How to Gracefully Postpone Your Wedding

Planning Tips
Second Thoughts About Wedding

Photo: Getty Images

No bride wants to postpone her wedding, but sometimes, life happens and the festivities must be delayed. Between canceling caterers and informing dismayed wedding guests, the process of deferring your nuptials can seem extraordinarily daunting. However, by breaking down the process task by task, the undertaking can be made entirely manageable. Kate Whelan of Kate Whelan Events, Jubilee Lau of Jubilee Lau Events, and Heidi Hughett of Coastside Couture offer their expertise on how to gracefully postpone a wedding.

1. Review Your Contracts
Before taking any any action, Whelan insists that you must carefully review all vendor contracts. "Read through your contracts' cancellation policies and keep an eye out for refund schedules and date transfer clauses so that you know what you have to work with for each vendor."

2. Keep Loved Ones in the Loop
Once you get a hold of your financial liabilities, the bride and groom must inform their nearest and dearest of the situation. "Notify [your] guests. If they've already sent out a save the date, or their wedding invitations, they should notify wedding guests right away. They can mail a simple card out to let guests know that the wedding will not take place on the date as planned, and that they will announce a new wedding date as soon as it has been decided on. Although it is considered more proper to call each guest to let them know of the change, many couples find that to be emotionally draining, so sending a card out with the information is a good option," Lau advises.

3. Choose a New Date — and Find Out if Your Vendors Are Available
Next, Whelan urges brides to settle on a new date. Couples may be able to reclaim a portion of their down payment with a vendor if the company is available on the postponed wedding date. "Ask any booked vendors if they would allow you to transfer their booked contract to your new preferred date," Whelan suggests. "Please remember that part of a retainer is for holding a date for you, that the vendor could have booked with another client. If you are postponing your wedding very last minute, it is likely that the vendor may not be able to re-book the date and may not be able to transfer the payments."

See More: Your Dream Wedding Venue Is Fully Booked. Now What?

4. Examine Your Wedding Insurance Policy
Not every couple chooses to purchase wedding insurance, but doing so can prevent undue stress in the case of a postponement. "If [a] couple has purchased wedding insurance, they can check their policy to see if it covers the costs that they incur due to the postponement of their wedding. This would be dependent on their policy terms and the reasons for postponement, but it's definitely worth checking!" Lau explains.

5. Nominate an External Party as the Point Person for Unwanted Questions
If the pressure of explaining the delay to curious wedding guests proves too great, Hughett recommends that couples appoint a family member to take the brunt of the inquiries. "Have family field any questions of why the wedding was put off. Take a break and if you can go on a mini getaway to get your head clear and not get too overwhelmed by the stress of the situation," Hughett states.

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