Summer is usually a time packed with weddings. But couples who have sent a save-the-date for 2020 are left with some difficult decisions.
The decision to say “yes” to the proposal wasn’t taken lightly, so neither should your decision to postpone, cancel, or adjust your wedding — especially if it could impact your finances.
Even as restrictions begin to lift, many couples are left wondering what their special day will look like. Weddings are social celebrations and there are still lots of question marks about the safety implications of holding larger gatherings like weddings.
Weddings can be expensive — both to host and to attend — so there’s a lot to consider. The months leading up to a wedding are filled with anticipation and excitement, which can make it even harder to change the vision that’s been in your head. But the reality is, we’re living through a pandemic and safety is paramount, so sometimes tough decisions must be made.
Atlantic Credit Unions spoke with Katelyn Bellefontaine, a senior event planner and the owner of Elegant Productions. She says no two weddings are exactly alike, so it’s important to start by talking about your top priority for your upcoming celebration.
DETERMINE YOUR TOP PRIORITY
Each couple’s wedding is unique, so it’s no surprise their wedding budgets are unique, too.
“I see so many couples who are so eager and excited to start their married lives together, so the decision to postpone can be really hard to make,” says Katelyn.
But on the other hand, just because you may have more time to save for your Big Day, it doesn’t mean you should go above and beyond your original budget. Katelyn’s advice is to start by having an honest conversation about what’s most important to you and your partner when it comes to your wedding.
If the most important factor is being surrounded by your family and friends, then postponing your wedding might be the way to go. And keep in mind: Even with borders beginning to open and restrictions on gatherings changing frequently, it still might not be possible to have everything the way you may have imagined it when you began planning.
If you and your partner make the difficult decision to postpone your wedding until a later date, Katelyn says there are some positive benefits to waiting: You’ll have additional time to plan and really think about what’s important to you both for your big day.
Here’s what one soon-to-be-married Atlantic Canadian had to say about altering their 2020 wedding plans:
“One of our immediate thoughts after postponing was ‘WHOA, we can add some things that we didn’t think we’d be able to initially!’ But then I was like, ‘No’. I think it’s smart to stick to the initial budget. Weddings are wildly expensive and although it’s a special day, I feel good about sticking to the initial limitations we set from the beginning.” – BC
READ THE FINE PRINT
Marriage is a legally binding agreement and chances are that you’ve signed a lot of other contracts leading up to the big day. Most caterers, venues, florists, accompanists, and other suppliers require you to make deposits and sign contracts to lock in your dates and details.
If you decide to postpone or cancel your 2020 wedding, Katelyn says it’s critical to revisit the fine print and explore your options — or you could stand to lose a lot of cash.
“Ideally, you should know what the fine print says on any contract you sign,” says Katelyn. “But now is really the time to be leaning on contracts, digging into the fine print.”
In her experience, most vendors have been accommodating because they understand the COVID-19 pandemic is something no one could have predicted — especially since many of this year’s weddings have been in the planning process for two, or even three, years.
“Communication is key. I’ve seen the most success with couples who have opted to postpone versus just cancelling,” says Katelyn. “Most vendors are willing to find the solution that is the most ethical and moral.”
Here’s what two soon-to-be-married Atlantic Canadians had to say about postponing their 2020 wedding:
“We thought if we waited too long to postpone, our preferred date would probably get taken and then we’d have to choose another date, which could mean losing our deposits for the venue and photographers. We jumped on postponing once we had confirmation from pretty much all vendors that they could do the same date, just a year later.” – EM
“We were really lucky. We made the call early on and were able to just shuffle everything over to summer 2021. We didn’t lose any deposits and there have been no financial repercussions. Even if it’s ‘OK’ to have a smaller group come together this summer, we didn’t want anyone feeling uncomfortable and obligated when the main goal is to have a really fun party with all of the people we love.” – BC
THE BENEFITS OF POSTPONING
“I read somewhere recently that after the Spanish Flu came the Roaring Twenties — the Gatsby era of over-the-top celebrations,” says Katelyn.
While delaying your wedding until after the pandemic means you’ll have extra time to save up, you’ll want to ensure your wedding budget remains intact before you break out the jovial music and golden chandeliers.
After your wedding, you probably have more big milestones you and your new spouse want to hit — maybe travelling on your honeymoon or saving for your first house — and sticking to your wedding budget will ensure you can still make these exciting moments happen. A financial expert, like a trusted advisor from your local credit union, can help with that aspect.
Here’s what one soon-to-be-married Atlantic Canadian had to say about delaying their wedding and how it might affect their budget:
“Due to the pandemic, my partner is only working part-time, so our income has changed. For us, it made sense socially and financially to postpone our wedding to next year. This gives us time to save money and make sure our friends and family can comfortably attend.” – JR
Even though a global pandemic certainly wasn’t on your wedding vision board or described in any of the bridal magazines, the reality is that love and marriage is going to look different during COVID-19. But it’s not all bad.
“I’ve already seen some really creative ways to celebrate start to pop up. While it’s not an ideal situation, I have been really impressed with how well everyone I’ve encountered has been dealing with everything — both our couples and the Atlantic Canadian wedding industry,” says Katelyn. “Weddings are emotionally charged at the best of times, but having that light at the end of the tunnel to look forward to is really worth it.”
Were you planning on getting married in 2020 and now you’re left with financial questions? HonestMoney.ca offers honest financial advice for Atlantic Canadians, all brought to you by Atlantic Credit Unions — a network serving nearly 304,000 members across Atlantic Canada. Set up a meeting with your local credit union today by visiting HonestMoney.ca.