(WXYZ) — Many happy couples dreaming of their big day are having to navigate a rebooking nightmare due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Patrick Fogle and Kate Douglas of Howell were originally set to tie the knot on Aug. 22, 2020, but they canceled their wedding because of COVID-19.
“We had to switch to a Friday instead of a Saturday because all the Saturdays were already booked by the time we knew," Kate said.
“We’re actually on our third wedding day," Patrick added.
They finally settled on a new wedding date, July 30, 2021, but updated indoor and outdoor capacity limits keep changing their guest list. Their new invitations arrive this week.
"But we don’t know how many to send out. We’re cutting close, close family members - nieces and nephews and cousins. And it’s, it’s tough," Patrick said.
Alora Rachelle, a Detroit wedding photographer, saw about 80% of her clients reschedule to this year when COVID-19 first hit in March 2020. She's already booked halfway through next year.
She said the couples who haven't settled on a new date yet better hop to it. Her advice, if your preferred vendors are booked up, ask your vendor for referrals.
“Because of Detroit, we’re a close, tight-knit community. I have at least 10 photographers I can refer to them," Rachelle said.
She also said when booking a vendor, ask if there is a rescheduling fee.
“I did not do a reschedule fee the first time because nobody was planning for a pandemic," she said.
But because so many couples kept moving their date, she now charges a rescheduling fee, and according to BrilliantEventPlanning.com, the fee can renage from 10% to 50% of the service fee.
Alora also recommends couples consider a wedding day other than a Saturday.
“Weekday weddings - we have tons of availability for that. If you’re willing to do a Thursday, a Friday, a Sunday, we can totally make it work," she said.
Michael Schoenith, the owner & operator of the Roostertail in Detroit, said this year, landing a location is often a couple's first hurdle.
"We get a ton of calls every morning with a panicked bride or groom about how their venue could not host their event, and their first question is do you have any outdoor space," Schoenith said. "Of course, we do. But it’s pretty sold out because so many weddings moved from last summer to this summer.”
He suggests you embrace speed planning to take advantage of what's available.
“The new trend is you might have to plan your wedding two weeks out," he said.
Finally, be flexible. Schoenith said long-planned seating charts have been dashed as tables of 10 have to drop to tables of six due to new public health guidance. Others have decided to have an intimate wedding now and use the venue for an reception later.
As for Kate and Patrick, they're trying to find the silver lining in all of this.
"It's not what we planned, but we’re making it through. Getting to know each other better. So, it can’t hurt," she said.
"We had a pretty amazing Bachelor/Bachelorette party. And we might do another one. So, that’ll be a bonus. And once the wedding finally does happen, it’ll definitely be worth the wait," Patrick added.
Another piece of advice, keep track of the coronavirus rules and restrictions where you're planning to get married. Public health guidance can vary from state to state and even county to county.