Getting married in 2020? Right now, you’re probably feeling a little like me. Wedding plans and dreams in tatters due to the Coronavirus.
But, as I’ve always been a proactive person, I want to encourage you to think about next year without delay. To ensure none of us are left with more things to regret.
You may be feeling unconcerned because your wedding is planned for later this year, or even 2021. But this blog is for you.
Even if you’re not directly affected right now, what’s happening this year may well lead to repercussions for you too. So it’s time to take action now to avoid disappointment.
In case you haven’t taken much notice before now, after all there has been the matter of coping with Covid-19 to think about, the wedding industry has been pretty much put on hold, for now.
The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced sweeping restrictions to restrict the moments of the UK population – which also banned all weddings, baptisms and services, as well as social gatherings.
Couples hoping to get married this Spring, Summer (and perhaps even Autumn) are having to cancel their plans and think again. Many are postponing their wedding to much later in the year but most are looking ahead to 2021.
The UK wasn’t the first to take action, of course. It was three weeks ago when my first client, from the United States, learned that she could no longer travel to Switzerland for her Elopement in May.
Due to restrictions on when she could get married she decided that cancelling her plans for a wedding here at Giessbach Falls near Interlaken, over postponing to another date, was the only solution for her and her husband-to-be.
2020 dreams dashed
I expect for many of you, all your hard work and investment – both financially and emotionally – are on the brink of collapsing. You are no doubt feeling out of control and at the mercy of a disease that none of us could ever have predicted would change our lives so drastically.
Up until the end of last week, I was still hoping my clients could go ahead with their weddings this Spring and early Summer. But, on Friday, my lovely bride that was due to get married in mid-June at Hengrave Hall in Suffolk called me to get some advice.
We spent half an hour on the phone talking about the pros and cons of taking action now, rather than waiting until near the date to potentially postpone.
On an emotional level, it basically came down to her admitting to herself that she was no longer looking forward to her wedding as the build up had been ruined by the anxiety surrounding the coronavirus.
I’ll let Demi explain what was going through her mind …
“Going from being excited about getting married in 12 weeks to changing the date and now getting married in 16 months wasn’t ideal…. but, I’m now so pleased we made the jump!”
“The 12 weeks lead up to your wedding should be all exciting; dress fittings, food tastings, hen parties, make-up trials (to name but a few)! In the current climate, this would just not have been possible.”
“As well as this – we were already starting to get text messages to say that people couldn’t make our big day, as money was now a struggle or people were concerned about getting ‘locked down’ and didn’t want to ‘risk’ coming! Who wants that?! Uncertainly in the lead up..!”
Demi and I spent half an hour on the phone talking about the pros and cons of taking action now, rather than waiting until near the date to potentially postpone.
When I explained to her that she was lucky that her venue would happily postpone without her incurring any further fees and I was also willing to do too, then she knew what she had to do. Take action there and then and I was happy to help her with that.
“Emma really helped to rationalise the situation; weighing up all options! She managed to use her professional experience to advise on what would be best for us. She took into account all the personal considerations we had and me feel so much better about taking the decision to postpone our wedding! “
Of course, since then the situation has changed. Now the guessing game is over and decisions have literally been taken out of your hands. But my advice to you, as soon as you have got your head around the disappointment is to take action NOW.
Advice for late 2020 weddings and 2021 hopefuls
Ultimately, 2021 is going to be a very, very busy year and the best photographers, florists, planners and videographers will get booked up very, very quickly.
I am a member of several Facebook groups for videographers, as well as running my own group for female filmmakers. Already I am seeing posts from videographers and photographers about requests from their current clients wanting to postpone from this year to next – but asking for dates that are already booked up.
This situation with supply and demand will get worse.
It will get worse for those who delay taking action and fixing their new date and for couples who were always planning their wedding for 2021 and are now competing for suppliers.
Matthew Oliver, a leading luxury destination wedding planner, agrees…
“2021 is set to be an incredibly busy year for the wedding industry, due to postponed weddings and new couples competing for supplier and venue availability. It is therefore best to get a planner booked in as soon as possible, to help with the planning of your perfect wedding, but to also be flexible where possible, have a few dates in mind and look at different styles of venue and suppliers, it will open up the number of options to you and you will find the entire planning process smoother and more fun.”
Matthew Oliver, destination wedding planner
I am not entirely sure how things will pan out but my hunch is that in order to comply with our terms and conditions we will need, as suppliers, to make sure we can cater for postponement as a priority. But I suspect that might be handled on a case by case basis.
So my advice to you is NOT to ‘let life get in the way’ or use any other excuse to delay fixing your videographer, photographer, venue and all other suppliers but to get on the case today.
Wedding & Event Designer and Planner Lucy Wright says her couples are already on the case – with some choosing to try a different season.
