Photography: Grey Spoon Photography
Before I explain the necessary steps when rescheduling your wedding, I first want to tell you a brief story. This is Megan and Joel Campnell. They hosted the most beautiful and elegant wedding at Creamery 201 in Fort Atkinson, WI with 200 guests on 3.14.2020. Pie Day! They were married at 4:00 PM with their families and friends. Their guests radiated joy every minute of the day.
What you don't know is that Megan and Joel faced several hardships before their big day.
Two major setbacks they faced together:
1. An original wedding venue that went bankrupt
2. 50 guests that canceled 24 hours before their wedding due to COVID-19
Megan and Joel planned their dream day at a wedding venue that shut the doors just 5 weeks before the big day with no notice. When Megan and Joel came to Creamery 201 running on a few hours of sleep they sat down with Katie and me and planned the entire wedding in a quick 3-hour session. Read that sentence again. Crazy! On top of that, they squeezed in their big day hours before there were major cancellations due to COVID-19.
Talk about stress...
How did they do it? How did they stay calm? Where did they begin?
1. Determine the Non-Negotiables
Megan and Joel first determined their non-negotiables for their wedding day. What does "determine the non-negotiable" practically mean? We thought you would want to hear from the bride herself...
Megan stated, "We got through the loss of our original venue by taking lots of deep breaths and problem-solving about what were our non-negotiables in planning a 'second wedding'."
She continued, "For us, it was:
Bringing in our own caterer
Having enough chairs for the ceremony/reception
Working with us on cost (due to not being refunded by our first venue)
Being within 60 minutes of our original venue
Being within 10 minutes of a hotel that had availability for our 100+ out of town guests
Knowing our "if/then" chain of command helped reduce the panic significantly."
For them, the top priority was finding a venue that allowed them to bring in their own cater. Here are a few questions to get started: Is your date the most important? Is the venue the most important? Is the venue location the most important? Once you and your future spouse determine the non-negotiables together it will be easy to continue moving forward with planning.
2. Establish Effective Communication
For most couples, this is the hardest next step.
What if my guests don't receive the updates?
How are we going to spread the message?
Where do I even start?
We understand. Here is how Megan and Joel were able to pull it off:
Megan said, "We notified guests of changes via email and on our wedding website (via The Knot). In every email, we also asked our friends and family to communicate with each other to make sure information was passed through word of mouth/confirmation checks."
Megan and Joel were thoughtful and detailed when sending out updated emails. They explain, "We initially sent out one mass email to guests saying things had changed and to stay tuned. Our second email occurred once we had solidified all changes, and broke the changes down into VERY CLEAR sections (ceremony place/time, hotel name/blocking info, transportation, etc.)."
They say it best with, "Never forget the power of well-informed people!" We couldn't provide better steps for effective communication with guests.
3. Focus on What is Truly Important
Please do not lose sight that what is most important on the wedding day...you and your fiance are GETTING MARRIED.
Megan said, "Know your priorities and be confident that your guests will understand that things need to shift at this time. They will support you no matter what." She continued, "Focusing on what is truly important to you (whether it is the date, space, number of guests, food, music, etc.) is the best advice we can give. We knew we were not going to compromise on the number of guests (before COVID-19 took over), the date, or the caterer--therefore, everything else involved in a wedding we could be flexible on."
We can assure you that your family and friends are going to happy and supportive for you no matter what happens at the end of the day.
Megan and Joel commented, "We reinforced to ourselves that everyone who was able to come should be celebrated instead of thinking about the people who could not. We truly did not think of the guests missing once we looked out at our crowd and saw so many happy faces!"
Additional Advice from Megan & Joel
Q: Was it easy to reschedule your vendors?
A: For us, it was easy since during our initial vendor search 15 months ago, Meagan had kept spreadsheets with contact information for each vendor, a summary of what we liked/did not like, things that were in progress with selected vendors, deadlines, and other specific/relevant details. The vendors that we had to cancel with were very flexible as we kept them updated as plans changed.
Q: What was something you did that significantly helped your situation?
A: Reaching out to the Creamery 15 months after our first contact absolutely saved our day. Never, ever forget about connections you have in your communities, even if it feels like a long shot! We were not afraid to ask for help/flexibility/ideas because all of our planning was thrown out of the window when we lost our first venue; having the mindset to ask for help from dozens of people took the pressure off of us and spread it out among many people.
Q: What would you have done differently in those first few weeks (if anything)?
A: There is really nothing we would have done differently. If this ever happened again, we would take the same course of action: have a brief freak out, and then reach out to immediate family and community resources to get help. Communities really do work well together in times of crisis, so stay calm and methodical; research and make gut decisions when you have gotten the information you need.
We can't thank Megan and Joel enough for allowing us to be part of their special day. They were thrown so many curveballs, yet remained incredibly grateful and calm. During the wedding, our Creamery 201 staff continually noted how polite and respectful the guests, caters, and vendors were. We can not say enough good things about this couple and their families! Thank you also to all the vendors that seamlessly worked together to make their wedding possible. Our biggest congratulations to you both!
Photography: Grey Spoon Photography
Cater: Albanese's Roadhouse
DJ: Midwest Sound
Joel's Ring: JBC Coffee Roaster (Quick story... Joel wedding ring was made with coffee beans from JBC Coffee Roaster where Megan and Joel had their first date!)
Wedding Dress: Vera's Bridal
Bridal Party Suits: Men's Wearhouse
Floral: Madison East Hy-vee