This year has thrown the whole world off balance and brought about so many changes, especially in the wedding and events industry. With the influx of constantly changing information on COVID-19, we, as wedding planners, do our best to keep up with current state restrictions and guidelines for different types of gatherings.
So what happens when we follow all the recommendations to the T, but someone still tests positive for COVID-19? That was precisely my question when three people from the wedding party tested positive a few days after a wedding I planned last month.
On the day of the wedding, no one felt sick. It was a beautiful, intimate wedding.
We followed all the state guidelines for gatherings and added extra precautions:
About four days after the wedding, I got the dreaded call: two of the bridesmaids tested positive for COVID-19. A couple of days later, the groom tested positive as well. They turned to me for advice on what to do next. I felt inadequate with information as to what comes after someone tests positive for COVID-19, but I approached the situation like any planner would: I researched and worked with what I have.
I’m sharing here the steps I took, as the wedding planner, in the hope that it will better equip you if you encounter the same incident in the future.
Looking back, I am so thankful that the wedding venue asked us to assist guests in completing a contact tracing list as they arrived at the venue. Aside from the names and table numbers, we also listed their relation to the couple, where they were from, their email address, and contact number. Given the world’s current situation as a whole now, guests were understanding and gracious about sharing their information. It was a little extra work that proved to be so helpful in this situation. Since then, I have created a similar template for my record-keeping for future events.
Since the pandemic, my wedding planning team and I get tested before and after each wedding. I have kids, and it’s the only way to bring peace of mind to my husband and myself. I usually take the test four to five days after the wedding date, even when I don’t feel any symptoms.
The day we were informed of the first case of COVID-19 from this wedding, I went ahead and got tested and asked the attending doctor for advice on what to tell the guests at the wedding.
Advice from a medical professional: The doctor said that ALL guests, vendors, and staff should immediately self-quarantine and get tested whether or not anyone feels symptoms and whether or not you had significant interaction with the COVID positive guests.
The best way to deal with this is to treat ourselves as being exposed. If a guest tests negative, they should continue to quarantine until they reach the 7-10 day mark (or whatever the current CDC quarantine guidelines are).
Of course, not everyone will follow this, but it’s best to share this information for the safety of everyone.
This is the most difficult among the post-wedding tasks that needed to be done. As their wedding planner, I’m the vendor they have worked with so closely for months. I did not doubt that I had to help them deal with this situation. We divided the contact tracing list between us. My clients called all close family and friends and I contacted other guests along with all the vendors and staff who were at the wedding.
We had asked as many details as possible from those who tested positive with COVID-19 after the wedding. We asked when and if they felt symptoms, when they got tested, what they were advised to do, etc. This helped us answer questions that the other guests asked. We didn’t share the names of any guests when speaking with other guests as this is very personal and confidential. Thankfully, most of the guests were very cordial when they received the news, and most said they would quarantine and get tested again.
I stayed in touch with the couple and other vendors until the last required quarantine day. Thankfully, apart from the initial three cases, no other cases were reported. It could have been an isolated case that they caught from their households, but given what we know about the virus, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
I have been so caught up and worried with the thought of people from the wedding getting sick that it was a little late when I realized all the calls and emails I needed to make would entail extra work hours after the wedding. I didn’t have anything in my contract about this. Upon research, Planners Lounge helped me with a clause that I immediately placed in my wedding planner contract. I highly recommend that you add it to yours, too:
Wedding Planner Contract Clause: If any additional services or time are required before, during, or after your event that is related to COVID-19 or a health pandemic and is not already included in the services listed in this contract, the additional time for these services will be charged in 15-minute increments at an hourly rate of $xx.
As planners, we like to prepare for everything. But even when we do everything right, people can still catch the virus. It’s the sad reality that we are in right now. We must keep in mind that we’re not responsible if someone gets sick so long as we adhere to the guidelines set for us. We can’t forget the absolute importance of taking care of ourselves and the safety of our staff.
Continue to be there to support your clients and have a backup plan in place in case you become sick. As the vaccines become more widely available over the next year, we’ll hopefully be back to planning beautiful weddings minus all the worries that we have today.
*This post was written by an experienced wedding planner in the United States. To maintain the confidentiality of the planner and her clients, the author’s name will remain anonymous.
Do you want to feel confident and professional as a wedding planner?
The Wedding Planner’s Toolbox is a complete set of business templates and tools for professional wedding planners. As a wedding planner, you have one chance and a huge responsibility to plan and coordinate the perfect wedding day for your clients. The Wedding Planner’s Toolbox gives you the tools needed to get things done correctly.
Timeline templates, consultation forms, questions to ask vendors, planning checklist, and much more!
This blog post may contain affiliate links which means Planner’s Lounge may receive a commission when you purchase a product or service recommended in this post. Planner’s Lounge only recommends resources and products we have tried or feel very confident recommending.