How To Plan A Wedding During Uncertain Times

When it comes to wedding planning, love is the most important aspect. The positivity, comfort, and energy that love brings to our lives help us get through the most uncertain times and shines light on what’s really important. Whatever the uncertainty the coronavirus pandemic may bring, there are always ways to still say “I do” to the love of your life. We collected useful tips, information, and wedding planning resources for postponing your wedding or finding romantic alternatives. Come rain or shine, it’s your big day and love overcomes all.

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How To Postpone Your Wedding

If you have to postpone your wedding, one of the first steps is to contact everyone involved — from guests to vendors — to let them know. If you have a wedding planner, consult them if the situation arises, ask what you can do to help with the postponement, and how to proceed from there. If you coordinated your wedding without a wedding planner, here are a few helpful tips on how to handle postponing your big day during uncertain times.

Wedding planning checklist.

Check With Your Insurance

Try calling your insurance first if you have it. They may be able to help you out with getting a refund or cover the difference in costs from wedding vendors.

Tackle The Financials

Take some time to brush up on your contracts and learn about your refund options. Read the fine print and see if you can find a paragraph that touches on the cancellation or refund policies. Look for an “act of God” clause that could say you won’t get a refund of your down payment if the reason for the cancellation was out of the vendor’s control.

Knowing the details of your contracts can be helpful when you speak to your vendors. Depending on the circumstances, your vendors may be open to negotiations, so keep this in mind as you work to sort everything out.

Wedding planning binder.

Inform Your Guests With Editable Announcements

There are many ways to reach out to your guests to inform them of your wedding postponement. Depending on how close the original wedding date is, you can decide on the channel of communication that makes the most sense to you.

If the original date is only a few weeks out, consider calling your wedding guests to ensure they get the message on time. This may seem time-consuming depending on the size of your guest list, but it’s a safe and personal way of informing everyone about the change of events. This is a great time to recruit your wedding party to help out — divide your guest list up among bridesmaids and groomsmen.

If you’ve already sent out save the date cards, consider sending Editable Announcements to your guests. When customizing these cards, you can change the text from “save the date” to “We’ve changed our date!” and “details to follow” to spark the excitement of your new date. Plus, if you have to change the date of your big day, Shutterfly will reprint any event-based cards you create with us for free, honoring our Date-Change Promise. For help with creating and editing cards, follow our Personalizing Cards guide.

we've changed the date card for wedding

You can also send a notice via email. If you have a wedding website, you’re likely able to post an update online and then send an email to all of your guests. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to reach out to everyone about your rescheduled nuptials. Consider reaching out to guests who RSVP’d “no” to your original invite as well because they might be able to attend your wedding at a later date.

There is no official etiquette when it comes to reaching out to your guests and informing them of the adjustment of your original wedding date. Once you have it planned, your guests will be just as eager to celebrate your big day.

Contact The Wedding Venue

Consider giving your vendor a phone call for clarity on how to proceed. While on the phone, you can ask for a few open dates in the future and discuss your down payment. As you discuss potential dates, keep in mind that different seasons can entail different venue costs. Don’t be afraid to take your time and gather all the details you need to make an informed decision.

Wedding reception table.

Contact All Other Vendors Involved

After contacting your guests and talking to your venue, you can inform your other vendors about the wedding changes. When deciding on how to reach out to your vendors, consider the urgency and any questions you have for them. To stay organized during this process, consider keeping a wedding checklist to take notes of the conversations you have with your vendors. Reference them later as you’re planning your new date.

Here are the most commonly hired vendors and services to help you keep track of who to contact about your wedding postponement:

  • Caterer and bakery
  • Florist and decorator
  • Makeup artist and hairstylist
  • Tailor or bridal salon
  • Photographer and videographer
  • Band or DJ
  • Church or officiant
  • Wedding favors vendor
  • Transportation or rentals companies

Keep in mind the venue and any services you hired for your rehearsal dinner while you’re in this phase of postponing.

Pick A New Date

You may already have picked a new wedding date if you came to an agreement with your vendor when postponing, but it could also be that you need to find a new reception venue and your date options depend on their availability. In this case, treat your wedding plans like a clean slate. Keep going with your original vision, or alter your Big Day for a special elopement.

If you picked your original date for your favorite season or with a symbolic meaning in mind, consider pushing the new date a year out so you don’t have to compromise on that.

Small wedding ceremony.

Another good way of finding a new wedding date is by prioritizing your vendors and checking their availability. Keep in mind that some wedding venues tend to book out months or even a year in advance.

You can also take a look at local calendars and see if there are any events happening on your potential dates. Big events or holidays may affect venue availability and prices, as well as traffic in the area.

If your new wedding is postponed to a few months later or even the following year, consider sending wedding invitations or editable save the date cards in the mail to formally inform your guests of your rescheduled wedding date.

How To Elope

Besides hosting a virtual wedding or postponing the event, you can also elope. If you want to get married sooner than your original date, or you just can’t wait another day to say “I do,” this may be the solution for you. Learn how to make your elopement special, and read more below.

