The coronavirus has wrecked havoc in our lives in a number of ways. For those of you who have weddings come up in the next few months, it’s been quite the roller coaster ride.

If your wedding is scheduled for April, the decision to not have your wedding has more than likely been made for you due to CDC and state regulations. But for those of you who have May or June weddings, you’re starting to wonder what do you do next?

The notion to postpone your wedding shouldn’t be taken lightly. But there are steps you need to take before you pull the trigger.

Together with a few other wedding professionals I work with a lot, we put together some insight so you know what to expect and what opportunities there are for you in this difficult time.

First thing first, cancellation shouldn’t be in your vocabulary unless you are officially calling off the wedding and engagement. You're still plan on getting married. You’ve more than likely already have all or a majority of your wedding vendors booked. And if you cancel, that means your date is now open for the taking and if these restrictions are lifted in the near future and someone else wants your date, it's gone. More than likely you’re looking to pick a new date or possibly get that date penciled in as a backup.

There are two ways to go about this:

  1. Look toward later this year for a date(s) that works for you and your vendors
  2. Push the wedding day back to next year

As you start looking to make this decision, here is some insight to help you understand the process and what to expect.

When do I start considering making a change to my wedding date?

Sarah Day — SAS Weddings

We are all diligently working with couples with wedding dates now through the end of May to address concerns about postponements. This is an extremely difficult time for us all and know that our hearts are with you. We are blessed to live in a region that is a wonderful destination location for our couples but with that has come some travel concerns for many guests traveling throughout the country and oversees. Because of that we are seeing some May – June weddings are being addressed right now. But this uncharted territory for us all and we are asking that if your wedding is later to please just take a deep breath and know that our thoughts and hearts are with you. But try holding off making any adjustments until April 30th.

Robyn Bruns — Red Letter Event Planning

Right now if your wedding is imminent, April and May. If you are past May I would not change anything at this point. However in consultation with your planner or on your own you should be creating a Plan B should this situation extend into the summer. This should include the planner or yourself reaching out to all your vendors and getting information about their reschedule policy and if there are any additional fees associated with that reschedule.

Thomas Shaw — Traks DJ Service

First off I would encourage clients to postpone and not cancel. I was contacted by one of my clients and I thought the way she decided to reschedule was perfect. She included her whole team (wedding vendors) in an email and gave us a few dates she was thinking of for her wedding. Each one of us were able to see and respond.

I think the sooner they contact their wedding DJ the better. Chances are they still have dates available for this summer. I really do believe the epidemic will all be over by this summer.

Terri O’Connor — Rose & Blossom

I suggest they have open communication with their florist. Let the florist know as soon as possible. Read the contract and understand what was signed and what refunds are available.In writing is always best initially vs on the phone, so that both parties can look back at what was communicated.

Should I cancel all together or reschedule?

Diana Ithomitis — Agape Events

Getting married is your decision. I imagine by planning a big party that you'd like to officially tie the knot. So, still do it! Get married, say the vows, exchange rings, and make it official! Do not let anything get in the way of becoming Mr. & Mrs. However, if it is important to make the marriage commitment in front for friends and family, rescheduling may need to happen.

First tell close family and your bridal party, then call or email every vendor you have hired. Lastly, let your guests know via your wedding website, post card, or social media.

Robyn Bruns — Red Letter Event Planning

You should definitely reschedule you still want to get married it just may not be possible at this time. Your planning ideas are not going to expire it just will be a new date.

Sarah Day — SAS Weddings

Please do not cancel! There are so many ways to work through this difficult time with your Wedding Professionals by your side. Don’t feel like you have to do this alone. There are local Wedding Professionals willing to help out and so many virtual recourses popping up every day to help assist you.

In Idaho there is no waiting period or expiration date, all you have to do is get married in Idaho. Washington State has a 3 day waiting period and your marriage license is valid for 60 days.

Jerome Pollos Photography

While most wedding vendors would recommend rescheduling since you still want to get married, you should start by contacting your wedding coordinator/planner first if you have one. If not, start with the “big three” — venue, photographer, DJ. They are the vendors are secured first. See what dates are available that fit with your expectations, wants and needs.

