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Handling wedding invitations in the age of COVID-19...


With all of the chaos happening in the world these past few weeks, nowhere is it more evident than right here at home within the wedding industry.


Couples across the nation (and the world) who have planned wedding celebrations in the months to come are encountering scenarios they never imagined, as they’re either being forced to cancel or postpone their weddings, or to live in limbo with the outcomes still up in the air.


Every situation is very unique and very personal, and we encourage you to work with your families, friends, wedding planners, venues and vendors to make the decision that’s right for you as you decide how to move forward with your planned celebration.


We wanted to share a few thoughts on invitations that may be helpful as you navigate this frustrating and disappointing situation that so many are stuck within at this moment.


For those couples who have ordered their invitations but have not yet given final approvals on proofs:

  • Our advice for the moment is to hold off until you have a firm decision on whether you’ll be changing or cancelling your celebration. We’ve found our vendors to be very flexible in allowing extra time to determine whether dates will be revised.

  • In the unfortunate event that your celebration is being cancelled entirely in favor of a private ceremony, there may be some fees involved for any design time, but we’ll certainly work with our vendors to see how any costs can be minimized.

  • If you DO decide that you need to move forward with printing, consider eliminating dates from any cards where it can possibly be done, in order to avoid having the to reprint them later (for example, the wording of Welcome Reception cards can be changed to simply say, “The Night Before,” etc.).

For those couples who have received their invitations but have not yet mailed them out: If your wedding is in the June/July/August time frame and you’re currently planning to move forward, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • It’s perfectly OK to wait and send them on the later side. While the norm is to send 8 to 10 weeks in advance, it’s fine to push the envelope and send them six weeks out (or even four or five) once you have a better idea of what’s happening, especially if you’ve already sent Save the Dates.

  • We also suggest you might want to consider enclosing an insert to let guests know that you’ll be updating your wedding web site with all of the current information and any changes that may impact plans moving forward. Please let us know if we can help with wording for such a card or for your web site.

For those couples are changing/postponing their wedding dates: The unfortunate reality is that there are situations in which there’s simply no way to avoid changing your wedding date. Please remember this: while obviously devastating, there are much worse things that could happen, including putting any guests at risk through travel or gathering. Ultimately, your wedding will still happen!

  • Chances are, if you’re in this mode, your invitations have probably already been sent. Our advice is to get word to your guests as soon as possible, likely through e-mail and social media, to make them aware of the change. Keep the tone light and as joyful as possible! And again, please let us know if we can help with this in any way. Everyone is understanding of the current circumstances, and they will appreciate hearing your reassurance that you’ll be sharing more information on new dates, locations and other pertinent information as quickly as it’s available.

  • Many couples changing wedding dates and locations will be looking to reprint their invitations with the new information. Please be assured that we and our vendors are all trying to be especially sensitive to this scenario and to the financial constraints that couples in this situation may be facing. We’re offering significant discounts on invitations needing to be reprinted, as are many of our stationery vendors, in an effort to minimize the financial impact for our couples.

For those couples planning late 2020 and 2021 weddings: Realize that many couples who had been planning weddings in the next few months are currently scrambling to rebook dates for later this year and next. Things are changing rapidly right now, and the pool of couples looking for venues and vendors for these dates just got a lot bigger. So if you’ve been casual in your planning, thinking you have plenty of time, our recommendation is to use some of your newly found down time to get your vendors booked, so as to avoid the chance that they may not be available for the dates you desire.


Wording. We have had clients asking for guidance in the best wording for announcing changes. Based on your given scenario, here are a few ideas for different situations that can be used on your web site and/or any printed materials you may decide to send.


1. You’re postponing your wedding, but haven’t settled on a new date yet.


(More casual): Because of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we’ve decided to postpone our wedding so that everyone can celebrate safely. We will keep you updated with any new details on the date and location as soon as they become available, and we look forward to sharing our joyful day with you as soon as possible!


OR


Due to unforeseen circumstances, we’ve decided to elope and to change the date of our wedding celebration. We look forward to sharing the details with you as soon as they become available!


(More formal): Due the ongoing pandemic, the wedding of Emily Smith to John Jones will not take place on May 16 as originally planned. A new wedding date will be announced as soon as possible.


2. You’re sending new Save the Dates.


(More casual): Save our New Date! Because of the ongoing world situation, we’ve decided to reschedule our wedding to June 19, 2021, so that everyone can celebrate safely. Please visit www.emilyandjohn.com for updated details as they become available!


(More formal): Due to ongoing safety considerations, the wedding of Emily Smith to John Jones will now take place on June 19, 2021, in Stowe, Vermont. Invitation and details to follow.


3. You’re sending your invitations, but the date has changed and want to enclose an insert


(More casual): Because of the ongoing considerations around the Coronavirus, we’ve decided to reschedule our wedding to June 19, 2021, so that everyone can celebrate safely. Please visit www.emilyandjohn.com for updated details as they become available!


(More formal): The marriage of Miss Emily Smith and Mr. John Jones has been postponed until Saturday, the nineteenth of June, Two thousand and twenty one, at half past four in the afternoon.


OR


Mr. and Mrs. Michael Smith announce that the wedding of their daughter, Miss Emily Smith to Mr. John Jones, which was postponed, will now take place on Saturday, the nineteenth of June, 2020, at the Lodge at Spruce Peak.

4. You’re currently sticking with your current plans and sending your invitations, but you want to enclose an insert to acknowledge that things could change.


Due to the current situation in our world, we understand that circumstances are evolving quickly and constantly. In the event that any details about our celebration should change, we will be making updates to our web site at www.emilyandjohn.com, and will plan to reach out to you as soon as possible with any new information.


In closing, we want to reiterate that we understand that every situation is unique and very personal to each couple. These are simply a few suggestions to offer “food for thought” as you make your decisions on how to best move forward for you and your family. If we can provide any personal guidance or assistance to help you through the process in your individual situation, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me directly at tracy@shelburnegift.com. We wish you the best for health, happiness and a beautiful celebration!