Along with the unprecedented wave of postponements and cancellations, we have recently witnessed several unconventional marriage alternatives. The idea of getting married now and partying later is almost at the top of the list (along with virtual weddings) – meaning the wedding plan from you and your partner is an intimate getaway every now and then and then throw a party with them. Your family and friends at a later date.
Because there is no certain end in sight when it comes to the pandemic. It has actually become popular among couples who don’t want to wait to marry but still care about the experience of their marriage.
While the decision is strictly between you and your partner, here’s everything you need to know about planning for a delayed reception.
The Benefits of Eloping Now and Celebrating Later
With so many changes when it comes to your wedding plans, you might be wondering if this is a good option for you and your future spouse.
According to Gretchen Culver, owner of Minne Weddings, “There are many advantages – emotionally and logistically – to getting married now and having a party later. Many couples have been engaged for a while and don’t want to put their life plans on hold just to throw a big party. A small marriage now means that life can go as planned: joint tax filing, combined health insurance, buying a house, etc. Once the legal part is complete, the planning for the reception becomes emotionally less stressful.
Plus, if you are economizing for a bigger wedding, this can be great news for your current vendors.
Wendy Kidd of Every and Every Detail notes, “Sites and providers welcome rescheduling and are grateful that their couples do not choose to cancel their services and request a refund. Couples are supporting these small businesses through this difficult time by choosing to keep them on their team and simply moving the date. They also preserve their investment by being able to use the services and products they paid for, instead of losing the deposits and payments they have already made.”
You are the first to know that postponing such a special day can be devastating after such long planning. Bridal Bliss’s Nora Sheils empathizes: “You’ve been looking forward to this day for months, so postponing, even more, would be so disappointing. When COVID is over and over, your guests will be so ready to celebrate not just the two of you, but life in general! Logistically, a big party is much easier to plan than a ceremony followed by a reception. Plus… that amazing dress? You can wear it twice!
When it comes to the relief of separating the two parts of your marriage, Kristin Wilson of Our DJ Rocks says the lack of stress and finances is well worth it. “You won’t have to worry about making sure you fill and sign your marriage license anymore because you have already done it. You won’t have to worry so much about the little details on top of the huge commitment from you. Get married, so you can enjoy your party and feel more comfortable. And if you haven’t paid your final balances yet, your vendors may be willing to push back the due dates further, giving you more time to pay them back and you’ll have less debt when you start your new life together.”
What to Be Aware of When Postponing Your Reception
Now, let’s talk about the logistics of moving forward with a leak now, followed by postponing your meeting with your loved ones. Fortunately, many couples already have providers in place from their original wedding date, so the process of moving your gathering to another date can be pretty seamless when done correctly. That said, there are a few more things to keep in mind when doing this.
For starters, JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli advises taking the workforce into account. “When planning a celebration for a later date, you should be aware of any social distancing [measures] that may apply. [For example] there will be a soft opening, to begin with, so they will probably start by [allowing] gatherings of 50 people. If you wait a little longer into the next year that can decrease to 100 people.”
Selecting a new date for your party may actually be the toughest part. Jamie Chang, the owner of Mango Muse Events, says, “There are a lot of postponements, so planning a celebration for a later date can be difficult to find a date, but you have a few options. If you’re ready to pick a date now, book a date later or as far back as you’re comfortable booking. Because the longer you are willing to wait, the more likely it is that things will be safe and the more likely you are to find a weekend date. If you are not willing to book further or are not keen on a certain time, be open on a weekday or other period, as this will give you a better chance of finding an opening.”
Gwen Helbush, President of Where to Start Wedding Management, argues: “Any shift in wedding dates will lead to conflict and shortages; there are, after all, only 52 Saturdays a year. [Remember] to be open-minded to alternatives and to keep an open heart to others in the same situation. It will go a long way in bringing you a fabulous wedding now or anytime.”
If you can’t seem to separate your ceremony from your reception, a great alternative is to document the wedding – whether it’s with photos or a video of the ceremony. Jennifer Borgh of Borghinvilla Wedding Venue recommends, “Plan your event far enough away that your wedding ceremony video is ready. Showing your leak video at the reception is a great way to include your guests. Also, make it clear [your plans] that this is a runaway so no one is invited, that way they don’t feel left out. Let guests know that wedding plans are changing for their safety and well-being.”
How to Best Communicate Your Plans
As you make these changes and prepare for your (new) big day, you must stay in touch with the guests about the expectations and all the details they will need for the party itself.
As per your original backups or your invitations you may have sent, Laura Maddox of Magnolia Celebrates says that you can absolutely pay homage with the same style. “I greatly suggest you send a discount card in the same style and feel like your invitation. Or if you haven’t sent an invite already, but know you are downsizing your invitees, I suggest sending the original invite to the still invited invitees and sending a cancellation card to those who received a backup but are now off the list. Most of your stationery items should now have good wording for these items.”
Let’s ask one of the best wedding planner services providers in Maryland. We know communication can easily get out of hand if not properly organized, so Teejah Fitchette from Black Orchid Event SMD says, “I firmly believe in the power of the Facebook group for all wedding communications. I saw that it was so successful to center the communication with regular updates in one place. The first step is to individually invite each attendee and explain to everyone that this is where updates will be made on wedding information. This not only makes it easier for couples to access everyone at the same time, but it also allows guests to interact before the wedding. If not everyone can attend, you can still stream the wedding live in this private group.”
Better yet, consider using your existing wedding resources for announcements! “Add a date change announcement to your wedding website if you have one. Or send an e-mail! If your number of guests is smaller, or maybe a lot of free time, sending individual emails to share the date change will show you are going the extra mile. If you decide to run away, a new backup of the data can include a photo of the leak! “Notes Kristen Gosselin of KG Events & Design.
Positive verbiage will not only show that you have a brave and upbeat face, but you will also have plenty of material for the day. Beth Bernstein, owner of SQN Events & Essential I Do’s, suggests something fun. “We married! But don’t worry – we’ll keep the bar open and dance for when we can all be together!” Throw caution to the wind and throw the party of your dreams. Forget all the’ shoulds’ and grab it. Just the moment.”
We understand how great a roller coaster this time around has been for those who intended to celebrate their dream day. But it can still become a reality by marrying now and celebrating with loved ones when it is safe to do so.