Postponing your wedding due to coronavirus
If you were due to get married this summer, I suspect you have been patiently waiting to see whether this is likely. Although we still don’t have a clear answer from the government I would say it is a fair assumption that weddings will not happen prior to July the earliest. And you now need to investigate postponing your wedding. Even July is “optimistic”. I fully understand many of you have spent months and possibly years planning your wedding, so the thought of cancelling is dream crushing. Some brides have reached out to me and explained they feel they can’t get excited about their wedding, not only are their wedding plans on hold but so are their feelings as well. I know that MANY of our planner members and suppliers are helping clients with the logistics of cancelling or postponing.
Weddings will be back – your wedding will happen – you will get the chance to celebrate with loved ones.
It’s just going to be a different date to what you had planned.
So don’t lose heart and keep on loving each other.
My name is Bernadette and I am the owner of the UKAWP. I have been a wedding planner for 18 years and a wedding industry spokeswoman for 16 years. I hope to help many of you struggling with the practicalities of cancelling your wedding due to coronavirus.
Understanding How the Wedding Industry Works
Before I go through the steps of postponing your wedding I feel I have a duty to explain a little more about an industry I have been in for 18 years. The wedding industry is full of passionate, creative entrepreneurs. They didn’t’ enter this industry to “get rich quick”, they entered it because they had a need to share their creativity with others. Whether by cake baking, photography, floristry or project managing as a wedding planner.
When I posed this questions to members this is what they said. Please do take the time to read so you have a greater understanding of this industry I adore.
I wanted to capture moments that are timeless and treasured for generation’s. Photographer Member Claire Graham
Because I believe in love and that everyone deserves their magical day. It makes me so happy. Jodie from Ella Bella Weddings & Events
Being able to help couples put into words why they love each other, and why they want to celebrate with everyone there is pure Joy to me! Helen Noble , Celebrant of Surrey
I love love and want everyone to have their perfect day without any stress. Kim Thackery Bespoke and Beyond
After decades in the legal profession I had built up a huge experience of keeping calm under pressure, a very good eye for detail and organising and managing difficult situations. I wanted a new career to engage my passion for planning, my creative edge and love of weddings so this was the perfect career choice for me ! Melanie Egan Bellissimo Weddings
Because I have an obsession with weddings. I enjoy getting involved in every single detail of the day and to make sure it is perfect. Natasha from Natasha Spencer Weddings
Planning is in my blood, and being able to use my experience and skills to help couples fulfil their dreams is truly special. Michelle Fusion Events
To use my expertise, trusted network and calm approach built up over 15 years of party planning to help engaged couples at a time in their lives when they might be feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Susannah Couture Events
Most of us are small teams with March – September making up the bulk of our yearly revenue. Deposits generally see us through the winter before we start receiving balance payments in spring and summer. We are husbands, wives and parents. We have business and personal bills to pay. Just like you we have mortgages or rent to pay. And a driving need to serve clients through our creativity. But we are facing severe financial uncertainty right now.
As a business we might be paying for:
- Wifi + Computers
- Marketing + Advertising
- Increasing our knowledge / training
Wedding suppliers and planners have predicted cash flows with deposits and final balances. They are careful and ensure they have a buffer for the unexpected. But never did they expect the unexpected might be potentially losing a whole years worth of revenue. And in many cases the governments bail out does not cover them.
But despite this, they are helping their clients during this difficult time, postponing weddings and helping both practically and emotionally. Having to postpone a wedding is devastating for couples. But losing one years worth of revenue is pretty soul destroying. Postponing weddings to 2021 doesn’t really help businesses, because it now means key dates in 2021 can’t be sold as potentially they are now filled with 2020 clients. We totally appreciate many business owners outside the wedding industry are suffering similar difficulties. It could take businesses 2-3 years to level out again.
They know this is an emergency outside of everyone’s control, and so they will be as flexible as they can be while still running their business and paying their own expenses. Valentina The Stars Inside
Show your supplier, venue or planner you care
Can I ask you, couples getting married a small favour? Please reach out to your suppliers and give them some love. Please support them during this time #SupportTheWeddingIndustry
- Give some love on social media
- Send them a note saying you cant wait to work with them and to thank them for their help with moving dates
- Offer to stick to 2020 payment dates to help their 2020 cash flow
We are all in this together, and if we have mutual respect and show support for each other, we will all come out of it having sustained some losses, but with our source of livelihood still viable, and your wedding dreams still possible. Elisabetta White
I’ve had lovely messages on my social media saying how positive I am throughout. Jodie from Ella Bella Events
I had a lovely Testimonial from a couple who at that stage weren’t postponing but have now. Mary from Weddings by Mary
I’ve had gifts sent to me and so many messages – so lovely (made me cry several times!) two of my clients have just picked up the phone to see how I am which was so so lovely. Susie from Susie Evans
All have offered to stick to this years payment schedule which is so helpful. Some who haven’t even been affected by postponements have sent me flowers and a HUGE delivery of chocolate to let me know they’re thinking of me. Natalie from Natalie Hewitt Weddings
I’ve had such lovely messages of support from my clients It’s so heartwarming especially as they’ve taken the time to check in with me when they’re going through such an incredibly difficult time themselves. Val from Benessamy Weddings and Events
I am sure many of you have purchased wedding insurance, and quite rightly so. You would assume you would be covered in the sad event of your wedding being cancelled. However a report by which has shown in many cases you won’t be covered.
