Let's talk CORONAVIRUS & YOUR WEDDING – how to work with wedding suppliers effectively

The outbreak of Coronavirus/COVID-19 has had a far-reaching impact on all of us, often in very personal ways. For couples planning their weddings in 2020 and 2021, the challenges are unique and unprecedented. Handling difficult decisions at what is already a confusing time can be particularly stressful and emotional. But know that you are not alone. Whether you’re weeks or months away from saying “I do”, I’m holding you close to my heart during this time and I’m here to help you navigate the waters. We will get through this together!

Now more than ever, you need a team of amazing people whose knowledge and experience you can lean on. For a KZN wedding planner like myself, the Coronavirus might be something new, but creative problem solving and developing contingency plans are not. Over the past two months, our team has been working more closely with our couples than ever. Brainstorming effective ways to communicate venue changes and postponements with their guests, coming up with fresh designs to suit a switch in season or reduction in budget, communicating with venues and suppliers on their behalf, providing a shoulder to cry on when it’s all a bit much… It’s all part of our role. (If you don’t already have a wedding planner on board, it’s never too late!)

The Coronavirus might be something new, but creative problem solving and developing contingency plans are not

It’s also been so heart-warming to see how our local wedding industry has come together to support our clients’ needs over this time. But how do you show support for the rest of your supplier team, and the industry as a whole? As you may know, many wedding suppliers are small business owners and sole traders, and are greatly impacted by COVID-19. Just as they’re doing everything they can to support couples, there are a few ways you can show them some love in return. Here are some of the most effective ways to work with wedding suppliers during Coronavirus.

Postpone, don’t cancel

While ultimately the decision is yours, we at Oh Happy Day certainly advocate for postponing your wedding date if at all possible. Wedding suppliers want to be accommodating, and your business is more important to their survival than ever. In my experience, most couples have been able to come to positive arrangements for postponement, with suppliers offering extra flexibility around date changes or transfer of service. This way, you don’t lose your deposit, and they’re able to stay in business (and help you pull off your dream day when the time comes!).

Be nice

As I mentioned, we’re all in this together! This is an emotionally-charged time, which makes it even more important to show patience and consideration when communicating with others. Practicing empathy, and understanding that we are all reacting to the current situation in different ways (and for many different reasons) is vitally important. Understand that some elements may be out of your suppliers’ control, such as flowers that are no longer in season, or decor items that may no longer be able to be shipped. Trust your team to do their very best for you, and let them work their magic!

Trust your team to do their very best for you, and let them work their magic!

Be open to honouring your original payment plans

The reality from our side of the coin is that most suppliers are small, independent creatives, working from home and trying to stay afloat – just like you. We are just trying to earn an honest living, doing what we love, and to keep our businesses (that took years to create) going until this whole process is over. If you have moved your date to next year, try and honour your original payment plans where possible. If your original date has come and gone, you may have already saved your wedding budget and have it just sitting in the bank. Please speak to your suppliers and see if it would help them if you pay part or all of the remaining balance now. This could make a huge difference to them.

Keep booking

This is an important one! Don’t hold off on making bookings with the suppliers you’ve chosen, and be prepared to pay your deposits. Of course, everyone has financial worries at the moment, but if you’re able to put down a deposit now, you’ll beat the rush to book them in once gatherings are allowed again (saving you that extra stress of trying to find your fave suppliers when the time comes).

Don’t hold off on making bookings with the suppliers you’ve chosen.

Show them some love on social

This is easy to do, and a great way to use some of your extra time to pay it forward! Leave a positive review for suppliers you have already worked with on Facebook or review sites. And don’t forget to like, love, comment on and share their social posts. This will not only provide much-needed encouragement, it will help their profiles reach new clients as well.

Future brides and grooms, I know it’s hard to feel excited in the face of so much uncertainty. But remember, LOVE ALWAYS WINS. Thank you to all of you who have reached out these past few weeks – it means the world to us. The Oh Happy Day team is here for you, and we always will be. Come rain, shine – or pandemic!

Looking for some additional help and advice from industry experts? Join me on Wednesday, 20 August at 4pm for a webinar on How to Future Proof Your Wedding. Sign up to our newsletter for more information and updates!