Updated: Feb 18
* This blog was originally written in May 2020, J & R have since cancelled their wedding and completely changed their plans... but, it's not a bad thing, as they have gone with one of their original ideas that they were worried wouldn't please everyone (!!!) They are instead having something they will absolutely love and you know how much I'm all for the couple having what they love! So... Roll on July 2022!!*
At this moment in time, the world of weddings is so difficult, unpredictable and to be honest a little bit heartbreaking. I wanted to show you that there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if you have to postpone.
I sent a few questions (because social distancing you know, we couldn't meet for coffee) to one of my lovely brides (who is also one of my best friends!) who has unfortunately had to postpone her wedding due to the coronavirus, COVID-19, the Rona… however you want to call it.
Sometimes what I need is to read some real life experience to try and understand certain situations, so 'J' kindly answered a few questions that I asked her, to try and help brides who are also going through the same thing.
So grab a cuppa, put your feet up and have a read. I hope her answers help with some of your questions and gives you that little bit of hope and support.
You are not in this alone and if you need help, please feel free to contact me.
So 'J', please can you tell us a bit about your situation:
My wonderful partner 'R' and I got engaged on 5th November 2018 and were due to be married Sunday 5th July 2020, in Suffolk. It was planned to be a small, intimate, woodland ceremony and BBQ, then a bigger afternoon/evening celebration with live music and pizzas.
When did you first start to think you may have to postpone?
I quickly bought wedding insurance as soon as the first cases of the virus began and a few days later companies stopped giving out wedding insurance altogether, which highlighted how serious this could become.
People mentioned it to me when social distancing began, but I kept thinking, meh it's months away yet. The very idea the wedding might be impacted was hard to wrap my head around. To be honest I was also working 7 days a week and in the middle of moving house, so I don't think I had capacity to think about it too much.
So, probably only on the 17th March, when the registrar cancelled our meeting which was due a few days later, and sent us a link to their website instead. Their website said all ceremonies until the end of June are restricted to just 2 guests. That made it very real and there was crazied panic sweeping through all the 2020 Brides Facebook groups as everyone started asking for advice as to when we thought things would return to normal, when of course no-one had any idea. It didn't help that different areas had different messages, some registrars had applied this rule until the end of July and others August!
Who did you talk to first? Friends, Family, Facebook groups? What was their feedback?
I've been an active member of a couple of Bride Facebook groups over the past year and until COVID-19 they were really lovely, supportive, positive groups of excited ladies sharing the ups and downs of wedding planning. Unfortunately, they are now filled with posts about cancellations and postponements, which causes more stress and fear for those who haven't postponed (yet). I've been constantly talking to brides on those pages through the process, but I also spoke to you as my wedding planner and bridesmaid, my other bridal party, our parents and my Auntie in Australia.
I had very mixed feedback, some people saying everything will be normal by July, others saying we had no chance, people saying wait it out, others saying, quick postpone while there are still dates available and remove the stress. It's such an unpredictable situation! It's all a gamble in the end. Looking back I think half the people who said July will be fine were probably just saying what I wanted to hear.
What were (or still are) your biggest worries?
I was worried about being forced to have a 2 guest ceremony in a registrar office and regretting it, after so long imagining it in the forest. I was worried about having to wait a whole year more. I have a countdown app on my phone, looking forward to seeing it go under 100 days, and the idea of it jumping back up to 400+ was absolutely gutting.
But then once I sulked (and yes cried) for a day, I managed to process it and look at the bigger picture. Then my worries became more about the health of our guests and grandparents and family who had intended to fly in from abroad.
(It wasn't until I started the process of postponing that money became a real worry too!)
Did you ever think about ‘risking it’?
A little, I think it's hard not to after so much time, effort and money has gone into it, but I'm a very organised person, I like to have a plan and I'm not patient or a risk taker, it would have been too stressful for me. Instead of enjoying the lead up, I would just be fretting! Plus our grandparents or anyone vulnerable wouldn't be able to come!
What made the decision for you in the end?
The compromise we would still go on our Hawaii honeymoon this year. That really softened the blow, we have an incredible 2.5 week trip planned to two islands and I'm insanely excited for it. Once we decided we will still go as soon as we can, the decision to postpone the wedding seemed easier and clearly the smarter choice.
Even if July turns out to be okay, it's not worth the risk, you want your guests (some of whom are travelling from Cornwall, Scotland and as far as Australia, and some who are nearly 100 years old) to feel safe, and its a day of hugs and kisses, the opposite of social distancing! You want people to be having fun and games, not talking about the recent pandemic and being distant.
Have you set another date?
Yes, Sunday 4th July 2021. <-- AND it's going to be so worth the wait as it will be a bloody good day (and hopefully a much better year!)
*Ok...maybe 2021 isn't
the year everyone is hoping for,
but better days will arrive soon!
Practically, where did you start postponing your wedding?
On 23rd March I spoke to our venue to look at options and began gathering information from our suppliers, I wanted to see how many of them could postpone with us, if there would be a charge for it and how basically how much it might cost us in total to change.
From the 23rd it happened rapidly as I quickly learnt that many other July brides were doing the same thing and available dates were disappearing.
How did the suppliers react?
Everyone has been very understanding and supportive. Unfortunately our venue is charging ~£500, as they count it as a cancellation and rebooking, plus an additional ~£400 for a second nonrefundable deposit, but all our suppliers happily postponed to our new date with no charge, except the band who gave a full refund.
We are hoping our wedding insurance will cover the venue rebooking, but unless the ban is extended, it looks unlikely, because although we've made this decision for the safety of our guests, we legally still had the choice.
As someone who has ‘been there’ - if anyone else is about to start postponing their wedding, what tips can you give?
Understand your insurance to know where you stand. Gather information from all suppliers first and be flexible with dates, I sent 4 new potential dates out to everyone and in the end there was only one everyone could do. Don't leave it until the last minute, the stress of the unknown is much more than the stress of postponing, which actually turned out to be fairly easy. Plus, your guests don't want last minute travel and accommodation changes either.
How do you feel now that you have postponed?
Very relieved that we took control of the situation. Now I can focus on work and looking after ourselves, friends and loved ones, and just getting through these strange few months. However, I am still stressed about the additional costs and worried whether we will even make it to Hawaii this year.
On the flip side, I get even longer to plan, save up money, longer as a Bride To Be, to grow my hair, learn our first dance and practice making my wedding cake. At the end of the day, as upsetting as it still is, I still get to marry my best friend and it will be worth the wait.
Much love to you all. Take care, stay home and stay safe. It will all blow over (eventually), the scientists will find a cure and we will get back to our normal lives (but, I'm not going to lie, I hope we stay a much more caring and loving world after this).