We are living through uncertain times – simple as that. So much information, disinformation and more floating around the digital web; it’s hard to make sense of what is actually happening. Please bear in mind, a lot of what we are reading is fear based journalism, so I encourage you to stay vigilant, respect the Coronavirus, and do your part to stay connected and communal while we ride out this pandemic paranoia.

All that being said, there’s several couples who had wedding plans in the next weeks or months and they are now being forced to reschedule due to concerns over the virus. What a task to take on after all that effort to get your wedding planned in the first place. So, what needs to be done? I’ve have compiled a list of tips to help you manage your wedding rescheduling crisis below:

1 – Stay Calm & Do Not Panic

You have options. You and every other vendor – literally have been affected. With a little diligence, planning and deep breaths you can safely navigate your way through this. If you absolutely HAVE to get married, you may still have virtual options. Check in with your local state and district governance policies and review their virtual online marriage options. For example, you can click here to check: https://www.dccourts.gov/services/marriage-matters

2 – Utilize Your Wedding Planner

Contact your wedding planner, if you have one, and establish some ground rules and parameters using our checklist as your guide and make sure they are involved in the adjustment plan. Hopefully they can take on most of the work since they are your wedding planner after all.

3 – Review Your Contracts

Now is the time – you have plenty of it – to break out all your vendors contracts (assuming you did this correctly and got contracts from all your vendors in the first place) and thoroughly review them together with your fiance. Use this as an opportunity to work together on something wedding related. Clearly understand all their policies and agreements and consider making a spreadsheet, outlining refund policies, reschedule policies, deposit policies, etc. You need to understand the financial implications for each vendor – don’t stress on the language just yet, if it implies you are financially responsible – like we said, we are all in this together and all suffering the fallout, so regardless of the language, I encourage you to work with each vendor and come up with a solution that works for everyone’s best interests. Personally, I love the idea of scheduling a ZOOM conference with EVERYBODY on your wedding team and having a group conference call together. Remember – you are likely not their ONLY client pivoting, so be respectful of that with each vendor, stay calm, breathe, and work through this as a team.

4 – Discuss a Backup Plan with Your Fiance, Family, and Bridal Party

Be prepared to have a few dates in mind before you go to your vendors. What is the best case scenario? What is the path of least resistance? How can you pull off your original plan? How can you scrap the original and revise it so some of it is still intact? What options are you prepared to sacrifice?  These are some of the questions you should be considering as you plan the backup plan. Once you have compiled the plan(s) then schedule the conference call with the vendor. If you can’t get the group together, call each vendor and discuss. I also suggest writing everything down and sharing the document with all vendors. Maybe set up a google shared folder so that you don’t have to rewrite it every time someone adds or adjusts the master document.

5 – Notify Your Guest of the New Plan

You don’t really have the luxury of time, well maybe you do if your wedding isn’t until later in the year, but I recommend sending an email to EVERYONE first. Why an email? A. this saves money, and B. it’s quick and simple and you have a written record of everything. If you do have a new date for the wedding, consider breaking your email up into several parts: the notification of the reschedule, the love note to tell them how much you appreciate them, the new save the date, etc etc.

6 – Update Your Website

If you have one of those cute websites – UPDATE IT! Include this update before you send out the guest update and include the website with the updates in the email. Make sense?

7 – Try to Keep Your Original Vendor Team Together

They are your dream team for a reason. If you refer to tip #3 and bring them all together, not only will you be fostering collaboration, you will be showing all vendors how much you care about retaining them and you know how far vanity goes with a wedding vendor? REALLY FAR!

8 – Consider Eloping

And if you don’t want to go through all of the steps previously stated, consider eloping and doing something smaller 🙂

9 – Don’t Forget to Do It Your Way

Don’t worry about disappointing people, the majority of your guests will likely be relieved that they don’t have to make the decision of whether or not to cancel their RSVP themselves. Once you’ve made your new plans, roll with them – do not look back and second guess yourself – instead, have fun with it. Who knows, maybe view this time around to fix some of the items you may not have liked on the first go. Consider this a second chance to get it even more PERFECT!

So, those are my tips based on what I’ve seen/experienced being a wedding photographer for several years. I also spoke to some wedding vendors in the Hilton Head area and got their tips based on the way they operate their business. Check them out!

