No one wants to postpone his or her wedding. But whether you don't have the funds to make this commitment now, a family member has become gravely ill, or you're simply not sure you're ready to tie the knot, it's better to pump the brakes than press full-steam ahead toward an inevitable crash. That doesn't make it any easier, though. We gathered expert advice on how to postpone your wedding easily as possible.
First, you must decide if you'll choose a new date or cancel your wedding entirely. Whatever you decide, loop in your family and wedding party as soon as possible to let them know the change in plans. If you've chosen a new date, make sure the new date also works for them, says Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia.
"When breaking the news to family and the wedding party, just be honest," she recommends. "They love you and will be there to support you. Don't be afraid to ask for help or take people up on it when they offer to help. Just as with planning a wedding, there is a lot to do when rescheduling one."
Next, you'll want to review the cancelation policies in your venue and vendor contracts. Most vendors will have a cancelation policy in place, Fisher says, which will contractually detail exactly what will happen next if you postpone or cancel. If you've chosen a new date, some vendors will happily shift the date on your contract without penalty. If they're not available on your new date, however, the contract you signed will dictate what happens next.
If you're canceling rather than changing your wedding date, it's best to advise your vendors as soon as possible. "Many wedding contracts, especially for venues, state that the closer to the wedding date that a couple cancels, the more money you owe the vendor or venue," Fisher says. Canceling your wedding sooner rather than later could save you big bucks, "so as soon as you know you're postponing the wedding, let the your venue and vendors know," Fisher says. "It's a conversation that should happen over the phone, but be sure to follow up in writing so it's all documented."
Couples who've sent out their save-the-dates or invitations will want to contact their guests next. "Notify them of the postponement and the new date, if there is one," says Fisher. "Couples can communicate this via printed cards, email, or phone calls, but a card is beneficial so you don't have to explain the situation over and over again." Don't delay on this important — but uncomfortable — step. "It's important to be proactive and honest to avoid confusion and speculation," Fisher says, "but at the same time, you don't have to share the intimate details if you don't feel comfortable — or if it's not appropriate."
Then, cancel everything that remains: vendor meetings, dress fittings, the rehearsal dinner, and more. "Sit down and make a list of everything that needs to be addressed," Fisher advises. "Divide and conquer the list with the help of your partner, family, and wedding party." Finally, she adds, "couples shouldn't feel embarrassed about postponing their wedding. It happens more than you think."