March 31, 2020
I was hoping that I would not have to write this blog, wishing COVID-19 was overhyped and would not actually cause our couples too much distress. But the fact of the matter is COVID-19 is still here and probably will be for some time. We’re still unsure how far into the year it will affect weddings but we wanted to share some information for those late May/early June (and beyond) couples who are contemplating postponing their wedding. No matter what happens, we are all in this together and you will still get married! So do not feel down, we are BETTER than COVID-19.
Our heart breaks for every single couple who have even doubted their wedding date and plans because of COVID-19. Planning a wedding can be stressful, we are well aware, and we do not feel anyone deserves to have another level of stress added on top of things. Please note that we appreciate everyone who supports Ohana Events, and with that anyone who’s reading our blog cares about what we have to say. That means that we care about you as well. We have tried bending over backwards for our couples who may need rescheduling and we are willing to do the same for those couples who may not be able to afford a planner.
We’re offering complimentary 30 minute consultations for anyone who does not have a planner to discuss where you’re at in the planning process, how to go about postponing (which we also describe in this blog) and to give you the confidence that someone is looking out for you. We understand not everyone can afford a planner, even day-of coordinator, but that does not mean you need to go through this by yourself. We’re here for you!!
Also, I want to take a few minutes to explain that if you are a Spring couple, you are not alone. There are hundreds, actually thousands of other couples who are going through the exact same situation as you. Do not think “why me?” because this is one of those ‘once in a lifetime [hopefully] freak situations that is uncontrollable by any human, until we find a cure of course.
We understand that you might want some emotional support which is why people surf the internet to find other people who are dealing with this situation. What we recommend is to actually stay off of social media. While it can be helpful in ways, reading more and more articles that are not necessarily uplifting is more detrimental to your feelings. We recommend reaching out and talking through the situation with your hired professionals, which is step 3 in our “9 Step Process to Postpone” which you will see below.
Before we get to the process, we want to make sure everyone who’s reading takes a step back to think about the big picture. There is a worldwide deadly virus in place. The important word is deadly. So while weddings and events are my passion and what I live for, there are people who are suffering from this unimaginable virus and families who are being hurt from it. Also, jobs are being lost and other economic losses are happening. While I wish I could say our weddings and events are #1, we have to be realistic and say our health and wellbeing comes in first. So to our Spring couples, do NOT get down about the idea of postponing. It’s really not bad in retrospect of everything else that’s happening in this ever-evolving world.
So far we’ve had a handful of couples decide to postpone and we have one more late May wedding who is on the fence. When we were first hit with the news that late March weddings had to be postponed, I felt like we were running around with our heads cut off. It was horrible. The worst situation I could ever imagine as a planner because I could not magically make our March weddings happen, or stop the infamous virus. We were unsure of what to advise because new rules were being put together day after day. It was hard to stay on top of it. But now we are in this lull. Not many additional regulations have been put in place and we’re just waiting to see if the bans for events get pushed further into May and following months.
So on a positive note, because we’ve dealt with the postponing situation before, we know how to handle it, and to be honest it’s NOT that big of a deal! It has been relatively pretty seamless for our couples and not much has been lost along the way. Below is the order of attack that we recommend:
1. Check with your venue to see IF they are able to transfer your contract to a new date, if there would be fees attached, and what future dates are available.
A venue typically has the most say with a couple’s weddings, weather they have catering included, rentals in-house, an exclusive vendor list, a capacity that holds your guest count, and other important factors. For the easiest date transfer, it will be easiest to stay with your same venue. No other vendor will be able to a-okay transferring services until they know the final date you are interested in that your venue has. So get this information first!
Don’t forget about your church though, if you’re not getting married on-site. This will dictate the timing of your wedding day and potentially when your cocktail hour starts so it’s smart to get the availability/timing of your church at the same time as your venue.
2. Reach out to your VIP family and friends
This includes your immediate family, wedding party, and anyone who you would be devastated to not see at your wedding. If any of your close family or friends need to travel to your wedding, it’s important to make sure they can make it work with the new date.