Jardiniere Events – Florist

https://jardiniereevents.com/index.html

  • Be honest with your vendors about both your expectations and your budget. We have a saying at Jardiniere: “Pinterest doesn’t show pricing.” Brides should have no reason to feel uncomfortable sharing their ideas, and I feel a strong obligation to give them realistic feedback. I’m not interested in “upselling” our Brides, and I choose to prioritize the budget I’m given. If you are upfront about what you are comfortable spending, I can better bridge the gap between your wildest dreams and budget parameters. The opposite is also true, and equally as important — if you have more room in your budget than what you’ve shared with me, I might not suggest specialty blooms or other other upgrades that you would’ve liked to have. It’s my goal that each Bride feels comfortable with what she’s spending, but also feels she’s received the maximum value in her flowers and experience with Jardiniere.
  • Choose vendors based on your instincts and trust. It sounds so simple, but it’s so important. There are many wonderful vendors to choose from, and I can assure you that each one of us will do our best to make your day special. Aside from personality, we often have different approaches, design preferences, policies, and pricing. Gather all the information you can, review quotes and contracts, and ask every question you can think of. I like when a Bride has a list of questions, because it gives me the opportunity to build a trusting relationship as we work through the specifics of the design beyond a single phone call or in-person consultation. And, if an unforeseen obstacle occurs (looking at you, COVID-19!), the trust carries through and we can work together to find solutions.
  • Have fun! It goes without saying that this is a very stressful time for everyone. It’s truly wonderful to take time out of the day and focus on (1) something resembling normalcy, (2) the undeniable certainty that we will come through this pandemic and life will go on and (3) how lucky I am to do what I love most: design beautiful weddings with the amazing  women who have chosen the Lowcountry for one of the most important moments in their lives.

Magnolia Affairs – Wedding Planning & Design

Tips provided by Karina of https://www.magnoliaaffairs.com/ (pictured).

  • It’s okay to have lots of emotions right now. It’s okay to be sad, angry, upset and have all the feelings. We are there with you. Trust in your wedding professional team to help you through this.
  • Reschedule, don’t cancel. Your wedding day is one that you will remember forever. Don’t cancel it. You may be frustrated, angry and sad right now but there will come a time when you will want to celebrate.
  • If you have a planner- work with them! They will probably already have been in contact with the majority of your wedding pro team and can guide you on their policies and available dates.
  • If you do decide to postpone your date, check with your venue for a list of available dates first. Be open to Fridays and Sundays. If you are considering a late summer date- also be open to weekdays! Weekday weddings are super popular for summer destination weddings because your guests can make a vacation out of it- and who won’t want a vacation after all this is over?!
  • Pick your top 3 dates the venue has open and then check with your immediate family and wedding party on your idea of new dates first. This will help ensure that the MOST important people can make it to your new date. If you are able to keep two date options that is ideal going into the next step.
  • Reach out to your wedding planner (or wedding pro team if you don’t have a planner) with your top 2 date options. Providing them with two dates will help ensure the most amount of your wedding pro team can stay intact- and that’s what you want! You chose everyone for a reason so hopefully they can provide their products/services on your new date.

    -If they are not able to fulfill your new date ask if they are able to sub-contracting someone out to fill their shoes. For example: If your photographer is unable to be there in person they may be able to hire another photographer to fill their shoes. Your original photographer may still be able to edit your photos in the style you loved! Your DJ may have an associate who is available. Your hair and make-up artist may be able to hire another local artist they have worked with before. Many wedding pros have something like this already set up for “emergency circumstances” such as getting sick or a family emergency (even when we aren’t in a pandemic). If there was ever a time we have embraced “community over competition” now would be it!
    – If they don’t offer the sub-contracting option ask if they can refer anyone else- they probably know a good fit for you in the area.  The wedding professional community is huge, strong, and caring- take advantage of their knowledge and the community they have.

    Don’t lose sight of what your wedding day is all about. Celebrating the love you and your partner have for each other. May we all come out of this season stronger and more in love.

JLK Events – DJ/Audio & Visual Services

www.jlkevents.com 

  • Please know that at JLKevents, we are so very sorry that you are even having to go through this crazy time in history when you should be enjoying your most special day. We are here for support and guidance through this process–we are in this together!
  • This is a great time to work with your DJ/MC for planning….they are not working but believe me, their creative juices are flowing!! They would love nothing more than to jump on a Zoom call and go through some fun ideas and music choices with you!
  • Trust your team and lean on them! This market has always had a tight knit relationship of wedding vendors and with this pandemic, the closeness has only grown. We are all leaning on each other and helping each other even more now than we ever have. Trust that you have a solid team working behind the scenes to make your rescheduled date even better than you EVER imagined!