To all of our loyal and lovely readers, if the coronavirus outbreak is affecting your wedding plans, please know we are here for you! First and foremost, our hearts go out to you as you attempt to navigate this crazy situation for which no one could have been prepared. These are unprecedented times, and we have admittedly been at a loss for words or advice, which is why we haven’t addressed this topic until now. However, with more and more couples being impacted and no real end in sight, we wanted to share our best words of wisdom for those who are facing a change to their wedding date.
Do not wait for your venue to close (if it hasn’t already) or for your vendors to reach out to you. Make the initial step, contact them, and ask about contingency plans and what your options might be. There is no telling if closures and bans on gatherings of a certain size will be extended beyond dates already published and you don’t want to find yourself in an even worse situation with less time to figure out a plan B. Be proactive and do what you can NOW! Couples who are getting married in May or beyond, we’re talking to you.
Review your contracts.
Dig out that magnifying glass and go over the fine print. Most contracts contain clauses about refunded payments, date transfers, Acts of God, force majeure, etc. Every contract is different and some vendors may be willing to bend their own rules a little bit, while others might be sticklers for signed agreements. Know that there may be financial losses or additional expenses as well, unfortunately.
Ask the hard questions.
Do not be afraid to ask your vendors things like “Will I be able to recoup any of my money?”, “How are you keeping your staff healthy and place of business sanitized?”, or even “What if you are sick on my wedding day?” These are tough questions but they are necessary conversations to have at this point. Your vendors’ responses can help put you at ease or allow you to start thinking of alternate arrangements should they be needed.
Postpone, don’t cancel.
Please, please, please don’t cancel your wedding. Postpone it. Not only will you be robbing yourself of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but you will unintentionally be hurting so many of your vendors’ businesses in the process. A vast majority of vendors are more than willing to transfer your deposit and contract to a new date as long as they are available. Cancellations and refunded revenue, however, have trickle down effects for small businesses. Wedding vendors are laying off employees. Some will be forced to close their doors after all of this is said and done. Your continued business is vital to their survival.
Be kind to your vendors.
None of this is their fault. Every single wedding professional is in a very tough spot right now, while every couple whose wedding is impacted is heartbroken. So much of what is happening is just beyond anyone’s control. Please remember that we are all in this together. Be kind and understanding to your wedding vendors and know that they are trying so, so hard to still make your dream wedding a reality.
We can’t control situations, only how we react to them. While this is an incredibly terrible spot for so many of you to be in, try to stay positive. Choose to work through these changes with a hopeful mindset. Be open to a Friday or a Sunday wedding. Trust that your vendors are bending over backwards behind the scenes to serve you well. Take this time to work together with your fiance to come up with creative solutions. Emotions and anxiety are high for everyone right now but try not to make rash decisions in haste. Take care of yourself and approach this with a level head. As much as we love a good wedding, it’s really nothing more than a big party. What matters most are you, your better half, and your commitment to each other. Your love will get you through this and you’ll be married one way or another. It may not happen where or when you had thought, but it WILL happen and it will be beautiful.
Support small & local businesses.
***This is important now more than ever and goes beyond just weddings.*** Forty four percent of the US economy is driven by small businesses. Major industries like the airline industry may get government bailouts and retailers like Amazon and Target will recover. Your favorite mom-and-pop store down the street may not. If you love them, support them. Shop online. If you don’t need what they sell, send a gift to a friend. Order take-out or delivery. Buy a gift card to use at a later date. Schedule an appointment or event for sometime in the future. Share their social media content with your friends and followers. Leave them a Google review. Do whatever you can with whatever you have. No action is too small. That’s the beauty of supporting a small business. We feel and deeply appreciate every single step you take to show us you love what we’re doing, and this matters SO much right now.
2021+ couples, keep planning.
While it might seem strange and trivial to worry about planning a wedding in the midst of all this chaos, we urge you to keep doing it. Couples getting married in 2021 and beyond, you will be the lifeline to this industry. Future business is what will bring your vendors back to life. Make inquiries, sign contracts, and, most critically, pay deposits. Increased cash flow in troubled times like this will allow your vendors to stay afloat and be in business when your big day rolls around.
While our tips might not seem like much, please know an entire community of Pittsburgh wedding vendors stands behind us and with you during this troubling time. Email or DM us with any and all questions or just to vent! We want to help in ever big or small way we can. In fact, we’ve rounded up a list of the various ways wedding vendors are helping their clients through the COVID-19 pandemic. Sending you so much love and support!
Disclaimer: We are not legal professionals and this post cannot be considered legal advice. All tips are based off of personal recommendations and opinions.