Engaged and Unemployed. Now What?

By Andrew Roby, owner of Andrew Roby Events in Washington, DC

Many people are finding themselves in this position with the COVID 19 pandemic. Andrew Roby has helpful advice for navigating this difficult situation.

Being engaged and unemployed was probably the last thing you would have expected. After engagement season ended and Cloud 9 subsided, you set your date and started your wedding planning journey. You did all the necessary research to find your ideal venue and vendors and may have even booked them. COVID-19 hit and the worst you figure was moving your wedding date back a few months. As you were home practicing physical distancing, an email from work pops up telling you that you’ve been let go. LET GO? In the midst of a pandemic? While I’m planning my wedding?

Things just got real and you may be wondering how you can be engaged and unemployed and plan a wedding.

The first thing that I will tell you is to breathe.

What Should I Do About My Wedding if I’m Engaged and Unemployed?

Review All Wedding Contracts

It’s key that you look over each wedding contract to see how you can cut costs. It would be a smart idea for you to also review your wedding plan and consider reducing guest count if that will help you save money. If you have already signed your contracts your ability to negotiate is significantly reduced. However, I recommend creating a plan to renegotiate any and all contracts based on your needs. If the venue or vendor is open to changing your contract, ask to settle for the minimum amount at this point.

Inform Your Vendors and Venue

No one expected this to happen just like you didn’t expect to be engaged and unemployed during this time. Be open and honest with everyone. Unless you tell them what’s going on, they will believe this is business as usual.

If you have not signed a contract, this will be to your advantage. You will want to book your wedding far in advance. Many vendors are also out of work at the moment and are more open to negotiating with new clients. If they can book you now, that gives them reassurance for their future.

  • Ask the venue for the food and beverage minimum before signing.
  • See if you can pay vendors via Zelle, check, or any option that removes fees.
  • Ask that all contracts have the minimum with an option to upgrade if you decide to.

Revisit Your Wedding Plan

Your wedding plan and budget should outline everything that you desire for your wedding. This should split things into wants verses needs. Both lists should be reviewed and adjusted based on the new direction you have.

This will be hard because many couples do want things that represent them. However, keep in mind that you are currently engaged and unemployed. Or perhaps you have moved from two incomes to one.

  • Downsize all of your big elements.
  • Consider having a wedding for close friends and family only.
  • Eliminate over indulges like gold leaf foil on your wedding cake and favors.
  • Anything that can be removed that will not compromise your original plan, should be.

I recommend substituting things that you need, but can be done for less. Things like invitations are not a necessity when we have free wedding website services available. You can create your own website and still take RSVPs from the platform. You only need to use Paper Post or another mass email site to send the electronic invite to guests.

Adjust Your Wedding Registry

My team and I love a good wedding registry. However, for times like this, you need cash. Consider changing your registry from gifts and experiences to ask for cash. This helps you pay for your wedding and gives you cash before your date arrives. Your guests will not judge you for asking for cash over gifts. If someone really wants to give you a gift, let them.

Do Not Plan Based on Future Money

I have seen far too many couples plan their wedding based on money they think they will get in the future. It has resulted in heart break. You can only plan your wedding based on the money you have in hand today. Just like you did not plan on COVID-19 shifting your wedding, you cannot control the future.

Things may improve. You may get your job back. If those things happen, and we hope they do, then adjust back to your original plan. No one will be upset. I promise.


When revising your wedding plan with your fiancé, if you cannot answer why you need it, you don’t need it. Keep an open mind as you are planning based on need now. Because you have more time on your hands, do not spend it all on wedding planning. Refrain from deviating from your new plan as well. Lastly, getting marriage counseling during this time will be essential.

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