3. Reach out to your vendor team in order of “importance”
Everyone views their vendors in different ways. If you’re considering postponing, I think one of the most important factors to consider is: Who have you put the most deposit money down for? If you’ve paid tens of thousands to your catering company, I’d highly recommend reaching out to them first to make sure they can accommodate your preferred date. Then, say you have your band or photographer next and they cost about the same amount of money. Reach out to who you care about having at your wedding more. Then continue to go down the list to see who is available.
** TIP **
Send out a survey to all of your vendors with the dates that the venue have available that you are considering so you can see what dates have the most vendors overall. It is easier than reaching out to everyone individually.
Besides knowing if your vendors are available for your new wedding date, it’s important to know if they will make that change without penalty. I know most vendors across the board have adjusted their cancellation/postponement clause since the virus struck, but make sure you read what you have in your original contract.
While we do not have any verbiage about postponement in our contracts and don’t ‘technically’ have to transfer services, we know it’s the right thing to do so we are not charging anything for weddings affected by COVID-19. There’s a point of sticking to your contract but also a point of doing what’s “right”. We’ve come across this with most of our vendors, while not explicitly saying the contracts would transfer without penalty, vendors have been over-the-top accommodating in this process.
This is why we have confidence that IF late May/June+ have to postpone, we’re hoping vendors will be willing to work with you within reason (not postponing over a year later, on a Saturday date in busy season, etc.).
This may be one portion of your wedding that affects you and your guests. If you had a room block at a hotel in March, April or May, those rates are bound to be less expensive than prime summer/fall weekends. So be aware that your room rates will most likely go up, especially because all Spring weddings will be postponing so there’s higher demand. If the new rate seems unapproachable to your guests, consider looking at a lower tier hotel that your guests will feel more comfortable at.
Your guests may have already reached out to ask you the status of your wedding, especially if they live out of state and have made travel accommodations. But even if they haven’t, I’m sure it’s on their mind as to what’s going on to they can adjust accordingly. You must reach out to all of your guests via email, text, phone, etc. so they get a direct notification of any wedding changes.
Updating your wedding website is also key! We recommend adding an entirely new tab/page that’s labeled “COVID-19” so you can explain everything that needs to be adjusted, such as the date, timing, hotel block information (adjusted rates and/or new hotel altogether), etc. And of course you need to adjust any original dates/times that’s explained on your main pages.
Along with updating your website, you should adjust your wedding date on your registries so it’s extra confirmation when your guests look it up, and also they have longer to purchase gifts from the list.
This is important if you’ve already sent out invitations. Your guests may have a different RSVP based on your new date. Your new “invitations” do not have to be expensive or high quality though. You can opt for an Evite (easiest way and most economical way to receive RSVPs), Paperless Post Greenvelope, or another printed invitation and RSVP card. They all have +/- so we recommend looking into all of them to find what works best for you.
While this is not of high-importance, some couples choose to put their wedding date on their wedding paper products or other decor. If you’ve purchased it and it’s not able to be adjusted do NOT pay to change it! No one will care, or even notice, a small detail like that. But if you have not printed or ordered these products, don’t forget to change the date.
Alright, we totally understand it’s not THAT easy to forget what you went through and have a chill mindset. But, let’s think of the silver lining! You’re going to be married the rest of your life, so why not embrace the engaged days! It’s a fun conversation starter when someone hears you’re one another’s “fiances”. You also have something to look forward to in the future! Believe me, the process goes by extremely fast so a few months added on does NOT hurt!
Finally, let’s talk about the party. “The party?” you may ask? Yes, I’m talking about the party that’s going to happen when you and all of your guests have overcome this crazy virus and are ready to have a wild time and break it down on the dance floor! I think everyone will be over-the-moon excited to have a party to attend and everyone will even more excited to celebrate your marriage.
So for all of the current OE couples, future OE couples and every other dang couple in this world who’s being affected by COVID-19, WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER!!! We WILL overcome this and you WILL get married. Do NOT get down, do NOT stop fighting for your big day and do NOT lose any excitement for your wedding. Please reach out if you need anything at all. Love you all, sending the biggest, strongest, hardest virtual hugs you could possibly imagine.
Danielle, Ohana Events