Postponing A Wedding – What To Say and Do

There isn’t a how-to manual when it comes to postponing your upcoming wedding. It’s not something that features on a bride’s to-do list, nor in most bridal magazines. But life happens, and with life come circumstances that require the rescheduling of the original plans.

It can be a difficult time and you may not know what to say. However, you’ll find most guests are appreciative of the efforts you make to let them know – and sympathetic to your decision to postpone. 

Postponed wedding card

Postponing a wedding

As soon as you know that your wedding date is changing, let your guest list know. Some brides prefer to have a new date to be able to share, and that is perfectly fine too. If you are unable to quickly set a new date, you let your wedding guests know as soon as you can so they can cancel or change their plans. There are different ways to let guests know.

You can update this on your wedding website, and send your guests an email or make phone calls. Sending an email to guests letting them know you are postponing (and a reason if you feel this is appropriate) is perfectly acceptable. This can then be followed up by mailing a change the date card once the new date is set. Stick to your chosen wedding theme for this card to keep it all cohesive.

If you don’t want to shell out for a whole new set of physical invitations, you can send a digital wedding invitation version in the same style. In that regard, if you use social media to talk to your guests, you can use this as an avenue to announce the postponement too, but a follow-up email will ensure that each guest has definitely received the message.

The first steps

Depending on the timing and available dates, you’ll either be able to book a new wedding date or not. It’s not uncommon to need to tell guests a postponement is happening, but not have a new date to give them. With wedding planning, there is always a big juggle because you are working with so many different people. The important thing is communication, and doing this as soon as possible. You’ll need to liaise with a number of people when rescheduling.

Wedding venues

If you want to keep the same venues for a future date, this is one of the first things you’ll need to book again when deciding on an alternate date. Not all the original vendors may be able to commit to the new date but deciding which vendor is important to you and this will help you decide the date. Often the wedding venue is the biggest decision so it makes since this is the first step. Ask the venue for at least 3 potential new dates to consider, so you can match this with the other wedding vendors.

Wedding vendors

Send an email to all your booked wedding vendors. This includes the caterers, cake makers, photographers, videographers, make-up artists, wedding band, DJs, accommodation booked, and so forth. Not all in the vendor team will be available after the date change and you may need a new vendor for some areas of the wedding.

Check the contracts you have with each vendor and the fine print in them surrounding postponing. Usually, the vendors will want to ensure you get your dream wedding and will help you work towards a positive outcome. However, there may be some non-refundable fees and deposits. If you’re postponing within a short time frame, cake, flowers, and food may already be ordered and made.

After all, they are often small businesses trying their best, and as unfortunate as your postponement is, it’s not their fault. Check your vendor contracts and see what clauses there are regarding the postponement.

Some vendors may not be available for your new date yet the deposit paid previously is not refundable. Though this can feel very frustrating, understand that it is not the vendor’s fault as they didn’t choose to change the date.

If your vendors are available for the new date, double-check if any of their fees have been increased or if travel charges have increased, or if other changes are needed. The new date chosen may mean the flowers you previously wanted are out of season, or the menu needs to change depending on seasonality.

Your wedding party.

Check in with your wedding party to see if they are still able to a be a part of it with the new date. It could be that the original date worked but now the later date means one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen has to pull out.

Wedding celebrant

See if your wedding celebrant is available for the new date.

Wedding insurer

If you have a wedding insurance policy, it often covers expenses incurred with a cancellation or postponement of your wedding day. Some policies cover expenses incurred for rescheduling the wedding within a certain time frame. Check with your wedding insurance company to see what your policy has covered.

Marriage License

A marriage license usually expires within 2-3 months after being issued so if your new date is not within this time you will need to reapply for a marriage license.

Honeymoon plans

Accommodation and travel costs associated with your honeymoon will also need to be postponed.

Couple hugging

The next steps

While it is disappointing and a difficult decision, postponing your wedding is something that you have decided is the best decision for you both. On your original wedding date, make sure you take the time to acknowledge this by doing something little with your fiancé. This could be a bottle of wine and a movie, a walk in the park, or going out for a coffee. You’ve still got your big day to look forward to, and that’s what really counts.  

If you purchased items for the wedding with your original date already printed on them (coasters, signs, or table numbers), it can a nice token to leave them as-is and present them on your new date. This way you can still acknowledge the original date with your guests.

calender with a ring on it.

How to word wedding postponement

Suggestions for wording on your announcement card include:

  • In lieu of the current situation, we are changing our wedding date to …
  • Save our new date! We’ll send more details soon but in the meantime …
  • We’ve changed our wedding date and can’t wait to celebrate with you then.
  • We hope your dancing shoes can wait a little longer; our wedding is postponed until …

Don’t forget to include the new date, time and other details on the announcement card too. 

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