April 11, 2020

Booking Wedding Vendors Under COVID-19 Lockdowns

Hellllloooo all you lovely bride and groom to be’s!

I wanted to pop in here with the first post of what will eventually be a series revolving around planning (and re-planning) your wedding midst a global crisis. With the craziness that comes with a pandemic, you might be feeling a bit in the dark about what to do next, especially if your wedding isn’t for several months, or even within the next year. The biggest take away? Snag priority vendors now.

Prioritizing Vendors

One of the first things that should be done, even outside of a global pandemic, is to sit down with your fiancé and list your wedding day priorities.  That sounds easy to do, but it can be daunting. Think about things you love and what would make you sad not to have. For our own wedding, our top priority was making sure all our elderly relatives were able to attend (date), amazing food (catering), and our photographer (duh).

Your number one priority will tell you the direction you need to take next.

Is there a specific date you have to have?

If not, do you have a dream venue? A make up artist you drool over? Does your bestie make the most epic wedding cakes on the planet? Rad! Get in touch with anyone you know you have to have at your wedding. Right now. Ask for a list of dates they are available and use those as guides.

 

When to Book

I can solidly say, if you are planning a 2021 or 2022 wedding, book your wedding vendors as soon as possible.

Under normal circumstances, it would be perfectly acceptable to wait 12-6 months out, before booking most things. But, with a pandemic aboard ship, the coming years of 2021 and 2022 will be a madhouse for most event companies. Vendors will be booking new clients and rescheduling 2020 weddings. That could mean up to 2x more dates being taken up than normal.

Plus, as with Brey Photo, if a vendor has a limit on the amount of work that they take on, it could mean that they won’t be able to book you at all, or they will have to provide an associate to handle your specific day.

Off-day or off-season weddings will allow for the most flexibility amongst your favorite vendors, so if you’ve never considered having a Thursday or Sunday wedding or a beautiful winter wedding, it’s worth at least a little thought.  Guests will come out (long weekend— hollaaaaa!), and not only will  you be able to book more of your ideal vendors, but they may offer discounts too. Brey Photo (currently, as of 4/10/2020) offers a 5% discount for any wedding hosted M-Th. If you must have your wedding on a weekend or during peak wedding seasons, such as late spring or early fall, then give yourself more time to find incredible vendors that are available.

 

Be Prepared

Event companies and artists are currently struggling to reschedule entire seasons worth of 2020 weddings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If a vendor has your date available, it may become unavailable quickly. Personally, if a new inquiry comes in for a date that someone else has already inquired about, I do give the first couple the option to sign a contract first— but that’s not always common practice. If you find a vendor that you love, be ready to commit to them.

 

Obtaining Contracts

It has been heartbreaking to hear about vendors and venues having to postpone their best day evers due to COVID-19. But what’s even worse, is that so many people have lost their retainers and deposits because of the cancelation and cannot afford to reschedule at all. While no one predicted a pandemic would interrupt their wedding, now you know these things do happen, and you should make sure you have a solid understanding of cancelation and rescheduling policies.

Brey Photo purposely accepts a very limited number of weddings per year so that each couple can receive the time, energy, and quality work that I expect of BP. Because I only take on clients that truly were a good match for Brey Photo, all my spring & summer weddings  that had to be rescheduled were simply moved to new dates that I had available. It took a ton of coordination, but my couples did it! However, not every vendor has been able to do seamless transfers, and it’s not necessarily their fault— small businesses are struggling during this time, but most are being as flexible as they can be. Contracts, however, are ultimately king when it comes to what each party is required to do.

Remember that we don’t know when things will return to normal. If there is a second wave, will you be protected? Will you be able to reschedule? What happens if your vendor becomes sick? What will you lose? What will your vendor lose? Ask all of your vendors these questions before signing anything.

Make sure you are comfortable with what is written before you sign, and if you aren’t, negotiate or choose another vendor.

 

Hire a Coordinator

If it’s in the budget, I highly recommend hiring a coordinator. I always recommend this, but now, I think not having one is a grave mistake. With a coordinator, you’ll have extra help finding vendors and navigating contracts quickly, with less room for error. They’ll be able to give you expert advice, tell you what to expect each step of the way, and link you with vendors who are available. Plus, for the foreseeable future, coordinators will definitely have the time to assist you ahead of the actual day.

 

Consider Obtaining Event Insurance

Now that it’s been proven that crazy s*it can happen, it might be a good idea to consider obtaining event insurance. I recommend event insurance anyway, but especially now when everything is so uncertain. Event insurance is meant to offset financial loss in the event that your wedding day needs to be postponed.

When we got married in August, we took a huge gamble with rain because we did not want a tent to ruin the fairytale aesthetic. If we needed a rain date, we would have turned to event insurance to cover a bulk of the expenses.

Every insurance company is going to be revising their policies to redetermine how they will specifically handle COVID-19. It’s a good idea to look at your options for “riders,” or special clauses in a policy. They cost more, but if you have specific concerns, a rider may be your saving grace and will surely be less expensive than shelling out for your wedding twice.

 

Crossing my fingers and sending all my #breyphotobrides and grooms the best vibes! This is a tough time to plan anything, let alone a wedding, but I’m here to help and would love to chat if you’re finding that you could use some help!

Reach out and say hello!

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