How to Handle Canceling or Postponing Your Wedding Because of Coronavirus

Keep calm and take it one step at a time.

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Word wedding, two hearts and gold rings on calendar with sweet white flowers. Love, invitation, advertisement, romantic background concept


Word wedding, two hearts and gold rings on calendar with sweet white flowers. Love, invitation, advertisement, romantic background concept

Photo by: Prostock-Studio


When you plan your wedding, you hope for the best. You spend so much quality time picking out the best vendors and brainstorming the most perfect looking decorations. You look forward to the cake tasting appointment and you count down the days until you can step into your dress and wear it, with joy, for an entire day. But what happens when the unexpected happens and you’re forced to make the decision to postpone your wedding?

First, there’s always a chance that can happen. Not to make you itch with panic, but weather is unpredictable and so is life. Recently, what’s been making engaged couple’s toss and turn is whether or not they should cancel or postpone their spring or summer wedding because of the Coronavirus.

Government and health officials have strongly advised or mandated social distancing, and stances against parties or events with more than 10 people present have been placed. Considering this, depending on the date of their nuptials, many couples don’t have much of a choice anymore and may need to temporarily pull the plug on their big day.

If you’re finding yourself in this boat, here are some tips on how to handle postponing your wedding and alerting your guests and vendors.

Step One: Be Clear on Your Decision

A young couple discuss wedding plans and look at the planner


A young couple discuss wedding plans and look at the planner

Photo by: Mypurgatoryyears


Before reaching out to your guests and vendors, be clear as to what your next step is. While this moment might seem covered in stress and indecisiveness, the sooner you can make a firm decision, the faster you can get this whole pivoting situation over with. Do you want to postpone or cancel? Take your calendar and plans for the rest of 2020 and 2021 into consideration. Perhaps reach out to your vendors and venue and see what openings they have for later this year or next. Make the decision that fits you best.

Step Two: Reach Out to Vendors

Wedding dress designer


Wedding dress designer

Photo by: Westend61


Now that you’ve decided whether to either cancel or postpone your wedding, touch base with your list of vendors. If you decide to fully cancel, ask them whether there is any flexibility in getting back deposits or money that you’ve paid upfront. Look at your wedding insurance policy–if you have one–to see if there’s any way your policy might cover a pandemic. You might be able to recoup money thanks to this note. If not, see if your vendors are willing to work with you a bit.

If you’ve decided to postpone, reach out to your venue first to see what availability they have in the future. Then, communicate with your other vendors to see if they are available. If they are, they likely won’t charge you an additional fee to change your date. If they do, it’s worth asking if that can be waived given the current circumstances. If you have vendors that are not available on the new date, talk to them about what money you are able to get back and whether they have any recommendations for someone else to use. That way you won’t have to go back to the long research phase of trying to find the right people to hire for your wedding.

Step Three: Tell Your Guests

Wedding party having appetizers and drinks beside banquet table in field under tree


Wedding party having appetizers and drinks beside banquet table in field under tree

Photo by: Thomas Barwick

Thomas Barwick

The faster you can complete steps one and two, the more time your guests will have to adjust to your update. Consider sending out digital communication first, like an email, letting them know the wedding has been either canceled or postponed. If it’s been postponed, let them know in the email that you’ll be in touch soon with more details. When you have your new date and details secured, you can send out an updated email or print and mail “Change of Dates” which look and feel similar to a save-the-date invitation. Send those out soon so that your guests can mark the new date on their calendars and make arrangements.

Step Four: Celebrate Your Old Date

Couple standing near the window


Couple standing near the window

Photo by: Oleh_Slobodeniuk


It’s saddening and unfair that you had to cancel or postpone your wedding. You deserve to celebrate your love for the person you’re with and one of the ways you can still do that is by planning a celebration on your original wedding date. Even if social distancing is still in practice when that date comes, plan a small party for you and your partner at home. You could even video conference loved ones and find something special you can do to remind yourselves that your marriage is about your love for one another, not just a big party.

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