The coronavirus is upheaving almost every part of normal everyday life. But it’s also affecting those once-in-a-lifetime moments you’ve probably been looking forward to for the longest time. From graduations, college reunions, and work events to weddings, retirement parties, and birthdays, here are some ways to cope when it looks like those special plans might not happen or they’re outright cancelled.
Choosing When to Cancel
There’s a lot of uncertainty going around. We don’t know what the world is going to look like in 6 months. Should you cancel your event? Or your plans to attend one? If it’s still pretty far off on the horizon, you may not need to make the call right away. But you should be prepared for the possibility that you might have to. No one really knows if things will be better by the end of the year or pretty much the same. You won’t want to wait too long, so it’s a good idea to set a date for when you will make the call.
Consider things like whether there are many guests who will also be wondering whether the event is on or not and may need to plan around it, whether you have immuno-compromised people on your guest list, whether travel is involved, and whether you will be more likely to be able to get a refund on any payments made toward the event if you cancel sooner or under a COVID-19 policy.
It’s Okay to be Upset
Canceling a major life even on top of everything else you’re going through is rough. We understand. You’ve put in the time and effort – and you got excited. It’s okay to be upset. Allow yourself the space to get upset, frustrated, grieve, and heal. Talk to your loved ones about what you’re going through. Reach out to other people in your situation. Support from others and giving yourself the space you need will help you pull through.
Get in Contact with Your Vendors
You’re going to have to get in touch with your vendors to let them know you have decided to cancel. Call your airline, hotel, caterer, florist, restaurants, and any other bookings you may have made as soon as you are ready. Perhaps the only good news about canceling a major life event right now is how flexible everyone is being. Remember to explain your specific situation.
Making the Announcement
If you’ve been planning a major event – like a graduation party or wedding – don’t assume everyone will know that your event is canceled. It’s a good idea to keep in touch with everyone on any updates and decisions you have made. Emails are a great way to do this if you want to avoid making numerous phone calls. Although it won’t feel great to finally make the announcement, remember that everyone will understand, and many people will be there for support.
You may want to ask people to reply or somehow indicate that they got the message, so you can keep a list (much the way you’d keep an RSVP list) and reach out again to anyone who may not have gotten the message that the event is off.
Keep the Day Special
Just because you’ve had to cancel the event doesn’t mean the day itself isn’t special anymore. If you were planning to celebrate your birthday, wedding, anniversary, graduation, or anything else – there are still ways to commemorate the day. You can still get dressed up, host a zoom party, blow out your birthday candles, or even throw your graduation cap into the air! If you are staying with loved ones, you can plan a special dinner and spend time together.
If your friend one or loved one had to cancel their special event, make sure to reach out to them. If you can, think about sending a small gift or flowers. Let them know you are thinking of them.
Things Won’t Be Cancelled Forever
Things will eventually get back to normal. When they do, you will have another chance to plan and experience your special event. While it’s impossible to tell when that will be or to know the date you should look to reschedule to – just know that it will eventually happen if you want it to.
Stay hopeful. Besides, the best part of an event isn’t the celebration – it’s the very thing you’re commemorating. Your relationship, your accomplishments, the amount of time that has gone by. Nothing can take that away from you.