During these challenging times, we want to be there for you. We understand the impact the COVID-19 is having on your clients, your business and our community, and we want to help you focus on what’s most important right now. In this article we’ll help you navigate all of this with your teams and clients. We are here to remind you, love is not being cancelled.
How do I help couples reschedule their weddings during COVID-19?
Don’t talk about cancellations, but rescheduling. For wedding planner Letícia Castro from Le Cult, the main tip is to anticipate the problem and work under the hypothesis of a postponement and not a cancellation. ‘The dream doesn’t end. When this crisis ends, what people will want most is to embrace each other and to celebrate life’ she says. If you normally have additional fees for this type of rescheduling, consider waiving them to help your clients work through this difficult time.
Claudia Couttinho says, in her case, she’s postponing all weddings until May and is having conversations with those marrying in June and July so that they can follow the news and, if necessary, postpone those too. ‘Since we don’t know what will happen, we’re advising not to cancel, but to postpone. We can change the dates, reduce the size, but not cancel. At no time did any of our fiancés considered that possibility’, she says.
Yael Nadelar, from Palacio del Negralejo, explains: ‘For now all the couples that have contacted us want to keep doing their wedding, the inconvenience in all cases is the date, because of these special circumstances. We talk with each couple and help them decide for the best date possible so that their plans follow as planned.
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We study each case individually and listen to the different needs they may have, and thus adapt to them as far as we can. We are trying to convey the importance of not cancelling and postponing right now.’
The key is to communicate and reach out proactively to those couples who are being directly affected these months. Update your availability everywhere (for example, on a link on your website, in your Zankyou profile or on Instagram and Facebook), and ask couples to be flexible (for example, helping them to organise their wedding on a weekday or on Sundays). Flexibility is also important for your work: it may be necessary for you to relax some of your rules for weddings in 2020 and 2021 (for example, taking smaller weddings, or celebrating more than your limit each month).
With the experience of rescheduling the dates of 17 weddings, Le Cult advises: “I suggest getting married on Friday night or Sunday at lunch, which is chic. On Sunday it is even easier to fit all providers. I don’t see any problem with getting to work a little later on Monday, as everyone will understand the situation”. Another possibility we suggest is to think of holidays as alternative dates for rescheduling.
Claudia Marín, from Entre tonos pastel, says: ‘We are going to have two years during which there will be no wedding season. In fact we are going to join 2020 with 2021 since most of the rescheduled weddings are happening at the end of the year or at the beginning of the next one. Many couples are adapting to this situation and are considering getting married on a Friday or Sunday in order to keep a date that fits and not have to postpone it to winter or next year.’
Help your couples take action and prioritise
Luiza’s main advice is to help brides prioritise and be clear about what they don’t want to give up: “For example, holding the wedding on Saturday will be more difficult to maintain with all their desired providers. In my experience, the weddings that we successfully managed to postpone were those already scheduled on Friday, those scheduled on Saturday that were transferred to Sunday, and those who preferred to go ahead with Saturday and lose one or two of their preferred suppliers. So you have to have priorities and be clear about what you are willing to give up”.
Manuella Gonçalez says that the weddings from March to May have been postponed and that they are already working on a plan b with June weddings, keeping pre-bookings of dates. The position with ceremonies starting in July is to wait for official announcements.
Le Cult’s Leticia points out a possible problem with weddings scheduled for the second half of the year: “As we are not sure when everything will return to normal, we fear that soon brides with dates scheduled after August will get anxious. We are advising second semester brides not to change their dates to next year and to wait at least until the end of May and then, if necessary, take some action. For brides who have not closed a date yet, my tip is to keep planning and searching for providers and inspiration. They are the ones who will strengthen the market”.
What about the contract? Or agreements with other suppliers?
It’s important to review your contacts and probably consult a lawyer to see if they are up to date. What are your cancellation clauses? Can you work around them to help your clients not to cancel, but perhaps transferring their wedding date without an additional fee? These strategies may help you navigate the storm with your existing and potential clients.
Vanessa Aune, wedding planner, stresses the importance of being calm and focusing on an empathetic negotiation with both suppliers and couples: ‘the coronavirus is not “the fault” of either party, so I always suggest entering into an agreement if there is any cancellation while taking into account my suppliers side, which is also being hurt by this global crisis. What I have seen are brides and grooms committed to reaching an agreement that is good for everyone. It’s time to join forces. We work with dreams, and they need to happen.”
How do I communicate with my employees and collaborators?
In these complicated times, we’ve seen what works best in the professional world is to lead by example and be honest. Understanding what’s going on is the first step in order to communicate clearly with clients, employees and collaborators. Staying realistic (but positive) is key, bus also communicating via platforms where we can reach and share with other similar professionals, such as LinkedIn, groups on Facebook.
These past two weeks we’ve been dealing with our own shock and acting on ‘survival mode’, but during the next few weeks it’s time to start planning and organising strategies for the next few months. It’s time to start looking forward.
What should I prioritise in the coming weeks?
Evento Plus published a great piece about how to kick-start our working process. They say, ‘First, focus on how to get better at working remotely: do a weekly plan, make some (simple but necessary) reports, plan new ways to organise your meetings. It’s worth it to write down your new rules of communication and organisation.‘
Write down different scenarios for these next few months and for your 2021 so you can stay focused on short, medium and long term goals. You can write down, for example, ‘communicating next steps for couples and suppliers for the next trimester’. Keep an updated plan of marketing for new couples and how you can help them make good decisions so you can nurture a relationship with them. This way, you will have a better chance on converting your leads to a sale later on.
So should I still be publishing things and marketing my brand? Having a sensible message in this time will help, but yes, people are still getting engaged and are still looking for providers for next year. Keep communicating, keep talking about your flexibility and new open dates, and keep anticipating the necessities of couples for further down the line.
Continue to inspire with your brand, your presence and your images. A lot of people have gotten engaged between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, so they are looking for future providers in their home. Understanding what you can do for them is key. This is the time for them to really start planning for next year, and you should be helping them through that. So yes, keep posting on your social media, your profiles in wedding portals and your webpage. This is the time to keep growing your online presence.
If you need more help or information regarding the COVID-19 and weddings, please get in touch with us via: