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Greenville Business Magazine

Survey Finds 63 Percent of Engaged Couples Postponing Weddings Due to the Coronavirus

Apr 22, 2020 01:26PM ● By David Dykes

Staff Report

Wedding season may technically be upon us, but a new LendingTree survey of more than 900 engaged Americans found most couples are facing tough decisions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly two-thirds postponing their weddings and many losing money in the process.

Key findings:

63 percent of engaged Americans have postponed their weddings because of the coronavirus outbreak. Just 22 percent said they're moving forward with their original plans, while 8 percent are opting for a courthouse marriage or elopement instead.
- 40 percent of those who postponed their weddings have set a new date. Most (64 percent) opted to push the date to at least September.
- 56 percent of those who changed their wedding plans lost money by doing so. On average, respondents who lost money said they're out $3,320.50 due to nonrefundable deposits, payments and fees.
- Couples who postponed were able to keep most of their original vendors. Of the vendors they held onto, 66 percent were able to keep their photographer, 59 percent were able to keep their cake bakers, and 56 percent and 51 percent were able to keep their ceremony and reception venues, respectively.
- Travel restrictions put honeymoon plans on pause: One in four canceled or postponed their honeymoon, and 42 percent lost money by doing so.
- Two-thirds cited social distancing guidelines when asked about their decision to change wedding plans, and 59 percent wanted to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
For 46 percent, the fact that friends and family could no longer travel also contributed to their decisions.
- 53 percent of people who decided not to postpone believe the threat of coronavirus outbreak will be calmed, if not over, by the time the wedding’s held. In addition, 24 percent said their wedding date holds special significance.

Erika Giovanetti of Charlotte-based LendingTree cited one wedding photographer, Megan Sheppard of Boone, N.C., who reported vendors were encouraging couples to postpone their weddings rather than downsizing and canceling in an effort to keep the wedding industry afloat. 

“There’s a huge movement in the wedding community asking couples to please postpone, don’t cancel, just because that hurts so many different small businesses if you’re canceling your wedding,” Sheppard said. “You’re going to get married either way, so why not have that wedding that you planned and dreamed of, but at a later date?"

With couples postponing and sometimes canceling their weddings, vendors have to wait months to get the paychecks they expected, if they get paid in full at all, Giovanetti reported.

Most wedding vendors work on a deposit system, meaning that the couple pays a deposit upfront (typically 25 percent to 50 percent of the total cost of the vendor), then paying the remainder just before the wedding, according to LendingTree.

Wedding vendors counting on getting paid in the peak months of the wedding season, beginning in May, might have to make due without expected income.

“It’s like someone telling you, ‘Hey, we have your paycheck, but you’re not going to get it for another four or five months,’” Sheppard said. “I’m doing fine, but I hate it for my couples.”

For its survey, LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 920 Americans engaged to be married. The survey was fielded April 6-10, 2020.