All you need is a marriage license, an officiant, and your wedding rings. You might be surprised at how amazing an intimate, impromptu wedding ceremony can be. To capture this special moment, you can hire a photographer or have a friend present to take pictures for your wedding photo album.

Couple kissing.

You can take candid photos and beautiful portraits. Have the photographer capture your first look and casual moments of you enjoying the day. These precious moments can easily become some of your favorite photographs to use when sending announcement cards to your loved ones. This is also a great way to include a beloved pet in your ceremony. You can still plan a fantastic party at a later date to celebrate with all your loved ones.

How To Plan A Virtual Wedding

Remote meetings at work, virtual dinner parties with friends, and video chats with the grandparents have become part of our routines. Celebrating a virtual wedding can be just as easy. This can be a great alternative if you’re unable to gather all of your guests in one location for your big day.

Couple celebrating after wedding.

While you don’t have to leave your home for a virtual wedding, there are still a few things to keep in mind. To start, you and your partner will want to decide whether you want to host a video conference or live stream your wedding ceremony.

The biggest perk of streaming your wedding is that your guests can simply tune in to watch and enjoy. The feeling of togetherness you get from a virtual wedding where close friends and family can actively contribute to your wedding by commenting or cheering you on adds a special and personal touch. This may work best if you have a smaller, more intimate group joining you virtually.

However you decide to celebrate your virtual wedding, here are a few more tips and things to consider in your wedding planning process.

Tell Your Guests

Since the wedding will happen virtually, consider how you will announce the celebration to your guests. Include a timeline of your ceremony and reception. You can ask your guests to dress up for the occasion, have champagne ready to toast in custom champagne flutes, and mute their microphones during the ceremony if you’re doing a conference call. Include the link to the live stream or video call platform and any necessary login information.

Pick A Platform

There are plenty of options when it comes to digital platforms or apps that you can use to stream your wedding or set up a video conference call. Do some research to find the one that fits your needs, budget, and ideas best. Keep in mind that some platforms have time limits unless you pay a fee. Whichever you choose, make sure to include the details in your wedding invitations so your guests know how to find the virtual meeting room and what the password is if they need one.

Mom and son smiling looking at phone.

If you have a difficult time deciding between a live stream and a conference call, consider both. You could stream the ceremony and then invite everyone to a reception via conference call afterward where people can give toasts and say their congratulations.

Choose Your Technology

Since you’ll be streaming your ceremony, plan in advance what technology and internet connection you’re going to use. This way, you can ensure that your guests will get a clear image and hear everything clearly during the ceremony. You can also opt to record the ceremony in case you want to rewatch the special moment later on.

Luckily, most laptops and phones already have great built-in cameras. Make sure that your internet connection is reliable. If it’s in your wedding budget, consider investing in a tripod. If your WiFi is known to drop out every once in a while, an ethernet connection may be a more secure option. However, the most important part of the day is when you and your partner say “I do.”

Order Everything You Need

If you’re not able to leave your house to buy flowers, a wedding cake, or decorations, you can always opt for delivery. At the Shutterfly Wedding Shop, you can get all your wedding stationery sent straight to your door as well as fun personalized gifts to show off on camera and send to friends and family.

Couple cutting small wedding cake.

If it’s possible for you to have the officiant, a photographer, and your close friends and family present, consider doing a quick practice run of the ceremony. If your officiant can’t be there in person, you can ask if they’re able to marry you over a video call. You can officially sign the papers at a later date if this is the case.

Prepare The Party

Since you’ll be staying home, you’ll have access to decorate and prepare everything for the party. To save you time on the ceremony day, consider setting up the technical supplies and decorations the night before. Opt for DIY decorations that complement your home decor and a playlist of your favorite music for a relaxed wedding style. You can have a quick run-through with a friend or family member to see if everything works and work through any potential technical difficulties before the actual wedding. If you have the outdoor space and the weather is nice, it may make the day even more special to get married in nature.

Even if your original wedding plans change, you can still do all the things you planned for your wedding day at home. Plan a first look moment and have your partner wait at the end of the “aisle” as you walk toward them. Embrace the uniqueness of holding this wedding from the comfort of your own home and enjoy the process by going through your routine as planned. You can even schedule a video call with your respective wedding parties in the morning while you’re getting ready for the ceremony.

Bride and bridesmaids trying on dresses.

With a few adjustments, it will be a special day that you’ll cherish forever. To show your gratitude for your family and friend’s support, consider sending thank you cards to everyone who attended your virtual wedding.

Additional Resources

Look for the silver lining of the situation you and your loved ones are facing. You can experience an intimate wedding with your partner, have guests at your virtual wedding that couldn’t have made it in person, or postpone the wedding to a later date which gives you more time to plan your big day.

When you’re ready, dive back into the planning process and choose the perfect custom wedding stationery to announce your new wedding date to your loved ones. You can coordinate your ultimate wedding, and when the time comes, Shutterfly has all the resources to help you plan.