How Should We Tell Our Guests That We're Postponing Our Wedding?

(Without upsetting anyone.)

Updated 11/15/17

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The one thing that’s guaranteed about life? Nothing is guaranteed. That means all sorts of unpredictable things that you can’t plan for are lurking around every turn—including your wedding. While no couple ever wants to, sometimes all that unpredictability means you might have to postpone your wedding because, well, something has come up! So what should you do if this happens to you? Our experts have a few tips to help you get back on your guests’ calendars.

There are so many reasons a wedding date might be changed, from a natural disaster impacting the venue to a family emergency requiring your immediate attention. And these events aren’t always at the last-minute: A major hurricane (like the ones that hit the Caribbean in the fall of 2017) can cause damage that will last well beyond the time it takes to get the power back up, and could mean finding a new venue altogether. The most important thing to do? Tell people you’re changing the date as soon as you know it must be done. Whether it’s weeks or months before your big day, the more notice you give your family and friends, the more likely at least some of them will be able to join you to celebrate. When you’re telling guests about a change in date, feel free to keep the reasoning brief—or leave it out altogether. You can let guests know that unforeseen circumstances have caused the change, or add a line about “unanticipated damage from the recent storm” or “an illness in the family.” No need to go into more than that—those who need to know will be in the loop already.

Call Your VIPS

Of course, you should make direct phone calls to your families and wedding party as soon as you know the date will change. Start first with whoever is footing the bill for some or all of the festivities—they should be involved in helping you choose a new date, after all! From there, call other immediate relatives and any bridesmaids or groomsmen to let them know that the date is being changed. Of course you’ll want them all to be there, but know that a change in date could also bring with it a change in your lineup.

Update Your Website

If you’ve got a fleshed-out wedding website that guests are using for all sorts of information, replace that welcome note on the homepage with one letting site visitors know that your wedding date has been changed. Try something like this: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to postpone our wedding and move it to a later date.” If you know the new date, add it below with a line that reads, “We hope you will still be able to join us for our wedding celebration on May 12th, 2018.” No date yet? Try this: “We will be announcing our new wedding date shortly. Please keep an eye on this space for updates.”

Spread the Word

And of course, it’s important to formally announce the change to guests, too. If you haven’t yet sent invitations, but have sent save the dates or have informed a number of guests of the date, send a simple card in the mail to serve as a new save the date, either announcing the new date or letting guests know that it will be announced shortly. A more familiar card might read something like this:

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the wedding of Deborah Andrews to Elizabeth Collins will not take place on December 9th, 2017 as originally planned. A new wedding date will be announced in the coming weeks. We hope you will still be able to join us in celebration of their marriage!

If you have a new date already, consider sending a replacement invitation, following a similar format to the working your invitation would use.

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Andrews

Announce that the wedding of their daughter

Deborah Michelle

To

Elizabeth Anne Collins

Has been postponed

And will now take place

On Saturday, the Twelfth of May

Two Thousand and Eighteen

At four o’clock in the afternoon

The Bridgeport Art Center

Chicago, Illinois

If invitations have already been sent and RSVPs are coming in, you will need to call each guest to let them know of the change, as well. Ask your parents and wedding party to help with this task, both to keep it moving along quickly and in the event that the reason for postponement is a difficult or emotional one.

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