Should We Postpone Our Wedding?
A huge number of weddings have now been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and there’s no doubt that this past year has been an incredibly anxious time for so many couples. Last year there was real hope that 2021 would bring the light at the end of the tunnel, but following recent announcements it’s not looking great for couples with big weddings planned for spring or early summer. So with the virus still disrupting life as we know it, many couples are once again questioning: Should we postpone our wedding?
The decision to postpone your wedding day is an incredibly difficult one to make, especially if you have already had to postpone several times already. Not only are there financial factors involved, but delaying such a highly anticipated day will be very tough emotionally. To aid you in your decision making, this blog discusses the pros and cons of postponing, and for those who decide it is best to wait a bit longer there’s some tips on staying positive and keeping the blues at bay.
When compiling this blog we spoke with various couples whose weddings have been affected by the pandemic. We’re incredibly grateful for their kindness in sharing their experiences.
Since 5th January 2021, the UK has been under another national lockdown. As a result of this, weddings and civil partnerships are currently very restricted. But there is hope on the horizon, with governments putting plans in place to steer us out of lockdown and gradually towards normality. For example, on 22nd February the Prime Minister outlined his roadmap plans for England, which will allow very small wedding ceremonies to resume on 8th March. A stepped approach will then be taken, as follows:
- 8th March – Up to 6 attendees (ceremony only)
- 12th April – Up to 15 attendees (including receptions)
- 17th May – Up to 30 attendees
- 21st June – All restrictions lifted.
However, these dates will all depend on four key conditions being met at each stage, so while it does offer hope for those planning weddings past 21st June, there are still no guarantees and it remains an incredibly uncertain time.
Speaking with one couple who have decided to hold off their wedding until normality resumes, we heard that it was the “uncertainty that was very straining – not knowing what will happen, and the anxiety that caused.”
Feeling like you are not in control of something so important to you is bound to be emotionally challenging, so that could be the best reason to postpone. It could be a big weight off your shoulders and a lot less stressful to wait a bit longer. It is paramount we look after our mental health in times such as this. The hardship of trying to plan a viable, safe wedding and not knowing if it can even happen on top of adjusting to pandemic life will be taking its toll. Sometimes you must prioritise your health above all else.
Want a large gathering? It may be better to postpone
Have you always envisioned a big party with a dancefloor full of friends and family, merry and laughing the night away? If so, with the future so uncertain, it may better to postpone so that you can have the wedding of your dreams in the future.
As one other couple eloquently put it:
“We don’t want Covid to define our wedding.”
To marry in spring or perhaps even summer 2021 could still mean a small number of guests, strict regulations and everyone in masks. Some family members may feel unable to attend, international travel restrictions may still be in place, and it could take a long time for people to feel comfortable in social situations. These are all fair reasons for postponing the brimming celebration you foresee.
Of course you may not want a large gathering at all. This could have been your plan all along, or a conclusion you have come to over the past year. In which case getting married this year may still suit you just fine. Or perhaps you could hold a smaller ceremony first and then a bigger reception next year. Outdoor ceremonies are increasing in popularity due to the safety they offer during the virus, so this could be something that’s right up your street.
Whatever your budget size, money is a real worry for many this year in such a difficult economy, making organising a wedding extra stressful. If you are worried about finances and getting refunds, this may be a big negative to postponing. Having spoken with some couples who are postponing, fortunately for them the majority of businesses they have dealt with have been very cooperative in administering refunds or moving the date at no extra cost. However this can depend on the business or venue and it may be easier for some than others. Plus there’s no guarantee on how long it will take. The hassle and uncertainty surrounding finances may be too concerning, in which case it might not be a good idea to postpone.
On the flip-side of this, one postponing couple who have had money returned to them from suppliers explained that they are now re-thinking how much they will spend on their eventual wedding. Something simplified and well-budgeted could benefit your finances and help you save money for other requirements of life in the future.
It is important to note that as the pandemic is an occurrence totally out of everyone’s hands, your relevant consumer rights still apply. You can read more about wedding services affected by COVID-19 in the Statement of the CMA’s position on cancellation and refunds.
Other downsides of postponing
Maybe you have a certain date booked for your wedding that is perfect and sentimental to you both. If you postpone, you may not be able to get that date again the following year. You also may not be able to get the same venue, or same suppliers. These are all things to consider when postponing.
You might be really worried about having to tell your guests that you’ve decided to postpone, as obviously it affects them too. Although it’s a very sad situation, supportive family and friends will back you on whatever decision you make, and will still have the big day to look forward to at some point in the future! If you do decide to hold off for another year, perhaps you could construct a letter or email addressed to all those who would be attending, explaining your decision and your thoughts and feelings. They will appreciate and respect the update, and it will allow them to reply with words of support.
A time of reflection
Everybody’s lives have slowed down in the past year, and you might say we have had a great lesson in appreciating the little things. This was certainly true with one particular couple we interviewed. With the first national lockdown forcing their original wedding to be suspended, having time to sit and reflect during 2020 had them pondering about what marriage really meant to them.
“Do we still want that big, expensive wedding? Would we prefer something that’s more us?”
Having the time to sit and re-evaluate has enabled them to think deeper into what will really be the perfect day for them, on a much more personal and sentimental level. For anyone having the same thoughts, you might feel that you’re safe to go ahead this year, but with a smaller, more intimate ceremony. And even if you do postpone, that opportunity to reflect on what’s important can really ensure your wedding day is perfect. All positive things.
Try to stay positive
Say you’ve made the decision to postpone after all. You are totally entitled to feel bewildered and broken. Although – realistically speaking – it isn’t the end of the world, it might feel like it sometimes, and you are perfectly within your rights to mourn your wedding day. The best thing you can do initially is accept the fact that these are normal emotions and this is a very difficult time, so you are allowed to feel sad. But let’s talk positive vibes…
Staying positive might be tough, but a good place to start is thinking about all the things you do still have – such as your loved ones being healthy, still having your job, having a roof over your head and, of course, still having each other to lean on! These are all things worth feeling happy about. Some fabulous advice from a couple who have decided to fully postpone until Covid is behind us, is to look at the bigger picture. “Your wedding won’t change your day-to-day life,” they said. “It’s an amazing thing to have as a goal, but you still have each other and your lives, as you will too during marriage.”
See the wedding as a wonderful goal that you are going to achieve at some point and, until then, enjoy everything else. Focus on other life goals for now. Paint that canvas, write that song, learn that instrument, get that promotion – whatever you know you want to achieve in the meantime, go get it!
Then when the would-have-been wedding day comes around, make sure you have something nice planned to do together to mark the day (restrictions permitting). Perhaps schedule a virtual party with some of your guests, go on a gorgeous country walk, order an extra-special takeaway, crack open the champagne, or all of the above! It’s healthy to acknowledge it rather than suppress it, and doing something will distract your mind from sad thoughts.
Speak to your friends and family. Whenever you feel anything, be open with them – don’t shut things out. And more importantly, speak to your partner. If you are having a down day, let your partner know and talk about it. Go through it holding each other’s hands. After all, you’re not alone in this experience – you are with the person you intend to spend the rest of your life with, and that’s an amazing thing! It’s what getting married is all about. So whether you do or don’t decide to postpone, your wedding day will be a beautiful, cherished memory to hold onto for the rest of your lives.
Love the idea of an outdoor wedding ceremony? Visit the Outdoor Ceremonies Directory to begin planning your perfect day!