As if wedding planning isn’t stressful enough on its own, engaged couples and event planners are feeling the extra stress and pressure of planning weddings and events with so many unknowns due to the Coronavirus.
As a professional wedding and event planner, your clients are looking to you for guidance as they grapple with tough decisions on what to do about upcoming weddings and events.
The safety of your clients and their guests is the top priority.
Stay informed by the CDC and WHO which have the most up-to-date information about the spread of the virus. Keep your clients updated and encourage them to follow the recommended procedures to stay safe including following travel advisories and mandatory quarantines.
Encourage couples to communicate regularly with their guests. No one wants to put his or her family or friends in a risky situation. Couples should acknowledge the situation with their guests and communicate that they understand if guests choose not to travel.
As wedding and event planners, we are used to creating backup plans in case of unexpected weather issues. In the case of the Coronavirus, it is critical to create a backup plan scenario with each of your couples now.
First, review all client venue and vendor contracts to determine cancellation, postponement, and refund policies. Evaluate the event insurance policy that your clients (hopefully) have. Then, discuss the financial obligations with clients so that you can create a backup plan with the financial implications and venue/vendor rules in mind.
In your backup plan, determine how guests, the venue, and vendors will be contacted if the clients decide to move forward with an alternative plan for the wedding. Decide on a cut off date that the decision needs to be made by.
Your wedding clients may also need an alternative plan for the rehearsal dinner, wedding shower, bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Quick tip: When booking venues and vendors for your 2020 and 2021 weddings and events, ask for more flexibility in the cancellation and postponement clauses in the contracts.
As a planner, make sure your wedding planning contract covers how you are paid for extra time to assist clients with changes to their original wedding plans, date, and location. This includes what happens if it is postponed for a year, cancelled, or rescheduled to a specific date. You will be spending A LOT more time on a wedding if it is postponed or rescheduled and need to be compensated for the extra time. Your contract should also detail what happens if you choose not to attend the wedding or event due to the risk of the Coronavirus or another possible illness or injury.
There are times when postponing the wedding or event makes the most sense such as:
Remind your couples to do extensive research prior to booking their honeymoon. Travel insurance is likely a good recommendation for most couples but keep in mind that “epidemics” are often listed as exclusions in travel insurance policies.
For wedding clients who already have their honeymoon booked, encourage them to review the cancellation and refund policies of the airline, hotel, and other honeymoon-related services they have booked. Advise them to create an alternative plan for their honeymoon in case of travel restrictions, outbreaks, or quarantines. Ideally, your clients should work with an experienced travel agent for guidance.
Over 80% of wedding gowns are produced in China. At this point in time, retailers are seeing major delays in shipping schedules. If your clients have ordered a gown, check with the retailer now about possible delays so your clients have the most time to find an alternative gown if necessary.
If you have wedding clients who are ready to shop for gowns soon, encourage them to buy off-the-rack or shop at retailers who already have gowns in stock in the USA. BHLDN and Azazie carry inventory in the US for wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses.
This is one of the most important details that wedding couples should purchase regardless if there is a threat such as the Coronavirus or not. Event cancellation insurance can help reimburse your clients for non-refundable deposits and expenses if they have to cancel or postpone the event due to unforeseen circumstances, such as:
It can also provide coverage for damage to special attire, delayed wedding gown shipments, lost/stolen gifts, photographs, lost deposits from no-show vendors, and more. Coverage can be purchased up to 14 days before an event.
Our recommendation for wedding insurance is Markel. For over 15 years, Markel Specialty has been the leader in providing complete event insurance coverage at an affordable price. Event cancellation insurance starts as low as $130.
Coverage for cancellation or postponement due to the Coronavirus can be tricky. We asked Markel to answer a few questions regarding their policy.
It is important to point out that every claim is handled individually, based upon its own merits.
When it comes to planning a wedding or event with the unknowns of the Coronavirus, you and your clients will make the best decisions based on the information available. By following the advice in this post, you will have done your best as a planner to prepare your clients.
CDC Risk Assessment Summary for Coronavirus
*this is a sponsored post from Markel Event Insurance