It has been well documented how the impact of lock down has affected couples as well as the events and wedding industry all on a global scale. For those of you still struggling with this decision I am sharing what I have learnt postponing a wedding in Italy.
I have spent several months going through the process of postponing 2020 weddings and these points have stood out for me.
There is no standard approach for how a venue or supplier will manage the postponement.
My personal experience is that most venues and suppliers are going out of their way to help couples who have had to postpone their wedding during lock down.
However if you find that your venue has applied higher prices to your postponed wedding then please consider the following before showing your frustration:
Many wedding related businesses are now having to meet new regulations, including changing layout, installing screens and ensuring staff have been trained which is an additional expense to them.
Much of the 2020 wedding season has been lost which means venues still have ongoing running costs without any earned revenue for this year and are therefore having to apply higher prices to ensure they can be there for you, future couples and the next season.
The Government in Italy has not provided the same amount of support to businesses that has been available in the UK.
You are very important to the wedding professionals in Italy and I am sure you have seen social media posts with messages welcoming tourists and wedding couples back to Italy. You are important to their economy but there is a hard reality to how this pandemic has affected the hospitality sector.
Find a way forward together.
If your event changes in format,for example you become aware that you have drop in guest numbers and find yourselves not needing the full buyout of accommodation, communicate this to your venue as soon as possible as they may be able to offer you an alternative format for your wedding day without you having to meet any shortfall (depending on your agreement).
If your wedding is smaller then there may be wider availability for rescheduling.
When it comes to postponing your wedding in Italy remain open to proposed solutions even if they are not what you imagined, and choose the option to postpone rather than cancel. To cancel means everyone loses.
Venue and supplier availability
If you are changing the date of your wedding by postponement (in the case your venue is closed due to government regulations) with any luck your preferred suppliers will have availability to work with you on the new date without additional cost.
When postponing your wedding in Italy ( assuming your venue is able to host your event on the original date) and your preferred venue/supplier is not available then this in effect releases the supplier from their agreement with you. If you have signed an agreement paying a non-refundable deposit then the supplier is not obliged to return this to you.
As a remainder any agreements are subject to EU regulations and what is the case at home in the UK will not apply in Italy. Try to avoid going the legal route in Italy as it can be prolonged and costly.
It is distressing having to change major plans but please be kind as your preferred suppliers have been taking bookings for 2021 for some time and will have an already full calendar and may not be able to accommodate your new date(s) particularly in the popular months.
If you are flexible on moving your date to what would be considered outside of the peak season this gives them the opportunity to remain your preferred supplier.
You get to choose how you move forward.
Mindset. We are all still feeling the affects of this global pandemic but we get to choose how we respond to the situation.
If you can find it within yourselves to be flexible to your choices and accepting of this situation, this allows you to fulfil your plans in a positive way to enjoy what is possible rather than hold on to what cannot be. Focus on what is most important.
One way of moving out of the disappointment zone is to take action and make a decision rather than sit and wait it out. That only gives you uncertainty.
Finding a new normal.
As a small business in the wedding world I made the decision to not charge for postponing a wedding and to support my clients who wished to move forward with their wedding plans as I want to help couples move on and contribute positively to this situation.
If there is one thing I have learnt is that we cannot take what we have for granted and to not put off until tomorrow what can be done today. Taking action removes a lot of doubt.
I wrote my first email to clients about Covid-19 in February 2020 highlighting potential impact to their wedding celebrations.
At the time some couples were not worried and thought everything would blow over in a couple of months, while others took the decision to postpone early on once our government made the decision to go into lock down.
Events were taken out of our hands at this point and could be again, we just don’t know.
The pandemic has changed many things for many people we are living with a greater risk. Getting on a plane now compared to a few months ago is a very different situation.
A temperature check at the airport poses a risk to travellers if their temperature is high and they are refused boarding. Who is going to cover that risk and are you ready if guests who you were expecting to attend your wedding do not turn up. There is going to be uncertainty and this is something we will have to consider.
When is safe to rescheduling your wedding?
This has been THE question. All my weddings have moved to 2021 with the earliest in June. There may be a (slim) chance that elope or small weddings can take place towards the end of the summer. By then we should also know more about flight schedules and airport regulations and whether there will be “air bridges” in place to allow ease of travel between countries.
If your experience has caused a shift in what you want from your wedding day then you have the opportunity to make changes and these should be discussed as soon as possible with your venue and suppliers (or wedding planner) and also communicate changes to your guests.
These inquiries are beginning to come through after a lull. It would be best to wait until the end of this year before deciding on a date. Borders are now starting to open and flight schedules resume and as of 3rd June Italy is ready to welcome travellers from the EU.
Italy Opens Borders
I now find myself without a 2o2o wedding season. As we still have no news on social events and gatherings I drew a line underneath planning events for this year. I will actively begin planning with my couples in the Autumn.
Until then, I have an opportunity to use this time to look at the massive changes that have happened because of lock down and what this means for my business going forward and I made a commitment to try something new as I have the time.
In all of this we have experienced and dealt with Covid-19 and have found our way through something unexpected and unique and sometimes no amount of detailed planning is going to prevent the unforeseen.
Postponing a UK Wedding
For a UK perspective on what to do for postponing your wedding check out Mark Niemierko’s response in Vogue.