Planning by Angela Marie Events. Photo by Ashleigh Jayne.

Wedding planners and vendors answer pandemic postponement questions

COVID-19 brides, we see you. With everything happening right now, the problems facing our world are much larger than the absence of spring wedding season. However, we’re here to tell you that it’s OK to be upset and it’s OK to focus on the details of your big day instead of devastating news headlines. We’re in uncharted territory, but you’re not alone.

We reached out to local planners and vendors to get their expert advice on what to do if you have to postpone or if you opt to go ahead with a scaled-back version of your original wedding plan. While they can’t tell you exactly what the future holds, they’re committed to navigating the situation alongside local couples.

Read on for their advice, and leave the questions you want answered in the comments below:

Planning by Angela Marie Events. Photo by Jen Huang Photography.

How many months out are you advising couples to reschedule?

Weddings Taylor Made: “We are advising clients to push back to fall 2020 or even January-February 2021 since these months are typically a slower time for events. We have definitely encouraged couples to select a Friday evening reception or even a Sunday brunch, especially if you are looking at peak times in fall and spring. Looking outside of Saturday evenings generally results in more availability for all vendors.”

Angela Marie Events: “I have been telling people nothing before August, and I’m basing that just on what I have seen with the progression in other countries. You don’t want to have to postpone twice, so make a solid decision and go with it. But also remember that you want people to enjoy the event. You want them to be comfortable and not looking over their shoulder in fear. The scared factor isn’t romantic. Also, a lot of older people attend weddings. You have to put their health as a priority. After all, what’s one more month?”

Planning by Poppy Lane Events. Photo by Gabrielle Hail Photography.

What do all the postponements mean for this fall’s wedding season?

Poppy Lane Events: “With postponing the majority of the spring wedding season into fall 2020, we’re looking at more competitive season for vendors. October 2020 was already a popular month, with October 10 being the date to have. Subsequently, when couples who wanted that date were pushed to weekends without football games or other events, it left little ideal availability for couples (and vendors) needing to postpone. We’re going to be seeing weddings happening on weekdays rather than traditional Friday and Saturdays, which could also boost a trend into 2021 and beyond.”

Planning by KBCook Weddings. Photo by Ashleigh Jayne.

What are the first steps in rescheduling?

KBCook Weddings: “Brides should start by reaching out to all of their vendors to see which dates they have available during the ideal reschedule window. Best case scenario would be to reschedule the wedding on a date that works for all the vendors that you chose for your original date and have already invested in. It’s also important to ask your vendors about any possible date change fees so you aren’t caught off guard if those fees are charged.”

Planning by Weddings Taylor Made. Photo by Brandon O’Neal Photography.

How can couples use this extra time to make their big day even better?

Weddings Taylor Made: “Take some deep breaths and decide that the extra time can work to your advantage. Take time and evaluate your budget. What aspects of your wedding are most important to you? Maybe adjust your budget and plans and allocate money to those areas. This experience may cause you to decide you really do want to have a second line band to celebrate with and are willing to make adjustments in other areas to make this happen.

“Overall, evaluate what is really important to both of you as a couple. Sometimes extra time can create a temptation to spend more. We hope brides will not fall into this trap of over-stretching themselves and breaking budgets, but rather take the time to add more thoughtful and unique touches to their wedding. Are you having a seated dinner? Maybe include a personal card for each guest at their place setting telling them how much they mean to you. Think about how you can make your first dance, parent dances or toasts even better. Maybe some in-home dance lessons are in order! We look forward to hearing some extra special content to come in wedding vows and toasts from this quarantine experience.”

Planning by Poppy Lane Events. Photo by Jen Menard.

What is some advice for couples who don’t want to move their big day? How can you make a solo ceremony special with minimal resources?

KBCook Weddings: “My advice is to remember that the intimate wedding they will have is just as special and important as the big one would have been. If anything, you have concentrated things down to the aspects that matter most: love, commitment, family and celebration. Even though it’s small than originally planned, treat it with just as much importance. Dress up, bring in flowers, play music, take photos, dance and eat cake. You just got married!”

Angela Marie Events: “The thing that’s most important is that the bride and groom both feel good about the decision. Everyone has their own story and reasoning, but in the end it’s just about celebrating your life, regardless of the fanfare. Plus, for some couples, a wedding was already daunting financially. This relieves that stress and allows couples to home in on what’s really important.”

Poppy Lane Events: “If you opt for a private ceremony and not the ‘original plan’ later on, my biggest recommendation is to review your vendor contracts. Know who will give back retainers and deposits and who won’t, and be accepting should it arise that those will not be refunded. Additionally, make sure that your private ceremony follows local restrictions and the recommendations of the CDC. The fines and repercussions that I have seen several couples have as a result will certainly put a damper on the occasion!”

