Watching spring roll in from behind the glass of our bay window instead of from behind my lens has been tough. As we brace for another three weeks at least of being under COVID-19 lockdown, I am prepping for a second wave of reschedules and postponing dates. Though this has been a rough time for Brey Photo, I would much rather be in my own comfy house shoes than my brides’ and grooms’ shoes for sure.
Postponing any event comes with its challenges, but what makes postponing under COVID-19 stressors even more difficult is the uncertainty of it all. Usually when you have to postpone, there’s a clear problem preventing you from having your event and you have a ballpark date in mind when it will be okay to reschedule. Nobody has those things. We’re all waiting anxiously for information. 40 days and counting, you guys.
While I can’t make this situation less heartbreaking, I can make it less confusing and provide you with a clear place to start. It’s been a wild ride, but like I tell many of my brides, I have no aversion to throwing myself in between you and something that causes stress.
In a sea of uncertainty, let my artistry knowledge guide you.
(That was a joke. You better have read that as a joke.)
But in all seriousness, here’s a few things that should help:
Remember What Counts
Though I love me some beautiful, extravagant wedding celebrations, what truly matters is that you marry your best friend. If you have survived 40 days in a quarantine situation reserved for sci-fi film festivals with the person you said yes to, the rest of the choices before you are truly minor inconveniences. As a bride who cried for two hours over table cloths, I feel morally obligated to tell you that, on the day after your wedding, the only thing you will have left of it are: 1) your photos, 2) a hangover, and 3) a lifelong partner in crime. The flowers and the napkins and the colors and the sashes and the guest book do not matter. You’ll be lucky if you remember your anniversary a year from now.
If you can keep your partner at the forefront of your mind when making decisions— putting aside all else— the wedding planning road ahead will be much easier.
Though things are uncertain, one thing has been true the whole time: things change. Quickly. How far out is your wedding date? 12 months? 6 months? A week?
A reschedule is a huge undertaking for everyone. You will most likely face a financial loss and may even have to choose new vendors or a new venue entirely. Waiting a few weeks or a few months to decide will most likely not make a huge difference to your guests, but it may save you a ton of heartache and money if things are looking better by then.
Still, being realistic unfortunately means coming to terms with the fact that this may last longer than you anticipate. There may be other factors at play outside of just COVID-19 being rampant at the time of your wedding, too. If you are nonessential, will you be able to pay your vendors? If you are working our front lines, will you have the time to hot glue every Pinterest project you planned? Will your guests be willing to travel to your ceremony destination? Will your wedding suppliers be able to fulfill your orders?
If changes can be made to prevent a reschedule, I beg you: make them. If after those changes are made you still need to postpone, by all means, do so. The key is to not jump the gun.
Let Your Folks Know
Get in touch with your planner and wedding professionals as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you’ve selected a new date to let them know you need to postpone.
While many professionals have adopted new policies to help their clients through this rough time, you will need to work with your vendors to move forward. Creating the perfect wedding day requires teamwork. Please, don’t leave us behind during the planning process.
Approach your vendors openly, not defensively. Ask your vendors what their policies are, then read through your contracts and make sure that their policies align with what you both agreed upon. If something doesn’t match up, ask.
While this is stressful for you, remember that it is also very stressful for your vendors who rely on events to feed and clothe and house their families. As of now, most of your vendors have yet to receive any financial assistance, but bills like payroll, insurance, utilities, and studio rent is still due. Vendors may be navigating working at home with children, working a second essential job to replace income they have lost, or they may be working overtime to assist couples in coordinating rescheduling. Trust and give them the benefit of the doubt when you can.
Ask for Help
Sometimes, the stress, worry, or disappointment might just be too much— allow yourself time to feel like crap about it. I’m not saying wallow, I’m just saying— it doesn’t all have to be done right this second. Ask for help if you need it. Ask your MOH, your mama, or your fiance to take on some tasks, like mailing Un-save the date notices, canceling orders, or calling loved ones.
Cut Your losses
Unfortunately, with the amount of reschedules, it’s quite possible that not all of your vendors will be available on the same date.
Use the lists of available dates each vendor (should) provide you to choose a one. If there is not a date that you would like that everyone has available, work with your most prioritized vendors first and prepare yourself. Oftentimes, your most prioritized vendor will be the vendor you splurged the most on, so keeping a date set with them versus less expensive vendors, like transportation, may prevent a huge financial loss.
Moving Forward with Safety in Mind
You might read this next point and think, “Well, no s*it, Aubrey,” and I’d be so happy if you did. However, when we’re under emotional stress, sometimes we make decisions that we wouldn’t normally make. So, here goes:
When selecting a new date, don’t reschedule for the next weekend. Don’t move your date sooner to try to avoid harsher restrictions. And don’t throw an illegal reception with 70+ people in someone’s backyard because you won’t get caught. I know you wouldn’t do that. But it’s happened.
Look, I hate this as much as you do, but 3% of all people that come into contact with COVID-19 will die. The other 97% that don’t will suffer a crazy illness and may end up with permanent lung and heart damage. So, if one person on your 100 person guest list is ill, 3 others may be dead by the time your honeymoon is over.
It is 100% impossible to social distance at a wedding. People are bouncing around, sweating, wiping their snotty teary noses, hugging, kissing, pinching baby cheeks and they’ll be all up on you on the dance floor. As a photographer, I typically come into contact with upwards of 800 people on any given weekend. If you have 200 guests and a handful of vendors, the number of people you are exposing your guests to has just multiplied by the tens of thousands. Please, follow the rules and don’t ask your guests or vendors to participate in an event that goes against CDC guidelines— it’s awkward to say “hell no” politely and keep your retainer.
Postpone, but Make it Fashion
Adding a little bit of flair to your postponement may make it more fun, less stressful, and if nothing else it’ll make your wedding day just a pinch more epic.
Adding elements like these Postponement Care Packages from Nutmeg Cake Design, inexpensive and bad ass printable Un-Save the Dates, or even sending out custom matching face masks to all your bridesmaids can shed a little light on a bad situation. (Also, no, these are not affiliate links, I just LOVE these lots!)
At the end of the day, no matter what day that is, you’re going to be a Mr & Mrs (or some combination) and the moment you see your partner in the aisle, the stress you are feeling right now will be forgotten. Remember, my table cloth tantrum makes me expert level in this. You are in control of only so much.
If you have more questions, ideas, snarky comments— leave ’em below! I am so thankful to all of my #breyphotobrides and grooms that have kept their hearts in the right place during this stressful period of time. It will all be worth it, I promise!