Has COVID-19 affected your wedding or something serious has impacted your plans and you’re lost on what to do next? If so, this post is for you. Know that you’re not the first to experience this, and you’re not alone. Many couples are presently considering postponing or cancelling their weddings due to the Coronavirus pandemic or some other life events. Some are confused about what exactly to do next or how. If that sounds like you, you’re the one I wrote this guide for. Swipe/ scroll down to read on.
Wedding planning is such a stressful journey that no one wishes to start it, go far and hit a roadblock that requires the wedding to be postponed or cancelled. But like life itself, wedding planning is full of uncertainties, in some cases leading to pausing the wedding or totally calling it off.
If faced with a situation where one’s wedding can no longer hold, any bride would be confused about what to do, and how to go about cancelling or rescheduling their wedding. If that sounds like what you’re going through, I am here to help you. I’ll walk you through our 10-step process for postponing or cancelling a wedding. Read on.
If you’re considering cancelling or postponing your wedding, I feel your pain. First, know that you’re not alone. I can imagine that you’ve spent months or weeks on wedding planning, sent out invitations, made deposit payments on vendors and a venue. Then something happened, and the wedding can no longer hold.
If your wedding can no longer hold as planned, don’t worry, you’ll rise above it. Now, let’s dive straight into our 10-step process of postponing or cancelling any event or wedding.
What to Do: Next Steps When Postponing or Cancelling a Wedding or Any Event
First, let all the emotions out: It’s okay to cry and feel frustrated. Go on and let out all the emotions – I understand how you feel. Next, accept that the uncertainty has happened. After all that, you need to DO SOMETHING ASAP, and that’s what I’ll show you.
Don’t worry, it will be well (again). Know that, you’re not alone – it happens, and if other couples have risen above it, you too can. Once you’re done with crying and venting anger, it’s time to take action. Now, follow our steps below on what to do if you have to postpone or cancel your wedding.
1. Decide Whether to Postpone or to Cancel?
If you have not broken off your engagement and still want to get married to this same person, it is best to postpone the wedding (steps are down in this post). On the other hand, if it’s a broken engagement, that means a wedding cancellation (steps also down this post).
2. Review the Venue and Vendor Terms and Conditions
Some venues and vendors operate a policy of no refunds on deposits, and some don’t. Before contacting them, it’s a good idea to find the receipts for all vendor and venue deposit payments you made. Read/ review the fine prints in each contract/ payment receipt for the terms and conditions regarding postponements or cancellation.
What is their postponement or cancellation policy saying? Will they refund all your deposits? If they will refund part, how much? If you hired a wedding planner, you won’t need to worry as they’ll do all that on your behalf and give you feedback.
3. Choose a New Date
Come up with a new date or a few potential dates. If you do not yet have a new date, that’s okay, go ahead with the rest of the steps. Don’t worry, you’ll figure out a date along the way. Or better still, use our guide on how to choose a wedding date.
4. Contact Your Wedding Planner Immediately
If you hired a wedding planner, that is the first person to contact immediately. They will listen to you and handle the rest, which is, contacting your wedding reception venue and each vendor involved, and also rescheduling the wedding. On the other hand, if you didn’t hire a planner, we’ve got your back – just follow the steps below to DIY (to it yourself).
5. Contact Both Your Venue(s) ASAP
To postpone your wedding or event, your (church and reception) venues should be your first port of call. Inform them that you are cancelling or postponing your wedding. If you’re postponing, tell them the new date you’re looking at and ask if that day is available with them.
You don’t have to commit to any particular date for now. Ask them what new dates are open for availability for rescheduling/ postponing to a future date (within your month of interest), and let them know you’ll confirm the one that works for all of your vendors and venue.
Ask them to hold your deposit until you get back to them with a confirmed new date as soon as you contact all the other vendors and work out a common date that will work for all involved (photographers, hall decorator, caterer etc.). Remember to ask for a new invoice or receipt that reflects your new wedding date.
HINT: If you live in the same city/ town as your wedding venue, I highly recommend that you go there in person, and not phone them about the situation. That will make a whole lot of difference when arriving at a solution.
6. Contact All the Vendors and Suppliers Involved
Next, you’ll have to contact each vendor/ wedding service provider you hired – one by one. Tell them that you’re cancelling or postponing your wedding. Find out what new dates are open for availability for rescheduling/ postponing, and let them know you’ll confirm the common date that works for your venues and all vendors involved.
Ask them to hold your deposit payment until you’ll confirm a new date that works for all parties involved (the venues, photographers, hall decorator, caterer, rental store, etc.). Be sure to ask for a new invoice or receipt that reflects your new wedding date.
When discussing with your vendors, keep your ears on the ground to pick up useful advice on how to navigate through this with any difficult vendors. Being in the wedding business, they must have experienced this type of situation many times before, and know what works.
HINT: If you live in the same city/ town as your wedding vendors, visit each one in person and not phone them about the situation. It helps them to ‘feel’ your pain and makes a big difference in how well and how quickly they resolve it your way.
