How to Handle Save The Dates and Invitations for 2021 Weddings That May Be Affected by COVID.
While so many couples had to deal with the uncertainty of how COVID would effect their weddings in 2020 the disappointing news for couples planning a wedding (or postponed to) 2021 is that COVID is still affecting the way that we plan weddings and the typical timeline of how we would plan.
Many couples have now postponed numerous times or even early spring 2021 are now considering postponing. Dates for 2021 and availability of wedding professionals are already really slim, and it seems like we are still all riding the COVIDcoaster.
Should I go ahead and mail Save the Dates to everyone we would like to invite?
If your wedding is in the second half of 2021, my honest answer is yes. With news of vaccines and some positive news headlines I would plan on sending save the dates to your “goal” guest list.
I have been getting this question from every couple lately because it is really hard to gauge the future of weddings with COVID still lurking and ever changing. I have a few different answers for couples wondering what to do.
If your wedding is taking place in Summer 2021 and beyond, yes I think it’s a good idea to send out Save the Dates in the typical timeframe of 6-12 months before your wedding day.
Everyone needs something to look forward to right now and additionally if things are not better by then everyone is completely understanding of the limitations and challenges that are facing weddings due to COVID. However, below are three options that most of my couples have fell in one of these three options, it depends on your personal outlook and comfort level.
OPTION 1: DON’T SEND A SAVE THE DATE. SEND OUT YOUR INVITATIONS TO ALL OF YOUR GUESTS 8-10 WEEKS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING.
Save the Dates are NOT required to have a wedding. In fact, they weren’t even common to send until the early 2000s. You may save yourself some additional work and money by not sending Save the Dates. If you want to get word out to your VIPs, you can still do so and they can plan accordingly.
OPTION 2: SEND A SAVE THE DATE TO YOUR ABSOLUTE-MUST-INVITE GUESTS. SEND AN INVITATION TO ALL INVITED GUESTS 8-10 WEEKS BEFORE YOUR WEDDING.
Depending on when and where your wedding is taking place, there’s a chance that you may be restricted on the number of people* you will be able to have at your event.
Because of this, I recommend looking at your guest list and considering whether each guest will make the “final cut”. If they don’t, will they understand they’re no longer invited if they already received a Save The Date?
This will vary based on your guests and there is not a one-size-fits-all answer.
*Keep in mind that limits on the number of people who can be at your event WILL INCLUDE your vendors and all staffing (servers, bartenders, photographers, band members, videographers, etc.).
OPTION 3: SEND A SAVE THE DATE TO ALL OF YOUR GUESTS.
If you want to send a Save The Date to all of your guests, by all means, go for it. I personally` think the late 2021 calendar will be so packed for guests that you should send save the dates so it will help you plan your date with the most important people in your lives.
When should I mail invitations for a 2021 wedding?
We are recommending that all 2021 clients consider mailing invitations as late as possible (6-8 weeks before the wedding is our current recommendation), just to allow as much time as possible for their guests to feel comfortable with travel and larger gatherings. Many couples are also opting for an online RSVP option to speed up the response times — either including an RSVP card that asks guests to RSVP online, or giving guests the option of mailing a response card OR replying online.
If you haven’t printed your invitations yet, you may also consider including an email address on the RSVP card so that guests can contact you with any questions or a change to their RSVPs.
We are considering a postponement, should we send invitations regardless?
Wait as long as possible to send them out, you can go ahead and prep the invitations to go out but do not seal the envelopes. This is helpful if you decide to make changes you can reprint just the parts that need a change but still use the envelopes. Cost savings can’t hurt!
If you need to reprint the invitations, some of the pieces might be able to be salvaged if they don’t have dates on them.
If you have to reprint and are worried about budget, you can pare things down by doing an online RSVP or cutting a the details card and just directing guests to your website.
What is the best way to communicate we may postpone to guests?
You’ll need to send a postponement announcement, either formally in the mail but since there is still so much unknown and everyone understands I highly suggest notifications be done electronically by email and the website.
What if we want to move forward with our weddings, but gathering sizes are restricted to a lower count than we originally invited? How do we “disinvite” guests in a tactful way?
These days, all typical wedding etiquette is pretty much out the window; people will understand if they need to be disinvited because of the law. You can send a “dis-invitation” that explains the situation in a tactful and heartfelt way — something to the effect of, “We love and value you and we are heartbroken that we can’t celebrate with you, but we hope to see you soon!” will go a long way in making sure they don’t feel hurt that they are being left out of your VIP guest list.
