If you’re new around here, welcome! For those who don’t know, when COVID-19 effectively paused the wedding world in mid-March, it was a scramble. We were suddenly thust into the wild west world of wedding postponements, halted business, cancelled events, more contract and legal questions than ever before, and of course – increasing uncertainty around what the future holds for weddings and gatherings.
Our team jumped into action early on, with no choice but to reschedule several weddings while also diving in and becoming as educated as possible about what this means for our industry. Pretty quickly into our new reality, we wanted to share our conversations and findings, so we introduced a new service for couples and vendors – Calluna Events Complimentary COVID-19 Consulting. We’ve consulted on an hourly basis for years prior, but in such a fragile time we’re extending our services on a complimentary basis because we know the way to get through this is together.
To date, we’ve dedicated over 25+ hours of time with brides-to-be, grooms-to-be, families, vendors, small business owners (in addition to Calluna Events clients!) to walk through this uncharted territory together. While we’ll never say we have all the answers (as change truly is the only constant in these trying months!), we’ve gathered bits of knowledge and advice that’s worth sharing. We noticed consistency over some of the conversations we were having – and while each wedding and circumstance is completely unique, we’re here to share with our larger community some FAQs that have come out of these conversations in hopes that it helps you, too.
If you’d like a deeper dive on this, Heather Dwight hopped on Instagram Live yesterday (Wednesday 5/27) to chat about these questions (and tons more!). We invite you to take a listen here. If you’re interested in a private consulting session, please email us at email@example.com and we’ll get something on the books.
Q: Should I postpone my wedding?
By far and away, this is the top frequently asked question for all clients that come into our consulting sessions. While we don’t have a crystal ball (oh, what we’d do for that!) and we know your circumstance is entirely unique, here are some key questions to help you decide what is right for you.
Things to consider:
When is your wedding?
- Right now, this is the most indicative factor when it comes to postponing your wedding. While there are no hard and fast rules on this, we’re recommending all 2020 Calluna Clients stay up to date on the latest mandates and state and government recommendations and air on the side of caution right now. The decision may, unfortunately, be made for you if there are state or federal mandates already in place (for example – our April / May weddings were within the stay at home order in Colorado). Keeping yourself educated about the time of year in relation to the COVID progress will help determine your decision to move forward or postpone. For example: our June weddings have all postponed because we just won’t know what the landscape will be in June, so we’re taking action of a Plan B for them NOW instead of waiting and possibly scrambling. For our September / October weddings, some clients are cautiously optimistic about the state of the world in a few months and are planning for their fall wedding, while making safety backup plans should we need to pivot. We’ll continue to monitor and evolve to the situation to ensure we’re doing what is safe for our guests and vendors, but also in the best interest of these clients.
How many guests are you expecting?
- After time of year, guest count (read: gathering restrictions) may be the next largest factor in your decision making. Do you have 250 people on your guest list, and have your heart set on a BIG wedding? We love that! But the vision may be hard to execute due to gathering restrictions or social distancing this year. We’re recommending taking into consideration if you’d rather have (most or) all of your guests attend your wedding next year or consider downsizing your event to comply with gathering restrictions this year.
Think about your actual guest list (and those who are priority)
- If the majority of your guests are local, there may be more flexibility for your wedding decision as regional auto travel (versus air travel – domestic but especially international) is recommended at this point. This may also reduce the need for guest lodging and having everyone stay in hotels near the wedding venue. Consider investing in guest transportation if it’s important for you that your guests don’t drive themselves home at the end of the night!
- Take into consideration the health and welfare of your guests – and how comfortable you feel asking them to attend. Of course, acknowledge that in these circumstances each guest must do what they feel is right, but if you know you’ll be concerned about your grandparents making the trip out and contracting a virus in the duration of your wedding, that’s another factor to consider.
What’s your stress (and happiness) level?
- This is a very real factor (perhaps the most important!) that you and your fiance have to address and decide on together. In case you haven’t heard this enough: this is not your fault, and it’s okay to be upset. We are so sad you have to absorb this stress in planning such a joyous occasion! Spend some time self reflecting on what your gut is telling you.
- If your number one priority is to get married in 2020 and you are staying educated, optimistic, nimble and flexible, that’s GREAT! Let’s do this thing.
- If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed, upset and don’t want to sit in this unknown period for an indefinite time, there’s no harm or fault in choosing to change your wedding date now so you can rest easy knowing you have some more time on your side (and maybe start enjoying the planning process again!). Whatever you decide is right, we support you.
Q: What if I want to get married anyways?
If you answered YES to the former scenario above and want to move forward with a 2020 celebration, that’s amazing!!! Due to government mandates at this time and proposed rollout plans (both regionally and nationally), we’re anticipating small weddings throughout the majority of 2020.
- We’re actively working with some Calluna couples right to honor their original 2020 wedding date with an elopement or small wedding this year and then keeping their larger celebration on the books for the next year as a vow renewal or one year anniversary party. We LOVE this idea and highly recommend for couples who feel called to this format.
- We pulled together tips on planning a small wedding below:
- Would you like Calluna’s assistance in a small gathering or elopement? We’ve done dozens over the years (sometimes, the more intimate, the more meaningful!) and would love to help you with yours. See below for some additional inspiration and package details.
Q: I’m postponing my wedding. Where do I start?
- Create a system and begin checking in with your vendors – starting with your venue first. We recommend setting up a spreadsheet to track everything (there are a lot of conversations!) and see things from a big picture.
- We created a postponement template HERE for you to copy and customize for your needs. Make a copy of it and happy tracking!
- Start with your venue to understand available dates as well as postponement policies. If you’re choosing to stay with this venue, this will be your guide for all of your future vendor conversations.
- If your venue allows, ask to put a “soft hold” on a first choice date. This reserves that date for you and gives you the chance to work with all of your vendors and guests to solidify that date until another client is interested in it (often called “first right of refusal”). Note that every venue is different and some may not offer this option, but it doesn’t hurt to ask!
- Once you have a few dates solidified with your venue, begin outreach to your vendors on their availabilities and costs associated. Note that some vendors may encourage you to postpone to a Friday or Sunday or during the “off season” or may implement some re-booking fees.
- Using the costs and availabilities of your vendors to guide your decision, parallel path these conversations with your family and VIP guests. Ensure the “A List” a (but know that not all guests may be able to make it, and that’s ok!).
- Once you’ve finalized down on your formal date with your vendors and VIP guests, it’s time to share with your guests – either formally via a postponement invitation or informally via a website update or email. We shared some copy examples of how to do this here:
There’s SO much more material covered in our IG Live, including the following questions:
- Does wedding insurance cover COVID-related cancellations?
- When should I make the final decision to postpone?
- Whose responsibility is it to enforce safety measures?
- What does food service (buffets, dessert stations) look like moving forward?
- How to navigate family relations if they don’t agree with your decision to postpone
- What’s the 411 with vendors or venues charging for postponements?
We’ll be back next week to chat after Governor Polis is expected to make an announcement around special events on June 1st. We hope you join us then!
Feature Photo Jill Houser