Wedding Etiquette: How to Tell Guests Your Wedding Plans Have Changed


In these uncertain times, it’s not totally unexpected that any preplanned gathering, such as a wedding, may have to be postponed or even reformatted (think: online I do’s). The global pandemic has left many couples who have spent months or even years planning their perfect wedding day with no other option but to hold off on reciting their vows.

Of course, other unfortunate situations can also occur, such as the death of a family member or a natural disaster, that forces couples to make the difficult decision of departing from their original wedding day plans. No matter your reason for having to adapt your ceremony, this short guide will tell you exactly how to inform your guests that your wedding plans have changed.

Keep Communication Clear

We’ve all heard the “Don’t wait — tell them right away” advice, and while it’s well-intentioned, it might not always be the best route to take. After all, the last thing you want to do is send a murky message to guests who have already booked flights and hotels and taken time off work to attend your big day.

A better idea is to wait until you and your partner have gathered your thoughts as a couple, talked with vendors and other VIPs, and formulated the best game plan before making the announcement. Guests don’t want to be told something one minute, just to have it change again the next, all because you sent out a panicked mass text.

Quick Tip: Before mass communicating changed plans, make sure to touch base with your wedding party to sync schedules and make them part of the new decision-making process if their participation is still a priority for you.

Ideas on How to Word Your Message to Guests

Putting words to paper, or email, or invite about something as devastating as a canceled or postponed wedding can be challenging for even the most talented wordsmith, so we suggest keeping the overall message as positive as possible. Whether you go into great detail or keep the explanation short, it’s ultimately up to you and your personal preference. But by keeping the general tone of your message optimistic, you’ll signal to guests that your celebration hasn’t been dimmed and therefore they’ll show up ready to have just as good of a time.

Here are a few samples to get you started:

“This message comes to you with a heavy heart from both (insert names here). We recognize the crisis happening in the world currently, and because of this, we have made the difficult decision to postpone our wedding. While we don’t know our new date just yet, we do know just how much we love and appreciate each and every one of you. We’ll be in touch soon.”

“We are saddened by [add situation here] and have decided to postpone our wedding until we choose a new [date and/or location] to celebrate. We will share the updated details with you as soon as they’re available.”

Another option is to let professionally curated wedding invitation websites do the wording work for you.

Best Way to Get the News to Your Wedding Guests

While you can mass text or email your postponement or rescheduled date, let’s be honest — it’s not the most efficient nor classy way to go about updating your friends and families. Here are the only two options, in our book, on how to get your change of plans out to your wedding attendees.

Option 1: Send a New Save the Date Card

Keep in mind, you don’t have to resend your original save the date. In fact, many wedding stationery providers have adapted their save-the-date offerings to match the current trend of postponements. Just try to keep your updated version as close to the look and feel of the original as possible for the sake of continuity.

Option 2: Update Your Wedding Website

This option is particularly helpful for those duos who may not have a new celebration date formalized just yet. Updating your wedding website can be an excellent placeholding option, so guests are alerted to the change, and you can save your more formal invitations for when you’ve secured all the necessary details.

Celebrate on Your Special Day

Deciding to postpone one of the most exciting and special days of your lives is easy on exactly zero couples. With that being said, finding a small way to celebrate on your original date can help to dull the pain as the date comes and goes. Treat yourself and your significant other to a special dinner in or put on your favorite romantic movie to remind yourselves that your love is a beautiful thing and eventually you’ll get your day to celebrate it.