A week ago you could have never told me a Pandemic would ever happen let alone escalate to the level that it has. And we still aren’t through it… Last Sunday morning I was out with my friends at brunch drinking mimosas and by Sunday night I was faced with the news that my entire Spring wedding season was about to be wiped out and the weddings of the couples we are working with completely dismantled. On Monday morning the tsunami hit… and my world and career as I know it has changed. It has been the hardest week I have ever been through with my business and I have been doing this for 15 years. I was in a commissioned sales position after 9/11 where everyone cancelled their business on 9/12… and I made it through the Great Recession being a small business owner… but those two events combined ain’t got nothing on Corona Virus… In 3 days we managed to postpone and rebook 30 couples. It has been a whirlwind… an emotional roller coaster… I have been physically and emotionally exhausted by it all… I’ve cried… I’ve been scared… But with each passing day I am finding acceptance and now I am adapting and overcoming with solutions on how to work through this and come out on top. With every crappy thing that happens in life though I think it’s important to learn something from it. I have gleaned new lessons from this experience that I would like to share with my future couples. Because they don’t know what they don’t know… But I do now after this and there are lessons to be learned and shared…
HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER
For the love of all that is holy invest in a Wedding Planner. I have always believed that they were worth their weight in gold but they are next level over the last few days… My weddings with Planners have seamlessly postponed and transitioned beautifully these weddings effected into new dates in the Fall. The couples are calm and even said thank you to their vendors because the Planners have assisted them through every step of this. They have reassured them, dried tears, made calls on their behalf, pieced the puzzle together of trying to reconfigure 15-20 vendors to a new date. They are part of the unsung heroes in the event industry in this disaster. All the while their business was crumbling before their eyes. They are beautiful souls. The point is that if they can handle a crisis of this magnitude a run of the mill wedding without a pandemic is easy peasy for them. They can navigate literally ANY situation after this… They are an insurance policy that you actually get to cash in and use whether there is crisis or not.
PURCHASE EVENT INSURANCE
Like travel insurance but event insurance. Covers disasters, emergencies, illnesses that cause your wedding to be cancelled and postponed. The entire heartache about a wedding being cancelled and postponed besides of course the loss of the dream or vision of what you thought it would be and look like is the loss of funds for an event being cancelled or postponed. Event insurance covers those costs. So many of the tears and anger I experienced from clients this week was the harsh reality of the Contract they signed being enforced. It is heartbreaking for all involved. Event insurance would cover such losses even if you are in that dreaded 30 day period before the event. Companies like Wedsure offer this type of coverage. If you are having a local wedding but most especially a destination wedding this is a MUST moving forward.
READ AND UNDERSTAND THE CONTRACTS YOU SIGN
The hardest part of this week for me has been having to uphold the terms of the Contracts my couples have signed. They are put in place for this exact reason. To cover these exact situations… But if I don’t uphold these Contracts then I am out of business. 15 years of building this business that feeds my children just done. It is an absolutely impossible situation for everyone involved. I get it… your wedding has completely been up ended and everything has to be changed now. It’s heartbreaking… I’ve actually been there myself… Keep reading to hear my wedding day tragedy. Vendors are dealing with multiple weddings being cancelled or postponed, this is our livelihood that we are no longer being paid for until next season with all of the postponements. We are SMALL BUSINESSES… In order to sustain and come through this we have to make good business decisions. What has to be realized is that vendors aren’t sitting on a pile of cash that we have collected. When we collect Retainers that money is used to prepare for your wedding and to run our business. The business you hired to perform a service or deliver a good to your event. Whether that money is booked to retain staff to work your event, purchase goods for your event, over all business expenses, paying taxes to employ those at your event, etc. It is being used to execute your wedding and keep a business going. So when that wedding we have prepared for doesn’t happen we have to cover those costs, hence why businesses collect a Retainer. We have to make good business decisions in order to be around for next seasons couples who have booked us. It is not about being heartless. Believe me this week has been so unbelievably hard and traumatic for everyone. EVERYONE is effected by this. So read your Contracts before you sign them.. Should something like this happen again… or terrorism… or a natural disaster. Understand the terms of postponement and cancellation clauses.
POSTEPONEMENT VS. CANCELLATION
Should tragedy strike it is ALWAYS best to postpone rather than cancel your event… Postponement generally means that your monies invested just get applied to another date. Of course as stated above read the terms of the Contracts you have signed. Most vendors during this time are waving any change or transfer fees if they are only making one date change. This is ALWAYS going to be the best way to make it through with minimal to no financial loss. Once you make the decision to cancel there are completely different financial ramifications. The Retainers you paid when you signed the Contract are non-refundable no matter the circumstances. So you lose those. And in most Contracts if you cancel in under 30 days all of your investment is forfeited. It isn’t pretty. Your vendors WANT to work with you. We have postponed almost 30 weddings this week with no additional investment for our couples. So postpone, postpone, postpone…
DON’T FORGET THE MEANING OF YOUR WEDDING
When I arrived to Hawaii two days before my wedding and went to go check out my venue it had been torn down…. yes you read that right… torn down… I was in shock… How does this happen and I am not notified!! Turns out they were just planning on moving me to another location on the property… ummmmm noooooo. So I was forced to find a new venue for my reception in 48 hours. Luckily we found one and it worked out. But that is exactly the point… It works itself out… I know there is a vision for your wedding. I know you have dreamt of your wedding day since you were a little girl. But when you choose to get married you don’t sign up just for a wedding but for a marriage. I needed to check myself and remember that we were coming together to get married. How it happened, when it happened and who was there wasn’t of utmost importance. It is that we were making this commitment to one another and that was what was most important. This all will pass. It will all work out the way that it is supposed to. It may not be what you envisioned but having something like this prepares you for what marriage is like… you will find a lot of things about married life will not be exactly what you envisioned. Sometimes they are event better. This is teaching all of to adapt and overcome. Your wedding will happen and when it does it will be fabulous!!!