Let me start by saying, this whole situation f***ing sucks. No need to sugarcoat it. It's rough for everyone and no one is happy about it. No couple wants to find out their wedding has to be cancelled with less than a month's notice and no vendor wants to be out of work for 8 weeks. I'll back up... the Coronavirus has affected more than just the stock market; it's affected so many weddings! Do you know what to do if your wedding was affected by Coronavirus? After you finish your carton of ice cream, your pitcher of margaritas, it's time to get into planning mode! Here are three steps to take if your wedding was affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Before I begin, I want to give some factual information. Thank you journalism background for sometimes being useful.
The city of Kansas City and the state of Kansas have banned all events with more than 5o people for the next 8 weeks. This includes weddings. Later, the city of Kansas City banned all events with more than 10 people. This does not include weddings. So, if you are planning on having a wedding with less than 50 people, you are in the clear unless your venue says otherwise.
"We are going to the less than 50 [person] events," said Michelle Kaiser, owner of Town Square in Paola, "but most if not all of those have postponed or cancelled as well."
Personally, I've had seven weddings need to be postponed. Some of my industry friends who are able to serve more than one couple a day have had hundreds of cancellations and lost thousands in revenue. This is not a pretty time, but we are getting through it the best we can.
I would also like to note that I am not going to discuss the possibility of cancelling your event. Cancelling is a good way to bankrupt every small business you are working with.
It has been overwhelming to see how all my couples have been so flexible with the rest of their wedding planning. Every single couple I worked with has thanked ME for being flexible. Nah, you all are the real MVPs.
Now, here are three options of what to do if your wedding was affected by Coronavirus.
Side note, I'm stuffing this post with cute animals to give you something happy to think about!
1. Have a small ceremony now and reception later on.
If I were getting married now, this is the route I would take. Your wedding may be a big party, but we all know it's really about committing your life to your one true love. Why wait even longer to be married? You agreed to marry each other because of your love for each other, not because you were excited to party. Agree to love each other forever with just your officiant, photographer, and parents then have the big shebang on a later date.
Any couple of mine who chooses this option, I'm offering to shoot their ceremony for free. I don't want to give them any extra stress or expenses during this time, so the ceremony coverage is on me.
If you're wondering where to have your small ceremony, let me compile a list for you! So many venue owners are willing to help out during this time of uncertainty that it shouldn't be difficult to find a place to rent for an hour or so!
2. Cut your guest count
This option isn't ideal since I know you have more than 50 people wanting to party with you, but this will allow you to save some money as well as still having a celebration on your chosen day. Seriously though, not many people have more than 50 close friends and immediate family members, so why not make your wedding day about those who mean the most to you.
3. Postpone everything
This is the most commonly taken option. The entire vendor community is a tight-knit group and has your best interest at heart. Everyone I know has been willing to move everything to a new date for no additional fees. It may seem overwhelming at first, but your vendor team thrives in these types of conditions. We survive wedding days every weekend, so the least we can do for you is help you survive this global pandemic.
Where do I start.... if you haven't heard from your venue yet, contact them immediately! Ask what days they still have available this year and be open to Friday and Sundays. I have a lot of couples worry about having the same level of a party if you have a non-Saturday wedding, but don't worry. From my point of view, I never notice a difference. I even had a Sunday wedding myself by choice! All our friends still showed and we still partied pretty late! After you have a list from your venue, cross-reference that with your photographer and then every other vendor in order of importance. Photographers can only do a limited amount of weddings per year, so it's important to check with them immediately after your venue. If your photographer isn't available on any of the same dates, ask if they could potentially send an associate. I have one wedding like this. They were originally scheduled for March, but rescheduled to a day I'm booked in August. Thankfully, my amazing second shooter, Marissa, is able to take lead on that wedding while I still handle the editing.
What should I do now if I'm getting married in May or June, after the ban?
This is a tricky situation since we have no idea what the world will look like in a couple months. I recommend thinking about a backup plan now, but don't jump the gun and reschedule. If the ban is extended you'll be able to pull the trigger immediately on your backup plan, but no need to stress about it until the time comes. Start having open conversations with your vendors now, so you'll know the steps you need to take if you need to find an alternative plan.
What if one of my vendors gets sick?
Most vendors already have something written in their contract about this. Personally, if I were to get sick, I would send a suitable replacement photographer in my place. Fingers crossed, this doesn't happen, but we're human too. Things happen, but we promise you will be taken care of regardless of the situations thrown our way!
What if this is too stressful and I just want to cancel?
Please don't. As I mentioned above, it really hurts vendors when you cancel your event. From your point of view, it's also way easier to reschedule than start fresh with new vendors. Your vendors will work with you to hopefully relieve some stress! If you are set on cancelling, just know the majority of vendors won't give you your retainer back. That amount is typically used to take care of our daily business expenses and not everyone can cough up that money like a big company can. Rescheduling will save you way more stress down the road than if you were to cancel.
To summarize, don't panic! When you look back on your wedding day in years or decades, this will all just be a funny story. You're upset now, but looking back, it's just a small funny blimp on the journey of your life story! Now, be sure to practice social isolation now so it will be a long life...
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