Weddings & Coronavirus: why some suppliers are charging for postponed weddings
Monday, 30 March 2020
my wedding is postponed: why are my suppliers all offering different options?
Monday, 30 March 2020
I get it. I’m in a unique position, as a wedding planner I have great relationships with my couples and know most of them really well. I know how they met, what they do for work, I’ve met their families and chances are they’ve met mine. I’m fully aware of the financial implications and outright panic COVID-19 is having on my couples. I know who is on leave and who is working flat out right now, and who’s baby plans have had to be put on hold for postponed weddings. Likewise, some of my best friends are in the wedding/events industry and I also know how this is wreaking havoc on their livelihoods, baby plans and house buying dreams as all our income has disappeared overnight.
I’ve spoken with couples who are getting massively different levels of support or potential fee increases from their suppliers and are feeling a little angry by that, so I wanted to explain why that might be. It’s a hugely stressful time for everyone involved, so if this helps answer some questions then I’ll count that as a bonus…
Weddings are emotional, that’s why we love them
Weddings are events like no other, the emotion poured into each and every wedding is IMMEASURABLE. Since we were kids our parents have thought about our wedding day, who we’ll get married to, and may have saved a pot of money for our special day. And then we’ve been thinking and dreaming about our wedding too – and depending on how romantic you are depends on how long you’ve been dreaming about it (one of my bestest friends used to make us stop and look at rings in jewellery store windows when we were 16, which I just wasn’t interested in at the time).
Wedding industry suppliers are also unique-we’re fully aware of all this emotion, we can navigate around it and guide you through it. It doesn’t put it off that it’s the most important day of your life, it makes us come running. We want to be there for you, delivering a day that is better than you could ever dream of. We go above and beyond Every. Single. Time.
COVID – 19 and the wedding industry
But COVID-19 has brought out a strange area in the wedding industry, and we’re in a place we’ve never been before. There’s no overall governing body or parent company in the wedding industry so we’re all steering our own ships. Each business is run by the owner, in individual ways and this is causing confusion and even anger for couples as they continue to get different responses from their suppliers. So I’m setting out why that is, and what you can do to help.
Some newer businesses just need to fund business costs such as rent and materials, and suppliers may have an income from another aspect of their business (such as social media or content creation, or even a totally separate part time job for those multi-hyphenates). Or some may have partners whose wage can cover the bills for a short period of time. Others are entirely reliant on the income from their wedding business to support themselves, pay their rent/mortgage, and feed & clothe their families. As an indsutry, we've been hit particularly hard by the governments offer of support too. For reasons too long to go into here, not everyone will be eligible for help. Obviously, for those entirely reliant on income from their wedding business, postponing/cancelling has a bigger impact on them financially, and they may be forced to deal with this differently to other suppliers. Every supplier is doing what’s right for them financially – which will be massively different from other suppliers. They will desperately try to balance what you need to do for your wedding with what they need to do to stay in business and keep a roof over their heads.
We’ve postponed our wedding to 2021: why has my quote increased from 2020 to 2021?
This is really common for suppliers to increase prices year on year, some quote ‘inflation’ but it’s also a reflection of increased experience and skill through each wedding season. You only have to look at a wedding venue’s price list to see how much they put their prices up year on year!
I would say for the majority of wedding suppliers, they are going above and beyond for 2020 couples and many aren’t increasing their prices if you choose to postpone to 2021. But postponing to 2021 DOES have a financial impact on them – essentially that’s a full wedding date gone, so they are losing the chance to work on another wedding next year, as your wedding has taken up 2 dates in their calendar (the 2020 and 2021 date). They fully recognise this isn’t your fault, and want to support you. But how can you support your wedding supplier for the loss of income? If every 2020 couple postpones to 2021, that’s potentially a whole year’s worth of work lost-so some business owners are genuinely concerned they might not still be running in 2021.
How you can support your wedding supplier during COVID-19:
- Offer to pay the fee increase between 2020 and 2021 (if you can afford to)
- Stagger your payments: offer to pay a proportion of your bill in 2020, to keep money trickling in for them
- If you have insurance, see what your policy covers. Some policies will cover cancellation fees, allowing you to cancel the supplier and they can keep the money you’ve already paid them. You are refunded in full, and then you could rebook the same supplier for your 2021 date. That way, they are paid in full in 2021 and they keep whatever you’ve already paid them when your originally booked.
- Do they offer other services? Do they do mail orders or deliveries, Ebooks or gift vouchers? Buying little things from them can be a huge boost to independent businesses right now.
- Don’t cancel them, postpone your booking to another date so you still get an amazing service and they still get paid
- If you are postponing to a later date, please get insurance if you haven’t already! And check that your policy covers suppliers being paid if you need to postpone again from later in 2020 to 2021.
Obviously, it goes without saying, don’t get yourselves into financial hardship supporting your suppliers if COVID-19 has also wreaked havoc on your wedding budget. We know some weddings are going to be much smaller than were originally planned, and we’re trying to prepare for that, and we want to support you in any way possible. We are IN THIS TOGETHER! I hope this has helped fill in some gaps as to why you might be getting so many different answers from suppliers. I think this is a time to extend as much kindness as possible, and hope that we receive it back.
And remember: you WILL get married, and it will be even better than you dreamed of – I promise!