I know, I know. If you hear one more person say “Well, just be lucky you’re healthy,” or “Just be happy that you’re together,” you’re going to lose it. Those comments suck because they’re not only unhelpful, but they dismiss all the real feelings you’re experiencing since you had to change your wedding plans.
I do think there’s a way to be happy with your day despite it not panning out as perfectly as you dreamed. Rest assured, I’m not going to tell you to “hang in there” or to “be positive.” I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to feel disappointment and frustration if your day isn’t going to go as planned. Here are a few ways you can reframe your expectations so that whatever your revised plan is, your wedding day will still be exciting.
If you get to keep your date and venue but have to downsize your guest list.
Use this as an opportunity to (kindly) mass uninvite people you may have not wanted there in the first place. (Oops, did I say that? Yep.) Guests are going to be understanding now more than ever. And if they’re not? Well, you wouldn’t want them there anyway.
Consider asking your venue or videographer if they offer a live stream option for those who can’t attend. Let your guests know as soon as possible. If you’re running tight on time, consider sending an e-announcement. It may feel impersonal, but you really don’t want to be rehashing the disappointment over the phone 200+ times.
Review your non-negotiable guests (like immediate family and wedding party), then visualize what a more intimate day would look like with your closest people. Even if you truly desired a long guest list, minimizing distractions will make your day less chaotic and will allow you to be more present. Be sure to ask your venue about their food and beverage minimums or any other details in the contract you’ll need to make up for. Most vendors are being gracious and flexible–they don’t want to lose money, either.
If you have to change your date, venue, or postpone indefinitely.
Get silly with updated announcements. Your guests may be one of the last things on your mind right now, but it’s important to keep them in the loop. This is especially important if guests planned on traveling for your destination wedding. Choose light-hearted announcements that aren’t COVID-19-related, and keep it simple, steering clear from long, sappy language.
Review contracts and prioritize what matters. If your venue isn’t being flexible with dates or you find out that you’ll have to pay extra fees, find out how much it is to cancel your contract and if you can get some of your money back. Otherwise, most wedding vendors are trying to be flexible. Find out if you can transfer your current retainers towards future packages or new dates in the TBD future. This way, you’ll be starting fresh for when travel and gathering restrictions are lifted. If you had a destination venue secured, now would be a great time to explore alternative local (or at least domestic) venues.
Elope anyways and party later.
What happens when you just want to get married? Just get married. Many of my clients have chosen to go this route: elope now, party later. While this doesn’t mean that you can’t have a full “wedding” ceremony on the day of your eventual TBD post pandemic party, it does mean that you get to marry the person you want to be with NOW. Maybe (just maybe) that will be all that you need to help alleviate those feelings of disappointment that you may have felt. Ask your photographer if they would be willing to accomodate elopements this year and still be a part of your future TBD party day, as I have already done for many of my clients.
Your wedding day may not be what you originally planned it to be, but take this as an opportunity to slow down and focus on details you didn’t have time for before. And know you’re not in this alone–photographers, DJs, florists, and all other wedding vendors around the world can’t wait to get back to doing what we love most: being a part of your day.