Everything You Need to Know About Postponing Your Wedding
While weddings typically involve a great deal of organization, plans can change due to unforeseen situations—requiring you and your partner to delay your nuptials. If you're postponing a wedding and exploring proper etiquette around your revised plans, here's exactly how to communicate across the board. The most important tip is communicate—not only with your vendors but also with your guests. Whether you've just started finalizing vendor contracts or you're waiting on your final few RSVPs, we've rounded up all the steps to follow if you're postponing your wedding.
Talk to Your Planner (If You Have One)
If you decide to postpone your wedding, the first thing you should do is speak to your planner, as they're the main point of contact with the vendors you're working with. Beyond contacting vendors, they'll likely offer up helpful advice and information, as they regularly deal with all kinds of wedding planning obstacles. If you have one vendor in particular that you must have at your newly-decided postponed date (such as your venue, your caterer or your DJ), communicate that to your wedding planner so they can prioritize conversations accordingly.
If you don't have a planner, here's what to do. Jove Meyer, owner and creative director of Jove Meyer Events, suggests reaching out to your vendors one by one—starting with your venue. Ask them about their postponement options and available dates. Once you've landed on a new date or have a few options, reach out to all other vendors and let them know the news. Be prepared for several different scenarios, such as certain vendors being unavailable on your new date, vendors charging you a change fee or vendors implementing an updated payment structure. "Know that your vendors will do their best to reschedule your wedding, so be patient and kind in the process of your postponement," Meyer says.
Review Vendor Contracts
Look over the contracts that you've already signed, as they may contain important information regarding postponing a wedding. There's a great deal of legal jargon in wedding contracts, so Meyer encourages couples to review their contracts and see if it contains a postponement or date change clause first. Another important term to look out for is "force majeure" (French for "act of god"). It stands for an event for which no party can be held accountable, such as a natural disaster. It protects from any unforeseeable consequences created by nature or catastrophe that may prevent fulfillment of contract.
After reviewing your contract, Meyer suggests reflecting on the work your vendors have already done. "When speaking with the vendors about postponement, be aware of the time, work, product and talent they have already put into the wedding and the new time, work, products and talent they will have to put in for the new date." In general, your wedding vendors will work as hard as they can to accommodate your postponement, but it's important to be respectful when having these conversations. "It's easy to only see your side of the story when you want or need to change your wedding day, but take a moment and see it from the vendors side as well. Every situation is different and through communication and hard work, we will do what has to be done to ensure your wedding is amazing."
Update Hotel Room Blocks and More
If you've reserved hotel rooms blocks, you'll need to update those accordingly as well. First, see if the hotels you booked at have any availability for your new wedding dates. Additionally, we recommend trying to negotiate a full or partial refund on your guests behalf.
If you made any other plans (perhaps a rehearsal dinner or a farewell brunch) or scheduled guest activities before the wedding, be sure to adjust those as well. You'll want to ensure that all aspects of your wedding are buttoned up so that you don't have any outstanding plans or expenses.
Call Your Guests
Once you've confirmed a new date and key vendors, communicate the change of plans to your guests as soon as possible. Call your guests and let them know the news. Yes, calling may be time consuming, but it's best etiquette and ensures the least amount of confusion. After family and close friends, Elaine Swann, founder of the Swann School of Protocol, suggests that couples reach out to guests who live the furthest away as soon as possible. "You want to give them ample time to modify their travel arrangements and possibly get refunds or a credit," she tells The Knot. "Keep your information streamlined and to the point."
Update Your Wedding Website
Creating a wedding website on The Knot allows you to communicate with your guests and give them as much information as possible—all in one easy-to-find location. Once you've contacted your guests and shared the news, we recommend updating your wedding website as soon as possible. That way, your guests can continue to refer back to it if they forget the new date or need to start making new plans.
We also recommend adding in a FAQ page, where you can write out answers to questions you anticipate your guests might have about the postponed wedding. By adding this information to your wedding website, you'll save your guests guesswork and save yourself from answering the same questions repeatedly.
Save-the-dates give your guests ample time to plan for your nuptials. But if you're postponing your wedding, you'll want to formally alert your guests of the change by sending out "change-the-dates." Stationery with updated details of your event should be mailed and promptly emailed so that your guests can schedule accordingly.
Update Your Team of Vendors If Needed
Ideally, all of your selected wedding vendors will be available on your new wedding date. But if that isn't the case, we've got you. Head over to The Knot to look at our extensive list of wedding vendors in your area. You can customize your search based on several different factors (think: price, location, specialties and rating). Psst: you can even scroll through our Best of Weddings category, filled with professionals who have been recognized as the top wedding vendors in the country. With our extensive network of wedding pros, you'll be able to successfully update your team of vendors quickly and confidently.
Personalize Your Wedding Even More
Postponing your wedding gives your and your S.O. more time to plan out details leading up to the nuptials. While larger decisions have already been made, capitalize on the opportunity to personalize your wedding even more. Think through small details or creative ideas you can incorporate into your nuptials that are meaningful. Brainstorm unique table names, thoughtful wedding favors, sustainable practices or sentimental outfit accessories. Not only will it bring the two of you closer during this time, it will also add to the overall guest experience (a top priority for couples getting married today, according to The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study).
Try making a list of your favorite things: movies, songs, date activities, meaningful locations, important dates—nothing is off limits. More and more couples continue to buck tradition and make their weddings their own (even celebrities like Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin and Jennifer Lawrence and Cooke Maroney spent time personalizing their nuptials). It will make the day even more special and have guests leave thinking, "that was so them."
Lean on Your Loved Ones
Weddings can require immense amounts of planning, so taking on extra work is never ideal. Whether you're feeling sad, frustrated or overwhelmed, lean on your loved ones for support. Postponing a wedding requires a great deal of time and effort, so try to delegate tasks to your partner, family or friends whenever possible. Communication is key too. Be honest with your loved ones about how you're feeling and rely on them for support during this busy time.