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Countless couples had their 2020 wedding plans dashed because of coronavirus, with many forced to cancel or postpone their big day. Here's how to handle it financially.
As states begin to loosen restrictions on public events, the CDC still recommends public gatherings be limited to 10 people or less. So if you’ve been waiting to decide whether to cancel or postpone your 2020 wedding, now’s the time.

Where you and your guests live as well as where you’re having your wedding will be crucial factors in making your decision. States like Montana and West Virginia that have fewer than 1,000 cases per million people will see large gatherings resume way before states in the Northeast that are seeing upwards of 13,000 cases per million people.

No one wants to postpone the happiest day of their lives but the longer you wait to decide, the more likely you are to lose money should you cancel or reschedule.

Taking into consideration that every case will be unique, here are some tips you can use to minimize extra costs and save as much money as possible on your cancelled or postponed nuptials.

How to Postpone or Cancel a Wedding Without Losing All Your Deposits

The economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic have hit everyone hard, including those in the wedding industry. So remember when talking to vendors, planners, etc. that you’re not the only person who’s lost income or had to change their wedding plans.

When you start tough conversations with kindness, you’ll not only be making a tough situation better for exhausted wedding professionals, you’re also more likely to get the end result you want.

1. Call your wedding insurance provider

If you purchased wedding insurance in 2019 or earlier, you’ll want to see how the company is handling COVID-19-related claims before contacting vendors. Your individual contract will determine what compensation you’re eligible for.

Unfortunately, any wedding insurance purchased since coronavirus became a known problem won’t cover any cancellation or postponement costs due to it. And even if it was purchased before, companies are processing claims on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, if you purchased travel insurance for your honeymoon, read the policy and reach out to the company to see what your options are for rescheduling.

2. Read the fine print

You’ll also want to review your vendor contracts before you contact them. Many vendors are being flexible due to the pandemic but you should know going in what costs are non-negotiable, what’s refundable, etc.

Legally, a deposit is typically refundable unless the contract says otherwise while a retainer is not. Make sure you know the difference in the wording and if you’re not sure, get some legal advice to help you understand what you’re entitled to.

3. Talk to the venue

Whether you’re planning on rescheduling or not, you should talk to the venue about your options. See what dates they have available later in the year or what incentives they can offer to reschedule.

If you’d rather not wait or your venue won’t budge on a refund, see if they have a smaller room at the venue you can book for a wedding celebration at a later date.

Remember to get any changes in writing. Ask the venue to send a follow up email with amendments to your contract or to verify anything you negotiated over the phone.

4. Contact hired vendors

As soon as you decide whether you’re cancelling or postponing, contact your vendors. Lots of weddings are being rescheduled over the next year so you’ll need to know ASAP if your new date conflicts with any of your vendors’ so you can make necessary changes before everything is booked.

Should you need to cancel a vendor completely, do it over the phone then follow up with an email. A call is more personable and it gives the vendor an opportunity to offer you a lower price if your wedding budget has tightened and maintain a good relationship in case you want to use them for something else in the future.

You may not be able to get a full refund from everyone, especially if they already put time into working on your big day. In that case, negotiate a reasonable rate for services rendered. Remember that they lost a lot of their income this year and should be paid for work they did even if you can’t use it.

Tips for Rescheduling Your Wedding

If you’re rescheduling your wedding don’t get so overwhelmed with making new decisions that you forget your budget. There can be lots of unforeseen costs but also ways to save that are unique to the situation we’re in right now.

Consider rescheduling for a non-peak day

If you want to keep your wedding in 2020, consider rescheduling it on a Thursday or Friday to give you more date options and lower your venue cost. Tuesday and Saturday flights are known as the cheapest days to fly, not to mention all flights are cheaper right now, so it could also lower your guests’ cost to attend.

Budget for additional costs

Moving your date to a new season or weekday may affect the cost of certain services. Trying to use the same flowers and menus you picked for a spring wedding will be much more expensive in the fall. Prioritize what you’re willing to pay more for and what you’re willing to give up if you have a budget you want to stick to.

You’ll also incur new costs like “Change the Date” cards and possibly another round of invitations. Many people lost months worth of income and traveling for a wedding may no longer fit into their budget. If you have family you really want to celebrate with you that may mean supplementing some of the cost to get them there.

Think of your guests

As if making your guest list wasn’t hard enough, now you’ll need to consider the list when you’re making plans to reschedule your day.

If having certain guests fly in for your wedding is a priority, reschedule with enough time for them to plan and get flights and hotels. If you have immune-compromised family members you may want to consider a date that’s farther out or a larger venue to maintain social distancing.

Changing Your Wedding Plan Isn’t Ideal But It’s Not the End of the World

We don’t know when things will be getting back to normal so with every wedding plan you make, stay flexible. The music may be different, the decor a different color, and the guest list a little lighter but in the end it’ll be a day you always remember. No matter how much or how little you spend on it.

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Author Bio

Total Articles: 14
Jen Smith is a personal finance writer and creator of ModernFrugality.com. She and her husband paid off $78,000 of debt in two years, and now she's passionate about helping everyday people gain control of their spending and optimize their income. When she's not writing, Jen is figuring out life as a new mom and enjoying as much time as possible in the Florida sun.

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