It’s going to be an amazing day – eventually. But the constantly changing Covid rules and postponements have made wedding planning hugely stressful, and the last thing you want to do is put your foot in it. Here’s what not to say.
Around seven in 10 couples who had planned to wed last year have been forced to postpone their weddings to a later date – a major decision and one that is never taken lightly. It can mean a huge financial hit, the paring down of plans and having to cut out many of the guests.
Even postponing your wedding won’t necessarily solve all the problems caused by Covid-19 and couples are constantly worrying about what restrictions could be brought in next, according to relationship therapist Zoe Williams from health and wellness brand GearHungry.
Many couples issue their ‘change the date’ stationary quickly after they have postponed, which can be costly and take a lot of time. So setting aside the time to respond to a ‘change the date’ notice is not only polite, but perhaps the best way to react to the news, she says.
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And it’s worth weighing your words carefully when you discover a friend or relative is having to change their wedding plans – the last thing you want to do is pile on even more pressure.
‘Two celebrations? Which is the real wedding?’
We’re now seeing the ‘sequel wedding’, in which the couple hosts a small ceremony that meets government guidelines, and go on to hold a later ceremony with the traditional reception.
“Postponing a wedding is not as easy as simply altering a date, especially if deposits and in some cases, final payments have already been made’, Zoe Williams says.
“For some, hosting two celebrations is the most financially viable option. All couples will view their celebrations as their ‘real’ wedding as they will hold equal significance. Refrain from asking questions that insinuate one ceremony must be more important than the other, as the presence of their loved ones will be the most important.”
2021 is already seeing an influx of weddings postponed from last year, so many venues are fully booked for 2021 and many couples have little choice but to postpone their nuptials until 2022.
“Asking why a couple has postponed their nuptials so far in advance is a sure-fire way to rub salt in the wound,” says Williams.
“It is not a decision that anyone will have taken lightly and a lot of the time it’s something that they have been forced into due to venue availability and vendors’ prior commitments. If you are available to attend the couple’s new date, state straight away that you will be there. It is the best response you can give to a couple.”
‘At least you can plan more’
‘I really sympathise with a couple when their loved ones try to reassure them that their day will be even better as they can now plan more’, says Williams.
“It is always said with the best intentions – however, people neglect to consider the planning that goes into a wedding and the endless hours the couple has already spent preparing…for a date that is no longer theirs.”
‘That’s a shame, I’ve already booked a hotel and organised childcare’
The postponement might be inconvenient, but keep it to yourself, Williams says.
“The likelihood is that the wedding hosts have lost hundreds, if not thousands of pounds. Money is perhaps the most stressful aspect of a wedding day and most couples are all too aware of the financial impact their decisions have on their guests. Suspending plans may affect you, but in the grand scheme of things, it is minor.”
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“A lot of the devastation that surrounds delaying a wedding is that a lot of choice is removed from the couple’s hands. With a lot of venue calendars fully booked, couples are securing the only date that is offered to them,” Williams says.
“Try to be sympathetic to the situation and if you are not able to attend, let the couple know ASAP.”
‘You’re not going to postpone again?’
Asking a couple if their wedding plans will be postponed again is like asking them to predict the future – there’s no way they can know.
“Postponing a wedding fills a couple with dread, and the idea of postponing multiple times is their worst-case scenario,” William says.
“When a couple gives you a date, treat it as a definite. It is unlikely that couples will have back up dates and the idea of such will add additional stress.’
‘At least you can save money. Weddings are too expensive anyway’
“This is arguably the worst statement to make in reaction to hearing of a postponement. Many couples have incurred further costs that they have not accounted for in their initial budgeting and in some cases, even lost deposits,” says Williams.