• Menik Senanayake

A Guide to Postponing your Wedding amid COVID-19

Weddings by Sonali is one of our favourite wedding planners in Colombo. We came across a recent instagram video made by Sonali herself that gives couples some insight into organizing their weddings amid the current pandemic. Sonali and her team have been guiding clients who have had to reconsider the dates of their 2020 weddings. We applaud her efforts to make this situation less overwhelming not just for her own clients, but everyone connected to the wedding industry. She has very graciously given us permission to publish excerpts from her video for this post . The points Sonali speaks of are relevant to anyone struggling with the daunting task of rethinking their wedding plans during this challenging time. Please keep in mind that you are not giving up on your dream wedding. You are just recalibrating it. According to Sonali there are three categories of couples whose wedding plans are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The first category are those whose weddings we meant to be between March and June of this year. Category two are couples who are planning on getting married from June to December of this year. Finally, those who belong to category three are the couples who have just got engaged and were perhaps looking to set a date for the official ceremony in the near future. Sonali points out that those from category one who don't have any pressing reasons to be stringent about their wedding dates are better off postponing until next year. She is specifically referring to those who have confirmed pricing and vendors, and feel that they might need to follow through with the original date this year in the interest of keeping additional costs to a minimum . One of the things that those who plan on postponing to 2021 need to be aware of, are cost increases that wedding vendors may potentially put in place in the new financial year. Sonali says that the couples who have chosen November and December of this year as well as early January of next year, will most likely have enough time to see how the current situation with Covid-19 rides out. However, it is important to consider the most important factors pertaining to the wedding. The first and perhaps the most important is being certain that the wedding venue is still going to be available. She urges these couples to reach out to vendors and tell them the time frame the ceremony is to take place to make sure that they are able to secure the preferred dates. A certain degree of flexibility is necessary. Sonali points out that you may realistically not be able to get the exact Saturday or Friday that you want as these are the most popular times and days for weddings in Sri Lanka that take place toward the end of the year. If you are drawn to a particular atmosphere for your ceremony such as a sunset, keep in mind that it varies, depending on the time of year. For example, sunsets in December take place earlier than in April. Once you have at least four options for wedding times and dates, the next thing you want to consider is if the dates and times coincides with the confirmed availability of your five main vendors; Sonali identifies these five crucial vendors as your makeup artist, band, florist , photographer and event/wedding planner. Find out if there are any gaps in availability, the specific cancellation policies and most importantly, if refunds are offered and also if deposits can be transferred to the new date. If new vendors are needed,find out what their charges are and how they charge as well as their availability on that particular day. Keep in mind that realistically you may not get your first choice as December is the premium wedding time in Sri Lanka and incredibly busy.

One of the most important things that you need to do is ensure that the venue is confirmed. Have a chat with the management about what the operational guidelines are as well as how they will be implemented in light of the pandemic. It is impossible to realistically provide any information about what the government has in mind for large gatherings at the moment or how it will be as the year proceeds, so it may be necessary to have a discussion with the management of the venue. This helps plan in advance for every possible measure that you and your guests need to take. This may include a minimum distance that guests have to maintain and also what information you need to communicate to your guests. You may have to streamline your guest list to reflect the venue guidelines. The venue is likely to be the first to receive information regarding government guidelines on large gatherings. Sonali does understand that the situation might be disappointing to those who have already designed, printed and sent out their invitations especially if they put a lot of thought and effort into them. She suggests creating a wedding website or sending out a save the date image on WhatsApp and email. She says that It might be necessary to telephone the older generation who you have been invited to your wedding and explain the change of date as they may not have access to email etc. She says that couples who have already designed and printed their invitations but have yet to mail them should not be disheartened as they can add an insert informing guests of change of date. As per Sonali, one of the silver linings is that you now have more time to truly personalize your wedding . You could get more creative as you now have more time to change the flowers according to the new time of year and availability of specific flowers. If the same florists are available, you could take advantage of the opportunity to do something different. Sonali and her team have had calls from clients who said that some of their friends and family from overseas have informed them of restrictions currently in place which may be an impediment to travel. If this is applicable to you, it might be better to postpone until at least January of 2021. Confirm that your loved ones can actually travel from overseas to be at your special day. Your wedding gift registry may also be a point of contention depending on how far you have pushed back your wedding, as Sonali warns that some vendors may not be happy to hold the same items on the registry for longer. Have a conversation with the registry vendors about whether they are able to hold items already ordered as well as possibly still have them in stock. There’s the question of what happens to the gifts that have already been purchased. Will it be necessary to bring them to you, or are they to be held until the new wedding date? Do inform the wedding registry vendors of any changes. She points out that vendors might want you to select new items as some items cannot be held for more than six months. Some vendors might want you to revise your list closer to the date. Sonali and her team have graciously put out this Instagram video to reassure you that not all is lost during a wedding postponement as you now have more time to add a little extra magic to your wedding. We found her video very helpful and think all of you will as well.

Photocredits : Amarante Lifestyle Studio

Menik Senanayake is a writer and blogger living in Toronto, Canada. She’s a polyglot who ironically prefers the company of animals over people.You can read her travel stories at lavenderlune.org and follow her on Instagram here.

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