Weddings Taylor Made:Remember that a wedding is so important because it is the start of a marriage, not merely an event. Focus on each other and your love. If you are contemplating having a simple wedding at home, get creative with a quaint ceremony set up in your backyard. Simple can always be beautiful! Let your family and close friends know if you are proceeding with an intimate home wedding because they would love the opportunity to celebrate you with a wedding parade. And even if you’re planning an intimate ceremony, we encourage you to postpone and not cancel with all of your vendors. Even if you decide not to host a ceremony later on, consider having an amazing party to celebrate with everyone at a later date so you do not lose the deposits you have already paid to your vendors.”

Flowers by Rickey Heroman’s. Photo by Collin Richie.

What about flowers? Can couples downsize for a quarantine ceremony? How will a season change for postponements affect the flowers available?

Rickey Heroman’s Florist: “Because of the virus situation, I have not been able to meet with any of my couples to reassess. However, we have done several small weddings that have all had to cut back on people. Everyone is doing different things, but we are still doing flowers and can get couples whatever they need, whether it’s a bouquet, a few small arrangements or boutonnieres for the groom and fathers.

“In the fall, a lot of times brides like to bring in fall colors, especially in November. But most of the larger weddings go more with what colors the brides likes than with seasonal changes. Most brides still like creams, whites, greenery and accent colors like blush and peach. It all depends on the bridesmaids’ dress colors, table settings, etc.”

Planning by Weddings Taylor Made. Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes.

If couples are feeling overwhelmed without a planner, can they hire one now? What can planners bring to the table?

Angela Marie Events: “You can absolutely hire a planner now! I have actually had lots of brides pull me in last minute and we have been able to create stunning weddings on very short timelines. The advantage to having a planner is that we know the resources. We know what’s available and we know how to get everything done. Wedding planning is stressful without the pressure of a pandemic. We’re here to help make sure you have the best possible experience.”

Weddings Taylor Made: “We can’t emphasize enough the value of having a wedding planner to help navigate the postponement changes. Having a professional event planner on your team to think through logistics and reach out to vendors to discuss the rescheduling options is so valuable. We understand that sometimes couples do not invest in a wedding planner since their venue includes a day-of coordinator, but a wedding planner is working with all vendors you have hired and looking at all of the logistics and plans with your entire vision in mind. They are ensuring that the big picture comes together and happens, relieving a lot of stress for the couple. We love adjusting to the needs of our clients and the market and so we are offering customizable postponement packages for brides who maybe initially did not book a planner or see it as a need, but have now realized they could use some additional help.”

Planning by Lindsey Usrey. Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes.

Can couples still get engagement and bridal photos done in time for invitations or for displaying at a reception?

Jeannie Frey Rhodes: “Photographers are on the ball and we can do it. We put brides first so we can do a quick turnaround if that’s what needs to happen. We’re here for them.”

Planning by KBCook Weddings. Photo by Ashleigh Jayne.

What is your advice for staying positive?

KBCook Weddings: “First of all, it’s OK to be upset. This isn’t the wedding planning experience you had hoped for. That being said, don’t wallow in the sadness for too long. This is still a very happy time in your life! If you are postponing your wedding, there is just more time for friends and family to celebrate your upcoming nuptials. If you are having an intimate ceremony now, you are marrying the love of your life and celebrating with the folks that mean the most to you. As someone who has been married for 13 years, I can tell you that having a partner to hold your hand and walk with you through life’s obstacles is more important than the date on your marriage certificate or how large the celebration was. Let this experience bring the two of you closer and weather the storm together. You will come out stronger on the other side.”

Jeannie Frey Rhodes: “Once you get over the shock, you’ll realize that it doesn’t change the most important part of your big day: marrying the person you love. Years from now, this will just be a fun story to tell.”

Poppy Lane Events: “My biggest advice and word of encouragement is to not stop planning. We’re in this weird state of emergency and normalcy where we’re seeing and hearing devastating news as a result of something we can’t physically see or fight against. But, at the same time, life goes on. People are still falling in love, making time for each other, and saying “Yes!” to forever. While we have the choice to dwell on the sadness and what could have been, we also have the opportunity to choose to get involved and get excited about one of the biggest occasions in life, as well as stimulate the local economy, boost some endorphins and spread some good news.”

Angela Marie Events: “Cry it out but remember that it’s all going to be OK, no matter what you choose. Let the people close to you help you through the process and use it to reflect on what’s truly important to you. My advice is to set a new date and go with it and get excited, even if it isn’t what you originally planned. The day will still be memorable–perhaps even more memorable!”

Weddings Taylor Made:Focus on the good, not the bad. We know it is not ideal to postpone your wedding and make changes to what you have planned, but look for the goodness that you will certainly find in this situation: support and love from your fiancé, vendors who will go the extra mile with a smile, and certainly a great story to one day tell your children! As wedding planners, we often see that Plan B ends up being better than Plan A. We have had our fair share of hurricane weddings and all kinds of weather and logistical issues that result in adjustments to the original plan, and we often hear couples say, ‘This was even better than what we planned or imagined!’ Roll with the changes and you may be surprised by how much you love it in the end.”

What questions do you have about postponements due to COVID-19? Let us know in the comments below.