Navigating Postponing or Canceling Your Wedding

Photo by Stephanie Parshall Photography

Hello friends. I hope you are all well and staying safe in this strange time. We are in a concerning time right now as we try to predict what will arise or be in effect due to COVID-19. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the recommendations released by the CDC, many of my clients are in a period of waiting currently as they make the decision on whether to postpone their wedding or not. Making the decision on changing your wedding day is a very personal and situational preference to you, your fiance, and your families. This blog post is intended to help you through this decision and guide you through the steps should you decide to postpone or cancel your wedding.

The current recommendation from the CDC is to avoid any event with 50 or more people (some states have started enforcing this ban). I have some clients that are moving forward with their weddings as of now in April + May because of their small guest count. However, a few have decided to postpone out of fear for a few at risk family members and don’t want the virus stipulations to regulate their wedding. So, they have notified all vendors and re-scheduled their wedding to 2021.

The option of postponing is frightening and frustrating for many couples. After all the planning and anticipation, I completely understand the desire to avoid having to postpone. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the difficulties in this process. The good news is, all of my couples that have decided to postpone have had all of their vendors honor their payments + are just transitioning them in their books for 2021. This is because they decided to postpone more than a month prior. Each vendor has their own contract, but more often than not, if you attempt to postpone less than a month before your event, they may not be able to easily adjust your contract to a new day.

Payments are typically honored when weddings are postponed rather than canceled because many vendors have a non- refundable contract. So, you may transfer money from a postponed event to your newly scheduled event but won’t be able to get a refund should you completely cancel your wedding. This is where event cancellation insurance could be helpful! I always suggest event insurance for extra protection anyways. The typical cost is usually $75-125 and is worth the extra coverage for anything on a private property or where drinking is involved (or in our unfortunate situation, a global pandemic).

However, if you are 3-4 months away from your wedding, the decision on whether to postpone is very hard to judge. The status of the pandemic changes each day, therefore it is hard to know where we will be in a few months. If you don’t feel ready to make a decision just yet, I would advise revisiting the decision 1.5-2 months before your wedding.

Regardless of either direction you decide to make, I highly advise adding to your insurance coverage or getting event insurance. Specifically, make sure it covers communicable disease outbreaks (because this typically isn’t included in a standard event cancellation insurance policy) as well as adverse weather, natural disasters, labor disputes, acts of terrorism, failure to vacate, non-appearance, and illnesses. Definition of illness could cover disease outbreak but I would confirm this. With this insurance, you must have it before canceling or making a decision but it will help cover / regain costs of extra expenses. For example, a vendor can’t transition to 2021 or you have to re-buy your invitations–these all are things covered under event insurance. Insurances such as Progressive, All State, Farmers and Markel Insurance have this type of coverage.

This decision is not easy, but I wish you the best as you continue to navigate through this trying time. Things could change very quickly. I can only hope that all the efforts being in place right now to slow the spread will be successful and your event can go on as planned. However, we must prepare to do what is best for ourselves and others.

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