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With more than 75,000 weddings postponed this year the likelihood is someone will know someone who has had to postpone their wedding day; and before you put your big foot in it, best continue reading!
Relationship therapist Zoe Williams at the health and wellness brand GearHungry reveals the 8 things what not to say to someone when they have postponed their wedding and why. Zoe says...
1. "Two celebrations? Which one is the real wedding?"
The unpredictable nature of Covid-19 sees that any measure taken by a couple in order to safeguard their original wedding plan is still not failsafe. 'In the current climate, postponing your wedding does not fully resolve the problems that covid-19 has caused. Whether the wedding hosts are continually forced to reduce their guest list, implement social distancing measures or purchase products such as face coverings in order to ensure that the ceremony abides by new laws, many couples still fear the sudden implementation of further restrictions or even cancelling the event. Such fears have sparked the concept of a 'sequel wedding' with Google trend data revealing a 210.02% rise in the search term. A sequel wedding consists of a couple hosting a small ceremony that aligns with government guidelines, seeing that they have a limited guest list. A later ceremony is then held followed by a traditional reception. For many, the initial ceremony is an 'admin day', and their wedding is the sequel event. Postponing a wedding is not as easy as simply altering a date, especially if deposits and in some cases, final payments have already been made. Some couples are facing additional costs, vendors that can not commit to their new date and in worst cases, vendors that will not survive the events of 2020. For some, hosting two celebrations is the most financially viable option. All couples will view their celebrations as their 'real' wedding as they will hold equal significance. Reframe from asking questions that insinuate one ceremony must be more important than the other, as the presence of their loved ones will be the most important.
Initially, couples that postponed their nuptials to the first half of 2021 were confident that they would go ahead with limited limitations however, with a national lockdown extending to December, many are concerned. Additionally, 2021 is met with an influx of weddings as the year will host postponements, sequel weddings and the originals, hence many venues and vendors are fully booked for 2021. As a result, many couples are forced to postpone their nuptials until 2022. When couples are postponing, their first thought is always how it will impact their guests and whether they can still attend. A lot of the time, they do not want to postpone over the 12-month threshold however, their hands are tied, and they are forced to. Asking why a couple has postponed their nuptials so far in advance is a sure-fire way to rub salt in the wound. It's not a decision that anyone will have taken lightly and a lot of the time, is something that they have been forced into due to venue availability and vendors prior commitments. If you are available to attend the couples new date, state that you will be there straight away, it is the best response you can give to a couple'.
3. "At least you can plan more!"
I really sympathise with a couple when their loved ones try to reassure them that their day will be even better as they can now plan more. It is always said with the best intentions however, people neglect to consider the planning that goes into a wedding and the endless hours the couple has already spent preparing... for a date that is no longer theirs. Most of the time, a couple does not need more time to plan, so such words can serve to be meaningless.
4. "That's a shame, I have booked a hotel and organised childcare."
It can be disappointing when an event you have been looking for is rescheduled, especially if you have put plans (and money) in place so that you can be there but you should keep the inconvenience to yourself. Declaring that the rescheduled event has inconvenienced you is not only inconsiderate but incredibly short sighted. The likelihood is that the wedding hosts have lost 100s, if not 1000s of pounds. Money is perhaps the most stressful aspect of a wedding day and most couples are all to aware of the financial impact their decisions have on their guests. Suspending plans may affect you, but in the grand scheme of things, it is minor.
5. "Oh, is it a weekday wedding now?"
I get it, you hear that your friend is getting married and you are instantly thrilled however, as plans progress, it can feel like your annual leaves sole purpose is so you can attend wedding related celebrations. A lot of the devastation that surrounds delaying a wedding is that a lot of choice is removed from the couple's hands. With a lot of venue calendars fully booked, couples are securing the only date that is offered to them. Try to be sympathetic to the situation and if you are not able to attend, let the couple know ASAP.
6. "Will you postpone again?"
Uncertainty has encompassed 2020, with many plans cancelled altogether. Asking a couple if their wedding plans will be postponed again is like asking them to predict the future. Postponing a wedding fills a couple with dread, the idea of postponing multiple times is their worst-case scenario. When a couple gives you a date, treat it as a definite. It is unlikely that couples will have back up dates and the idea of such will add additional stress.
7. "At least you can save money, weddings are too expensive anyway."
This is arguably the worst statement to make in reaction to hearing of a postponement. Many couples have incurred further costs that they have not accounted for in their initial budgeting and in some cases, even lost deposits. Even the most financially cautious of couples are finding that their insurance does not cover government enforced restrictions or global crisis.
Due to the time sensitive nature of postponing a wedding, many couples issue 'change the date' stationery quickly after they have postponed. This can be costly and of course, takes copious amounts of time. As a nation, we tend to be time poor and neglect our 'life admin', however, carving out time to respond to a change the date notice is not only polite, but perhaps the best reaction you can have to the news. Many couples biggest fear as that guests will no longer attend their nuptials and not feel excited about the date. Not responding to their notification is likely to fuel their anxiety.
Ultimately, the greatest reaction you can have to a postponed date is one of positivity and excitement.