Guest post written by Kim Morrill, owner of Your Perfect Bridesmaid
Dear couples! We know that even in the best of times, wedding planning can be stressful. Afterall, that is why we have a job. Sadly, for many of you, the COVID-19 health crisis has taken wedding stress to unprecedented levels.
As you know, California, Oregon and Washington (the three states we work in) have now banned all social gatherings, of any size. These laws have required couples who were getting married in March and April to make the heart breaking decision to move their their wedding.
To our current YPB clients, please know we are here. If you need anything, do not hesitate to reach out to your Lead Planner.
To couples we aren’t currently working with, we hope the information below is helpful to you as you navigate the ever changing reality. If you would like to talk to us about playing a more active role helping you, please reach out. We are here for you too!
During this time, we are working 24/7 to support local couples. Here are some updates/take-a-ways from the past 2 weeks.
- We have been partnering with our fellow wedding professionals to respond to our couples in a cohesive, industry-wide mannor.
- We particpated in a large vendor round table last Tuesday with 90 of our fellow vendors. These round tables are now happening weekly.
- We have created spreadsheets with venue and vendor availability to help our couples move dates.
- We have partnered with our fellow vendors to create a spreadsheet full of discounts being offered by over 100 local, top tier professionals. While this list will soon be added to a new industry website that is being built as I type this, you can view it here now..
- As a team, YPB has moved our team meetings to weekly as well. Because information is rapidly changing, we are staying current with these team meetings.
- We are creating a new normal, to allow us to keep delivering 100% for our clients.
- We are moving ALL meetings to remote meetings. Thank goodness technology exists to help us bridge the distance and keep everyone safe while we continue to make progresss on wedding planning.
- We are working with caterers so our clients can do to-go tastings.
- We are working with our rental partners so that we can do remote rental showroom mtgs.
- We are working with our venues to ensure we can do remote/mobile venue walk thrus.
Make no mistake, we are learning as we go, but we are committed to continuing to deliver 100%, because we know that is what you deserve!
As we have been working with our couples and helping them navigate wedding planning thru this crisis, we have been keeping track of the most common questions. While we want to speak with you personally, we hope these answers can be of some help as well.
- Should I postpone my wedding? This is a deeply personal question. And while I cannot answer it for you, here are some of things I think you should consider when evaluating the best course of action for you and your families.
- When is your wedding? If your wedding is between now and early May I strongly encourage you to consider postponement. I do not come to that recommendation lightly. I know how badly you want to say I do, and I don’t want to dash your hopes. But realistically, I think its the safer call. I think we are going to need some more time to get the travel services, and accommodations back up to speed. Also, I want to make sure you have enough time to put the finishing touches on your plans and not feel rushed, or feel as though things are half-assed.
- How many of your guests are traveling? If you have a large number of guests traveling, you may want to consider rescheduling. Even once recreational air travel has resumed, this health crisis is having very real economic implications on everyone. Your guests may need a breather to rebuild their finances before they can afford to fly out.
- Would you rather get married sooner, or would you rather have everyone there? Again, some couples would rather say I Do in front of a smaller crown than to delay. We totally understand and should you decide to move forward, we are here to work with you to dot the I’s, Cross the T’s, and make your wedding a party folks will never forget!
- What are the contract limitations with your vendor teams? If you are considering a change of date, I really encourage you to look into dates later in 2020, and I encourage you to be open to a Friday/Sunday. You are going to have so much more flexibility and less push back. Also, its going to be much easier to find a date that lines up with your entire vendor team’s availability.
- Should I get insurance? I know it can be tempting to take our an event insurance policy given everything that is up in the air. Sadly thought, the policies are not covering damages caused by COVID-19. Please save your money. While I know it can sound totally self serving, I really do believe the best insurance you can buy for your wedding is hiring a wedding planner. One of my colleagues said it best “You’re not paying a planner for when things get rosy, you’re paying a planner for when shit hits the fan.” Well I think it’s safe to say..shit has surely hit the fan. What I want you to know is that we’re ready and we are here to advocate for our clients and future couples.
