How to postpone a wedding: Step-by-step guide, plus copy ‘n’ paste wording

Posted by

It's not a question anyone wants to ask: should you postpone your wedding? There are a ton of reasons why you might need to, ranging from financial challenges to health issues to relationship challenges, but all that really matters is that you've decided to postpone your wedding… now HOW do you postpone a wedding?

The good news is that if we learned anything from the pandemic, it's how to postpone, delay, reschedule, and even cancel weddings.

So, here's our step-by-step guide about how to announce that you're postponing your wedding and associated events — we've even got copy & paste wording suggestions, and templates you can use for emails or wedding websites.

1. Talk with your family immediately

These are your closest folks, and even if they haven't been part of the planning process, chances are they're as excited about the wedding as you are… and they're going to be as disappointed as you. If you get any push-back, here's some wording you can use to hold your boundary:

I know you're disappointed, and we are too. Our top priority is making sure we're in a good place to get married, and now just isn't that time. This is the decision we think is best for us. We hope you can support our choice.

2. Communicate with your guests as soon as possible

We recommend covering all your bases and reaching out by email and following up via phone if you don't hear back from someone.

There are lots of cute wedding postponement templates available, but here's some sample text you can use in your emails or on your wedding website, if you're postponing or canceling your wedding:

Dear family and friends:

Due to unforseen circumstances, we've made the painful decision to postpone our wedding. It was a difficult choice, and we're dealing with a lot of disappointment. We'll be in touch once we have more of an idea about the revised date.

Now isn't the time to get into the discussion about why you're postponing your wedding. Keep the messaging short and simple.

If you don't hear back from folks via email, you may want to follow up via phone just to make sure people got the message. This may be too large or painful a task for you to handle all by yourself, so see if your friends or family may help you make the calls.

delayed postponed canceled wedding notice alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Rescheduled wedding cards available here

3. Talk to your vendors about how to postpone a wedding

Once guests are taken care of, start contacting your vendors. Phone is your best bet, but you should also email.

  • First, ask each vendor about their rescheduling policies. Canceling your wedding completely can be very expensive, so explore rescheduling options with vendors if you can.
  • If your vendors aren't able to accommodate rescheduling (remember: most vendors are tiny family businesses, and everyone's struggling with major financial set-backs from this pandemic — your cancellation could be their biz's bankruptcy), you'll need to look at your contracts carefully to see each vendor's policies about cancellations. Some vendors will give you a return of a portion of your deposit if you pull out by a certain date.

This much is true: The closer you are to your wedding day, the less likely it is that you'll get money back. If you do have to cancel completely, accept that most of the money you've already paid will not be coming back. Unfortunately, the longer your vendor holds the date for you, the less likely they are to re-book that date once you cancel. Again, your wedding vendors are small businesses that are being hit hard by this pandemic — everyone's human, and we're all struggling.

In addition to phone calls, it's smart to also communicate in writing to ensure that vendors will not try to bill you for any more than you've already paid them. Here's a sample wedding cancellation email you can send to vendors, with sections you can edit about deposits and cancellation windows.

Dear [Vendor name],

This message is to notify you that I am postponing my wedding on MM/DD/YYYY, due to concerns about coronavirus. I understand that my $XXX deposit for your services is nonrefundable. As required by our contract, this notification is more than [X weeks] prior to the event. My understanding is that no additional payments are required.

Thank you for your help,

[Your Name]

Who to Notify:

  • Officiant
  • Ceremony venue
  • Reception venue
  • Planner or day-of coordinator
  • Photographer
  • Musicians
  • DJ
  • Caterers
  • Florist
  • Any other vendors you may have contracted

Cancel all travel plans

Don't forget to cancel all honeymoon flights, hotel accommodations, etc. If you bought trip insurance, check to see if your reason for delaying (health, death in the family, etc) is covered.

The wedding outfit question

If you've already purchased your wedding dress or other outfit, you can decide to either keep it, alter it, sell it, or give it away to a wedding dress charity. Some bridal shops may be willing to sell your wedding gown for you as an in-store sample.

Return the gifts

We recommend you return the gifts you can. Leave this decision for the last step since it's really the least important.

Moving on after you've had to postpone a wedding

Recognize your grief and allow yourself leeway. While taking the time to grieve the disappointment, lean on your support network. Call your friends and family — and your therapist, if you have one.

Practice self-care: Stay hydrated, stay active if you can, sleep as much as you need. Delaying a wedding is super depressing and you're allowed to have all the feels.

Meet our fave wedding vendors