect and will truly help wedding pros during this time." So, I cut and pasted the entire article here so that HarpersBazaar can get the credit as well as help them with backlinks because it's an awesome article. Read on, my friends....




(originally posted at https://www.harpersbazaar.com/wedding/planning/a31673827/how-to-plan-weddings-during-coronavirus-pandemic/ )


In these uncertain times, the experts in the industry are rallying to guide you through postponements, problem solving, and planning for social distancing.

BY CARRIE GOLDBERG

  • Should I Postpone or Cancel My Wedding? Per the CDC advisories on gatherings of more than 10 people for the next 15 days in the United States and the lockdowns in seven counties in California, throughout Europe, in the United Kingdom, and beyond, the industry's experts are insisting that weddings planned for March, April, and May be postponed. "We don’t know what we don't know, and what we don't know for sure is when we're going to be able to have weddings again," BAZAAR Bride top event designer David Beahm says. "But I believe that the end of this year is going to be extremely busy."Beahm, like the rest of his colleagues, is looking ahead—noticing that the majority of couples planning to wed in the next three to four months are choosing dates in September through November when rescheduling.The key, it seems, is to focus on postponements and rescheduling, rather than cancellations to avoid losing deposits. "I have been really encouraging my clients to postpone, because we're all in this together," BAZAAR Bride top photographer Jose Villa tells us. "I normally do 20 weddings per year, and I've had seven postpone within the past three weeks. None are cancelled—and that's the way to go, because their retainers will apply for their future events."


  • As for events in June through August, most are advising that you watch how things progress in the coming weeks and weigh your options wisely. "If you are planning an event after the month of May, use this time to have conversations and check-ins with your planner and your team of vendors, particularly with your key players and venue as soon as possible," advises Chris Hessney of Hessney & Co. "Your main goal right now is to stay healthy, keep yourselves and your guests safe, and minimize loss and risk."When deciding whether to postpone, consider your planning timeline in addition to the date of your event. Though any wedding on the immediate horizon certainly requires a contingency plan and a new date in the future, expert planners are also flagging events that could be hindered by a loss of time in the planning process, like destination events or multiday events here or abroad from June through August. "For each wedding, there are site inspections, design conversations, and lots of meetings," explains luxury wedding planner Michelle Rago. "We're reaching out to every client and vendor to reassure them and review timelines." If you have a planner, "review what you've ticked off your checklist. If you're a procrastinator, don't be."Should you be a couple whose wedding is this summer or fall, Rago, Beahm, and all their colleagues we consulted all recommend acting fast. "Keep in mind that you are not the only couple adjusting your timeline—other couples and all your vendors are too," says Rago."If you're even considering postponing, speak with your venue and your vendors now, just to check who would be available on any of the new dates your venue has available," says Annie Lee of Daughter of Design. "Key considerations are the vendors that can only be in one place at one time: your band, photographer, officiant, etc. Run any new dates you're entertaining by all your key guests as well, and line up all things that have no penalty, like a room block at a hotel. Place holds on anything you don't have to be on the hook for ASAP. Line it all up and prepare so that you can get first dibs on those new dates.

  • "How Far Out Should I Postpone My Wedding? Last year and 2018 saw lots of long engagements, with many couples planning on the iconic date of a 2020 wedding. As a result, many of the late-summer and autumn dates this year are booked, but the industry's top planners are still advising those in the unfortunate position of having to postpone to opt for a new date this year, rather than look further ahead to 2021.Experts suggest that you be flexible and consider less popular dates on the calendar. "The concern about pushing to 2021 is losing momentum," Beahm explains. "Perhaps Wednesday weddings are going to be the new thing for a while, and there's nothing wrong with that.""The real way to guarantee your dream wedding is to move away from a weekend date," says luxury and celebrity photographer Christian Oth. "Be willing to host an event midweek, on off-peak dates, like Monday through Thursday," Lee concurs.

    Ask any luxury event planner or designer worth their salt, and they'll tell you it pays to keep your wedding date within the year when rescheduling. "There's really no downside in staying the course—as long as you have a backup plan, which is Fridays, Sundays, and other weekdays," says Lynn Easton of Easton Events and hospitality firm Easton Porter Group. "Unfortunately, this pandemic has shaken the travel, hospitality, and event industries—it has the potential to leave them decimated. If people are looking to do something positive, what they can do is to postpone to a date this year. Choosing a weekend in 2021 could leave a venue or a planner's business unable to support your event come next year."As for destination weddings taking place in the coming months, "the last thing I want is for my clients to be monitoring a virus while they're planning their wedding—that's not what planning's about," explains Rachel Birthistle of The Lake Como Wedding Planner and her own namesake event planning company, which plans events throughout Italy, France, and Spain. "The final stages of planning are when you have all the key components solidified and you're working on the nice bits. It's the icing on the cake, it's putting all the pretty details in place—tracking this virus should have no part in that."That being said, Northern Italy–based Birthistle understands that the majority of her couples are most concerned about the events they're planning throughout Italy and across Europe. She's as forward thinking as her U.S.–based colleagues about the latter part of this wedding season, should we all do our part. "It has been dramatic here, and it has been scary; we're a few weeks ahead in our experience of coronavirus here in Italy, and the demographics here make it a challenge to compare and contrast with other parts of the world. I think if we all commit to the regulations our various countries have put in place for isolation and social distancing, accept that massive contrast to our day-to-day lives, and use this time for positive thinking, future planning, and self-care, we are going to be