- Will my vendors go out of business? Thankfully, none of the vendors we have talked to are facing that reality. But make no mistake, this crisis is having a horrible impact on everyone’s businesses. To try to offset the damages, one of the things I am encouraging is that couples (if they are able to) pay ½ of their final payments when they were originally due. With the second half due two weeks before their new date. This cash flow will be a huge help to your vendors, and will hopefully help them stay in business. Additionally, many businesses are offering discounts now for new bookings, or for prepayment of your final invoice. If you are able, paying your balances now will not only help your vendors, but it can save you some serious cash. To see a list of local discounts that we have put together please click here!
- Should I keep planning my 2021 wedding. Yes! If you are planning a late 2020 or 2021 wedding, I highly encourage you to keep up the momentum and even fast track your planning. Because we are having to move so many weddings, late summer and 2021 dates are going quick! Also, like I mentioned, many top notch, incredible vendors are offering discounts on new bookings. Here is a link to that spreadsheet! Take advantage of those cash savings and round out your vendor team!
- I want to postpone my wedding, what do I do? Well first of all, I am so sorry you have to do this. I know this was the absolutely last thing you wanted! . If you are a YPB client, or if you want our help postponing your wedding please email us. But here is a high level overview of the steps.
- Decide on an ideal time of year you want to move the wedding to. I cannot stress enough, we are going to have so much more flexibility with your vendors contract clauses if you choose to keep it in 2020. We will also have a much better shot of finding a date that lines up with everyone’s schedule if you are open to other days other than Saturday. I know this can feel like we are adding insult to injury, and let me be clear, we will advocate for whatever dates you have in mind, but we want to set realistic expectations as well.
- Reach out to your vendors. While we do this for YPB Clients, we highly recommend you set up a video conference call with your whole vendor team. It will make things so much easier if everyone is checking availability and working thru details as a team. We also have worked with our vendor partners to create a spreadsheet of everyone’s availability so we can check dates pretty quickly.
- Sign revised contracts. We want to make sure you are protected moving forward. Please have your vendors send over a revised contract with the new date and payment schedule.. I know it can be a pain, but trust me, it is important.
- Update your guests: Once a new date has been landed on, it’s time to spread the news. There are a few ways you can choose to do this. If you have a wedding website, that is a great way to keep everyone up to date with the most current info. If you need help building that website, please let us know. Also, our Stationery designer friends can create a postcard to mail out. Lastly, you can use this time to send a handwritten note. In these times of social distancing, I know your friends and family memes would love a warm, personal handwritten note.
- Keep up the momentum. While I know it may seem like you will have some downtime, I encourage you to keep up with your planning so nothing falls behind. Stay in touch with your planner and revise your to-do list and planning timeline.
One of the worst things about this crisis is all of the uncertainty. If you are like me and like to stay busy, here are five proactive, helpful, (and distracting) things you can do right now.
- Reach out to your vendor team. Even if you aren’t considering rescheduling, I recommend reaching out to your vendor team. Now is a good time to check in, take note of any staff chances, or changes to their “office” hours. Along those lines, make sure you have copies of all your vendor contracts. If any are missing use this time to as for a copy…just in case.
- Build a wedding website. If you don’t have one already, now is the time. There are some really great tools out there to help make this super easy. And if you need help, just reach out.
- Work on your registry. While I know you cannot go into stores right now, you can take advantage of online registries and cross that off your list. Bonus points if you connect your registry to your wedding website. 🙂
- Save some money! If you still have vendors to find, now is the time. Save yourself some money by taking vendors up on the discounts they are offering. Here is a link to the document that lists current savings.
- Work on your vows/ceremony. One of the things this health crisis has done is remind all of us what really matters. Use that renewed appreciation (and all this time at home) to start writing your vows. As a bonus, re-reading those vows daily will help ensure you don’t kill your partner during this mandated quarantine. 🙂
Our industry has really come together to help our couples, and I want to some additional resources that are out there. I will keep this up to date, as I find more information.
- A blog post from our friends at Hive Catering: “Why you should hire a planner during the Coronavirus pandemic“.
- A list of local offerings from our catering friends:
- A blog post from Katy Weaver (an incredible local photographer)
Well guys, I know this whole thing sucks, but please know we are here for you. If we can be of any help, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We will keep you posted with developments as they happen. Our goal is to keep you informed and to ensure you feel supported. And please remember, while your wedding may need to be rescheduled, #loveisnotcancelled. And once we get thru this, folks are going to want to party. Your wedding is going to be the perfect opportunity to celebrate Life and Love!
If you need anything, you can reach me at: [email protected], or by phone at: 503.984.8652.
Take care! Be well!