The Wedding Industry during the Coronavirus outbreak : We ask the Expert Charlotte Ricard-Quesada
We ask the founder of La Fête how the Coronavirus outbreak could affect your wedding …
- Due to the Coronavirus outbreak should I cancel or postpone my wedding?
I would always recommend postponing and not cancelling. Right now, there might not be a date that you feel comfortable postponing to, due to the uncertainty around the virus, and that’s okay. But if you want to ensure that your suppliers can keep their companies afloat during this difficult time, don’t cancel. Speak to them openly about your concerns and negotiate a middle ground, such as keeping your already-made payments as credit with them to use for your wedding, once a date has been set. We’re all in this together at the end of the day!
- As a wedding planner, how would you deal with a wedding during this critical time? What would you do?
First things first, try and remain calm. I know it’s hard, but panicking won’t help you. If you’re in the process of planning a wedding in the coming months, I can’t stress enough how important it is to hit the pause button. If you keep planning as though nothing is happening, you will only stress yourself out more and risk losing large amounts of money as the big day approaches. Create a set list of all the things you need to tackle and keep your communication channels open with all your suppliers. I know that it will be heartbreaking to delay your wedding plans, but just remember that everything is on hold right now and you’re not alone. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any tailored advice right now, I’m here to help.
- Who should I contact first if I have decided to postpone/cancel if I don’t have a wedding planner?
If you are planning your wedding yourself, speak to your partner and close family first and vent your frustrations. Once that stage has passed and you want to tackle the postponement, speak to your venue and caterer: as key suppliers, they will be able to provide the most assistance and guide you along the way. See what you can negotiate with them financially and date-wise and always remember: they will do their best to accommodate you as they want to keep your business once we resume a normal life.
And again, I can’t stress enough how cancelling events will force businesses to let go of staff or close down completely, so please please postpone instead.
- How should I reach out to my suppliers if I need to cancel/postpone my wedding?
I would always advise having things by email so that you have a written trace to refer back to. Their phone lines will be off the hook right now, so if you want to call (especially if your wedding is just around the corner), get ready to wait to speak to someone. Once you have had a phone conversation, and if you haven’t already sent an email, send one as a recap and save copies in a dedicated file, so that you can keep track of all discussions.
- What should I do if my wedding is planned for June/Summer months in areas affected by the virus?
This especially affects wedding hotspots such as Italy and Spain, and based on the current situation, it seems safer to postpone for now. It’s obviously your personal decision and risk to take, but even just based on the current border blocks and travel restrictions, it’s wiser to put things on hold. Even if you can still travel to your wedding destination now, nothing guarantees that that will still be the case in even a few days from now. There’s also the risk of getting stuck somewhere and unable to return home. Remember to exercise good judgement and social responsibility when you can.
- When do you think the wedding industry will go back to working with certainty, especially in Europe?
Unfortunately, there are no markers of when this will be, as everything is constantly changing, so I can’t give an educated answer on this. My only advice is to accept uncertainty and learn patience for now.
- If someone has planned their wedding in Italy or France, when should they postpone it to?
My advice would be to postpone for no less than a year from your original wedding date. Hopefully, the issue will resolve quicker, but you need to have some breathing room to get back on track with planning and allow your suppliers to deal with the backlog of events. As frustrating as this may be, you need to do your best to be patient and focus on the positives.
- How would you guide your brides and grooms in this uncertain moment?
Compassion, understanding and always looking for the silver lining when possible. As terrible as prospects may look right now for all the brides and grooms-to-be, it’s not going to last forever. If any brides and grooms out there need some advice or just someone to listen to their concerns, DM us on Instagram.
- Should couples have a plan B and find a new wedding destination?
Things are so up in the air right now that I wouldn’t recommend committing fully to a new destination. If you did, you might also risk feeling like it wasn’t really the wedding destination you originally dreamed of, so be patient and your dream will come around, I promise!
- How should you inform your guests if you plan to cancel your wedding?
Usually, a group email is the most effective way to inform your guests of any postponement, cancellation or change. For any people who you feel email wouldn’t work, send them a text or call them to let them know.
- Talk us through the importance of having Wedding Insurance.
Wedding insurance should, in my opinion, be included in any budget. However, in the wake of COVID-19, dependent on the provider, there is no coverage standard set out. It seems as though if your venue closes and is unable to host your wedding or if a close relative were forced to self-isolate or passed away (of the virus or something else), then you would be entitled to compensation. Air travel, accommodation and personal choice to cancel do not seem to be covered. This is also why it is vital for your budget and your suppliers that you postpone and keep any payments made as vouchers or credit to be used in the future. Please do check the terms and conditions of your insurance provider though and don’t hesitate to discuss with them further as policies can and do vary from what I have mentioned here.
- If I want to get married in Spring 2021, should I book now or should I wait?
I would advise waiting and playing it by ear. Carry on with your research, Pinterest boards and shortlisting of suppliers, but don’t commit to anything financially just yet. See how everything plays out over the next couple of months, and be considerate of the backlog of weddings and date changes that venues will have to deal with once life resumes its normal course.