16-Step Wedding Postponement Checklist
You’ve put countless hours into researching and planning to have the wedding of your dreams and now you have to postpone. Whether it’s because of COVID-19, family emergencies, weather issues, or something else, having to postpone your wedding is far from ideal, but don’t worry — we have your back.
We’ve put together a wedding postponement checklist that includes 16 basic steps to help you get started on transitioning your big day to a new date without any hiccups. Keep in mind that every wedding is different, so some of these tips — and the order that they’re in — may not apply to you.
Discover 16 steps you should have on your wedding postponement checklist:
1. Consult with key decision makers.
This could mean anyone from your partner, whoever is footing the bill, and/or your wedding planner if you have one. Share with them your plans to postpone and get their feedback and support. Discuss with everyone possible new wedding dates and narrow down a few that work with all the key players. Wedding planners are event professionals who have experience with postponements and the best way to go about doing them, so lean on these wonderful folks for help. If you don’t have a wedding planner, consider getting one during this time. They will be immensely helpful in helping you navigate this situation.
2. Contact guests ASAP.
Once you’re certain you’re postponing the wedding, even before you have a date solidified, some couples may want to reach out to their guests informally — whether that's a phone call, text, or email — to inform them of the postponement. If you already have a new date set, you can give them that information (you’ll send out a new date-change card later) or you can simply stick to a message relaying the postponement. You want to give your guests as much notice as possible.
3. Talk to wedding VIPs.
Reach out to all your wedding VIPs — which includes parents, members of the wedding party, and close family and friends — to run the potential new date by them. Choose a few dates that work with most, if not all, wedding VIPs so you can run these options by your vendors. In the case of a postponement due to COVID-19, it’s also important to stay informed and follow trusted news sources and CDC guidelines while considering a new date.
4. Read over all contracts.
Read venue and vendor contracts so you understand the terms for postponement and cancellation. Some contracts won’t charge any additional fees for a postponement. If you want to cancel, you may lose your deposit, so be sure to read over every contract before contacting vendors so you’re all on the same page and you understand what this will look like financially when it’s all said and done.
5. Contact your venue.
Reach out to your venue by phone or email to inform them of your decision to postpone. If you have a wedding planner, he or she will be able to assist you with contacting them. Give the venue the list of potential new dates and ask if they’re available for any of them. If they are, great! You have a new date. If they aren’t, it’s up to you to determine whether you want to choose a new venue or go back to your VIPs to formulate a new date.
6. Reach out to your vendors.
Like the venue, if a vendor isn’t available for the new date, it’ll be up to you whether you want to rethink the new date or find a new vendor. Check out this template from Bustld for guidance on how to inform your vendors of your postponement plans.
7. Contact any hotels you arranged blocks with.
If you’ve already made deals with hotels for room blocks, read over your contract and reach out to them about a date change. If they can’t accommodate the new date, consider finding other hotel options.
8. Update contracts.
When it comes time to update previously signed contracts, request in writing a contract addendum or other guarantee that at minimum they’re holding the date for you, if not rebooking you completely. Try your best not to cancel. If that means working with an associate from the vendor to keep them on board, we recommend that. Cancellations are never easy for anyone involved and cost the vendor income and can cost you part of your wedding budget.
9. Rethink the design.
If your original date was in April but your new date is in December, you may want to alter your inspiration board. As planner Jove Meyer told Brides.com, "A winter wedding and a spring wedding can look very different. You're not getting spring flowers in winter unless you’re paying for them ... Everything is affected so rethinking all the small details once everything is in place is important."
10. Book new vendors if necessary.
If you need to book a new vendor, try to get it done soon. If you feel comfortable, ask your current vendor if they have any recommendations for someone similar to their style that they could share with you. If you have a wedding planner, they will also be able to give you vendor recommendations.
11. Send date-change cards to all guests.
If you’re six weeks or more out from the new date, we recommend mailing physical date-change cards. Minted has great options for these. If you're less than six weeks out, consider sending a virtual evite via Paperless Post. For either option, have guests send virtual RSVPs using either the invitation website, or even better, your personal wedding website. This will save everyone time.
A third option is to make phone calls or send emails or texts to each guest individually informing them of the official new date. This takes more time and is much easier for a micro wedding than a massive one, but if you’re very close to your original date, this may be the best option to get a hold of everyone as soon as possible. For any option, make sure you tell your guests to check your wedding website for any and all updates.
12. Update your wedding website.
Since your wedding website is the central hub where guests go to get information on your festivities, make sure to update it with the new date as well as any additional information. That could be a new venue, new hotel blocks, etc. It’s crucial to keep everyone in the loop!
13. Cancel any pre-existing travel plans that interfere.
If you already booked your honeymoon or bachelor/bachelorette parties, reach out to airlines, hotels, etc. to inform them of the cancellation or postponement. Some companies are flexible (especially in light of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic), so be sure to speak with a representative. If you haven’t yet booked your honeymoon plans, consider adding travel insurance when you do.
14. Contact your bridal shop or seamstress.
Locate your wedding dress, whether it’s in transit, at the store in which you purchased or at the seamstress. Wherever the dress is, let them know you’re postponing the wedding. If your dress is on its way or is already at the shop, ask if they can hold it until you need to pick it up for alterations. Make sure to schedule new alteration appointments to make sure the fit is perfect.
15. Update all appointments to reflect new date.
If you’ve already made appointments for your hair and makeup trial, manicure, haircut/color, waxing, etc. be sure to change them to reflect your new wedding date.
16. Stay positive.
This is arguably the most important step. Allow yourself to feel grief and disappointment at first. It’s important not to bottle emotions up. But once you’ve given yourself that time, start to think positively. We know this isn’t ideal, but life is uncertain and sometimes we just have to roll with the punches.
The wedding will go on!
Postponing your wedding is tough and may seem like a daunting task at first glance, but if you break down the necessary tasks into a manageable checklist, it won’t seem like so much work. Remember, you’ve got this!
Next up: Discover 15 ways to continue wedding planning during quarantine and check out 57 wedding planning tips you need to know.