As wedding planners, it is our job to help manage our client’s weddings, even when they are canceled or postponed. Even though we would like to, we can’t plan for everything and unforeseen occurrences like extreme weather, accidents, pandemics, or illness could very well leave you and your clients in an uncomfortable position.
To make the entire process much easier, it’s important to recommend event cancellation insurance to all of your clients at the beginning of the planning process. Event insurance will make things tremendously easier if your client needs to cancel or postpone their wedding due to an unforeseen circumstance.
*IMPORTANT NOTE: During the Coronavirus worldwide pandemic, many event insurance carriers are not offering event cancellation insurance at this time due to the current situation. However, once the current state of the country gets back to normal, and we return to “business as usual,” it is always a GREAT idea to recommend your clients purchase event cancellation insurance.
Not sure what to do when a wedding is canceled or postponed? Below are time-sensitive tasks to complete if you suddenly need to cancel, postpone, or reschedule a client’s wedding.
Review each vendor’s contract so you are clear on what it states regarding cancellation or postponement and how much deposit your client may be entitled to. Contact all of the wedding vendors as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If your couple is postponing the wedding, check with the venue first to determine available dates in the future when your couple can have their wedding. Then, check with the key vendors to see who has availability for the date(s) that the venue has open. Your couple must be flexible when postponing their wedding, especially if it is during a time when many couples in the same area may also be postponing and rescheduling their wedding.
Once a new date is chosen, request contract addendums or new contracts from the venue and vendors. These updated contracts or addendums should have the typical contract inclusions plus they need to specify the details of the postponement or rescheduled event, what services are included, what has been paid already, what the future payments are, and when each future payment is due.
Some vendors will refund deposits for your clients or apply deposits to a later date if they are available on the newly chosen wedding date. However, with many vendors being small business owners, recouping any financial loss will be extremely important and event professionals may not be able to offer any refunds. If your couple is rescheduling their wedding beyond the next 6-9 months, a vendor may charge an additional fee to cover the extra time they will be working with the couple.
Ask wedding professionals to allow couples to use the deposit as a credit towards a future service or towards a future wedding date. Even if the wedding is canceled, perhaps the caterer could allow credit for catering a future event or the photographer could give the couple a credit to schedule a future family photo session.
As an event planner, your wedding planning services contract will dictate whether you charge an additional fee if a client postpones or reschedules their wedding. It will also dictate what happens to past and future payments to you if they cancel the wedding or event.
Encourage your clients to tell their immediate family and wedding party as soon as possible. The couple may need support and assistance from those who are closest to them.
How the guests are contacted will depend on your client’s preference and how close it is to their wedding date. Obviously, the closer they are to the wedding, the sooner your clients need to contact everyone. There will likely be travel logistics that guests will need to handle. Remember, not everyone checks their email as often as we do and your clients may need to make some phone calls with the help of family members or close friends.
For weddings that are postponed or rescheduled, formal stationery can be mailed to guests with the updated event information once the date and details are finalized.
Call your client’s event insurance company to start the claim for non-refundable deposits and other non-reimbursable expenses.
Event insurance isn’t only important for your clients, it’s important for your business. Some event vendors simply won’t offer refunds, no matter the circumstances. If you recommended an event vendor who never issues refunds, your client may come back to you to recoup some of their lost money. Or worse yet, they could come back to you upset and not recommend you since you weren’t able to help them out in their time of need.
By requiring your clients to secure event insurance for their special day, you’re not only protecting against the unexpected, but you are also protecting your reputation.
Thank you to Markel Insurance for sponsoring this informative post about the tasks to be completed when a couple cancels or postpones their wedding.
Visit Markel’s Event Insurance Website for Event Planners to learn more about event liability and event cancellation insurance.