While it’s never part of your initial plan, sometimes a wedding postponement is unavoidable. And even if you have good reason to postpone your wedding, that doesn’t make it any less difficult. On top of the sadness and frustration that you feel, you might also be confused, “How do I even postpone a wedding?” All of these feelings are totally natural. And although we can’t hold your hand while you’re sad (we recommend a BFF or fiancé for that!), we can guide you through the steps of a wedding postponement.
In general, planning and postponing your wedding follow the same process. You’ve planned a wedding once, so you can tackle your postponement with confidence. First, you start with your budget and wish list items. Then, you contact vendors and notify guests. And finally, you celebrate! But don’t worry—we cover all that and more in our checklist below.
Assess Your Budget
Before you start contacting vendors and guests, revisit your budget. Your wedding postponement budget probably won’t be as big as your initial wedding budget—and it doesn’t have to be. You already have most, if not all, of what you need. And you may be able to change the date with vendors and venues without losing your deposits.
Of course, you should still consult with your fiancé, and anyone else who is contributing financially to your special day. Doing so before you begin the re-planning process will save you hassle and time down the road. When you have a target budget in mind, you can vendor shop and negotiate with confidence.
Hire a Wedding Planner
Yes, we did recommend an established budget—and now we’re adding another line item to that budget! But hiring a wedding planner can actually save you money in the long run. For starters, this won’t be a wedding planner’s first wedding postponement. That means they know how to communicate with vendors and where to trim costs. If they’re local, they’ll also have working relationships with nearby event businesses, which can help you negotiate new dates and rates.
Outside of vendor relationships, wedding planners can help with notifying guests and even wardrobe adjustments for the new date. (We cover both of those topics in this post, too!) They will know what new information guests need, and the best timeline to follow. Depending on your agreement, they may even send the new invitations for you.
Whether you hire a wedding planner or not, guests should be notified of your wedding postponement as soon as possible—even if you don’t have a new date yet. Important guests, like your wedding party and parents, should be consulted about the new date before it’s announced. You’ll want to make sure they can all attend!
For starters, update your wedding website immediately. Remove all your date references and any room block links. After that, you should still contact guests directly—don’t assume they will check your website in time to cancel hotel rooms and flights. There are a few different ways to contact guests, depending on your timeline.
For Weddings 3+ Months Away
If your initial wedding date is still a while off, you can wait until you have a new date to directly notify guests—but only a week or two at most. From there, email or mail a change-the-date card with the new date and a “more details to follow” note.
For Weddings Less Than 3 Months Away
Send an email or call guests right away. Make sure they know a formal mailed invitation will be coming—you don’t need to email or call them again once you’ve picked a date. But guests will need as much time as possible to cancel travel plans.
Contact Your Vendors
Start with the vendors that are most important to you. For example, maybe you don’t love your venue, but you adore your caterer and florist. If so, try to build your wedding postponement around your caterer’s and florist’s schedules. From there, re-book with as many of the same vendors as you can; it will keep the task easier for you and save you money.
Bonus Tip: Review your contracts beforehand, and have a copy in front of you when you call!
Don’t forget vendors you ordered favors or engraved items from, like champagne glasses. If your custom orders only have names (and no dates or locations), they shouldn’t be a problem. They’ll just arrive very early! But you may need to change your order information if there’s time, or place a new order if yours has already been processed.
Send New Invites
Once you’ve settled on a new date, you should absolutely send a formal invitation to your guests. We recommend using a different invitation design, so guests don’t think it’s a duplicate invitation, or miss that the date is different. Don’t forget to insert RSVP cards as well—you can’t assume that everyone can make the new date. On the plus side, there may be guests who can make the wedding postponement date, but couldn’t make the original date!
You should also include information on cancelling hotel rooms that were part of a wedding block. Your hotel should be able to accommodate the changes and instruct guests for cancellations and/or refunds—but be sure to add that information in your invitation package. Otherwise, guests will call you for answers.
Reconsider Your Dress
And your hair and your shoes. Are you still getting married in the same season? If so, your attire is probably all set. But if you’re changing seasons, you might need a wardrobe change, too. Don’t worry, though—you don’t need a whole new dress. Simply shop for a stylish jacket or ask the seamstress to take the sleeves off your dress. Make sure that any alterations will complement your new venue as well. Your dress full of tulle might not match your new, casual beach-side venue.
Double-Check Your Theme
Just like your dress, your wedding theme might need some modifications. Some colors might not match the new season, or the centerpieces might clash with the venue decor. To update your color palette, try changing just one color. Pick a darker shade of a current color for colder weather, or lighten a color for the summertime.
It can be very stressful and emotional to plan a wedding postponement, and it’s okay to feel that way! Take the time you need to process and grieve your big change of plans, and remember to still have fun at your wedding. Your wedding postponement is still your special day and, while you didn’t plan on planning two weddings, this is still a special moment to celebrate your love. Don’t lost sight of that!
A wedding postponement isn’t what you planned. But it can still be a great day of love and celebration with friends and family. And you can still celebrate your original wedding date! Host your wedding party and close family at your home to mark the day. Or even get married on that day at your local courthouse, and then celebrate with everyone at your new date. This is your wedding postponement, after all. You can plan it however you want to!
What worries you the most about your wedding postponement? Do you have an ideal new date in mind?