- If you have to cancel your wedding due to the ban on social gatherings – in all cases as investigated by which the answer is categorically you wont be covered. Meaning if you do cancel your wedding you not only lose money paid out, you may also be liable for outstanding monies to suppliers and the venue.
- What if the venue or suppliers cancel on you? – if weddings are allowed again, and the venue or suppliers cancel on you due to an outbreak of coronavirus, you would be covered
- What if you decide to postpone to a new date? – Taking the above into consideration it is our suggestion to postpone your wedding where at all possible. Now if you have insurance check with them whether they cover the cost of changing the date. In some cases suppliers may charge a fee to postpone (more on this soon) , and provided this is not more than 25% of the original fee it should be covered by your wedding insurance. Read this article for more information.
We are hearing some stories where insurers will pay out to couples the cost of cancelling their wedding but then afterwards, insurers are calling venues and suppliers demanding money is paid to them. Just how is that fair?
Steps in Postponing Your Weddings
When taking the above into consideration you may decide to postpone your wedding, I would urge you not to cancel, you have in essence planned your wedding already. It’s only the date that is changing. Firstly speak with your insurance company and ask them, if you postpone the wedding, is the new date still covered?
- Speak with all your suppliers and venue to see if they are happy to postpone, and if so what dates are available. Please note many Autumn dates are going fast already. I am so proud of wedding suppliers and how understanding they have been, and how flexible. Please just pick up the phone and speak with them
- Discuss as a couple what suppliers are the priority because you may wish to fit dates around them. Is there a date that the majority of suppliers can make?
- Be prepared to marry mid week or off-season. There are only so many summer weekends available and many have been filled. Also understand that if suppliers and your venue move 2020 weddings to key dates in 2021 they in essence are losing out on business next year. Don’t forget many of your guests will have lots of holiday time to use up so wont mind taking a day off to attend your midweek wedding!
- If you are having a civil ceremony, check the new date is available. And be aware it means giving notice for a second time. If a registrar is not available, consider having a non-legal ceremony conducted by a celebrant. And have the legal ceremony with just witnesses at another time.
- If marrying in church ask whether the reading of the banns need to be done again if changing your date
- Send little postponement cards to your guests and give them as much notice as you can
- If a supplier cannot make the new date. What are their cancellation terms? Will they refund or is there a cancellation charge? And is this covered by your insurance? Remember suppliers and planners used the deposit to confirm your date, and stop marketing for weddings on this date. It also covers any time spent on communication with you and running costs of their business.
- If you need to start the planning again, or need help sourcing new suppliers or even a venue. Don’t forget many wedding planners are offering coronavirus support
- The final thing I want to mention is to remember wedding businesses might request you stick to the original payment terms even if the date changes. This is because their business was expecting certain cash deposits at certain times. Being able to keep to original terms will help your suppliers immensely. #SupportTheWeddingIndustry
Tip: Read this article for some of your wedding insurance questions. But please, please speak with your wedding insurance company as well
Having a client opening themselves up to different dates (not just the same date the following year, at the risk of not being able to get availability) is really helpful as it makes conversations with suppliers and venues much easier and straightforward. Also, if an instalment for work that we have done was due, volunteering at least a part payment, with the remainder due next year, is also really helpful, as it aids cash flow and allows us to cover those business expenses that cannot be halted. Elisabetta White
There may be suppliers that can’t accommodate any of the new dates you are looking at, which means they will no longer be able to be a part of your celebrations. Before confirming cancellation, ask if there is anything else they can offer you – for example, could the deposit you paid your photographer be transferred to a couple or family shoot some other time? Valentina, The Stars Inside
Please feel free to review the following links for latest advice on the virus as the articles are updated regularly.
Help for couples can be found on our website
You can also read our previous article on coronavirus here
Article written by UKAWP owner Bernadette Chapman. If you are in the media and would like a quote on the coronavirus and the wedding industry please contact Bernadette on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com