2020 - well we've never experienced a year like it!
The pandemic has of course brought suffering and loss to many families, unemployment and financial worries, uncertainty - yes a key word UNCERTAINTY.
In our industry of events and especially weddings I suppose uncertainty has been a key word. Couples have have had to cancel weddings that have been planned with lots of love and care which is so stressful and disappointing.
With the fast changing lockdowns & tier changes this has meant that for many their day has had to be cancelled right up to the last minute.
I can only imagine how saddening this must be but I suppose they say that the main thing to be thankful for during COVID is to be safe and well which I must agree with.
From a suppliers point of view yes it is both disappointing and hard financially too.
Disappointing because we get so heavily involved with our couples with the all the planning and we so much look forward to their day too when all the plans come together for the best day ever.
But don't despair - weddings can be moved (not ideal of course!) and hopefully all your original plans transferred with the same suppliers and venue hopefully.
As I mentioned it has been hard financially for wedding suppliers as for many it can be their sole business. Hopefully they have been able to gain some financial support but lets be honest that for some it will be the end of the line like many, many other industries.
Lets just hope that as many as possible can survive as they provide such a special and often unique service to the industry which we just don't want to lose.
As a supplier myself we have taken a hit in 2020 with all our wedding bookings postponed but luckily we have managed to rearrange them for 2021 and 2022.
My main profession is full time photography with Daisy our photo booth secondary I suppose. So we have not been totally stuck and have managed to keep going thankfully.
I like most just hope for better times as soon as possible for our health's sake and economically.
We have taken the view going forward that for any new bookings we must be even more flexible than ever with our clients.
With COVID it has of course not been our clients fault at all that bookings had to be cancelled and we've been so happy to be flexible and move our bookings if we could with no worries.
We know many others like us who have been flexible and unfortunately some who have not which is always concerning. Lost deposits and increased fees - that's just not good.
For couples just starting out in your search for the good wedding suppliers, then as usual do your homework!
Yes it's the usual, googling and checking Facebook, wedding fayres, etc, but also ask your friends and work colleagues for recommendations? Ask your venue if you already have one - they have so much knowledge of the industry and often know so many suppliers. We are quite a tight knit industry so ask your caterers which photographers they know and like, ask your celebrant which magician they can recommend, you get my drift - we all know lots of good fellow suppliers and we are all looking out for each other.
And then when you have a shortlist and you are ready to choose someone it's so important to check the suppliers T&C's - and ask the questions about cancelling for unseen circumstances, like of course COVID!
As humans we're all different. Me personally - well I hope to think I am very fair with people and understanding. So when it came to the crunch with one booking which had to be cancelled due to COVID - the rearranged date given didn't work for me, so I had no qualms whatsoever in refunding the deposit. Very exceptional circumstances of course as we've never had anything like this.
And I was glad to hear that lots of suppliers had been like me and done the same. But you've guessed there have been some who haven't.
So a lesson there is to check the small print - yes I know it's boring as you are going to be so excited about having ticked off a photographer or the caterer off your list. BE THOROUGH and take a step back in all the excitement to check everything out with your suppliers - if they're legit and decent they won't take offence about you checking every detail.
When it comes to booking too protect yourself like you do with any other purchase. Weddings aren't cheap so be careful.
Paying by card gives you some protection if your supplier closes their business after you've paid a deposit for example, yes unfortunately it does happen.
A supplier I knew of wasn't running their business well I'm afraid, getting into financial difficulty and then deciding to voluntarily shut the business down leaving creditors high and dry including couples who had paid deposits.
Wedding businesses shutting will become a very sad casualty of COVID so be careful. We so hope though that this won't happen.
Enjoy the experience of your wedding planning, it is so much fun and exciting as your wedding plans come together.
Just be a little careful and do your homework. Enjoy it though!
Remember - lists!