What To Do If You Need To Delay Or Cancel Your Wedding Due To COVID-19

Wedding Season 2020 is being seriously diverted. In the midst of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, citizens around the world are being affected in a variety of ways. Work has gone online – at best. The kids are out of school – indefinitely – and graduates everywhere are left wondering if their walk across the stage will be a possibility at all. The grocery store shelves are bare, and we can’t go visit our grandparents. And then there are our brides, who have to make the painstaking decision as to whether to take their ceremony online or postpone their big day, while others are cancelling their celebration altogether. 

If you’re one of the couples who have a wedding date set throughout the next few months, we’re here to try and help navigate your decision to the best of our ability. No one is an expert in this realm, but we have faith that your vendors, family, and friends will understand the choice you have to make and assist you in the process.

Making the Decision

Firstly, you may be asking yourself, “When do I need to make the decision?” Well, you probably can guess this on your own but, the sooner you can make it, the better. 

The sooner you can communicate with your guests, especially for destination celebrations and with those that would need to make travel plans, the better. Also, the sooner you can create a plan with your venue and other vendors, the more choices you will have in terms of an open date later.

There will also be more time to create a plan of action with all of those important people that have helped you with your wedding prep thus far; whether that be your planner, the venue manager, your photographer, or your caterer. 

We advise that you take the advice from your local leaders, the CDC, and medical professionals in your area. Use this information to make the best, and most informed, decision. If your wedding is falling under or close to the time that your city is supposed to be under a “safer at home” order, quarantine, lockdown, or anything remotely similar – go ahead and start to weigh your options, make the calls, and rework your plans.

You want everyone to be able to enjoy and celebrate without unsafe measures or paranoia knocking at the door. 

(CNK Productions)

Katie Lynn, a Nashville native, recently changed her date as well. After some back and forth, and plenty of tears, she was able to push her big day back to June. With that came a bit of heartache and some honeymoon changes but in the end, her and her groom thought this was the best decision they could make. She explained:

“I knew if I didn’t postpone, I’d be putting loved ones and our friends at risk and I didn’t want to make my guests feel uncomfortable and that they couldn’t come to my wedding. I didn’t want to do my ceremony with just 10 people. We wanted all of our people to be there, that’s been a part of our relationship these past 5 years.” 

The Necessary Steps To Take (From a Bride Who Did It): 

(Golden Joy Photography)

Another Nashville native, Nikki Birdsell, was supposed to be getting married on March 29, 2020, at The Mill in Lebanon, Tennessee. In light of recent events, and the growing concerns for her family – including a pregnant sister, she decided to grab her fiance’ and tackle the chore of postponing her wedding, and all of the tedious plans that they’ve been making for over a year now. Her wedding has now been re-dated to September 27, 2020.

This is how she did it: 

  • Begin Calling Your Vendors
    If you’re getting married at a venue that included a wedding package, start with the wedding coordinator. This person has already been your bridge so utilize it! Otherwise, begin with your venue and trickle down from there; catering & cake, entertainment, florists, and the like will need to be communicated with to see what options are available. 
    • Nikki was able to get all of her vendors to change the date without any charge, and her caterer was even willing to give her a complete refund on the event. The only vendor that was unavailable for her new date was her hair/makeup artist which she had already set around $350 aside for. 
  • Know What’s Important
    Before you start making the calls and changing vendors. Know what’s most important to you and your event. For example, Nikki was able to find a date that fit with the majority of her vendors, and she was comfortable letting go of her hair/makeup artist with the time to find a new one she loved and trusted. 
  • Prepare For Another Marriage License
    This is the one spot where you’re more than likely going to lose money. Marriage licenses usually have an expiration date that lasts between 30-90 days. Nikki and Zak, her groom, will have to apply for a new license since their current one will expire before their new wedding date. And, yes, the county will be charging them $95 for the second edition.
  • Rework the Guest List
    In the event of a date change, you may also need to keep in mind that the guest list may have to change or you may have more or fewer guests in attendance. Some tweaks may need to be made that you’ll need to speak with your venue coordinator, caterer, or even with rental companies about (food, seating, etc). 
  • Florals Make Likely Change
    If you must push your wedding date out to an entirely new season, the florals for the day may have to change. Some flowers just aren’t in seasons during certain times of the year – so they may not be available or they may cost a bit more. Also, you may just have the urge to change them anyway to pay homage to the season. This is the time to check out Pinterest to ease anxiety or spark new ideas.
  • Tell Your Guests
    Coordinate with your better half – and family members – to get the word out. Don’t send out new invites (unless you absolutely want to). Instead, keep your stress to a minimum. Utilize social media to announce the change. If you already have your list of RSVPs, give a bit of the list to each of your happy helpers to distribute responsibility and send the message.
  • Just Breathe
    Nikki, our Nashville native and the first bride we spoke with after the COVID-19 fallout, tells us that after she officially made the decision to move the wedding, she felt relief. There was so much stress surrounding the change that it felt better once it was over and finished. She didn’t want to have the weight of worry for her loved ones on her shoulders either. Instead, she knows they’re safe at home and will be ready to celebrate at the later date.

