As the world slowly starts to get back to “normal”, 2020 weddings are still being impacted, although now indirectly, by COVID-19. Many couples are having to make difficult choices regarding their planned celebration for this year and vendors are doing everything they possibly can to salvage the fall wedding season. As fall looms, we’re already starting to field questions from 2020 couples about potentially postponing and what that looks like.
Now that states are reopening and wedding venues are open and legally able to host events, postponements and cancellations will be dealt with in a different manner than they were this spring when venues were closed and we had stay-at-home orders. Now, instead of it being an Act of God or Force Majeure event, postponements and cancellations will most likely be considered voluntary.
First and foremost, be patient and do your best to wait things out. Don’t make any rash decisions based on current mandates, restrictions, and fear of what might happen. SO MUCH can change in the course of a month!! If your wedding isn’t until October or November, you still have plenty of time to make a final decision – and things will almost certainly be different by then.
If you’re getting married in a destination location, like Charleston, communicate with your vendors to get a real sense of what is going on in their location. DO NOT rely on the media for information. According to the media, we’re all going to die and we should all take cover in a panic room until 2022. The media is in the business of fear mongering to get ratings – and they are making it seem way worse than it actually is.
Most importantly, if you decide to postpone or cancel now, just be aware that it’s now most likely going to be considered a voluntary cancellation. You’re now making the choice to cancel your contracted date due to loss of guest count, fear of the unknown, or inconvenience – not due to impossibility. If your venue is open and your vendors are legally able to work on your original contracted date, then you would technically be the one breaching contract with them if you cancel for your original date. Vendors are willing and able to fulfill their end of the contract even though clients may want to postpone or cancel on the agreed upon date. Therefore, you should expect to lose your retainer and, most likely, it will not apply to future services. You will likely have to sign a new contract and pay a new retainer for your new date. So that is definitely something to consider before making the decision to postpone. It could be pretty costly.
Of course, if event venues start to close again and there is another stay-at-home quarantine order issued for the fall, business policies will most likely change to reflect that. But that isn’t the current situation and many wedding vendors will be falling back on their contracts right now. Since no one knows how long this virus will be wreaking havoc on the wedding industry, we need to embrace the green light we’ve been given, operate under the assumption that things will only get better, and move forward!!
I know this is a hard time for everyone. Couples are in limbo, vendors are struggling to keep their businesses afloat, and the world is a very crazy place right now. Hold onto hope and look for the silver lining. Don’t let fear or hopelessness deprive you of the joy you should be feeling now. While weddings may not look exactly like they once did, they still accomplish the end goal – a celebration of love and commitment – and there is true beauty in that. I personally can’t wait to celebrate with all of my 2020 couples this year. I have a feeling that weddings will be even more momentous after all of this craziness!!
**This blog post puts things PERFECTLY… if you’re wondering why wedding vendors are having to enforce reschedule fees now**