We Postponed Our Wedding

We Postponed Our Wedding by Stephanie Hill on The Style Bungalow

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write this story for a while now but the truth is, I haven’t been ready to face the reality of it. Things have been chaotic, flooded with lots of “What if’s?” and “We just don’t know?” to “Stephanie, I can’t predict the future!” and tears in between. Ultimately, it came down to the health and safety of our guests, which meant postponing our wedding by… over a year. 

Yep, file me under “Couples during Covid-19.” 

Our dream wedding isn’t going to happen this year due to the pandemic… As I think of all the intricate little details, like the meaning behind our location and the timing, it became too painful to let go. But I went back to the notion of, “For every problem there is a solution” and “It’s not a matter of if, but when.” Letting that settle in. It really resonated. As uncertain as things are I’m choosing to hold onto what matters like our health, families and job security. Letting go of what we had originally planned, I’m remaining hopeful that things will get better and our decision to postpone the wedding will help us in the end. Plus, no one could have predicted this therefore the handbook on “How to Plan a Wedding During a Pandemic” doesn’t exist. Trust me, I’ve already tried looking it up. 

So to all the beautiful couples out there wrestling with the same situation, you are not alone. Today, I’m dishing out the hard lessons I’ve learned already in hopes of providing some peace of mind and renewed inspiration for your big day. I also want to give a HUGE shout out to all my incredible vendors for their flexibility and patience with me during this sensitive time.

Know Your Exchange Rates 

Planning a destination wedding? 

My fiancé and I got into an argument over our wedding budget. Yes I admittedly went over budget, then news of the exchange rate in Mexico dropped significantly and saved us thousands. I went from feeling awful to victorious to feeling sad when I swapped things around and thought of all the Mexican couples planning their weddings in the United States.  

With economies changing rapidly from one day to the next, it’s important to be mindful and proactive as you make payments for your destination wedding. 

Opt for Paperless Save-the-Dates 

Because I love vintage artwork, I dreamt of having a one-of-a-kind invitation suite for my wedding. One that paid homage to our destination and wedding botanicals, which includes custom save-the-dates and little things like a map of our destination and a family crest for my fiancé and I (which can later be used on towels, napkins, frames, etc.). Ashley D Studio, my intuitive illustrator, suggested we opt for virtual invitations instead of hard copies (in case our wedding gets postponed). Then, it actually did. But Ashley brought up a really good point: “Right now everyone has been displaced with some people having to move out of their apartments and in with family. I think reaching them digitally is the best way to communicate changes for your big day,” than relying solely on traditional mail. 

Of course we still plan to print a few copies as a keepsake, but ended up saving so much time and money this way. 

Talk to Your Wedding Party

As soon as we started questioning whether we should postpone our wedding, we polled our friends and family. 

Things to consider: 

Where your friends and family are traveling from to attend your wedding

How many people are traveling internationally

How badly the virus is in your destination 

Guests age

Take into account where your friends and family are traveling from – is it Europe? Is it one family or half the wedding? And how badly is the area you’re traveling to impacted by the virus (i.e. certain parts in the Bahamas are doing just fine). These answers will help narrow your decision down.

Do You Have Your Dress? 

Short answer: no. 

I know what “kind” of dress I want, but I don’t have mine yet

I spoke with an atelier in Los Angeles who said they’ll do the following: Narrow down my favorites via email/video chats then send two samples at a time in order for me to try on. I also spoke with a well-known boutique in Miami that said they’ll be happy to do one-on-one appointments in-store. 

I have no idea what the future holds for me and my dress shopping journey, but doing this in less than six months, and with so many variables like delayed manufacturing in France, Italy and China, seemed daunting. 

QUICK TIP: Always ask where dresses are made. Some brands manufacture their designs in the United States (like Monique Lhuillier), which can save you lots of headaches down the road. 

Splurge

There’s a good chance my fiancé is shaking his head right now as he reads this. 

But…if you’re having to postpone your wedding a year or potentially more, now could be the perfect opportunity to save and splurge on something you really want like an epic photographer, that dream dress, a faraway honeymoon…or a home. Listen, if there’s one silver lining here, it’s that you could actually get what you want after all.

