Updated: Aug 16, 2020
The world is constantly adjusting as we receive alarming headlines concerning COVID-19 and its impact on the world. This is certainly the case for the event industry. Many couples have postponed their weddings while others who were looking forward to attending special occasions such as graduation and birthday trips have had to put their plans on hold. While we are currently living in a time of uncertainty, I’d like to share some tips on how to cope with this unexpected reality and provide alternative options for those who are unsure of how to move forward with their event planning process.
First things first, BREATHE. This may sound simple, but everyone does not handle stress the same way. With that said, try some stress-relieving activities whether that is exercising, learning how to cook a new dish, or simply catching up with loved ones via Facetime and sharing some laughs. There are so many creative ways in which people manage their stress, so I encourage you to indulge in some positive stress-free activities. Nothing good comes from panicking so it is important that you are in the right state of mind before making any hasty decisions and in tune with how you’re feeling.
Contingency plans are sacred in having back up plans set in place if you encounter unexpected situations. Unexpected issues such as cancellations due to weather conditions or in our case, social distancing due to COVID-19, contingency plans can help navigate how to move forward during difficult times. For those who have had to put their events on hold or have even considered canceling their event date, here is a list of tips that can help you move forward.
Contact your venue to inquire about space availability in hopes of confirming a new date.
This will help you proactively plan by solidifying a new date to look forward to. Given the circumstances of the virus pandemic, this may take a lot of follow up calls and emails as health experts are unable to predict exactly when the virus will disappear. Event venues often have event cancellation policies in place so be sure to discuss these details with your selected venue and navigate how to proceed forward with the event. Many venues have been able to postpone scheduled events to take place this fall so there is still hope for your event to take place later this year if that’s your goal. This will certainly come in handy for those who were considering canceling upcoming events that were originally scheduled to take place during the spring and summer seasons.
Contact your vendors to inquire about rescheduling the event date
Inquire about rescheduling services with your confirmed florists, caterers, and entertainment vendors. Getting this information about their rescheduling policy and associated fees will help you in deciding whether to move forward with your selected vendors or consider working with different vendors who are able to work with you. While some vendors may have strict refund policies and little to no flexibility, others are flexible in providing relief during this time of uncertainty by not charging a rescheduling fee for a new event date. This is honestly a case-by-case scenario so be mindful of this when communicating with vendors.
Keep your guests informed of updates such as location, date, time, etc.
Notifying your guests of event changes such as a new date or location are very helpful in keeping everyone informed. Although some of your guests may no longer be able to attend the event, this will allow you to solidify your guest list as you move forward with confirming new guest counts for catering, invitations, party favors, etc. For couples with weddings in late April-June, it is best that you make decisions sooner rather than later as many states have issued stay-at-home extensions leading into the summer. Work closely with your wedding planner to determine the best practices in keeping your guests informed if your date ends up being postponed.
Host your event(s) virtually
Instead of canceling or postponing your event, you can host your event virtually through platforms like Skype and Zoom or even host your event live through social media. These resources have prevented people from canceling their events and allowed people to participate in events while practicing social distancing. If your event was originally scheduled to take place outdoors such as a family reunion or a birthday party, consider hosting these events in the comfort of your home by live streaming and inviting guests to participate remotely. This may not be ideal as events are usually perceived to take place in physical locations where people can physically interact with each other, but this will allow you to celebrate the occasion with your guests while keeping everyone safe.
Many people have taken their events to IG Live and other streaming platforms to host their events. Recently, DJ D-Nice has united our socially distant world by DJing music live on his Instagram, otherwise known as “Club Quarantine.” This has brought entertainment to many and is an example of what a fun online event can look like while practicing social distancing. Whether it’s a happy hour, wedding ceremony or your version of “Club Quarantine,” it can be done!
Hire an event professional
The event industry is filled with hard-working, creative, and passionate professionals that are willing to help you make the best decisions while planning your event. Hiring an event professional can help take some pressure off as you’ll receive professional guidance and hands-on assistance with organizing your event instead of handling multiple things at once on your own. You do not want to make a costly decision so having a planner by your side can help avoid additional stress. This is the time to lean on event planners and let them do what they do best which is problem-solving and producing.
If you are planning an event and are feeling overwhelmed and stuck or looking for someone to take the planning off your hands, I would love to help. Contact me here.
I understand that this is certainly a challenging time. I want to encourage everyone not to panic. Try your best to remain calm during this time as a lot of things are out of our control. Focus on what you can control and keep hope alive. Remember to wash your hands, practice social distancing, and most importantly stay safe. This too shall pass!