Nobody wants to have to change their wedding date. It can be especially tricky if the venue and suppliers have already been booked, and you’ve already sent out your save the dates and invitations.
Unfortunately, though, it’s sometimes inevitable. Whether it’s because of illness, relationship issues, a bereavement in the family, a worldwide pandemic, or financial difficulties, sometimes postponing a wedding simply has to be done.
You might understandably feel worried about the monumental task of changing your wedding date, and what your guests’ reactions will be. However, rearranging your wedding doesn’t need to be stressful or overwhelming: just follow our simple guide.
1. Decide Whether to Postpone or Cancel
If you’re going to change your wedding date, you need to first decide whether to cancel the wedding entirely and then rebook later, or move the wedding to a different date right off the bat.
Changing the date of your wedding is generally the easiest option compared to cancelling outright. If you simply want to push your wedding back (or bring it forward, for that matter) you’ll find that your venue and suppliers will be much more amiable. You may not even incur any fees for doing so, providing that they’re all free on the new date.
If you cancel it outright, on the other hand, you may lose all of your deposits. Most venues and suppliers won’t take kindly to you completely revoking your booking, and they usually have every right to keep your money. However, it’s always worth reading your contracts to make sure.
2. Choose the New Wedding Date
Liaise with your wedding venue to find a new date that works for both you and them. If you’re changing the date at short notice, you might have to be flexible with regards to the new date. You might have to settle for a different day of the week, different month, or even different year than your original date.
Next, contact any and all wedding suppliers that you’ve already booked. For example:
• Wedding cake baker
• Entertainment (band, DJ, children’s entertainer)
• Hair and makeup stylist
• Wedding day transport
You might find that some of your chosen suppliers are already booked up on your new wedding date. If this happens, and you need to cancel their services, you might lose your deposit. This is, unfortunately, one of the risks you have to be prepared for when changing your wedding date.
3. Inform Your Employer
If you’ve booked time off work for your wedding, you’ll need to reschedule your holiday dates. Inform your employer(s) that you are changing your wedding date as soon as you possibly can, and ask – very nicely – whether you can switch your time off to the new date.
Most employers should be very understanding about it, especially if there’s a “good” reason behind the change, such as illness or a bereavement in the family.
4. Contact Your Wedding Insurer
You do have wedding insurance, don’t you? If so, you’ll need to contact your insurance company and inform them that the date of your wedding has been changed. This is so the policy will cover you for the correct dates going forward.
If you’ve lost some money due to the date change, this is also a good time to check whether you can get your money back through your insurance. This will largely depend on the reason for you changing your wedding date. For example, most insurance policies will cover a date change due to illness, but most won’t cover a “change of heart”.
5. Tell Your Wedding Party
Before you send out the official “change the date” announcement to your guests, it’s a good idea to let your wedding party know first – in person, if possible.
If you’re lucky, everyone will be free on the new date, and there won’t be an issue with the postponement. But if you find that any of your bridesmaids, ushers, or parents are not free on your new date, you have a difficult choice to make.
You’ll either have to find a new date that everyone is free on (including your venue and suppliers), or you will have to accept that someone special to you won’t be able to attend your wedding. Of course, there are ways of compromising - perhaps they could be an “evening only” guest, if they’re not free during the day. Or if they’re busy in the evening, maybe they could attend the ceremony, but not the reception.
6. Send Out “Change the Dates”
It’s very important that, once you’ve officially changed your wedding date, you inform your guests as soon as possible. Remember that your guests may have already:
• Booked time off work
• Arranged childcare
• Booked transport or accommodation
• Declined invitations to other events occurring on your original wedding date
The more notice your guests have, the easier it will be for them to change their plans.
The best way to tell your guests is by sending out change the dates. This handy piece of wedding stationery allows you to easily and elegantly inform everyone of your new wedding date.
Be prepared for some of your guests to change their RSVP from a ‘yes’ to a ‘no’. Sadly, it’s inevitable that some guests will not be available on the new date.
You might also face some flak from angry guests if they’ve made arrangements that can’t easily be changed (such as non-refundable hotel bookings). This isn’t really something you can prevent, but try to be understanding and help out where you can.
Some people will ask why you’re changing your wedding date. Remember that you do not have to tell them your reasoning if you don’t want to. “For personal reasons” is a good enough answer.
7. Re-book Your Hotels and Honeymoon
Have you already booked a hotel stay, a minimoon or a honeymoon for after your wedding? If so, you’ll have to rearrange this, as well as the wedding itself. This is another area in which you might face financial consequences for trying to change the dates. You might have to pay a higher rate for the new dates, or be unable to change or cancel your booking at all without paying a penalty.
Fortunately, there’s a lot more flexibility when it comes to the honeymoon. It doesn’t have to be on a specific date after the wedding. Long gone are the days when you’d be expected to jet off on your honeymoon on the wedding night itself!
8. Book New Suppliers (If Necessary)
If any of your original wedding suppliers were unable to accommodate you on your new wedding date, you’ll now have to try and find new suppliers that are. You may have to make some sacrifices when it comes to the kinds of suppliers and vendors you really want on your wedding day.
For example, you might have your heart set on a live band, only to find that your top choices are all fully booked on your new wedding date, meaning that you have to go with a DJ instead. Try not to worry about the little things, though – your wedding will still be perfect in its own way. Chances are, in a few years, you won’t even remember which florist did your bouquet, or who baked your cake.
9. Get Excited for Your New Wedding Date!
Once all of your guests have been told about the new date, and you’ve sorted out the logistics with your venue and suppliers, there’s only one thing left to do: get excited!
Sure, you might not be celebrating your wedding on the original date that you had planned. But the most important thing to remember is that you’re tying the knot with the love of your life. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters – and you’ll have a fantastic time.
If you need to change the date of your wedding, order your change the date cards today with Bride and Groom Direct. We’ll dispatch your order within 3 to 5 working days, and your order will come complete with free envelopes!