Carats & Cake: For couples planning a wedding for this fall, when should they send out their invites?
Ceci Johnson: At Ceci New York, we recommend sending out your invitations for your fall wedding as normal etiquette denotes 6-8 weeks before your event date. However, we do highly encourage including a card that states you're closely monitoring the situation and will keep your guests updated if things should change. This is essential in these times so your guests aren't left wondering or worried.
C&C: How should couples navigate letting their guests know they have postponed their wedding if invitations have already been sent?
CJ: First off, it's so hard to have to be in this situation, and we're so sorry we all are experiencing this, but we recommend that you can do a couple of things.
1. The most elegant way would be to send a new printed card that simply states you have changed the date due to the circumstances and let your guests know the new details. The card doesn't have to be as elaborate as your first invitation but ideally you send a card that visually is similar with matching graphics so it ties your wedding brand together for your guests.
2. If you want immediate satisfaction, you can select to go the digital route and text all your guests the updated news. This however, can be a major task taking up a lot of time as well as potentially open up a can of worms where you have to have a potentially tough conversation with a lot of people all checking in to see how you're doing and chit chat about how you're handling your postponed wedding.
3. Additionally, you can opt to email all your guests the announcement and attach a jpg graphic that is designed by your invitation designer so it matches your invitation which states the new date. You can also text people this graphic too!
C&C: Should newly engaged couples consider sending out save the dates at this time? When do you think is appropriate?
CJ: Absolutely, yes! If newly engaged couples are planning their wedding for next year, absolutely send out your save the dates and look forward to celebrating your special day! Of course, things are still up in the air, but at this point I cannot imagine that the world will still be closed next year and think it is absolutely OK to proceed. We have to grab onto life and make the most of it - especially when we're thinking about next year. Many of our couples are doing this and I think it's really a smart way to go! Plus, a fun distraction from all the worrying.
C&C: Should couples send out new invitations if postponing their wedding for more than a year? Is there a timeline on this?
CJ: It is your responsibility as the host to let your guests know what the new date is going to be as soon as you know it. Etiquette denotes to mail your invitations 6-8 weeks before your event date, however in these uncertain times, if you've already sent out invitations and are postponing a year, then I would recommend sending a Change of Date card to notify the new plans that are now further out as soon as possible. Then follow with the formal invitations 6-8 weeks before your new wedding date.
C&C: Is there any language you recommend to communicate a postponement?
CJ: At Ceci New York, we recommend including a card that says something polite like - We are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will keep you updated should our details of our event change. Another great idea is to request your guests to include their email on the RSVP card so you can easily collect their email addresses and can update them via email later on if your details should have to change.
Wording formality depends on the couple's personality. Here are some alternative ideas:
We hope to still celebrate with you but if not, our love story will still happen. New Date, Same Love, Same wedding. Or just simply state, Save our NEW date.
C&C: Is there a different language to use if you are sending out a second invite for the postponed wedding date?
CJ: This also depends on the couple and their personal preference. Since you've already sent the formal invitation, there is no need to reprint the exact same thing unless you would prefer to have that as your commemorative keepsake with your actual wedding date on it. Some of our couples are doing this because they want to look back on their wedding invitation NOT the Change of Date card to display the correct wedding details.
If you opt to send your formal invitation again, keep the wording as it was just edit the event details. If you opt to send out a change of date card, then the wording is simplified down to just letting them know the new information.
C&C: For couples getting married who haven't already mailed out invites, should they include any information about COVID or contingency plans?
CJ: This is an absolute must, especially if you are mailing them out this year. You must include a card that you are closely monitoring the situation. We have even had couples send out their invitations and ALSO include another card that says save our back up date! If you are getting married later next year, at this point, it's too hard to know precisely what things will be like next year so we recommend proceeding with the design of your invitations so you can enjoy the creative process (it also is a great activity to get your mind off the current state - many of our couples say they're so happy they're proceeding as it's a fun distraction from the mundane quarantine worrying). This will buy you time as the world sorts things out day by day.
Then when it's time to go to print, you can either opt to send all the non time sensitive items into production and hold onto the cards that have time sensitive details so that way you are being smart about the timing. You'll have all the pieces in the wings ready to go once you feel confident about your new date and can just print the 1-2 cards versus printing the entire suite. This can save you sometimes up to a month on timing not to mention potentially a lot of stress down the line.
We are here to help! Since each couple's scenario is unique, answers may be tailored differently as it's so hard to have a one-answer-fits-all in this unimaginable situation. Above all, if you have any questions, just reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to assist in any way we can. We are all in this together! You can also follow us on instagram for up-to-date tips, see how other brides to be are dealing with this and of course, design inspiration @cecinewyork.