Breathe – 15 Ways To Get You Through This Delay

(Able Kind Photography)

1. Remember the Big Picture:

We spoke with one other Nashville bride who’s recently had to rearrange her wedding plans and cancel her April 4, 2020 celebration. With no new date in sight, her vendors have decided not to begin rebooking until the future is a bit more clear, Mia Whitton and her fiancé decided to take a few days to check out. She explained: 

“All our vendors started to cancel within a 72-hour period… I was a mess and crying all day and my fiancé was amazing about keeping me calm and reminding me of the “big picture;” which, of course, is our marriage, not a wedding. He just kept reminding me that at the end of the day whether we went to a courthouse just us or said, “I do” in front of 300 guests, it was about us and to not let this pandemic take that away from us. So we took two days off, and that was the BEST decision we made. We took two days, didn’t talk about a wedding, didn’t answer phone calls or texts, didn’t do a single thing. We didn’t even go in our “wedding room.” We just took two days and spent it together and got a clear mind!”

2. Dive Into Some Self-Care:

Do you have some extra face masks you’ve been keeping in a drawer? Have you perfected a mani yet? What about some self-tanner supplies that you’ve been too scared to try out? This is the best possible time to do it. In fact, you could even be reworking your wedding hair or makeup. Check out some tutorials, and with the extra time on your hands, you may perfect it enough to not even need a hairstylist or makeup artist on the big day.

3. Organize Your Space:

Sometimes when our minds are a mess and we feel out-of-control within some space of our lives, it feels really good to provide yourself with an opportunity to feel in control. All those organizational articles and clips you’ve saved on Pinterest could come in mighty handy right about now. Start organizing your space. Feel productive in an area of your every day by tidying up and getting rid of the clutter. 

4. Create A Challenge:

Another way to get your mind off the changed plans and into a better headspace is to create a challenge for yourself. Have you been wanting to learn a new language? Have you been itching to finish that book series? Do you want to finally jump on the Bandwagon and binge Game of Thrones? Now is the time to do it! 

5. Take A Second-Look at Your Plans:

This will also be a great time to lay all your plans out in front of you and make sure you’re 100% happy with everything you had chosen thus far in the process. It’s also a great time to rework anything that may need to be reworked – whether that be budgets, guest size, or seasonal elements such as flowers or menu flavors. 

6. Experiment in the Kitchen:

Whether you love to cook or you’re just so-so in the kitchen, now is a great time to experiment with new recipes. Dive into a dish you’ve always wanted to try your hand at. Dip into a bite that you’ve never tasted before. Or finally, sign up for one of the delivery services that’s been advertised to you for years now. Our favorite? Hello Fresh! 

7. Get A Little R&R:

Relax. Aside from the stress of your wedding, this quarantine experience is taking a toll on the lot of us. We all need to make sure we’re staying aware of our mental health and getting a little rest and relaxation through the days. Try meditation or yoga! 

8. Get Crafty:

Another way to relax, and keep our minds moving, is to get crafty! Snag some of those adult coloring books you’ve received from Christmases past and add a new pack of colored pencils to your next Target pick-up. Go out on the porch and paint! Or stroll through the blogosphere to find any other project that strikes your fancy and you can DIY at home. 

9. Move Your Body:

This should be happening every day, at least for 20-30 minutes. Get outside, grab some fresh air and take a walk or jog through the neighborhood. Take a hike! Do something where you’re moving your body. Now, more than ever, you need to keep your health a top priority and exercise is also an easy mood-booster! Just be sure to stay at least six feet away from those outside. 

10. Plan Couples’ Dates:

There’s a growing trend online and it’s that of “virtual” couples’ dates. All you need is a laptop to get yourself started. Grab a glass of wine and catch up with your favorites.

11. Virtual Game Nights:

Whether it’s with fellow couples or just your gal pals, create a virtual game night. There are online escape rooms to try out or a version of Cards Against Humanity that makes it easy to join in on the fun without having to be in the same room. We’re also seeing Facetime “Nailed It” challenges growing as well.

12. Pretend You’re At The Movies:

Thankfully, some of the newest movies around have been released for streaming at home. Set the scene and pretend you’re going to the movies! Pop some popcorn, add movie candy boxes to your next grocery store pick-up, and slide your recliners together. Try to emulate the ambiance of a movie theatre the best you can to create fun, quarantined “date night” ideas. 

13. Sign Up For – Or Start Up – A Book Club:

There are plenty of online book clubs to sign up for such as Oprah’s. And now is as good of a time as any to join! Of course, you can easily start one on your own with your own group of friends. It’d be a great excuse to stretch your mind, read some new gems, and get together with your friends – virtually – to chat, indulge in a bit of wine, and snacks too! 

14. Write:

Write in your journal or diary. Write in your blog. Write that book you’ve always dreamed of writing. Write love letters or fun notes to your friends. Grab a pen and piece of paper and do it the old fashioned way. 

15. Host A Dinner Party:

Yes, you can still do this. But it’ll have to be virtual, of course. In fact, we ran across this amazing guide at Delish that will help you with logistics and fun ideas to personalize your own event. This doesn’t mean that you just need to Facetime a friend while you eat pizza. Instead, decorate, try a new recipe, mix up a new cocktail, and enjoy.