There are many reasons why you may need to reschedule your wedding.
There might be a budgetary issue you’ve suddenly encountered. Perhaps an illness needs to be overcome before you can fully enjoy the day. It might simply be that you realise you’ve rushed the plans and a future date would be better.
Whatever the reason for rescheduling your wedding, it’s an entirely personal decision. It’s therefore important to remember from the start that this is your day, and you need to be comfortable that it’s taking place at the right time.
So, we’ll assume you’ve decided to reschedule your wedding, but you’ll undoubtedly be concerned about how to do so without upsetting people, losing money or ruining the day itself.
Here’s what you need to do.
Your guests are probably at the foremost of your mind at the moment, but the venue and suppliers are the first people you need to contact if you decide to postpone your wedding.
If you’ve got a date in mind for the rescheduled wedding, speak to them about moving to that date. You may be surprised to find out that you can often do so without being charged.
Depending on the situation, most venues and suppliers will understand - particularly if you provide them with as much notice as possible. However, if the wedding is due to take place in a couple of weeks, for instance, be prepared to foot the bill for a cancellation fee.
Start by making a list of all the suppliers you need to contact. There will be the venue, providers of music, caterers, suit hire shops, and other suppliers you have booked to provide services to make your wedding special.
Most of the suppliers you’re working with for the wedding will have contracts with you - particularly the venue.
Therefore, if you’re hit with a fee for moving the date, make sure you understand the contract. Look for clauses that match your situation (for instance, if force majeure is a reality) or which work in your favour.
However, if you’re looking to reschedule rather than cancel the wedding entirely, it pays to work with your suppliers rather than against them. They should be reasonable people, and most should work with you to arrange a new date at little or no cost to yourself.
Sure, the last thing you want to do is ruin people’s day by letting them know that you’re having to reschedule your wedding, but if you plan, you’ll minimise any fallout.
The trick lies in being honest. Be totally open about why you’re having to move the date. Don’t sugarcoat it or make something up to hide the real reason; explain exactly why you’re having to make this tough decision. Reassure people that everything’s ok and explain when the new date will be (whether that’s much later or close to the original date).
You’ll also need to think about the mechanics of informing your guests. Some, you’ll perhaps want to do in person (i.e. those closest to you, such as bridesmaids, close friends and family members), but the rest can be contacted in the same way you sent out the invites. The benefit here is that you can simply return to your original guest list and work through it systematically.
Keep in mind that some people may not be able to make the new date, therefore you will need to be prepared for some disappointment on their - and your - part. The best way to deal with this is to promise that you’ll make it up to them with a separate celebration, just for them.
Some guests may already have booked accommodation for your wedding. This can a tricky situation to overcome, as hotels may levy a fee for rescheduling the stay.
First, speak to the hotel, explain your predicament, and see if there’s a way to reschedule the stays without incurring charges. If charges are unavoidable, then you could see if you have any budget left in the wedding pot to cover them on your guests’ behalf. They will really appreciate this gesture, whether you fully cover the charges, or make a contribution of whatever you can afford.
Once you’ve undertaken all the administration for rescheduling the wedding, you can turn your attentions to the new date.
This should be used as a pick-me-up for both of you (and your guests). In a way, it’s almost like organising your wedding all over again, albeit without some of the more tricky elements.
It’s important to enjoy this time for that reason. But, before you jump straight back in, take a breather. The rescheduling process will undoubtedly have taken its toll on you, and you deserve some respite.
Working towards the new date is an opportunity to revisit your original plans. Think of how many people you know who say they’d have done something different if they could have their wedding day again. Now you have the chance to do just that.
Think again about the theme, your choice of music and the schedule for the big day. Can you use this extra time to improve it? Are there certain things you had left on the cutting room floor that you can now add to the big day? Is there anything you had booked that you’re no longer bothered about?
Speak to the venue again, too. Are there any options for the new date that relate to the season, which weren’t possible when you originally booked? For instance, if your wedding has moved from winter to summer, do you now have a chance to hold your wedding in a marquee?
During this process, you may feel incredibly sad about what you’re having to do. Indeed, you may be feeling like that now while reading this.
If so, that’s absolutely fine and totally understandable. Allow yourself have a good cry and let it all out - it’s far better than bottling it up.
Rescheduling a wedding is never going to be fun - ever. But the more honest you are with yourself, your guests and your suppliers, the more easily you’ll get through this. That big day will happen eventually, and rescheduling is never the end of the world. The most important thing is to get the timing right for you.