TO the Feathered Arrow blog. I'M Kari! A WEDDING PLANNER, PODCAST HOST, BIZ EDUCATOR, AND A LOVER OF COFFEE, ALL THINGS OUTDOORS + A SUCKER FOR A GOOD LOVE STORY.
Well friends, this month just got weird, didn’t it? While I always want this to be an place of happy content, I want to address the concerns surrounding Coronavirus. Recently, the CDC has recommended a postponement or cancellation of gatherings with more than 50 people. This is supposed to last for the next 8 weeks. For a lot of you, that means your wedding will be directly impacted. I know this is a time of great uncertainty. To help, I put together a list of 4 steps to take if the COVID-19 virus is disrupting your wedding.
First, I want to say, we are here for you. Making the decision to potentially postpone or cancel the most important day of your life is devastating. You and your partner have put in so much time, money and effort into this day. It’s completely okay to feel every emotion you are feeling. I have every faith that we will get through this time as a community together. In light of this, if you have no one to turn to and need questions answered, please email me at Kari@featheredarrowevents.com. I will try and help guide you as best I can!
The very first step is to re-familiarize yourself with all of the contracts you have signed. Read the contracts from your venue, vendors and even Event Insurance, or a cancellation policy, if you got that. Make sure you fully understand the cancellation, postponement, and/or responsibility clauses. These are usually listed as a Force Majeure in contracts. These tell you the financial expectations during a crisis (if any), and what is legally within your right to do. Now, I am no legal expert and I am trying to learn as much as possible but if you need to consult with a lawyer, that is probably your best beat to have the most correct information.
Remember if you’re asking vendors for a full refund, think about what services they have already rendered and be fair to them as well if they have put in work for your wedding day. Remember, vendors are not trying to be greedy. They are just trying to run their business, support their families, pay their bills and put food on the table. We’re in the same position as you and are just trying to keep our business afloat. However, for vendors that haven’t rendered their services at all, as the client communicate with your vendor in asking for a refund of some portion especially since the government has mandated no gatherings over 10 people and those services can no longer be provided by that vendor. Each vendor will be a case by case basis and you will need to cite their contracts and policies and you may loose deposits/retainers as per their contracts.
Get in touch with your planner and conference in your venue first to see how they’re handling the COVID-19 crisis. Most venues are willing to work on the best way to proceed to keep their staff and your guests’ safe. If your venue is facing closure, discuss alternative dates and potential financial obligations on your end. Or you can also discuss with your planner finding an alternative venue to host your wedding. Though please keep in mind, moving the location may prove difficult at this time. Chances are the venue would much rather reschedule than lose your business altogether. If your venue is moving forward with your wedding as planned, contact the remainder of your vendors. If a vendor is unable to continue with your date, discuss any remaining financial obligations and decide if hiring another vendor is within your budget. Right now, most vendors are willing to reschedule your event date and are flexible with changes. The wedding industry community is doing what we can to accommodate our clients to the best of our ability.
This is tough, but if your wedding continues on the original date, you may need to cut your guest attendance. Discuss with guests that in light of recent events, it may not be possible for them to attend. If a guest has recently traveled abroad, has a condition that compromises their immune system, has been showing symptoms of any illness, will need to travel to your wedding, and/or is an elderly guest, they should refrain from attending. As an alternative, something I am seeing in response to this crisis, are remote viewing options. You can set up a live streaming option for guests, or a recorded option that guests can then log into. If the idea of having your wedding without some of those guests is too heartbreaking, then consider postponing your wedding. I 100% understand that it’s devastating to move your wedding from the original date but I promise you in the long run, you’ll be so glad you did and that all your guests can attend at a later date + be healthy!
If your wedding is moving forward, with the help of your planner, discuss safety precautions for you and your guests. Consider adding extra soap and tissues in the restrooms and having hand-sanitizing stations. Designate someone to help open/close doors to avoid multiple hands touching handles. Ask your venue about their sanitizing options for items like chairs. Discuss with your catering vendor if they plan to wear gloves and masks while serving and/or busing. If you’re doing a buffet, switch to a plated meal so there’s less hands touching the food and utensils. Expand the dance floor area to give everyone additional space. These are just a few ideas to help keep everyone safe.
If you and your partner are eager to tie the knot quickly, consider asking a few close friends or family to be your witnesses at a courthouse. You can still get legally married on the date of your choosing, and reschedule the larger celebration for a later time. Again, this may seem disappointing but I promise you, it’s worth it to have your friends and family healthy + safe.
Please remember during these discussions, it may get difficult and emotional, but it’s nothing personal against your wedding. Everyone is simply trying to keep everyone safe. If your wedding must be cancelled or postponed, I know it’s heartbreaking, but you’re not alone. This is an unfortunate time and everyone’s health must take priority if we want this to stop spreading! If everyone stays calm, remembers to think of others and have some compassion, a compromise can be reached, and you can still say, “I do”, to the one you love.
I hope this helped and if there are any other questions that I can help with, please feel free to contact me on my homepage here. Together we will get through this!