If COVID rocked your 2020 wedding plans, sigh, I feel your pain. With both our bachelor and bachelorette parties cancelled in April and no end in sight for the pandemic remotely getting better, my fiancé and I made the call in May to reschedule our November 2020 wedding to November 2021, in Newport, RI.
And let me tell you, making the call to postpone was the best decision we ever made.
There are so many ways of navigating 2020 weddings. Some people are having intimate events with their families and having a big party in 2021 at their venues. Some are cancelling the big wedding and having intimate or smaller backyard weddings. Some are eloping. Some are postponing completely with hopes of having the big wedding with all of their guests.
None of these decisions are right or wrong, they’re simply what is best for each couple. Here’s what we experienced when we decided to postpone our 2020 wedding to 2021.
Our Path to the Decision
It wasn't an easy one, that’s for sure. I found myself constantly googling restrictions, texting my wedding planner, and having wild internal and external debates with myself and friends about what we thought the world might look like in November 2020.
There were an unhealthy amount of martinis consumed, a ton of tears shed, and hundreds of minutes spent on the phone with our friends, family, and our wedding planner. With no one knowing what the future held, I couldn't deal with the unknown.
But, through it all, we knew what we wanted—and what we didn’t.
We wanted dancing. We didn't want people in masks. We wanted our full guest list, including our older friends and family, including grandparents, who would most likely not attend if we continued with our original plans. With the restrictions in Rhode Island, we knew our wedding wouldn't be the one we had been planning.
So we briefly considered doing a small ceremony with a big party later, but we both decided that we wanted to have the special moment walking down the aisle for the first time in front of our friends and family.
Also, we couldn't fathom the thought of putting any more money into something that we weren’t even sure could go on.
And if my fiancé and I had one more back-and-forth conversation on what we thought was going to happen, I’m pretty sure he would have called off the engagement.
So we made the decision to postpone.
Not only were our families relieved once we postponed, but I think our wedding planner, Erica Trombetti of Infinite Events, was thankful that she had a break from my crazy and erratic phone calls and text messages. I praise her over and over again and give her big props for navigating the changing regulations and brides with big emotions.
For the Couples Who Haven’t Postponed
If you’re reading this and haven’t postponed your wedding, I applaud you and your flexibility. I’m pretty impulsive and controlling and not being able to navigate what the next few months would bring just wasn't going to work for me.
Another bride, Sabrina Fata, couldn't have framed it better. Her biggest piece of advice for any bride trying to decide what to do is to determine if they have the personality to be flexible with these sudden changes, new restrictions, etc. If you're not able to, then wait it out!
At the end of the day, you need to do what is right for you and your partner and stop justifying it. There aren't any right or wrong ways to get married right now, and it's different for everyone.
If you’re getting married in 2020 or early 2021 and haven’t postponed, make sure you:
- Have a backup plan
- Are in communication with your venue and vendors
- Are okay with any last-minute restrictions or changes that might be made
For us, if our November 2021 wedding has restrictions, it has restrictions. We won't postpone again and will have to assess how we will navigate the climate come April when more payments are due.
Tips to Postpone Your Wedding
1. Talk to Your Vendors
I have to say, having a wedding planner for this part of the process was worth every penny. While my fairy godmother wedding planner, Erica Trombetti, made all of the arrangements with my vendors, she walked me through all of the steps. Here’s what she recommends:
- Reach out to your venue. Figure out their availability and pick a couple dates.
- Reach out to your vendors, and see if they have availability on your new dates.
- Establish which vendors are most important to you. If you can't imagine dancing to a new band, prioritize their availability over maybe the hair and makeup that you were just OK with.
- Pick the new date!
- Once the date is set, sign new contracts and establish new payment plans.
- Notify your guests of your new date or plans, so they can plan accordingly
- Enjoy your engagement a little bit longer!
If you run into setbacks, don't freak out; it’s bound to happen as everyone is navigating these crazy waters for the first time.
Our band made us pay an additional deposit to secure the new date, and our photographer requested a change fee, but we negotiated a deal that worked for our specific needs.
2. Let Your Guests Know
After our planner secured the new date with all of our vendors, we started to let people know by word of mouth. Some family members had planned to travel and had arranged accommodations after we sent our first save the date, so we let them know immediately so they could cancel flights and hotels.
3. Have Fun With It
We had our close friends take an informal photo session on the beach with a $7 bottle of champagne, and sent out a postcard with our new change-the-date information.
Whether it’s funny text or a fun photo, I think the comic relief helps ease the pain. We had another photo of my fiancé chugging the cheap bottle of champagne, but decided some older family might not completely understand.
As soon as we moved the wedding, there was a wave of relief that came over us in knowing that we no longer would be debating what to do for the next six months. Or maybe it was the gin martinis relaxing us.
It was the best feeling knowing that we bought ourselves a year with planning and the opportunity for the world to get a handle on COVID-19. I was also relieved that I could enjoy the summer, without any crazy wedding diets and restrictions!
Knowing we wouldn’t be going to Newport for our wedding, we decided to go there and celebrate our one-year engagement anniversary. It was so special spending time in the city where our wedding is going to be. We visited our venue, tried every outdoor bar that we could get into in search of an afterparty location and were able to create a different kind of special memory for 2020.
I’m sure on our original wedding date we’re going to have some feelings, but at the end of the day knowing that our friends and family will be safe and there’s a chance for a “normal” wedding next year, is what’s keeping us going.