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Love in the Time of Coronavirus: How COVID-19 Affects Your Wedding Day
As concerns about COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, spread across the globe, the Centers for Disease Control recommends people avoid crowded places and maintain distance from others. While it's far from the biggest COVID-related concern, this pandemic will affect couples with upcoming nuptials. California Wedding Day asked local wedding experts how they're responding, whether you should postpone your wedding and how to stay safe.
“The most important thing I am doing for our couples is keeping them calm and collected. In times like this panic and anxiety is the LAST thing I want anyone to feel let alone our clients. I always express that the engagement process is the most joyous time in their lives, it’s supposed to be filled with constant smiles, love and so many memories—not fear, not panic and certainly not COVID-19.” —Alexandra Rembac, Sterling Engagements
“First it’s important to be empathetic and compassionate when assessing this issue. Keeping the client calm and keeping their fears at bay is highly important. Coming up with a solid plan that is both feasible and understandable helps them feel secure. For clients getting married after April letting them know to let it ride out for a minute before embarking on any changes helps ease their pain as well. Coming up with a communication plan to their guests also helps ease anxiety.” —Percy Sales, Percy Sales Events
“Don’t make choices based on emotions or anxiety. Let your planner come up with options before making a final decision is crucial.” —Percy Sales
“Marriage is about love and union. Please get informed, base your decisions on the information, weigh all your options and I would also like to share that this industry is the way of means to all of our families, that we do have commitments and responsibilities. We represent 30% of the workforce. I would empower them to be leaders to support our efforts, to make a positive impact in our economy and most of all to let them know how passionate we are about creating and bringing their dream day to life. Overcoming obstacles is so rewarding. Let's all be creative and innovative in finding a solution and to preserve love, health and calm for us and future generations.” —Dalel Snider, Los Angeles Floral Couture
SHOULD YOU POSTPONE?
Here’s what our experts say.
“There is no wrong decision. You must do what is best for you and your comfort level. You know each other and you know your guests. Some may feel they cannot relax or celebrate and must postpone, others will want the show to go on! This is the most exciting time in your life, and I encourage each and every couple to not let this virus take that away from you. You’re getting married, period. Remember that and keep it in mind as you determine what is best for you together.
"Marriages are hard, they take work, there’s ups and downs and just so many challenges that will push you in ways you may not be prepared for. This is the first bump in your journey together, and how you chose to approach it and ultimately handle it is going to set the tone for so many decisions ahead. Love each other, rely on each other and support one another through it. The right decision will reveal itself and through it, the constant will be the strength you find in one another together.” —Alexandra Rembac, Sterling Engagements
“I’m advising my clients getting married after April I’ve advised them to ride it out for now but figuring out a Plan B to execute is also being put in place. Proactively working with vendors and figuring out options is a huge help and gives clients options in postponing or rescheduling.” —Percy Sales
“For us, the most important thing we can convey to our couples is that we are all in this together and we will get through it together. We are offering our couples the option to postpone sometime later this year without any additional fees. This hasn’t been easy for them or us however everyone has been very appreciative of our flexibility and understanding.” — Sara Parrell, Muckenthaler Mansion & Colette’s Catering
“I’m supporting my clients by being flexible and patient with them. If they want to reschedule the wedding, I let them. If I have another wedding on their new wedding date, I will send my associate. My heart really goes out to them because they have been planning their wedding for a year and it’s devastating and disappointing that they have to cancel or reschedule or have half of their guests cancel. I’m trying to do anything I can to support my clients during this uncertain and scary time. “—photographer Carissa Woo
HOW VENDORS ARE HANDLING POSTPONEMENTS
“We are not charging any penalties; we are offering them store credit. Being a full service studio and since we do have a storefront, we were able to offer them this option with no expiration date, so they can allocate their store credit at their discretion; so if in the future they decide to celebrate with friends and family we can design and provide the florals for them.” —Dalel Snider, Los Angeles Floral Couture
“Over the past 41 years, we have survived multiple recessions, the LA riots, the crash of the aerospace industry, 9-11, Y2K, multiple flu scares, the AIDS epidemic and so much more. This is different. Regardless of how a stampede starts, the best practice is to get yourself to safety and do whatever it takes to survive. We’ve never experienced anything like this. Therefore, we have adopted a “Community Over Contracts” approach. Regardless of the ironclad terms in our Event Agreements, we have decided that clients will be given 12 months (give or take) to reschedule with 100% of existing payments applied toward a rescheduled event.” —Jim Wharton, New York Food Company
“We are offering all clients through April the opportunity to rebook their event within the next 18 months with no penalties and trying to be flexible in order to ensure their event happens in the future, and that they don’t experience financial hardship for changing the event date. Completely cancelling is another thing though, as there are hard costs associated with planning any event.” —Nicole Stubbs, City Market Social House
Line 204 (rental company) is offering flexible bookings, has temporarily amended their cancellation policy and will apply client’s deposits toward any future booking, within 12 months' time.
