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How To Postpone An Event ~ A Step By Step Guide

The last couple of months have, for sure, been very challenging for a very big amount of the human population. Who would ever imagine that people all over the world would have to deal with a global pandemic; a phrase that we are sure you are already exhausted from reading and hearing. However, there comes a time that circumstances are not under our control and due to being rather unfortunate they can cause great disappointment and heartbreak.

Such disappointment is caused when you have to postpone an event that you have been planning for a very long time, whether that is your wedding, a birthday party or even a baby shower. Although you are being reasonable and you know that you are doing the right thing it is still a tricky situation to deal with given not only the emotional effect that it has on you but the practical difficulties that arise as well.

Remember that, yes, it is absolutely normal to feel dissapointed and out of control of things but, at the end of the day, the reality is that you are doing everything you can to keep your loved ones safe and remain socially responsible. You can always have a magnificent wedding day or an unforgettable 18th birthday party but you cannot ever get a life back.

Given all the above, take a deep breath, sit back and relax. There is a way to postponing your event and although it can be a very disorientating time it is definitely possible and manageable. What you will find here is a guide with advice which we hope that will offer a bit of help so that you can still get your big day exactly the way you imagined it.

1. Postpone do not cancel.

One of the many things we have been advising is that clients postpone their events instead of cancelling completely. It is very likely that you have already paid your deposits to your suppliers and in the occasion of a cancellation there is very limited to no chance of getting that money refunded. Many suppliers and venues will consider to transfer your deposit to your preferred new date without extra charges. If that is not the occasion and you are asked to make a fresh booking for your new date with a new deposit payment, consider having an open conversation with your suppliers and see if you can come to terms that are of benefit for both sides. Trying to find a reasonable solution first is way better than cancelling straight away and loosing the money you have already paid. If you still feel unsure about any additional charges occurring and not being in compliance with your contract and Ts&Cs look for legal advice.

2. Postpone fast.

If your event is within the next 9 weeks proceed to postponing now or as soon as possible. Delaying your postponement can lead to all sorts of difficulties; your new preferred date may be taken by another client postponing and being faster that you. You are also risking having to pay additional costs to suppliers that have already purchased materials related to your event such as cake makers and florists. The faster you are able to decide on postponing the smaller are the chances of a negative financial impact.

3. Check in regularly with your suppliers.

Once you have decided on your new date make sure you keep all your suppliers updated including your venue. There are chances that not all of them will be available for your new date. If that is the case try to cooperate with all of them and see if there is any flexibility (from all sides) to moving that new date by a couple of days for example. If that is not possible you will have to let some of them go and look for other alternatives; do not feel bad to ask them for a referral to a colleague of theirs in the industry that could possibly help. Again, try discussing and coming to terms before proceeding to a cancellation as you are likely to loose your deposits.

4. Think of the length of the postponement.

Think very carefully about how long you are going to postpone for. Given the guidelines from several governments and authorities around the world the pandemic crisis is slightly indefinite. The measures taken are anticipated to last for a period of time that we cannot be 100% sure of its length. If, for example, you have your heart set on a summer birthday party consider postponing until the end of August rather than the end of June. In the occasion of a wedding look at options for summer next year. It is for sure frustrating having to wait that much longer for your big day but at least this way you are saving yourself from having to constantly check for the latest updates and measures taken and even worse cancelling again in case the crisis lasts a bit longer than expected to.

5. Let your guests know.

Once you have a provisional date holding for your event, and not yet a confirmed one, make sure to contact your guests and make them aware of the situation. Start by your nearest and dearest meaning the guests that you must certainly have at your event such as close family or best friends. Discuss with them about how easy it is to attend to your new date but most importantly give them as much time as possible to prepare and make any personal changes to their plans so that they can be with you during your big day.

*Important: If your event is due to take place in less than 4 weeks consider contacting your guests as soon as possible, out of courtesy, letting them know about the change of plans. You can proceed to updating them with provisional and confirmed dates later on.

6. Secure your new date.

Once you have contacted your venue, your suppliers and your guests and you have managed to agree availability for a new date with all of them move on to confirming it.

  • Start by your venue by giving them a call confirming the new date and requesting an online meeting and new/updated contracts for you to sign. After doing that confirm this date with everyone involved such as your local registry office in the occasion of a wedding.
  • Contact your suppliers and secure the date with them as well. As above, ask for new/updated contracts for you to sign.
  • Contact all your guests, one by one, to confirm the change of plans with them. This will definitely be rather time consuming especially if the number of guests is relatively big. For that reason make sure you schedule this in your calendar dedicating a minimum of two hours for the procedure if the number of guests is no less than 10. At this stage start from guests that need to travel to attend your event. For extra piece of mind follow up with an email or a new save the date card.

Extra tips to keep you sane and going!

Keep calm.

As mentioned, postponing your event can be a challenging task. Try to have a more practical approach and face the situation with a ‘solving the problem’ mentality. Especially when you are called to communicate with suppliers and guests try to leave emotions out of the conversations and focus on a positive attitude.

Be kind.

You are for sure going through a considerate amount of pressure given everything that is going on. However, try to acknowledge that your suppliers and all professionals involved with your event are going through a hard time too, with many of them facing the possibility of no business or income for the months ahead. Be understanding as much as as you would like them to be understanding towards you and take this as a chance to built a strong relationship with them which will definitely make the postponement task easier for you.

Communicate.

No matter the challenge we are called to face a helping hand is always a good idea.

Do not allow yourself to feel drowned from the things that need to be done. Ask your loved ones for help, opinions and ideas. Two brains are better than one.

As we are closely monitoring the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing to the events industry we acknowledge the frustration is causing to clients and the difficulties to the professionals. If you find your self in the unfortunate position of having to postpone your event know that your are neither alone or the only one. Stay positive and face the situation as a new challenge that you can champion. But most important think of all those that have to face much worse and even dangerous circumstances like the doctors and health professionals around the world and be thankful for them. If they can manage to save lives through these strange times there is ever so much the rest of us can manage as well!

Stay home!

Stay safe!

Happy planning!

Lila x

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