This is a HOT topic here in the chaotic year of 2020. As it should be! It's incredibly stressful and a decision that is not made lightly, or easily.
SIDE NOTE: If you have a friend who is grappling with this impossible "choice", be gentle. Be patient. And don't make them listen to your opinion on the matter, unless of course they ask for it. Trust me, they have thought of every possible scenario and are weighing the options as best as they can!
Back to the decision making...
I get asked daily how to decide not only if a couple should postpone but how they should postpone. There are a ton of options but let me break down the top 3 we are seeing most commonly:
Cancel the big wedding and elope (not recommended to cancel! You will lose a LOT of money.)
Elope or have an intimate wedding of 10 on the original date and postpone the big celebration for next year
Postpone all of it for next year
So let me just tell you the answer is not what you want to hear. Because, it depends.
I know, I know, not what you're looking for. But don't worry, I would never leave you with just that. I've broken down the steps as best as I can in a general format to help you figure out what to do... here we go!
QUESTION 1: Legally, am I being forced to postpone?
If the answer is yes, then your question becomes “do we elope now and celebrate with everyone later when we can safely? Or do I postpone it, the ceremony and the reception altogether?” There are TONS of pros and cons to each option. But let me make it simple - what feels right in your hearts? Go with that, trust me.
Stay tuned… I’ll have more on this with an example of a couple, Michan + Adam, who decided to have an intimate backyard wedding on their original wedding date, 6/20/20, and postpone the big celebration to next year.
If the answer is no, then let’s move on to the remaining questions. Specifically question #3 is for those who are weighing the options.
QUESTION 2: Are my must-have vendors available?
In my opinion, every vendor you have booked so far should be considered a “must-have”. But in reality, I know that sometimes due to lack of availability, there are tough choices that have to be made. So as you begin considering a reschedule, if there’s a vendor that you 100% cannot imagine having your wedding without (aside from venue and planner because those you’ll need to even be able to think about postponing), get their availability ASAP. And see what lines up amongst those in the must-have category.
Again, the goal should be to keep the SAME vendor team you have already booked - for so many reasons. But the biggest reason, for you as the couple, is due to finances. You will lose your deposits should you pick a date that one of your booked vendors is unavailable on.
REMINDER: This is not for them to make a profit off of your wedding. I repeat, they are NOT profiting off of non-refundable deposits. This is because they quite literally cannot refund 20+ weddings that don’t match up for the next year and stay in business. Truly, that’s just the grave reality. Please understand they want nothing more than to help you still celebrate! We vendors are in the business of weddings because, as cheesy as it sounds, we LOVE love. And this year of postponed weddings is just as heartbreaking for us. So please, help these small businesses stay afloat by doing everything you can to keep your same vendor team. You’re truly making a HUGE difference in thousands of hard-working, human lives and families when you make this a priority!
QUESTION 3: What are my deal breakers?
This is a tricky one because all of it is pretty much hypothetical. Up until the last second when it all becomes VERY real. We are seeing a few regulations pop up in different counties that can affect the way you initially envisioned your wedding. The tough part being that there is no warning, no clear answer of how long regulations will last, no consistency between counties or even entire states, and nothing you can do about it.
So what we are suggesting is making a list of those possible regulations (note: there are likely some that will be unique to your location that we have yet to hear of so please do not take this list as the end-all-be-all list of all possibilities!). Begin discussing with your fiance which ones you could feel okay about compromising and moving forward with and which ones you’re absolutely NOT comfortable compromising. AKA ones that would be considered your “deal breakers”. That way as regulations pop up, you know exactly what to do and you’re not having to deal with big-time decision making on top of the emotional turmoil they can cause.
Here are a few we see most commonly - these are also listed in the FREE DOWNLOADABLE WORKSHEET we created for you to navigate these 4 Questions for your specific wedding:
All guests must wear masks
Indoor spaces are no longer available, everything must be outdoors
Limited guest lists. EX: 100 or less, 50 or less, even 10 or less in some cases.
Only a ceremony can be held, no reception
No dance floor
Plated meals only
QUESTION 4: Which scenario causes me LESS stress?
Scenario A: postponing to avoid the stress of the unknown, then your original date comes up and you realize you would have been able to go forward with your wedding if you had kept your date.
Scenario B: choose to hold out and stick with your original date despite the unknown. The come the week of the wedding - or even the day before it - the government/county issues a mandatory closure. Making it legally impossible to host your wedding.
Both are awful. Both are “worst case scenarios”. But they could happen. So my advice? Talk it over, the two of you, and fully embrace the possibilities of each scenario happening. Which one feels less stressful, less frustrating? Go with that one and move forward accordingly, confidently.
WHEW! I know, I know, this is a ton of overwhelming and not so fun to read info. But friends, it is SO important to prepare yourselves for these types of situations. Taking some time, spending the energy now to discuss what you would do in extreme circumstances can dramatically decline the emotional distress SHOULD this become something you have to navigate down the road.
The bottom line is, none of us really know what’s going to happen. We have educated guesses and strategies, yes. But if life has taught us anything in the last 4-5 months it’s that we - brace yourselves fellow type-A peeps out there - have ZERO control over what it can throw at us.
Now I hate to break it to you, this one took me a while too, but we never had control. We had a false sense of predictability that happened to pan out, seemingly working in our favor for a long time. But that's it. Of course now, glaringly so, even that false security is gone. So it’s scary. And you have every right to be stressed. But please don’t you EVER forget the one thing you’re 100% in control of at all times. How you CHOOSE to react to the situation you are in.
Choose to not despair.
Choose to KEEP. GOING.
No matter what. We do hard things every day. We are unstoppable... if we CHOOSE to be.
I’m here for you, always.