If you’ve postponed your wedding due to the coronavirus pandemic, you’re probably scrambling to book a new date, rehire vendors, and generally maintain your sanity. But once the dust has settled and the major details of your day have been ironed out, you’ll need to turn your attention to your guests. Your family members and friends may have shelled out a good amount of money to travel to your wedding, not to mention bought gifts and attire for the event. While your guests will likely be very understanding—you’re postponing your wedding to keep everyone safe, after all—there are several steps you can take to make the situation a bit easier for your loved ones. Yes, we know you’ve got a lot to deal with right now, but helping guide your guests through your postponement now will save you time and energy as your (new) big date approaches. For those whose wedding date has changed in light of the coronavirus crisis, take these steps to help your guests adjust their plans.
As you’re adjusting plans for your wedding, the health and safety of your guests should be paramount. Follow CDC guidelines and local and federal regulations, and work with your wedding vendors to ensure you’re making informed decisions and avoiding risks. Your guests will have to decide for themselves whether or not they’re able to attend your wedding, but they’ll appreciate your efforts to keep them safe.
Communicate the changes immediately.
As soon as you’ve made the decision to postpone your wedding, you should update your wedding website with the news and reach out to your guests quickly. Of course, your nearest and dearest (family and wedding party members) should be notified via phone or FaceTime. An email alerting the rest of your guests of the postponement, and that more information will follow should suffice for now. However, if you have older guests that aren’t as tech-savvy, a few phone calls may be necessary (you can delegate these to your parents or other close relatives, if you’d like). Another email communication should be sent out once you’ve set a new date. Making sure your guests are kept up-to-date with the changes will prevent too much confusion and allow your guests time to update travel arrangements and other plans.
Send out printed materials.
Many couples are opting to send out “change the date” cards to share their new wedding date with guests. It’s a nice idea, if your budget allows. If you changed your wedding date after your invitations went out, we do recommend sending out new invitations six to eight weeks before your new date, to allow time for your guests to RSVP. Work with your invitation designer to come up with a simpler design for your second invitation—there’s no need to spend big bucks on a fancy suite here.
Update your wedding website frequently.
In all of your communication with your guests, be sure to share the URL to your wedding website, which will be the hub for all timely updates. Make sure to note right on your website’s homepage that your wedding date has changed, and include the new information. As you make changes to your event, whether it be timing, travel information, transportation, or other details, be sure to list everything on the site. Be sure to include a contact form so that your guests can reach out with any questions.
Help guests adjust travel plans.
If many of your guests will be traveling to your event, it’s a nice gesture to offer your assistance as they update their travel arrangements. In particular, if you reserved room blocks at hotels near your venue, you’ll want to work with those hotels to change the dates of the reserved rooms—and of course, be sure to communicate this with your guests. As for flights and other travel plans, your guests will likely want to wait until a bit closer to your wedding date to ensure travel is safe, and then book their tickets accordingly.
Be patient and flexible.
Many people have lost their jobs or faced financial difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic. While all of your guests certainly want to attend your wedding, their current financial situation might make them unable to commit right now (especially if they’ve lost money due to cancelling travel plans). It’s important to be as understanding as possible, and handle the situation with poise and flexibility. Don’t worry if you haven’t received a gift from your college roomie or if your cousin seems a bit flaky about if she can attend your wedding. Just like you, your loved ones are dealing with a lot right now, from financial issues to health worries. Once you’ve clearly communicated updates to your guests, trust that they’ll make the appropriate changes. A little patience goes a long way.
Consider live streaming your ceremony.
For a variety of reasons, your guest list may end up being smaller than you anticipated. You needn’t dwell on this too much, your wedding will be amazing no matter how your guest count shakes out. However, you might talk to your vendors about live streaming your wedding so that your loved ones who can’t be there in person can still celebrate with you. There are more technologically advanced ways to stream your wedding than having your uncle hold up his iPad during the ceremony—your vendors can come up with creative ways to ensure everyone’s included.