7. Inform All Your Guests (Not Just Some of Them)
Someone asked me, ‘when is the best time to inform guests?’ I say, immediately. You don’t have to wait until you get a new date. Tell them as soon as you decided you’re cancelling or postponing your wedding. I wrote a post on this explaining exactly how to tell guests you’re postponing your wedding, with sample wordings and 10 etiquettes on handling wedding date change. Feel free to use my word-to-word script in that post.
Now, let’s go back to our steps on how to cancel or postpone your wedding or event.
Let’s say you’ve got your venues and vendors out of the way, then it’s time to tell all your guests about the changes in your wedding plan. It’s important because they’ve made plans to attend your big day, some may have made travel arrangements (like booking a flight and hotel accommodation), or rushing to have their wedding guest aso-ebi outfits sewn. Courtesy demands that the same way you invited/ told your guests is the same way you tell them this time.
You need to inform the parents (bride’s and groom’s) and close family members. You also need to inform your bridesmaids and groomsmen. You need to send out a message to inform every single guest that you sent invitation cards to, or invited via phone, text/ Whatsapp or email. If you first wrote a guest list before sending out the invitation cards, it will be easy to use that list to know who to message about the wedding postponement or cancellation.
8. Cancel or Reschedule any Honeymoon Travel Bookings
If planned to travel after your wedding for a honeymoon and had already booked flights and hotel accommodation in advance, you also need to reschedule or cancel the booking.
- SEE: Our Answers to Top Honeymoon Questions will Help You Plan Yourse
- Mauritius Honeymoon Story Plus Sights and Sounds (The Nnanis)
9. Still Celebrate on Your Old/ Former Wedding Date
Yes, you have postponed your wedding, but it’s not the end of the World. Life continues. So, what do you do (when that old wedding date arrives)? Here’s an idea, and what some fun couples do to mark it – still celebrate low-key, just the two of you. Go out on a date, pop a bottle of champagne, dance and be merry. Maybe, go have a pampering spa and massage treatment. Just do something wildly fun on that old wedding date.
10. Look on the Brighter Side
One thing I tell brides is that they should plan to have a better wedding plan this time. Some brides have used their wedding postponement to re-work and re-plan their wedding to be more organized, more elegant. Finally, relax, because you’ve lost nothing – you still got your man of your dreams, your pretty bridesmaids, the wedding gown, a team of kickass venue and vendors that will deliver a wedding party better than you dreamed of. To plan a better wedding and also stay on top of your to-dos, here are some helpful resources:
- How to Guarantee Planning a Perfect Wedding with No Ugly Surprises
- Complete White Wedding Checklist with a 12-Months To-Do List
- Nigerian Traditional Wedding Checklist
- How to Plan a Nigerian Wedding in 6 Months or Less
- How to Plan a Nigerian Wedding in 3 Months or Less
Finally, if you decided to postpone (not cancel) your wedding, you should not stop planning. No, no. Even if there’s a pandemic and everyone is on lockdown (such as during COVID-19) and businesses, including wedding service providers and venues, are temporarily closed, there are still some wedding planning tasks you can do while waiting to reschedule your wedding date.
If you’ll still go ahead with the wedding, be sure to read that post (link in above heading) on how to re-plan your wedding after a postponement or during a lockdown.
TRUE STORY: Unbearable Planning Stress Forced this Nigerian Bride to Cancel Her Wedding
Two years ago, a Nigerian bride called her groom, who lived abroad, that she was overwhelmed and overstressed from planning their wedding, and was losing her mind. Their wedding was only a few weeks away – they had sent out invitation cards, the venue and all vendors had been paid for. She said she was losing her mind and could no longer go on planning the wedding.
She just wanted to cancel the wedding until she could regain herself, and didn’t know how to ell their guests and vendors. This freaked out her groom, who was living abroad at the time. He was confused, and consulted me, asking for what to do, how to cancel, the implications and how to tell guests. In his own words, he asked ‘We have sent out invites and now she wants us to postpone the wedding. Is that done? Is it possible?’
Part of the advice and tips in this post is what I shared with this couple that helped them deal with postponing their wedding. I thought that expanding on it and publishing it here will help more Nigerian couples deal with cancelling or rescheduling their weddings.
Recap: How to Postpone or Cancel Your Wedding or Any Event
That’s a wrap on our guide on how to postpone or cancel your wedding. I gave you the 10 things to do if you want to postpone or cancel your wedding.
Most couples ask if they will lose their deposit with vendors – I answered that in the above. After rescheduling your wedding date, what next? I gave 5 things you can do to move your relationship status forward. Finally, I shared 3 tips to help you make postponing your wedding easy (with regards to your venue and vendors).
If after much planning time and efforts, for some reason, your wedding can no longer hold, or you know anyone that’s going through the situation, this post will walk you through how to deal with or go about postponing or cancelling a wedding in Nigeria or anywhere at all.
I hope you found this post helpful and took notes. Thanks for reading, and please help us share this post on social media to help more people find it. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below to let me know what you think.