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Jackie Porter

Pivoting Your Wedding Plans During a Pandemic

Wedding season is now well underway. You’ve been carefully planning the last details of your nuptials to ensure everything is perfect. As you anxiously wait for the big day, COVID 19 has likely thrown a huge monkey wrench in your plans.

 With social distancing guidelines preventing the typical 154 plus gathering of well-wishers from attending your big day, you are now faced with making major decisions on how you will ultimately celebrate one of the biggest milestones of your life. Should you postpone the wedding? Have a smaller more intimate ceremony following Health Canada guidelines? Or cancel altogether and simply elope?

 Many couples are also getting married again after a divorce.  If this is your second or third time taking the plunge, it may hold a different level of significance for you. Perhaps this gives you a chance to rethink what you will ultimately want the big day to look like. You want it to have special meaning for you and your soon to be spouse while following health Canadas guidelines. Could the pandemic potentially offer a silver lining to save some cash on one of the most expensive days of your life?  Let’s dig into your options and consider the implications of pivoting your wedding plans during a pandemic.

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 The Wedding Hustle and COVID

 Planning a wedding under normal circumstances amounts to a heroic undertaking. It almost feels like a miracle getting loved ones to show up at an appointed time on a certain day. This is especially true when this date is chosen many months in advance. Purchasing wedding attire, coordinating a ceremony, reception and honeymoon are among the many tasks to plan and organize before the big day comes. On average Canadians spend $29,450 on their nuptials. Not small change to shell out on a regular day.

 Throw in the curveball of a pandemic and all bets are off. The wedding may need to be postponed until restrictions are lifted. Or you will need to consider scaling back dramatically on your guest list.

 Review Your Contracts

 This is an important time to review the contracts you signed and determine your options. Does the vendor allow for a full refund under these circumstances? Is your deposit transferable to another date? Are you at risk of losing your deposit if you cancel? You will need to read your contract to fully understand your next steps. For example, many reception venues require a 50 percent deposit that is non-refundable if it is not transferred to another date. Depending on the commitments laid out in your contracts you may have more leeway to scale back or cancel. Keep in mind the larger the ceremony the larger the venue. Having a big guest list may have meant a larger deposit that could prove challenging to walk away from.

Financial Risks and Opportunities of Postponing or Scaling Back

 The silver lining: if your vendor contracts allow you to scale back, postpone or cancel your plans you may have the opportunity to dramatically reduce the cost of your big day. It can mean you hang on to the cash you planned to spend at a time in the economy when so much is still unknown. You can potentially walk into your nuptials taking on less debt. Scaling back might mean a smaller number of guests when restrictions loosen, or it may mean moving forward with the current guidelines with only 10 guests in total and using social media to involve extended family. It may also mean postponing the honeymoon based on travel restrictions. Money saved could be redirected in your emergency, debt repayment or go toward a home purchase you and your partner planned to save toward. This can go a long way in helping you reach that goal sooner.

Don’t Lose Sight of Your Goal

You wanted to get married so you could buy a home and start a family right away? Well, then you will have accomplished something very special when you say “I do”…Your wedding day may not have gone as planned, but the good news is that you get the rest of your life to plan a do-over of your big day. Money is one of the number one reasons people divorce. If you can walk into the marriage with less money challenges your chances of a lifetime of marital bliss markedly improve.

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