(See below for another way I’m thinking of splurging…) 

Keep it Civil and Local  

We always planned on having a civil ceremony in our parent’s church (coincidentally, it’s the same church my fiancé’s brother got married in too!). And “civil” doesn’t have to mean dull, especially if you’re doing it for grandparents who won’t be able to attend your destination wedding, you may want to consider making a special occasion out of it now that you’re postponing your wedding. 

Having shared this with KT Merry, our wedding photographer, she added that “civil ceremonies should be an appetizer to your wedding.” Wow, I really hadn’t thought of it like that but it makes so much sense! It’s important to make every aspect of your wedding count and connect with your big day (aka the main entrée), including a civil ceremony which doesn’t have to be boring. So yes, I’m suggesting you hit the “splurge” button here with a focus on the little details such as whimsical flower arrangements and greenery to truly create a dreamy visual experience. Whether it’s installing a floral arch, a lush assortment of your favorite flowers cascading down a stoop, like Elaine Welteroth’s wedding, or both it sets the tone and ambiance. And “Civil ceremonies are the perfect time to grab intimate portraits with immediate family members, especially those who won’t be able to make your actual wedding,” says KT Merry. 

Which leads me to my next point… 

Listen to an Expert

I’m so thankful to have spoken with KT Merry further and wanted to share a few questions and answers I had (and have been receiving) below:

Q: How are couples getting creative during this time where so many are having to postpone their weddings?

KT: “The beauty of uncertain and chaotic times is that most often they result in creativity and ultimately innovation. Often when we are stripped of what we perceive as ’normal’ we lose the expectations of what we ’should do’ and allow ourselves to really get in touch with what we desire. Now I’m not suggesting that you desire to postpone your wedding, of course not, but I am suggesting that if you acknowledge the reality of a given situation and really sit with it, chances are you will hear what the next best step is for you as a couple. I have seen many couples getting creative and finding solutions to honor their path to marriage during these times. Whether it’s a small ceremony, a photo shoot, an elopement — do what feels right for you both.”

QUICK TIP: Make sure you have it photographed to document the memory even if it’s not what you had initially envisioned. Someday you will look back and appreciate how resilient you were making the best of the situation together. 

Q: What should couples consider when planning a destination wedding for next year? What should they look for now? 

KT: “Right now 2021 is filling up quickly with so many weddings moving from 2020. Now and always, I recommend identifying your ‘wishlist’ of vendors and reaching out to them to check availability as soon as possible. If you have your heart set on someone or someplace, it’s best to secure them as soon as possible and build your dream team.”

Q: Do you have any extra notes or tips we should think about?

KT: “No one has a crystal ball and no one knows what the rest of 2020, 2021 and beyond have in store. Truth is, we never knew. This is a great opportunity to have some meaningful conversations as a couple and get into alignment about what matters to you as a couple. There is no right or wrong answer here. If you really want the gown of a lifetime, great. Want a party that will have people talking for years, awesome. Want to scrape all of your plans and head to the courthouse, a far away country or your own backyard, do it. Regardless of where you land honor the start of your marriage together in a way that feels unequivocally you.” 

Get Insurance 

“Because of the complexity of guidelines and mandates throughout the country, there are no concrete rules yet that address how gathering rules are handled,” that is why I highly recommend getting cancellation insurance if possible. I’d consult with the pros (aka your insurance broker) regarding policies as everything seems to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis due to the pandemic. Trust your gut.

That said, it’s also important to consider Cancellation For Any Reason travel insurance for your honeymoon in the event that you may have to postpone or cancel. 

Honestly, the best thing to do is to ask all your questions, maintain open communication with the experts, and know that even with all the uncertainties many are very understanding and patient right now.

Thank Your Vendors 

As with many small businesses like restaurants and retail, wedding vendors are getting crushed right now. If they’re being flexible and open, please be patient with them too and send them a personal thank you note for everything… 

Xo, Stephanie

Photo by KT Merry

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