How to Handle a Wedding Date That Keeps Changing

Here's what to do when the unexpected happens

Updated 11/17/17

Elizabeth Cooney

One of your first big tasks when you start planning your wedding is a little bit of a doozy: Choosing a date! It sounds simple enough, but unless you and your partner are eloping, there are a number of schedules you’ll need to consider, meaning nailing down The Day can be a challenge. Whether you’re the bride to be or an invited guests, here’s how to handle a wedding date that keeps changing.

For the Couple

While changing your wedding date if you absolutely need to is an option, why go through the hassle of notifying vendors (and your guests!) if you can avoid it? Before you announce anything or sign any contracts, have a powwow with your VIPs. Present a range of dates you and your partner are considering, whether it’s a list of Saturdays when you’re both free, or a range of months. Not available one weekend? Specify why. Then ask your parents and any other must-have guests to do the same, whether that means nixing a weekend you love because they’ll be out of the country or reminding you of your grandma’s 80th birthday party that’s been in the works for months.

Once you have all of this data, compile it to see which days work for everyone involved—leaving you with just a few options and a lower likelihood of having to change anything around. From there, start booking your big ticket vendors (like your venue, photographer, or florist) and share your date options with them—you might end up picking your date based on when your dream venue can fit you in, or when that band you have to have is free. And while you might want to sing it from the rooftops right away, this is a detail you shouldn’t spread until more specifics are confirmed—hat way your guests aren’t booking flights based on information that isn’t final.

If you’ve already set a date, be smart about what qualifies as a reason to change it up. Finding out your maid of honor can’t make it? Probably not enough to reschedule, unless she’s your sister. An illness in the family or a natural disaster impacting your venue? You’re totally justified in pressing pause until things settle down.

Should you find yourselves in a situation where you need to change your wedding date, let your family and guests know immediately. Update your website, hop on the phone, and send out change-of-date cards in the mail to ensure all of your loved ones are informed.

For the Guest

Are you dealing with a bride-to-be who can’t decide when her wedding will be? Your best bet is to hold off on making any plans until you have a save-the-date in hand. Sure, start saving up vacation days if you need to, but don’t request that time off or book that flight quite yet. So many specifics can be in flux until closer to the wedding date, from a change of timing that necessitates an earlier arrival to a change of venue altogether. In fact, until you get a save the date in the mail, there’s no guarantee you’ll be invited at all! Don’t get caught paying hefty change fees to the airline or cancellation fees to the hotel if you can avoid it, and instead wait until you formally receive the information from the couple.

If the wedding date does get changed at the last minute, well after you’ve made plans, you should of course do your best to attend. But if the new date conflicts with your schedule, let the couple know promptly, just as you did with your initial R.S.V.P. While they would still love to have you attend, they should understand that a change in date may mean a change in availability. Send a gift and a note with your best wishes, and make plans to celebrate with them after they’ve tied the knot—whenever that might be!

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