It goes without saying that our world is currently upside down. In just a matter of days our lives have been slapped with a big fat PAUSE button leaving so many with uncertainty and worry.
Social Distancing and Self-Isolation are terms that have become a part of our everyday vocabulary – words that before all of this, were nowhere near most of our minds. As much as we’d like to put a blanket over our head and say “wake me up when this is over”, this is our current reality. We have to be in acceptance of what is and adapt without crumbling in the process.
So what do you do when you’ve spent months or even years, dreaming about and planning for this day? This day, that is now in jeopardy?
First let me be the first to say, as wedding planners, we are among your number one cheerleaders. We spend countless hours planning, researching, and getting invested in your day and usually form a strong bond and friendship with our clients, so seeing you upset straight up SUCKS! On the other side of this, we are here to keep you as level-headed as possible and to fight fires, put contingency plans into place and smooth roads when they are bumpy. This just happens to be a road that even puts Edmonton potholes to shame.
Before we get into our recommended steps for postponement, first we have 3 very important pieces of advice.
We know the tremendous disappointment of plans changing when it comes to something as important as your Wedding Day might be enough to make you want to throw in the towel, to say we’ll just elope and cancel the wedding as a whole.
We’re here to say, don’t!
Don’t forget the excitement you and your families felt about this day before the virus threw a wrench in your plans. Don’t forget the hours upon hours you’ve spent planning and researching, meeting with vendors and selecting those perfect details. And if that isn’t enough, know that most vendors will not refund the deposits or retainers you have paid.
It’s safe to say that we speak on most vendors’ behalf when I say, we get it! We feel for you and we so wish we could alleviate this stress and refund the money you’ve paid us but we can’t. Our contracts aside (more on that below), from a planner perspective, we’ve done A LOT of work up to this point, but even for others there has been some work done. Your photographer may have shot and edited engagement photos, your stationer has put hours into the design of your invites or other paper goods plus potentially ordered (and paid for) the paper, and your rental company may have had to put in a special order just for you… that is in addition to all of the administration and costs of running a business.
Speaking of running a business, most vendors in the wedding world are small businesses; in other words, refunding every cancellation would have significant financial implications and challenges, perhaps even threaten the existence.
We’ll chat more about how to approach vendors when it comes to postponement below so keep reading.
Easier said than done when everything feels upside down, we hear ya! But ultimately, why are you having a wedding? Hint, ok answer… it’s to marry your person! Everything else are just fabulous cherries on top (not maraschino cherries, those are gross). So when you’re having a moment of anxiety or anger, and those moments will come, try to remember that this WILL happen. You will marry your person, you will be surrounded by those important to you and you will have an amazing day… it might just be a little bit later.
By no means are we medical or government officials BUT one thing that’s been made so clear (and something we believe in) is that the sooner everyone takes this seriously, practices social distancing and limits contact with others, the sooner this will be behind us… and the sooner you will have clarity regarding your wedding plans.
For the purpose of this article, we are referring to those couples who must postpone. Because so many factors can influence the need for postponement, there is no blanket answer we can give to those wondering if they should. We have, however, been advising clients with upcoming weddings in the next 8 weeks to postpone. For all others, we are approaching it on a case by case basis but are remaining optimistic and hopeful.
Yep, before you do anything else talk to your fiancé about the ACTUAL priorities of your date. This could include:
It’s ok if these priorities do change again once some answers on some of the below trickle in, however having those in the back of your mind will be important for your ultimate comfort.
Most vendors have a cancellation and / or force majeure clause in their contract. Ensure to review each contract in detail so that you have a baseline understanding of any potential implications.
Locally, within Edmonton, our wedding vendors have proven to be nothing but amazing and understanding, not only to couples but with each other. Everyone truly wants to assist as much as possible in a trying time, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask about postponement.
Some questions to ask:
Keep track of the following for each vendor, ideally in a handy dandy spreadsheet:
Then, pour yourself a big glass of vino and discuss. You will have to weigh vendor availability and the finances associated with the potential of cancelling with one or more. If all are available on the same date and it works for you, then consider yourself lucky and start the next step. But, if not this is where it might get a little bit tricky. Consider who your most important vendors are but also the financial impact of cancelling with those that may not.
Once you have your date set, confirm the change of date and any other applicable contractual alterations with your vendor team. Ensure to receive addendums or new contracts to review and sign.
Send out change of date announcements with a request for RSVP confirmation to your guest list. This can be communicated through email or through a beautiful paper branded to your wedding – if you’re in Edmonton, Wedding Design by Anika is your gal for this.
It sounds like a lot, and it is! If you have a Wedding Planner, they will greatly assist you in all of the steps, particularly 2-8 where the real work takes place. If you didn’t have a full service planner working with you, consider hiring a planner to help you in a partial or hourly planning capacity to assist with this busy and stressful period.
I will leave you with this final thought that I also shared in an interview with City News:
— Sandra Cassios
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