A Guide to Postponing Your Wedding in Trinidad & Tobago – in light of Covid-19

By: Simone Sant-Ghuran, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, TrinidadWeddings

Stress from wedding planning has now been converted to the stress of postponing your wedding. As wedding professionals, it is our job to be a part of your dreams and hopes and to be fully invested in your special day. So you can imagine that it brings us heartbreak to see couples’ disappointment at postponing and worst case, cancelling due to the uncertainty of these times.

As wedding/event service providers, we are doing all we can to accommodate you, in light of Covid-19. Just remember – you cannot “cancel” love! So we will do everything we can, to work within the parameters we are given, to help you.

If you have no choice but to postpone, here’s a 10 step guide:

(1) Discuss your possible new date with others who are close to you – for example, if a large part of your guest list, is close family/friends from abroad, it may be quite some time for travel restrictions to be lifted; so your new date has to take that into consideration.

(2) Feel your feelings – This is an emotionally difficult time for you and you can’t avoid what you feel – the disappointment. Take the time to talk to your fiancé(e) or others (especially brides/grooms who have also had to postpone) and grieve the loss of your wedding date and the vision of what you wanted. Try not to stay in that grieving process for too long and embrace the thought of moving forward with maybe newer/better plans.

(3) Ensure that your marriage license is still valid – If you have decided to postpone and have settled on a new date, ensure that your marriage license will still be valid (it is only valid for 6 months). If it would have expired by your new date, you can schedule a walk-in appointment at the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs to renew it. The renewal fee is TT$100. After the wedding, the Ministry has an online facility to help you get a computerized marriage certificate, see here: http://www.legalaffairs.gov.tt/civilForms.htm

(4) Posting banns (if you intend to get married over the next 1-6 months), contact your District Registrar Office (DRO). As of March 30, 2020, DROs are not considered Essential Services in T&T, and as such, they are not open during the period: March 31st to April 15th, 2020. However the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs (under which the DROs fall) is still open.

(5) Establish an order of priority for wedding vendors – If you have decided to postpone, you should reach out to your wedding vendors/service providers in this order of priority, to see what new date can be worked out:

  • Officiant & ceremony location
  • Venue
  • Photographer and Videographer
  • Florist, Caterer, Rentals
  • Any other vendors

Postponing a wedding is no easy task – it involves postponing an entire team of wedding vendors, a venue, an officiant and wedding guests. Some of these important players may not be available on the new date you have selected. Even if you’ve had clearance from your venue for your new date, remember this does not automatically mean your dream team of vendors is also all going to be available.

(6) Be prepared for consequences – If your vendor is unavailable on your new date, one of 3 things may happen:

  • They may refund your deposit
  • They may not be able to refund your deposit (if there is a contract clause that states this)
  • There may be a “change of date” fee

(7) Know your cancellation terms – If one of your vendors is not available on your new wedding date, you may still be held to the cancellation terms laid out in your original contract. Some vendors will treat cancellation on a case-by-case basis, but others will enforce their cancellation clauses. Generally, vendors will be more flexible if they have not invested any time/money to prepare for your wedding, particularly for perishable items – for e.g. has the florist already ordered your flowers? Has the caterer already ordered menu items? If items have already been purchased you may be responsible for the costs (depending on how your contract is worded).

(8) Be considerate of wedding vendors/suppliers too – Just like you, wedding industry folks are navigating uncharted territory and issues they did not plan for. They are also figuring out how to keep their businesses afloat, amidst the chaos. Try as much as possible for win-win scenarios, so that you can both benefit.

(9) Communicate with your guests – Communication with guests needs to be multi-directional. The best way to let them know about the postponement/cancellation is to phone them. You can also put up a notice on your personal wedding website, use an online RSVP management service or lean on your Wedding Planner to handle these communications for you. Remember that foreign guests should be given first priority with communications as they will have to reschedule travel and hotel arrangements.

(10) Have a Plan B – There is still tremendous uncertainty, even for those weddings pushed back to last quarter 2020, so it would still be wise to have a Plan B for that as well. If you have postponed to 2021, bear in mind that the marketplace may be very different – venue and vendor availability might be limited (due to 2020 weddings being pushed into 2021) and costs may rise. It might be best to pay a deposit in 2020 to secure 2021. Last quarter 2020/2021 weddings should consider alternative formats (if weekend dates/venues are unavailable) – such as: weekday weddings, at-home weddings, brunch weddings

Not sure how to handle postponed weddings? Or deal with your vendor contracts, as a result?
We are here to help you. Wedding Coach consultations will now be done via phone, WhatsApp & Messenger channels. Kindly email contactus@trinidadweddings.com for appointments.
More details here: http://trinidadweddings.com/the-wedding-coach/