The only thing that is certain anymore is how uncertain COVID-19 has made everything. In the midst of a global pandemic, people are seeking out normalcy and joy however they can find it. For many engaged couples, this means grieving the lost vision of their ultimate wedding day and considering alternatives to celebrating their love. If you are wondering if you should postpone your wedding celebration, this blog post is for you. We hope this provides you with some perspective and background as you move to make a decision.
When COVID-19 hit the United States in mid-March, everything happened very quickly. Wedding planners, photographers, venues, florists, and everyone in between were working swiftly and aggressively with their clients to postpone their wedding date for later in 2020. The trending policy at the time, among the wedding vendor community, was not to charge couples any additional fees, as long as those clients were postponing to a date still within 2020. Vendor attitudes were compassionate and hopeful that this was the best fix for all those involved. At the time, it was also widely anticipated that whatever this coranavirus was, it was a short-term issue. With every couple of days that passed however, more couples were making the decision to postpone their wedding dates and vendors of all types were completely overhauling their spring and summer wedding schedules and pushing a year’s worth of contracts into the later half of 2020. By the time we hit April 1st, just two weeks after COVID-19 hit our local radar, Artisan Rose Event Co. had officially postponed all our March through June weddings.
When Dallas County made the decision to close all non-essential businesses and effectively shut the greater metroplex down until April 30th, 2020, the local wedding industry (along with so many others) started to panic. We were now entering a territory of needing to protect and prepare our businesses for an indefinite hibernation as global knowledge of the virus began to pose a much more long-term threat. Companies were furloughing employees, instituting “work from home,” and applying for government relief, all while trying to continue to serve their clients. In similar fashion, Brides and Grooms with wedding dates for later in the year became nervous, and started reaching out to vendors to understand their options. This time however, they were met with less than flexible responses.
By far, the biggest push-back came from their venues- the teams that had hefty rents and mortgages to pay regardless of the thousands of dollars of revenue per weekend they were losing in postponements. We started seeing more rescheduling fees, Sunday or weekday only options for new wedding dates, and restrictions on what constituted a Force Majeure clause in their contracts. Fear for your wedding date or potential loss of guest count was no longer considered a good enough reason to postpone. You needed actual proof that your wedding contracts could not be fulfilled: a government mandate, an illness in the immediate family, or a death. Otherwise, you needed to be prepared to pay and share the burden of your vendors' loss of business.
If you didn’t ride the initial free-for all postponement wave in mid-March, the likelihood is that you’ll need to continue to play the waiting game. States and counties are releasing staged plans to open the economy back up, and Texas Governor, Abbott has started his re-opening with limiting capacities at weddings and outlining health protocols for attendees. You can find his May 5, 2020 declaration on this here: https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas.
The 2-14 day virus incubation period means we are unlikely to see the effects of any staged openings until about 2 weeks later. While this experimental re-opening of the economy plays out, it is safe to say that major vendors like venues are going to also wait to understand how aggressive their recovery plans should be moving forward. Remember, every new date a wedding venue or other day-of vendor gives to a COVID-19 postponement, is a loss of income to them. So, if you’re looking to postpone your wedding into 2021, be aware you may incur some extra costs here- as venues and vendors may or may not be struggling to keep their doors open in the meantime.
When to Decide
We’ve received quite a few questions from our couples about when to make the decision regarding further postponements. To help you with this, we’ve created a little decision tree for you:
It's important to remember during this time that your vendors are not your enemies. Their businesses have always been and remain a labor of love. Some of them will have more flexibility as you consider postponement, while others will not. These policies most likely stem from a place of necessity, not of opportunism. If you have a special case where your wedding is still many months away, but you need to reschedule regardless, reach out to your wedding venue first and open up this discussion with them. Otherwise, the wisest thing for you to do is wait to see how things are operating at the 3 month mark.
As always, we are here to help. If you'd like to discuss your options further, reach out to your planner! Till then, Cheers.