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Wedding Postponements due to COVID-19: A Planner’s Perspective

2020 was supposed to be a record breaking year for the events industry. The average wedding cost was projected to range from 35-41K, with an average guest count of 140 or more. And then, coronavirus happened.

That is not to say that COVIS-19 just ‘snuck up on us.’ Like so many, I had been following along in the news as it made its way through China, Italy, and the west coast, but I can honestly say that I didn’t expect it to affect the events industry the way that it did.

Within a matter of days, hundreds of corporate events, concerts and other large scale gatherings were either completely canceled, or postponed. What’s more, the window of what events were deemed allowable dramatically shrunk from 100 to 10— making it essentially impossible for any scheduled weddings to go on as planned.

Magnolia Grove had 13 weddings and 10 corporate events that were either rescheduled or canceled altogether, all within the span of about 30 hours.

The vast majority of weddings in North Carolina occur between the months of April-June and September-November, so the idea of losing that business with essentially 48 hours notice, is overwhelming to say the least.

What’s more, is the fact that as a planner, I am quite literally hired to have the answers to problem situations. If a boutonniere breaks, I run to my emergency kit and grab the supplies to repair it. When a guest faints because they were dehydrated in 100+ degree temperatures, or a bride has an allergic reaction to fire ants— they look to my team to help.

I have been working in the events industry for the past 13 years, and I can honestly say, nothing has caught me off guard quite like COVID-19. I had to tell, not one, but 13 couples, that I didn’t know what was going to happen next, but that we would support them through the process however we could.

That’s a scary moment. To be considered the expert in your field— and to still not have the ‘right’ answer. So I started researching, talking to my vendor friend, our clients, and coming up with a plan.

While it is by no means perfect, this is what we’re currently recommending to anyone planning a wedding in April or May of this year:

Talk to your family. Discuss the pros/cons of getting married legally on your scheduled date, and what that would look like for you if your grandparents, parents, or possibly even closest friends can’t be there. This is going to look differently for everyone, so it needs to be a decision that feels right for you.

Contact your venue. Most every venue at this point is requiring couples from April- mid May to reschedule their wedding to a date later in 2020. If you are getting married right after this current ban, I would recommend contacting your venue about a plan B date, just in case this ban gets pushed back past May 15th.

Talk to your planner. Even if you are only bringing your planner in for month of coordination, let them help you through this process. They can communicate with your vendor team and help to come up with a rescheduled date that everyone is happy with. If you do not have a wedding planner and you’re in the midst of a reschedule-- hire someone. Even if it is just for a small block of hours, they can help you navigate rescheduled dates and communicate with your other vendors.

It is important to note, that while most vendors will happily help you reschedule your wedding, you will not receive a refund for a canceled event. Because of this, your vendor team wants to do everything they can to help you find a new date-- even if it’s for a reception later in the year.

While the concept of rescheduling an event is stressful, vendors in the event industry are banding together to help one another like never before. Planners are working with one another, to ensure that they’re disseminating helpful resources to brides who are in the midst of rescheduling their wedding.

DJ’s and Hair and Makeup artists are contacting their competitors, in an attempt to contract out team members for rescheduled events that they are personally no longer available for. People are not saying “Sorry, we aren’t available-- good luck,” they’re saying “We’re going to find a way to help you through this.”

No matter how scary it is to own a business right now, it is also very heartwarming to see friends band together and do whatever it takes to help their clients, and each other, through this.

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