Let me start this feature by checking in to ask if you’re ok and to send love, strength and all the positive vibes your way right now.
To keep you upbeat and positive through these disruptive and emotional times, we’ll be sharing lots of uplifting wedding photography, going all out to support our incredible community of Little Book Wedding Directory members and sharing ways to keep your mental health and wellbeing intact.
But we are also acutely aware of our responsibility to our reader community and don’t want to sugar coat this situation in anyway. The main message we’re trying to drive home right now, that that applies to all brides due to marry between now and the end of June (for now, at least) is this; postpone as soon as you can.
Earlier this week (and it certainly was this week although so much has happened since then), we published one bride’s story of postponing her wedding due to the coronavirus/Covid-19 outbreak. Thank you to everyone who has got in touch to say how reassuring and helpful they found it to read Emily’s words and practical advice.
Today, we’re publishing another story, that of reader Emma Mendonca. Emma has, like so many of you, worked through this awful situation in the last week and, although it’s been tough, she’s come out the other side and is here to share her story and wise words of advice.
We’re thinking of you.
Emma, do you want to tell us a little bit about your situation
My fiancé’s name is Ross and we had been planning our wedding for about two years, as we had to wait for an annulment from my Catholic church. As my partner was previously married, the annulment took over a year of uncertain waiting.
In that time, we developed a little motto for our wedding of ‘worth the wait’. I bought Ross a watch for Christmas with ‘worth the wait’ engraved in the back and we set countdown timers on our phones to count us down to the big day as we felt like everything was taking so long. We just wanted to be married.
When did you first start to think that you might have to postpone?
When we heard that Italy had gone into lockdown, we started being a bit concerned about our honeymoon and travel plans. Our honeymoon was to Singapore for 5 days followed by a dream dive trip to the Maldives. I work in the aviation industry and was starting to hear rumours about the flights being affected.
Who did you talk to first? Friends, family etc? What was their feedback?
We mentioned it to our friends but tried to remain positive. I had already had one person refuse to come to my hen party in London because of fear of the risk of contracting the virus. It started to cause friction in relationships in my friendship circle as there were some strongly opposing views on whether it was really a big deal or not in the early days of the virus arriving in the UK.
Most of our friends and colleagues tried to reassure us that it would be fine, and we were overreacting by being worried. We tried to not become paranoid but had a gut feeling that this would move quickly.
What made the decision for you in the end? Was it that guests might not be able to attend etc. or something else?
We found out that the US had imposed a travel ban and our groom’s party were all due to travel from the US. Our best man is in the military and had received an order not to travel, so my fiancé was devastated that his friends wouldn’t be there, not to mention feeling guilty about money they had lost through travel and hotels that had all be prepaid.
The day that the Prime Minister announced that all over-70s would have to self-isolate and all non-essential gatherings should not take place really cemented it for us. We realised that even if the wedding did go ahead, a massive chunk of our guests wouldn’t come. Our groom’s party wouldn’t be there, the elderly people who we wanted there so badly wouldn’t be able to attend and we knew parents of young children wouldn’t want to be exposed to extra risk.
With minimum numbers of 70 at our venue at £189 per head, this was spiralling out of control and we had to start being proactive, even though we didn’t want to admit it to ourselves. Our plan to that point had been, to keep it on track and going ahead for as long as possible.
Practically, where did you start postponing your wedding?
Tuesday 17th March, exactly one month to the date on our wedding day on 17th April. We called our venue to find that they had all moved to working from home, which was sign enough.
We asked them to reschedule and asked for as many available dates as possible, but they advised us they were no longer holding weddings from September onwards. So they offered us three weekday dates in August. We literally drew up a table and listed our suppliers from most expensive to least expensive and went about working our way down the list to create a table of ticks and crosses of who was available for which dates.
What was the reaction from suppliers?
Some suppliers were really reassuring and promised to do as much as they could to make things work and it was reassuring to hear kindness at such an emotional time. Some suppliers said outright they wouldn’t offer any refunds and naturally, they were worried for their business, which is understandable.
What was the reaction from guests?
Our guests were disappointed, and some said they weren’t sure they could make the new date which was disappointing but they offered their kind words and support.
As someone who’s ‘been there’ – if anyone else is about to start the postponement process, what tips can you give?
Contact your venue ASAP, then work through your suppliers in order of most expensive/difficult to reschedule first.
Ask your venue for as many available dates as possible and literally draw up a table so you can clearly see which dates are best for minimising casualties. Do this immediately and do not stop until you have completed this table. It took us a few hours of phone calls, emails and chasing.
Not that you will probably need any help on this front, but cry if you need to, but don’t get annoyed. It is nobody’s fault. Emma, real bride
On a general note, be kinder than you think you need to to everyone, yourself and most importantly your fiancé. Look after each other and up your self-care regime, sleep in, take bubble baths, walk, pray and do whatever you need to. Turn off the news and disable news push notifications, watch films and distract yourself. I got through a bottle of rescue remedy in a week but if that’s what it takes….!
Have you set another date?
We have another date set for mid-August now, but unfortunately we can’t rebook our honeymoon as my work won’t let me reschedule my annual leave. It looks like our honeymoon might be next year sometime, if we get the cost of our flights and hotels back. We are hopeful, people’s kindness hasn’t let us down yet…
How do you feel now that you’ve postponed?
Better for having made a decision? We feel better for having a decision made, and that we acted quickly. We are still absolutely devastated that our dream wedding and honeymoon will not be as we planned. We will have to come to terms with having less people, missing relatives still, changing our seasonal flowers and meals and no jetting off the next day.
BUT if we left it any longer I fear we wouldn’t have managed to sync things up as well as we did.
On a personal positive note, I am so proud of how we dealt with all of this as a couple, and it’s really shown us how good we are together, we haven’t argued or taken it out on each other at all, and we have really tried to be extra kind to one another.
Again, our wedding day boils down to the motto we began with and that is that it will be ‘worth the wait’.
Thank you so much Emma for sharing your experience.
Suppliers – have you joined The Wedding Industry Action Group Facebook page yet?