Should these be mailed or emailed? If you have enough time to mail it, a mailed card (either hand-written on personalized stationery or in card) is appropriate and shows your guests that they matter to you. If you decide to send an e-notice to these guests informing them of your revised plans (which may be necessary due to timing), post wedding be sure to send a mailed wedding announcement with a personalized note telling them you missed their presence.
What if we decide to cancel, but we sent save the dates or the invite already?
`If you have made the difficult decision to cancel your wedding reception, but you’ve already sent out invitations or save the dates, you’ll want to send a cancellation notice of some kind. If your guests won’t receive a mailed cancellation notice prior to two weeks before the wedding, call or email everyone to let them know. If you move forward with an elopement or a courthouse wedding, consider sending a printed marriage announcement as a gesture to your guests.
Logistically, canceling is not ideal as you will lose your retainer or deposit with most vendors.
If you need to postpone your event, there are some great options for “Change The Dates”.
If you’ve made the incredibly difficult decision to officially postpone your wedding and you’ve selected a new wedding date, stationery companies have been creating some beautiful and amazing options for you to send to your guests.
You can send something printed or digitally. You can go simple or formal. You can be serious or funny. It’s all completely up to you.
These Templates are from Every Last Detail Blog and did an excellent job creating templates for couples in various situations:
HOW TO TELL PEOPLE YOUR WEDDING IS GOING ON AS PLANNED
In these uncertain times, we hope you are hugging your loved ones a little tighter at home and keeping yourselves healthy. We wanted to update you with some information about our upcoming wedding on DATE.
As of right now, the wedding is going on as planned. We are working with our vendors to make sure the day is safe and beautiful.
Here are some safety precautions we are putting into place
(Bullet point these items and make them short and to the point. People will likely skim them)
Suggested items to cover
- The number of guests you are expecting
- The precautions the ceremony site is taking
- Hand wipes or sanitizers you will have on hand
- Precautions the reception site is taking (such as foodservice)
- If you are still allowing children to attend
We also want you to know that if for any reason you cannot attend our wedding we understand. You were invited to our wedding because you are important to us, and our top priority is making sure people feel safe at our celebration.
For the sake of our vendors, please let us know as soon as possible if you feel that you will not be able to attend. And if you are unwell in the days before the wedding, we ask that you stay home to keep the rest of our guests safe.
If you cannot attend, please hold us in your hearts on DATE as we take our vows to each other. This is not how we envisioned entering married life, but we are doing so with an even greater appreciation of life and love.
If there are any other changes, we will contact you as soon as possible.
HOW TO TELL PEOPLE YOUR WEDDING WILL BE POSTPONED
We wanted to reach out to you to let you know we’ve made a difficult decision to postpone our wedding (to date/season)
This was a heartbreaking decision, but not nearly as heartbreaking as the idea of putting our loved ones at risk. When it comes right down to it, a marriage is a commitment of two people, and a wedding is a party that can be rescheduled, so that is the route we have decided to take.
At this time, things are changing rapidly, and we are working with our vendors. There are some unknowns at this point. We will be reaching out as soon as we know more.
In the meantime, hug your loved ones at home a little longer. Be safe and be well.
HOW TO UN-INVITE PEOPLE TO YOUR WEDDING
Over the past few months, the world has turned upside down. We’ve all had to make some really hard decisions, and that includes us.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, we have to reduce our guest list dramatically to adhere to mandated numbers of people gathering so our wedding can go on.
We are so sorry to have to do this, but at this point, we have to cancel the invitation to our __________ wedding.
We hope that you understand that this is a drastic measure we never expected to have to make. We love every single person we invited to our wedding, and this is heartbreaking for us.
(if you are hoping to do a later event)
We are working on having a reception at a later date when the crisis has passed. At this point, things are so uncertain we don’t have a firm date, but we will be in touch when we know more.
Please hold us in your hearts on _________ as we take our vows to each other. This is not how we envisioned entering married life, but we are doing so with an even greater appreciation of life and love.
Be well, be safe, and hug your loved ones at home tight. We all need each other right now.
Here is a great link to some visual cards designed for various postponements and cancellations: OffBeat Bride: 10 coronavirus wedding postponement announcement wording ideas (funny, classy, and cute!)