COVID-19 uncertainty leads to more wedding postponements and creative compromises

After COVID-19 made Emily and Matt Swihart change their wedding plans, they decided not to wait any longer and tied the knot in a small ceremony. (Janelle Elise Photography)

In the peak of Minnesota’s wedding season, couples are getting quick lessons in flexibility and compromise. Some are now bracing for the possibly of postponing their weddings for the second time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Far from the wedding they first started planning nearly two years ago, Emily and Matt Swihart decided not to wait any longer.

“At the end of the day we just wanted to be married. That was the objective all along,” said Matt.

They opted for an intimate ceremony with immediate family and postponed their big reception at The Machine Shop until September when hopefully extended family and friends can help celebrate.  

“So many people that were integral to our getting married," said Matt.

"And part of our lives and part of our story,” said Emily.

Keeping in mind the average wedding in Minnesota costs between $40,000 to $50,000, there is a lot at stake financially and emotionally. Plus newly engaged couples just starting the planning process are learning certain venues on certain dates are booking out years in advance.

“There’s been so many rescheduled dates, there really isn’t that availability,” said Sarah Trotter, a wedding planner with Lasting Impressions. “We are going to be doing a lot more Fridays, a lot more Sundays, a lot more off-wedding dates. We have two on Thursdays as of now.”

Trotter has had 32 weddings postponed amid the pandemic, so far. Some of her other clients are also getting creative by choosing to hold smaller ceremonies. COVID-19 clauses with invitations are common. One couple even turned their engagement photo shoot into the actual nuptials. With venues currently limited to 25 percent capacity, refunds industry-wide are rare

“Simply they need that to stay in business,” said Trotter. “They are not going to try and break contracts because they’ve been great about postponing and pushing dollars down the road, which is not in a lot of clients' contracts the way it is. So, a lot of vendors have made big exceptions during the pandemic just to try and accommodate this special situation.”

The Swiharts understand, but are still bracing for the possibility of postponing their fall reception - a second time.

“At that point, I don’t even know - just give up,” said Matt with a laugh. "Do something else."

“I’ll wear my wedding dress around the house. I don’t know,” said Emily with a smile. "We’re just kinda going with the flow at this point because we are already married."