Wedding Planning and Rescheduling in the Time of Covid-19

Wedding Planning and Rescheduling in the Time of Covid-19

This past month has no doubt thrown a huge wrench into this year’s (and probably next year too) wedding planning. We wanted to put out there a few things to consider if you’re thinking of rescheduling. We also want to give you a few things to think about that might help you focus on what is most important to you – and maybe how to relieve yourself of some of the stress!

Certainly the rescheduling we’ve seen going on with March, April, May and even June weddings has mostly been a result of being concerned about potentially spreading the virus throughout family and guests and the current stay at home orders that are in effect. However – now we are seeing the effect of some couples facing completely unpredictable financial situations as a result of the economy being put on hold for many. Couples who have perhaps lost both jobs, etc…or had their business shutdown – are now looking at whether or not they can go on with their fall weddings too. For some that answer is no.

When it comes to rescheduling – at first, I think many couples thought “no problem, let’s just bump it down the road by a couple months or maybe to this fall”. The problem is, you might be looking at what is a very, very busy month for that venue or other vendor that is in demand. You can’t just take a dozen or two (or more) weddings and “plop” them into months like September and October, for example. Especially Saturdays.

The tidal wave of rescheduling….It has only just begun. The economic complications of these few weeks (or longer?) are going to force a lot of couples to either delay their weddings or scale back the plans – long after the stay at home orders are lifted. For many vendors, who are normally busy anyways, this will cause a very serious tidal wave of weddings that need to go somewhere – and from our point of view, it looks like we will see a rippling effect from this for some time. Easily through 2021.

So we have a few thoughts…

1. Know what’s most important to you.
2. What to do if you need to reschedule.
3. What to do if you are planning a wedding for 2021.
4. How to make it less stressful on yourself.

1. Know what’s most important to you.
Everyone is going to weigh these things a little differently…but being able to have your own perspective and order can help you make decisions you will be more comfortable with come wedding day.
– Who are your “A” vendors that you want available when rescheduling? Typically this is the Venue(s) & Photographer that are often “most important” to a lot of couples.
– Maybe it’s the time of year you want your wedding to be.
– Maybe you’re having a lot of family or friends travelling in and that is a consideration for the dates you might choose.
– Is it important to you to definitely be officially married sooner than later? Is splitting the ceremony and then doing the “party” at a later date an option for you?
– Are you fine with “scaling back” the size and scope of your wedding or is it important to you to keep it the same?

2. What to do if you need to reschedule.
– It’s better to decide SOONER than later. That helps everybody out. Don’t try and wait until the last minute – and then expect rescheduling to be easy. Dates, even in 2021 are and will continue to go fast.
– Avoid rescheduling for a high volume day or month. (Don’t even ask about 10-10-2020, we’ve turned away 20+ couples since booking it). Typically May, June, September and October fill up the fastest.
– Choose a Friday or Sunday – you will have more options in most cases.
– Better yet, if it’s difficult to get what you want done in 2020, then bump to 2021.
– Rather than bump your wedding date a “month or two”, it’s better to give yourself more time than less. You will appreciate the longer break. Six months or more might be best. If you do not want to wait that long – then very seriously consider splitting your ceremony and reception into two dates.
– Talk to your key vendors about possible dates before finalizing one! Get multiple available dates from everyone. We have created updated calendars for 2020 and 2021 that our couples can view at a glance.

3. What to do if you are planning a wedding for 2021.
– Decide on your date and book your “A” vendors much SOONER than later. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will get. You really do not want to wait for January 2021 when the traditional “heavy” booking season starts again. (honestly, booking stays pretty consistent each month of the year except for when everyone turns their attention to the Holidays in November and December – but then in January, there is a big jump in activity – stay ahead of the curve if you can).

4. How to make it less stressful on yourself.
– Follow the tips in #2.

The problem with trying to reschedule for a busy time of year….
Think about this…using photography as an example – since that is what we do – photographers who are actively working full time in this business (which we are, at about 50-60 weddings per year) are typically going to have very limited availability during a busy month or most Saturdays, etc…Who tends to be available during busy times? Beginners, just starting out businesses, fly by night operations…etc…

We lucked out – when it looked like this virus was going to be an issue – we cancelled some travel plans we had for some weekends that were set aside in September and October. Fortunately we were able to accommodate a number of our couples for reschedules on some of those busier dates.

As a vendor….
This is really tough on us as well. Unfortunately, every time we reschedule a date, we automatically lose business – because other wise we probably would have booked that date with a new wedding. But, this is just the nature of a really crazy and difficult time that we’re all going through on this. So far we have had nearly 20 reschedules – about half of those will still happen in 2020 and the other half have been pushed to 2021. That is about 20 wedding dates we can no longer book new business for – so we lose cash flow as a result….and there will be more to come.

So when you’re dealing with your vendors – keep in mind that for those who can only take on a very limited amount of work for a given date – this current environment and situation is not only something that really can’t be prepared for – but it is also something with a lot of unpredictability as well.

This will all run its course – so be proactive – and flexible – and you will reduce your stress level through this process. Communicate with your vendors often – and vendors – if you haven’t been communicating with your couples regularly – start that immediately.

Are you considering rescheduling or needing to get ahead of the curve in booking your photographer for 2021? Send us a few details and inquire today if you want to know more about the Sweet Olive Difference.