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In the wake of a serious pandemic, natural disaster, family death or illness, you may be compelled to reschedule your wedding. Although this news can be disheartening and stressful, this step-by-step guide to postponing a wedding from our experts will help guide you through the process.

1. Decide whether to reschedule or postpone your wedding.

Before you notify your guests and vendors, it’s important that you decide whether you’re rescheduling your wedding to a specific date, or postponing without concrete plans. If you have a new date set, that will dictate which steps you need to take from here.

2. Check the cancellation policy in your contracts.

Each of your vendors may have a different cancellation policy, so it’s important to look at each one in detail.

If you’ve made a deposit to your vendor, there’s a good chance it may be non-refundable, but check with your vendor to see what your options are for rescheduling. In the event that the circumstances are out of your control, consequences of rescheduling or postponing may be more lenient. If you have special event insurance, your policy may cover some vendor change or cancellation fees.

If you need to reschedule a honeymoon as well, review your travel insurance with the help of your travel agent.

3. Contact your vendors.

It’s important that you notify all of your vendors that you need to reschedule or postpone your event immediately. Be sure to reach out to your caterer, venue(s), photographer, musicians, DJ, florist, dress tailor and event planner with a phone call and follow up with an email or letter.

4. Inform your close friends and family first.

When a situation arises in which you must reschedule your wedding, it’s important that you handle it with proper etiquette. Out of respect for your closest friends and family, it’s best to inform them first of the situation before revealing the news to the rest of your guests. Your supportive friends and family may be able to help you handle the logistics and communicate the announcement to your other guests.

5. Notify your guests

It’s crucial that you notify your guests as soon as you’ve made a decision, prioritizing those who plan to travel. If invitations have not yet been sent, but guests have received a save the date, it’s best to send a formal postcard detailing the situation, with a new date if possible. If you’re quickly approaching your original wedding date, a follow-up phone call, text or email is a good idea to ensure that all of your guests are aware of the news.

6. Make any necessary cancellations and returns.

Once you have notified your vendors and guests, it’s time to make any other necessary cancellations and returns. You may have loose-end wedding supplies to return or honeymoon arrangements to update. Make sure you have considered all of your wedding- and honeymoon-related expenses.

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