On May 7th, 2020, NACE Chicago Chapter and the Illinois events community sent this letter to Governor J.B. Pritzker, about the Covid-19 pandemic. We are currently gathering leaders, in the Illinois events community, to create guidelines to host safe events. We hope that these efforts will encourage government to allow events to happen sooner and in a safe manner. Below is the letter sent. Please contact email@example.com if you want your business listed as a supporter of the NACE Covid-19 Response Committee and to take part in creating guidelines for safe events.
In these uncertain times, it can be difficult to think about taking action when staying in place. Planning a wedding during the Covid-19 pandemic is a challenge, but is one that you are capable of tackling. Now more than ever we need to look to the future and see these events as the light at the end of this tunnel. It’s a time to take action by continuing to plan your dream wedding.
The wedding industry certainly recognizes that you may have concerns with taking additional steps and making commitments at this time. However, this period of uncertainty will be temporary. Our future is full of celebrations and weddings are still moving forward and booking every day. With postponements from spring and summer 2020 taking up late 2020 and 2021 dates, you need to stay motivated and moving forward with decisions regarding your wedding. Therefore, I want to share some suggestions on how to make those commitments with your wedding vendor partners and feel confident about those decisions. Remember that we are all in this together and all want to see celebrations of life continue.
First Right Holds
Wedding planning requires lots of decision making. Lining up dates, people and services can take some time and wedding vendors understand that. When considering a vendor for your wedding ask them about their hold process. Most vendors will gladly hold a date for you with a first right of refusal. They will note your event for the specified date and provide you a time period to make that decision. If another couple wants to secure them for the same date, they will contact you to give you first right to the date. This enables you to look at all the options and know when you will likely need to make a decision.
Concessions and Incentives
Decision making can be difficult in the best times and uncertain times can bring additional burden, but look at this as an opportunity. Ask your vendors if they are providing any concessions or incentives for bookings within this time period. We are all motivated to see your wedding day be the best day ever. Maybe the caterer will throw in some late night snacks. The photographer might add some pages to your album as a signing bonus. The band might offer you some additional performance time. It doesn’t hurt to ask how they help make this decision easier for you.
In order to secure a vendor they will ask for a deposit with the contract. We understand that during this stressful time, couples may be concerned with making those deposits and how they could be impacted in the future. Many vendors are open to breaking up their deposit schedule. For example, they may typically require a 50% deposit at contract signing, but with the current situation, they may be willing to reduce that to 25%. Have open and honest discussions with the vendor about deposits and their postponement and cancellation policies. The more information you have the better you will feel about making the decision to move forward.
I encourage you to FEEL EXCITED! It is ok to be happy and hopeful about the future and, in fact, it is a wonderful thing to focus on during this time. Make decisions based on Joy and not fear. This period of isolation will end and we will all be able to come together soon. In the meantime, happy planning to all of our happy couples.
North Shore Weddings & Events
When people question the amount of time and money spent on weddings, I usually respond with the concept that we really only remember two things - Celebration and Trauma. While we are living through this stressful time of the Covid-19 pandemic, I hope we can look to the future to create positive memories that include celebration. When we get through this together, we are going to want to celebrate together! The exact dates of that celebration may be still too soon to determine, but one thing we know is that we are going to value the time we will have together and will be looking forward to those events with a new perspective. I encourage you to be excited about your future wedding plans and continue to move forward on creating your dream wedding. Here’s some ideas on how you can continue to plan your wedding from home during the Covid-19 pandemic and create a great celebration, in the upcoming months and year.
Hire a Wedding Planner
If anytime shows the value of a wedding planner, it is now. Wedding Planners are advocates for you. No matter what stage you are in planning your wedding, the assistance of a wedding planner will make the process easier and provide reassurance that you have support and experience behind your decisions.
Day-of or Month-of-Coordination has become an accepted “must have” for couples, but those services do not extend to the current issues of postponing weddings and understanding and negotiating contracts in a crisis. Having an experienced advocate to help lead you through these types of difficult decisions is well worth the investment. You can research wedding planners online and set up calls to discuss services from the comfort of your own home. This is a great first step to creating a celebration to remember.
Venue searching while the venues are closed
Engagement season just ended and couples are ready to pick a date and select a venue for their wedding day, but due to Covid-19, the venues are closed to the public. This presents a challenge to couples, especially as 2020 couples are moving their dates to later in the year and 2021 dates may be taken by postponements.
My advice would be to do research on the venues online. Look at images of previous weddings both on their websites and tagged Instagram pictures, but also on Pinterest and Google images. Most venues still have representatives working remotely, so contact them about available dates and ask them for virtual tours, pictures, menus and event floor plans, so you can imagine your wedding at that venue. Ask how long the venue can hold a date and set up a tentative site tour for a month or two from now. To get the most popular venues for the most popular dates, you may have to make a decision prior to seeing it in-person, but ask if they can have a lower initial deposit and make sure you understand their cancellation terms, in case you change your mind.
Book Vendors Remotely
After selecting a wedding date, ceremony location and reception location, it’s time to look at Bands, DJ’s, Film and Photographers. Luckily, thanks to the internet, there are plenty of resources for you to research these vendors at home. Many of my clients do not meet in-person with these vendors, if they come with my recommendation, and will simply do a call or facetime appointment to get to know them. Do some research on quality vendors by checking out their reviews online and asking friends for recommendations. Then you can set up a phone call with the vendor to discuss their philosophies, packages and pricing. Many people around the world select their vendors this way, so the Covid-19 pandemic does not need to hold up your planning for the future.
Tastings, event design appointments and many creative elements to the wedding may have to be held off until in-person appointments are available, but you can do a lot of great research online to share with all these companies and expedite the planning process. We love Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram to share images and sound bites for what you are looking for. All your guests are at home and it’s a great time to get their addresses for invitations. Register for gifts online and connect it to your website. Order Save the Dates or type up your Invitation wording to submit to the designer. It’s a great time to research and plan your honeymoon. If you have a Wedding Planner, they can provide you a list of tasks that you can accomplish over the next few weeks and schedule calls to check in with them. They will provide you reassurance and keep you on track.
The most important thing to remember is that even if your date is postponed, it doesn’t mean that everything has to stop. You can still enjoy this process and with trusted vendors you can continue to stay on track. We are all standing together, while apart and celebration is in our future!
Owner & Principal Event Planner
North Shore Weddings & Events