If Your Wedding Is Planned in the U.S. in April, May, June, or July : Written by Jenn Sinrich and Anna Price Olson of Brides.com
"If you are slated to marry this May or June and even into July, we strongly recommend you have a discussion with your family and closest friends about the effects of COVID-19 on them and travel and safety for the wedding," says Aleah Valley of Valley & Company Events. At this point, Laesser-Keck says she has already postponed a wedding in Tuscany to spring of next year and a June wedding in Dana Point, California to November. "We have sadly postponed all of our weddings between now and July, and have suggested that others do the same," she says. (Note: At this time, the CDC has officially recommended the cancellation of weddings in the United States until mid-May, while some states, such as Virginia, have shelter-in-place orders in effect until mid-June, so be sure to keep up with the latest orders in your wedding location.)
What to Know If You've Decided to Postpone
Whether you're forced to postpone or decide to out of precaution, it's important to remember that you do have options, and your team will be there to guide you through the process of postponing your event. (We're also here for you!) "As planners, we want this to happen for you—you deserve to celebrate," says Valley. "Let’s just shift the date to make that happen." To help you navigate that process, see our step-by-step guide below. Oh, and if you decide to postpone until 2021, Laesser-Keck adds, "Make any important decisions as soon as you can and then take a nice long planning break!"
Need to Postpone (or Cancel) Your Wedding? Here's How to Do It
What to Do If You're Waiting to Postpone
When considering the right time to officially make the call, Laesser-Keck admits that there are a lot of variables to keep in mind. "Every situation is different, but generally speaking, to allow for a process with far less stress, we are recommending that the decision be made approximately three to five months out," she says, meaning if your wedding is scheduled through the summer, it's likely in your best interest to plan for a postponement. In order to make the decision that is best for you, your wedding, and the safety of all of your guests, consider taking the below steps.
Consult With Your Team:
First, Valley encourages couples to speak with your entire creative team in the same swoop—your wedding planner, the venue, catering team, musicians, video and photography team, basically anyone involved in the day. "Get a pulse on a potential back-up plan and have alternate dates in place sooner in case regulations or your outlook shifts," she says. "The goal is to have all of your loved ones safely attend your big day so everyone can celebrate you. Try to think about changing a date as just that—picking up your wedding and simply moving it to a date that feels good for everyone involved so everyone can safely celebrate."
Recognize Your Priorities:
"When we postpone a wedding, we are first and foremost determining if the venue and hotels can accommodate the new date, and after that, we’re reaching out to all vendors simultaneously to see if they can do the same," Laesser-Keck says. "Chances are slim that your entire plan and team will be able to be carried over without any changes, and you’ll have to consider any extra fees that may be associated when determining whether to postpone later in 2020 or move to 2021, but in general you’re aiming for the least amount of changes and financial impact as possible."
Consider Your Guests:
"Where your guests are traveling from is definitely a huge factor," says Laesser-Keck. "Just like the availability of your venue, if your guests have made travel plans, you need to think about how much time they’ll need to make adjustments." If your guests are primarily local, she says you can likely make your final decision closer to three months out but says it's important to keep in mind that invitations should really be sent at three months to allow for an RSVP deadline of eight weeks before the wedding date. "We always recommend eight weeks to allow for seamless production (availability of décor, the printing of day-of materials, sourcing of welcome gifts, et cetera)," she says.
In terms of a postpone-by date, the sooner the better so you can ensure a 2020 date that fits and that you can communicate with your guests quickly, either by phone or an email to them all. With so many springtime weddings moving, we recommend acting swiftly so you can inform your guests and your team.