Kramer Events says if you are needing to cancel or postpone your event, you’ll be able to transfer all amounts paid over to a future event occurring of equal or greater value within the next 12 months. Many other event vendors are offering similar guarantees. We highly advise asking them before booking so you proceed with confidence.
Wedding vendors are implementing procedures to ensure your safety.
“Obviously, there is a lot of talk about washing your hands, hand sanitizer and stocking up. For a wedding it’s a little different as we want to go beyond that. Things that come to mind right off the bat are-- including mini sanitizers in welcome bags or upon arrival, avoiding all stations, both food and beverage but also interactive, where people touch things, encouraging guests to stay home if they feel under the weather and making sure any elderly or breathing impaired guests are of the utmost concern.” —Alexandra Rembac, Sterling Engagements
“As leaders we have been proactive in providing health guidelines and motivational tools to preserve and share a calm and positive attitude. To be creative and dedicate this time to think outside the box, implement different sources of income and reflect on the impact of this event and how can we move forward. Quitting, giving up or living in fear is not an option.”
“Once COVID 19 appeared in the media, we implemented the below procedures in order to protect our event attendees, employees and other vendors. I suspect these types of procedures will become common place and normal operating procedures going forward.” —Nicole Stubbs, City Market Social House
- Mandatory pre-screening via email survey for all event attendees by the client: Any attendee that has experienced fever/flu symptoms within 96-hours leading up to the event, any attendee that has travelled to highly affected areas with-in 14-days leading up to the event, any attendee that has been directly exposed to a person with symptoms and associated risk factors with-in 14-days leading up to the event, should be prohibited from attendance.
- Optional thermal screening at check-in – we are in the process of procuring walk-through screeners and hand held thermal scanners, and will engage trained healthcare professionals to monitor all event staff and attendees at check-in for fever and signs of infection.
- Implementing no-touch greeting policies for event staff and attendees.
- Increasing cleaning and complete sanitizing of restrooms from hourly to every 30-minutes throughout the event.
- Increasing cleaning personnel to wipe down and sanitize hand railings, door hardware and all surfaces throughout the event.
- Increasing the frequency of mandatory handwashing for all service staff to include hourly handwashing in addition to following use of restroom facilities.
- Portable hand sanitizing stations positioned at entrances and exits so that all attendees and personnel working the event can ‘gel in and gel out.’
“Our team will be washing their hands with soap and water at multiple points throughout the event. Although it’s hard for us, we will refrain from handshakes, high fives, hugs, etc. We do air hugs, however!” —Kramer Events
Microphones will be disinfected before and after usage by your guests and they will be put on stands for hands-free usage.
Kramer Events will also no longer distribute props t photo booths and screens will be disinfected before and after each event. Kramer will handle the picture taking and album creation so guest won't have to touch anything.
STILL PLANNING YOUR WEDDING BUT GUESTS CAN’T COME
“I suggested doing a live stream of the wedding so their guests who are concerned about coming can tune in.” — Natalie Sofer of Natalie Sofer Weddings and Events