Nothing goes exactly as planned. We all know that so much more intimately than we did last year. We’re a little over a year into the pandemic that hit our industry pretty hard. Now that vaccines are rolling out and restrictions are easing up, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. With a busy planning season ahead, it’s time to help couples plan for fall and winter weddings a bit differently than we approached it last spring.
According to a study in April 2020, almost all couples didn’t plan to postpone. 65% of couples planned to move their reception to a later date in 2020. We now know that most of those same couples are right back where they started about a year ago in planning their wedding. Just like last year, their goal now for their fall and winter weddings is to make the best decisions they can with the information we have. If you’ve got clients getting married in the fall or winter of 2021, be mindful of the local restrictions and CDC guidelines. While the vaccine can improve our safety, having a “Plan B” is still extremely important in making couples feel confident in their wedding day plans. We highly suggest you address some of those contingency plans in your contract.
Contingency Plan in Your Contract
It’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution and create a contingency plan. I’m not only talking about your client’s wedding day logistics. Whether there’s a pandemic or not, wedding vendors are not invincible. It’s possible that we can fall ill or have to tend to an emergency on or before the wedding day (God forbid), even if we’re vaccinated.
Build a contingency plan for these unlikely scenarios right inside your contracts. Review your wedding planner networks and determine which planners you trust and admire. Just because you may compete doesn’t mean you can’t refer clients if there is too much on your plate. Your clients usually aren’t thinking about how to keep a house of cards from falling due to an act of God (and they shouldn’t have to). They’ll thank you for reassuring them that another planner will be available to take over your wedding day responsibilities in the improbable event that a backup is necessary.
Address the Vaccine Rollout
Couples getting married in the fall and winter are going to be researching makeup artists, hairstylists, caterers, and bakers this spring season. These are vendors who typically encourage couples to schedule trials and tastings. Since vaccines are rolling out, these vendor categories may update their protocols and requirements for in-person meetings. This is a good point in time to reassess your clients’ comfort level around in-person trials and tastings. Use this conversation to address their concerns and safety measures for wedding guests who test negative for the virus but are not vaccinated by the wedding day.
As of March 8, 2021, "fully vaccinated people will be allowed to gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks or social distancing," according to the CDC. They can also convene in small groups with others who have not yet been vaccinated but are considered low-risk of serious illness. The CDC clarified that a person is “fully vaccinated” two weeks after they received their final shot of the vaccine or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
This discussion is sensitive because not everyone has a choice to get the vaccine due to the criteria determined by each state. However, the Biden administration announced that America will have enough supply to vaccinate every resident by the end of May. Talking about this can give engaged couples a sense of empowerment and control over planning a stress-free day in the most realistic way possible. Encourage them to think about what information to update and clarify on their wedding website accordingly. Advise them to be crystal clear with their guests about their venue’s guidelines and keep out-of-town guests in mind.
Hero photo courtesy of Naomi Russell, Bend Weddings and Events