Do you need help with how to approach communicating with your Covid-19 venue?
As a wedding planner I am the middle ground for wedding couples and venues/suppliers. Gathering together insights from the wedding industry’s leading experts grounded me in my role to support both sides when it comes to postponing a wedding.
I was totally inspired by a recent blog that appeared on Love My Dress (I have included the link below) to share some tips on moving forward if you feeling stuck with communicating with your Covid-19 venue.
It is worth bearing in mind if securing an option with your venue is proving difficult and you are not in the right head space, using an expert planner to get beyond where you are now, is worth thinking about.
Below are some of my personal suggestions to lower stress levels at an already difficult time.
Acknowledge the situation
The first thing is that this situation is very fluid and no one knows what the future holds.
At this moment in time I don’t know, but I am keeping a clear head, staying up to date with guidance and information from our Government. I am remaining receptive to new suggestions and opportunities for wedding couples facing postponing with their Covid-19 venue, by reading as many relevant posts to be inspired for resolving situations for my clients and share to a wider audience.
Choose collaboration over written agreement
To achieve the best possible outcome when communicating with your Covid-19 venue, as all parties are going to be affected, work together in collaboration.
Where possible try to avoid referencing contract clauses and going the legal route, it is a natural defensive stance especially when you are feeling upset. It can limit the scope of communication and no one really wants to complicate things further with solicitors which will be an added expense.
In the LMD blog, international wedding planner Sarah Hayward suggests contracts issued before Covid-19 are unlikely going to cover this type of situation and its complexity. In the interests of all concerned we need to come from a place of fairness.
A Force Majeure clause may be in your agreement but how and whether it can be applied needs expert guidance. Trying to prove a Force Majeure at this time is not going to be easy.
I can best explain with a hypothetical situation.
Your original booking is for 100 people. It could be that when your venue opens for business a new government directive for weddings is a restriction on the number of guests permitted to gather together. Not ideal.
The venue is open for business but the government is saying no large groups. If you cannot see your wedding taking place without the full turnout. What are your options? Well you could postpone to next year hoping the situation gets better. Or accept necessary changes need to be made.
Using Force Majeure for insurance purposes may not work as the venue can host the event but on a smaller scale. It then becomes your choice whether to go ahead or postpone as the venue is abiding by a government directive. No one anticipated the scale of impact so be prepared it’s grey area.
Remember the closing of event venues has has arisen to keep everyone safe, having to shift months of weddings was not on the radar.
So how can you come at this from a different perspective?
Use the relationship you have established with the venue to discuss your options. It really is important that both sides listen to what the other is saying.
How your venue responds to the situation is going to depend on the style of venue, a smaller privately owned venue has the capacity to respond to each couple on a personal level and will do their best to adapt and accommodate you. A large venue that is part of a group of venues is not going to have the autonomy to make financial decisions.
A Little Understanding for your Covid-19 Venue
Managing just one postponed wedding has its challenges but managing a wedding season full of postponements is no easy task.
I have couples asking whether they will have preference if they have to postpone their wedding for dates in 2021.
In most cases they all want to swap a weekend for a weekend. As planning is usually 1-2 years in advance the weekend and Bank Holiday dates have already been booked.
Another expert contributing to the LMD blog is Kelly Chandler (a wedding venue consultant), Kelly does a very good job of sharing insight to the considerations and financial implications venues have to work around. These include business regulations, insurances, licenses, taxes and payroll commitments.
The overhead operational costs are subject to annual increases. By deferring most 2020 weddings means a season of lost income that in a worse case scenario could close a venue.
The financial wiggle room your venue has to offer a like for like price for every couple who is postponing is just not possible.
It won’t be easy but take the time to understand the limitations under which the venue must operate and the solutions it can offer.
The stress and upset is on both sides. Take time to respond calmly, yes you may be feeling angry and disappointed but this situation is unique, take a breath and together find a way through to what will make you the happiest in your alternative arrangements. Please do bear in mind that your wedding is going to be different.
This is when all the tips come together so you are in the right place to approach communicating with your Covid-19 venue about your budget and costs. First off, it isn’t all about the money.
If you are able to move your wedding to another date in 2020 it looks like in most cases this will not incur an additional charge.
But, if your wedding is carried forward to 2021 the venue may apply new tariffs to your wedding to ensure it can continue to offer events in the future.
Ask your venue what they can suggest to avoid or minimise any additional cost to you. Speak to your individual suppliers to see how they can help. We are all aware of the situation what is important is to keep talking, there will be a solution. This leads to the next point.
This is the big one and if you can be flexible and open minded on making changes to your wedding arrangements, then this is going to give you greater choice about what you do next.
Take time to work through those things where you are prepared to compromise. If your Covid-19 venue is an all year wedding venue, consider moving your wedding to a winter month on a week day. This could help you with rebooking your suppliers who are going to be super busy peak season next year.
Unusual times are going to lead to changes. Existing in lock down for six weeks we have seen so much creativity, community and innovation. There has been time for reflection on those things we have taken for granted. Prioritising what is important to us, our family and friends even the simple action of stepping outside now has huge significance. This could be the ideal time to reassess your wedding day plans to fit with your current mood.
If it is no longer possible to continue as you had planned then why not change? There are other options.
Say hello to the Minimony and Sequel Wedding
The Knot has introduced the “Minimony” a small intimate commitment ceremony with a very small number of guests, similar to an intimate symbolic ceremony. The style of location is private, your minimony could take place in your garden, just the two of you or no more than 10 people.
A minimony gives you that arrival moment, the date you have been working towards for a year or more. Depending on where you are in the world it could be that you can also do the legalities remotely. This really isn’t the priority it is about you both taking a significant step and sending out the message of commitment.
You can complete the legal documents later as part of a “Sequel Wedding” a version of your original wedding celebration just a little later than originally planned.
The focus of the minimony is the two of you in a very special ceremony with a small number of suppliers.
A minimony is also a perfect solution for a small destination wedding if your large Italy wedding is no longer possible.
As an Italy wedding planner based in the UK I offer dual destination wedding planning. What is that? Well you can have a small ceremony (legal or symbolic) with a small wedding party in Italy and follow this with a celebratory party at home in the UK (social distancing rules apply!). Send me a message for more information.
I collaborate with venues and wedding professionals for a very special and intimate authentic Italian experience.
If you can….
Plan to postpone not cancel, and where possible keep as many of your original suppliers involved. Collaborating is the way forward.
Love My Dress – “A Voice for Venues”
Photography from top to bottom: