The morning that Elana Fishman decided to postpone her April wedding started pretty normally, with her accompanying her fiancé, Ryan Kerslake, to his suit fitting. “He had a suit made with our wedding date embroidered on the side of the jacket,” she says. Forty-eight hours later, Fishman had called all her vendors, coordinated with the venue, and notified her guests; as is the case with many others, COVID-19 had upended her plans. “The tailor is now going to go in and stitch a line through it to add the new date,” she adds.
When you have your paper invite framed and leftover cake samples sitting in your fridge, making the decision to reschedule can be heartbreaking to say the least. But if these past few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that you’re hardly alone—and luckily most vendors will be super-understanding. All it takes is a quick plan of action. “I think I went through all the stages of grief in 72 hours, and then kick-started into planning mode,” says Alison Brand, who moved her spring date to later in the summer.
If you’re figuring out whether you should move your nuptials, we figured the best people to offer insight would be those who have quite literally been in your shoes. We chatted with four couples to hear about what worked for them, as well as the mini celebrations that are tiding them over till the big day.
Elana Fishman and Ryan Kerslake
Original date: April 25, 2020
New date: April 24, 2021
Go digital for RSVPs: We used Minted for our invites and save-the-dates. We didn’t want to reach out to everyone until we had everything settled, so once we did, we sent an email to serve as the new save-the-date. I think we’ll do a Paperless Post follow-up before the wedding next year—we’re not reordering paper invitations.
Wait for the right month: Originally, we’d been thinking about the fall, but we picked spring to avoid the election. Because the venue is in Miami, where hurricane season is summer to fall, we decided a full year would be the way to go. I’m one of the most risk-averse people you will ever meet, so it’s kind of funny in a sad way that I thought I had planned this to a T…but as this has taught everyone, some things you really can’t plan for.
Make your new festivities bigger than ever: The only vendor that didn’t work out was music, because they were already booked—but my mom was like, if we’re waiting a year for this and everyone’s healthy, we’re going to party. So we decided to switch from a DJ to a live group. Most wedding bands have links to performances on YouTube so you can see them in action, so while we’ve been working from home we’ve had them playing in the background to help us pick. We’re going to go all out and celebrate being alive.
Tom Hunter and Mitch Brook
Original date: May 1, 2020
New date: March 12, 2021
Plan early for a destination wedding: Luckily, we postponed before the government in Australia—where we are from and where the wedding is being held—decided to impose restrictions, so our new date was free. We had about 30 international guests flying in for the weekend, and we started talking to them early, letting them know we were investigating postponing so they could start looking into their options with flights and accommodations.
Throw a party on the original date anyway: It depends on the situation here in New York, but we’d like to go upstate for May 1. If we can’t, we’ll likely stay put in NYC and do a nice dinner, pop some bubbles, and FaceTime with friends and family. Given it will also be our 12-year anniversary, we’ll still definitely be celebrating.
Overshare about everything: It sounds simple, but communicating helped us the most. We started talking to our guests about three weeks before we postponed to let them know the situation—we were very wary that we were overreacting, but getting feedback throughout our decision-making process was invaluable.
Alison Brand and Josh Mayer
Original date: May 16, 2020
New date: August 29, 2020
Update old contracts: All of our vendors were really great in working with us to shift the deposit due dates, but I did ask for new contracts so we had proper documentation. After a few exchanges and with the situation getting progressively worse in NYC, we ended up having a clause added to them around coronavirus-related delays.
Hit pause on the honeymoon plans (for now): We had just bought tickets to South Africa and finalized our itinerary. Right now, we’re not rebooking anything, because we’re not sure what travel is going to look like in a few months.
Become a spreadsheets person: I had a pretty robust Google Drive with clear timelines and budgets. I ended up taking that and checking through each deliverable to ensure I wasn’t missing anything—I found it really helpful to just stay focused and tick off the boxes. I created a new column on the worksheet for updated contracts, too.
Catherine Kim and Ryan Shirtz
Original date: May 2, 2020
New date: May 21, 2021
Move as fast as possible: We cemented the reschedule date quickly, motivated by the understanding that many other couples were in the same boat as us after the CDC announced limiting gatherings of more than 50 people on March 15. We contacted our venue on March 16, and by the 17th were ready to sign on the dotted line for next year.
Open a joint Gmail account: A shared inbox is so important. It’s been a game changer to track all correspondence via one address! Nothing would be worse than having to constantly CC your partner on emails that weren’t “reply all”-ed during the rescheduling.
Take a vendor-first approach: We were primarily dictated by our venue’s availability. As it is popular, all desirable dates were already taken, so we decided to move it out a full year—we were extremely lucky that all our deposits were honored for our new date. This experience really moved us both, as this is a challenging time for small businesses; knowing that our vendors had our backs made what was already an emotional decision a seamless one.
See more wedding stories:
I Postponed My Wedding by 7 Months—But the Flowers Were Already in Transit
Our 3 Favorite 2020 Wedding Trends Are Delightfully Nontraditional
This Is the Year’s Most Popular Wedding Registry Item