Wedding Planning During COVID-19 Advice for Couples: Booking Vendors

April 15, 2020

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The thought of planning a wedding right now is daunting.  There is so much that is unknown. You have watched an entire Spring season need to be postponed, travel is at a standstill, and everyone is practicing social distancing.

These are all valid concerns, and I hear you.  

Don’t let the unknown take away the joy and excitement of planning a wedding.

Here are the facts:

I would not book a date in 2020 unless you know for sure your guest count fits within the guidelines, this includes vendors, and family members are available.  Anyone that will need to travel long distances will either have a hard time getting to you or might feel uncomfortable traveling. 

The 2021 Dates Are Booking Quickly.  With several 2020 events moving into 2021, the already limited ‘prime weekends’ are getting booked very quickly.  You will need to secure your date soon.  You should also consider being flexible on ‘needing’ a Saturday date. Your wedding will be just as special if it were on a weekday. 

Fall Season Is Going to be Extremely Busy. This will affect the vendors.  Early 2020 couples have moved their weddings to the end of the year. Many vendors will be more busy than usual servicing their current clients now that the year is backloaded. I would highly suggest getting those vendors secured and working for you now while they might have some downtime. 

There Will Be Some Vendors That Go Out of Business.  This is the harsh reality of being a small business.  They may not have the runway to weather the storms.  Now more than ever it’s important to have an experienced wedding planner.  We know what is going on behind the scenes with vendors.  We know who has had to lay off their staff, who hasn’t been able to fulfill orders, and who may not make it through.

There Are Vendors Who Will Come Out Stronger. These are vendors who have been around for a while.  They do large events, or a large volume of events, and have the savings to ride this out.  These vendors will use this time to rest, practice self-care, learn something new, or better their business.  All of this will benefit you. 

Vendors Will Improvise.  I am sure that you have seen by now catering companies offering pick up, florists delivering bouquets, DJ’s putting together playlists, planners offering to consult, and designers putting together virtual style boards. These vendors are not necessarily doing this to make money.  They are doing this because this is their passion. They have an innate need to create, be social, service people.  These are the vendors you want on your team.  The ones who will do their ‘thing’ no matter what is happening around them.  They do it because they love it. 

Read the Vendor Agreements.  If anything is true, it is that this pandemic has shown everyone where their weaknesses are in their businesses and their agreements.  Vendors have been meeting with their lawyers, making adjustments, and clarifying their clauses.  Make sure that your vendors have a clear position in their agreement in the event of a cancellation or a postponement.  The agreements should also be clear on their policies with retainers, payments, and non-performance. If these things are not clearly written out ask your vendors for clarification or an amendment before signing.

Get Insurance.  It is increasingly difficult to get event insurance right now.  Many insurance companies have written in that anything related to pandemics, or cancellations are not covered.  You will need to do your research and speak to a few different insurance agents.  I would suggest that you make sure you are covered under general liability (most venues will require this anyway) but also have something that protects you from a vendor cancellation or a vendor going out of business.  You may not be able to get coverage from a client cancellation, but hopefully, you can find a policy that will cover a vendor not showing up. 

Surround Yourself With Vendors You Can Trust.  The future of the virus is still unknown. That is scary. We don’t know if we are going to need to postpone more events or limit the size of our gatherings. Work with vendors who you can be open and honest with, and who can be open and honest with you.  We are all in this together. We should be able to talk about family dynamics, financial comfort zones, insecurities, and the unknown.  The vendors should be crystal clear about their policies and why they have them in place.  

Don’t Stop Planning. Even though there is so much unknown TIME WILL WAIT FOR NO ONE. Continue booking vendors, continue planning, and continue looking forward.  Be excited. Enjoy your engagement. Just be sure you are booking the right vendors and that you are properly protected in the event you need to move your wedding.

In the end, we all want to have great weddings, fun social events, and support you.  

As always, I would love to chat.

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