For my couples, I’ve been working with couples for Friday and Sunday weddings in the fall if I don’t have a Saturday available. Most couples are finding that venues and other vendors have more openings on Sundays which makes the transition and rescheduling a little easier.

What about the money we’ve already paid?

Thomas Shaw — Traks DJ Service

Most wedding vendors have a strict no retainer fee refund. With that being said, in the off chance they need to cancel, I would be willing to apply that fee towards another event within a 12 month period.

Terri O’Connor — Rose & Blossom

This would vary from florist to florist. It all depends on the contract. In our case, yes this is the situation. The 10% covers work we have already done, by consulting, building recipes, typing contracts, and scheduling inventory buys. We do allow for the retainer to be transferred to another date with no penalty or change fees. (In our case, we have refunded more as a good will move, but this is a case by case instance. Officially though the 10% is non-refundable.)

Becky Johnson — Coeur d'Alene Resort Weddings

When we book a wedding we do require a non-refundable deposit. However when something like an act of god or in this situation where it is out of peoples control we will move that deposit to another date for them. We have not had anyone cancel only postpone to a later date. There are no fee's or repercussions at this time, we are trying to make the transition absolutely as easy as possible.

Robyn Bruns — Red Letter Event Planning

Does that apply in this current situation? This will be a case-by-case situation. Each vendor determines their own policies. Just keep in mind that most of your vendors are small businesses. This situation is unprecedented and some may show flexibility but others may not. This doesn't mean one vendor's policy is better than the other some may have difficult business decisions to make.

Jerome Pollos Photography

Due to the current situation, I’m not charging the contracted rescheduling fee if we are still aiming for a 2020 wedding date. If the date is being moved to 2021, the rescheduling fee will be applied to account for the lost revenue of securing two dates (2020 and 2021) for one wedding. There are ways to use referrals to cover the rescheduling fee. No matter who you've booked with, consult your contract to see what it says about cancellations and rescheduling and then call your vendor to see if they are making any special considerations due to the coronavirus outbreak.

How many conversations have you had so far regarding coronavirus-induced date changes?

Terri O'Connor — Rose & Blossom

We have about six weddings reduce what they are ordering because they are still getting married, so want personal flowers, but are not having the reception so centerpieces are cancelled. We had one cancel until 2021 one year from their original date. We have had three postpone and are planning on doing the full wedding later in the year. Most are in the fall. All of these weddings fall within March, April, and May. We have not had any later weddings call to reschedule.

Jerome Pollos Photography

I've made calls to all my April, May and June weddings last week in order to answer question and try to get ahead of uncertainty that was coming with all the regulations being discussed. Right now I have two weddings rescheduled, three waiting to see if the restrictions get lifted, and a three others that have new dates picked as a back-up (two this year and one next year).

Jenna Sandin — Fleurtations Floral

Most of my May and June brides are discussing reschedule dates so far. They are looking at what other options are available at this point. October or Friday weddings seem to be a likely option to switch to if necessary. Since no one really knows the duration of this virus, I have been telling my clients that 2 weeks out is the final cut off to make the call to switch dates.

Words of encouragement

Robyn Bruns — Red Letter Event Planning

Another note this is a very stressful time for many couples planning their wedding especially if you have made a decision to reschedule. Take a moment and take a breath, you don't have to figure it all out in one day or even a week it is a process. If you have a planner they will be your best resource and will assist you in this process. If you don't have a planner then put together a checklist for rescheduling, be kind to your vendors they want to assist you best they can as they are excited about your wedding just like you are.

Thomas Shaw — Traks DJ Service

Relax, wash your hands, stay away from humans and drink alcohol (alcohol kills viruses) 😂

Jerome Pollos Photography

This is affecting everyone so hang in there. You've picked your vendors because you like their style, trust them, and get along with them. Keep that in mind. Be sure to communicate with your vendors and don't wait to ask questions. Send an email or make a call to your wedding vendor team. We're here to help.

If you're still planning to have your wedding, but won't have a lot of guests due to travel restrictions and social distancing requirements, you can always livestream your wedding.

And for a overall scope of what to think about when considering coronavirus implications, Apple Brides put together a great article.