As the current situation unfolds, March, April, and even May events—both big and small—are being postponed or cancelled altogether. Susan Zackin, the owner, lead planner, and creative director of Z Event Company, knows this reality all too well.
"Quite a few [clients] are rescheduling, but there are a couple that cannot as they were date specific," she told Adore. "Finding the new date is the challenge as we do not know when things will return to normal... I have been guiding our clients towards what we feel will be safe choices moving forward to try and prevent any further disappointment. Fortunately for us, we had quite a bit booked well into 2021 so we are concentrating on those events now as well."
If you find yourself or someone you know in a similar situation, Zackin outlines how to go about picking a new date, dealing with vendors, and advice for future brides. Below, her expert advice on navigating this difficult time.
What is the first thing you should do if your event cannot happen this Spring?
Make sure to reach out to everyone invited to let them know so they can cancel their travel and hotel reservations. Even though hotels are closing, you need to call and make sure you let them know you will not be keeping the reservations.
How should brides/event coordinators go about securing a new date?
Work with your venue and family members to come up with a new date options. If you can be flexible to choose something other than a Saturday night, even better! If you are looking to reschedule this Fall, you need to keep in mind that there are brides that have scheduled for 2020 Fall dates well over a year ago and a Saturday night NOT on an LSU football game home weekend is not going to be easy to get! You should also try and be open to different venues than you originally had in mind and if you will consider a daytime event, even better! If you do choose a Summer/early Fall date, keep in mind you will be chancing it again because of hurricane season...
What advice would you give if a vendor is being difficult about payment, postponing, etc.?
This is such a difficult time for everyone. It is sort of a double whammy as everything is shut down because of the virus, and at the same time the economy is unstable. You have to be compassionate towards vendors as well as vendors towards their brides. Companies of all status are having to balance all of the cancellations and refunds while still trying to keep their employees and juggle payroll. Emotions are high with brides and their families as they are afraid as well. The best thing to do if you are able to reschedule is to hope the vendor will move your balance paid to the new date without a change fee. What our clients do not realize is that we have already done most of the work and are now being asked to do it time and a half again for no additional fees. We all will have to pay employees for the extra hours while not being able to bill for it. It's no ones fault, so it is just a lot of extra work that most clients do not realize is being done.
Is there anything you would recommend to future brides about how to go about their planning after this situation?
Unfortunately this is a "learn and see" unprecedented situation. Most insurance policies to date will not cover something like this even if you had a cancellation policy! I am sure all planners will now be adding a clause in their contracts to cover in the case of a pandemic, but I am not sure that a bride is able to cover themselves if this was to happen again.
Other things to consider:
When choosing someone to do business with, consider going with well-established businesses that will be able to withstand the turbulence of our economy for the time being. In the long run, saving money may cost you money that you will never be able to recoup.