“All of my fabulous couples who have weddings up to July 2020 are currently postponing their weddings to October 2020 or January, February and March 2021. It’s been more important to them to KEEP the suppliers they/we had carefully chosen so moving the date to a non-peak wedding date in 2021 has been easier. We’re currently sitting in beautiful Yorkshire sunshine in March – it could be raining buckets in July…..so my advice to my clients has been to retain the suppliers we booked and ensure their guests can be there rather than going for those Summer dates.”
Lucy Wright, wedding planner
We also heard from award-wining luxury floral designer, Paula Rooney, on how her team are putting on their creative hats for their 2021 couples who are booking now to secure their dates.
“We would definitely recommend booking your 2021 dates now. With the rearrangement of a number of engagements, key dates will become busy quickly and we wouldn’t want any of our clients to miss out. We have already received bookings form those who are not quite ready to start the full design process but want to be assured of the date, venue and florist they have always dreamed of! We will continue to work with our 2020 clients, aiming to accommodate all their previous ideas with any new seasonal requests for their rearranged dates.”
Paula Rooney, wedding floral designer
Of course this is a global problem affecting couples all over the world and as I mentioned before I’ve already had couples planning on having their destination wedding here in Switzerland who’ve had to cancel.
Whether their wedding is big or small, like Ian and Brandon’s intimate wedding at Schloss Oberhofen on Lake Thun, everyone is affected.
As a destination wedding videographer I am seeing my clients and others facing the same dilemma.
Alex Wales is an international wedding planner based here in Switzerland. She says she’s trying to share positive vibes and is encouraging her clients to ‘keep calm’. She is taking away a lot of the stress from them by liaising with all her client’s venues and suppliers so they don’t need to.
She also reiterates the message of getting organised now not later.
“Remain positive but practical. Think about booking the most crucial suppliers as soon as possible – as there will be surely other couples postponing their weddings for the next year, so planners, venues, videographers and photographers would be the first ones for you to book soon – the ones you want on your wedding could have limited availability already!”
Alex Wales, wedding planner
I work with many different types of suppliers here, because Switzerland is such a popular destination for elopements. Wedding photographer Sandra Ardizzone is also actively helping her couples replan their weddings and elopements.
“I proactively contacted my clients about two weeks ago and told them to contact me whenever they have any questions. I feel it’s important to calm them down and show them their options. They’ll be panicking enough by themselves and some might already be fed up with the “What are you gonna do” – questions. So I let them know you’ll there for them whatever they decide.”
Sandra Ardizzone, wedding photographer
What effect is it having on the wedding industry?
It IS very tough for us. A summer of no weddings ahead potentially means no work at all for some. It could mean a busy autumn, and that’s the best case scenario, but in the worst case it means clients rescheduling their weddings for the following year.
This causes a great many problems. For some suppliers it may mean they are already booked for a date a couple wants to postpone to and then they have to offer a refund. For others it means that money they could be earning this year is deferred until next year meaning overall a loss of earnings.
Growing businesses who increase their commission prices each year have to decide whether to pass that increase onto existing customers. Some of whom could have booked their supplier a few years ago. Meaning even more of a shortfall going into 2021.
I heard today that a friend of mine – an extremely amazing and talented photographer – had taken a job in a bakery to make ends meet.
It’s not just your wedding dreams that are being robbed but the years and years of work that we in the wedding industry have invested our time and money in, literally being ripped from under our feet.
As clients you can also help your suppliers … ask if they’d like their balance on the original due date, if they’d like half of it now and the rest later. All across Europe, different things apply as to what self-employed workers will receive in terms of government support and help.
But let’s stay positive.
“We need to reassure our couples that everything will be fine in the
end and to remind them of why they are getting married… love.”
Matthew Oliver, destination wedding planner
One of my favourite weddings of 2019 was of Victoria and Richard at the Orangery in Settrington. At the moment, with social distancing and lockdown it’s really quite hard to imagine this is how things used to be.
But with a little patience we can all look forward to this enjoyment again next year.
TIPS FOR THOSE RE-SCHEDULING
– Avoid losing out. Check your terms and conditions to make sure you won’t incur a price increase with your existing supplier (this sounds unfair but IS happening)
– Don’t be hasty. Work with your suppliers on their availability before securing and fixing a new date
– Help your suppliers. If you can afford it, help by offering to pay half the balance when it was originally due. We’re having a hard time too….
– Be flexible. Some videographers and photographers especially might be in high demand and will be able to offer you an associate filmmaker or photographer, if they themselves are already booked
– Get insured. Before you do anything – make sure you’re well insured. Here’s information on insurers who covered their clients in this crisis. Some insurers have said that they will insure again after six months.
TIPS FOR THOSE BOOKING FOR THE FIRST TIME
Many of the tips above apply but I have one recommendation to you all. Book early to avoid disappointment. And remember there is no better way to remember your day than with a beautiful wedding film.
And, don’t worry – you should not have to book for your 2021 videography in full right now – just a deposit to secure your date. And, at Story Of Your Day, we’ve reduced our booking fees to allow for these circumstances.