Dress, check! Florist, check! Caterer, check! All the things, check! Wedding …. CANCELLED ???? Just like many of us have experienced over the last 4 months, my client’s wedding was cancelled, and another event was off the books for us for April. Now July, all major events have either postponed, or cancelled all together since March. In all honesty, we have very little through the summertime until Fall when things are supposed to be more comfortable for people to congregate. Here is hoping! Although, based on recent conversations and happenings I’m not too confident as we’ve moved slightly backward in the reopening plans here in Florida.
My bride and her groom, Tim and Nancy, had been planning their wedding with me for almost a year when just before go-time, the decision was made to postpone; literally days before the event. A destination event at that, in South Florida. There was no way the risk could have been taken. The wedding of their dreams would have been just a figment of their imagination. People would have cancelled, the seats would be empty, or everyone would have been wearing masks. I mean, could you imagine those wedding photos?
But when love is the reason, no matter the season (not even Covid season), love will conquer all. They did not let this horrific time in the world keep them from celebrating their love. They decided to get married! They got married at home with just their parents on their actual wedding date. That date was important to them, so Nancy and Tim were married on 4.4.20 just as they had planned. By the look of the pictures, I don’t think it mattered where they got married because they looked so happy and beautiful, and the pictures captured every emotion just as it would have been at their destination wedding in South Florida. After all, a wedding truly is about the love, not the location.
As an event planner, it can be so hard. You have to remain neutral, level-headed and know that whatever decision your client makes, it’s the decision THEY make, and their happiness is key. I didn’t want to scare them out of cancelling the event sooner or act like it couldn’t happen because of Covid (I love how we capitalize this word now like it’s a thing. The “flu” doesn’t get a capital letter…just saying). I was there to support them no matter what, and by darn, if they wanted to go through with the wedding on 4.4 in South Florida, we would have been there with bells on and our catering team ready to go with the proper precautions in place! We would not have let them down. Did I know the right answer to whether or not they should postpone? Absolutely not. I was in the same boat as them, and just wanted to be supportive while at the same time providing the best professional advice I could.
I was happy to hear that all the vendors for this wedding were as flexible and understanding as we were. There have been many Zoom chats, meetings and panels lately that I’ve been a part of. Some of the stories I have heard about other events have been just devastating. From vendors keeping their clients deposits with no new dates, and not a care in the world if there was one, to clients threatening their vendors into giving them deposits back after all the work that had already gone into the planning thus far. Clients not wanting to honor their contracts like it didn’t event matter if they signed one and it’s validity. Vendors are questioning what they should do and there’s no right answer to this. As a vendor myself I feel horrible for all those other businesses having to deal with the effects. Many client-vendor relationships broken due to the outcomes. And to be honest, with the amount of time and effort, hours, proposals and menus back and forth, and meetings, etc… it doesn’t even matter. What does matter to me is the relationship I build with my client. No matter the client or the event, no matter what kind of vendor you are, it’s all about the relationship and how you choose to deal with each individual situation. Again, there is no right answer! Now, I do understand those vendors that do keep their deposits because the goal is to keep your client, and ultimately just work with them on the new date scheduled. As long as you don’t have another booked event already, or have a large enough team where you do multiple events in one day then everything should be fine. That’s great, but it’s not possible for some. Like a photographer, or videographer, smaller caterers, an Officiant. That’s why there are contracts. Very detailed, fine print, I-hope-you-read-it, contracts. You gotta do what you gotta do! There is a lot of work that goes into the planning over many months and people are valuable and time is money. I get it! But, no one could have plan for a world pandemic. I am currently adding new line items to my own contracts, but I seriously hope I don’t need to use them in the future. In the end, dates can be moved, details can be changed, but that relationship we build with our clients is held above all else, and is most important.
“When love is the reason, love will conquer all”
I was ecstatic when Tim text me that they were planning to get married anyway, on the same date and at their home, despite the pandemic. After all, 4.4.20 was their date! It’s funny, it was like God had spoken to me earlier that week because I had already gotten with their cake vendor and had her do a mini, smash cake sized-cake for them that I could deliver to them on 4.4 as a surprise. You know, give them a little reason to celebrate. To MY surprise, they were actually getting married and were going to need a cake after all! So, Saturday morning I delivered that mini cake to their house and Tim surprised Nancy with it from me. I was so happy that it was meant to be and that they loved it so much. Now, they have a good idea of what’s to come when we get to do the real thing. I can’t wait!
When Nancy told me that her friends and family planned a parade for them with all the local guests that would have been at the destination wedding, I got goosebumps all over. How amazing! The video with all the cars driving by was so cool to see. All the people that love Tim and Nancy were so happy for them. The support and joy from them came through and you could feel the emotion and love through the camera. When you are surrounded, 6-ft apart, in vehicles driving by, filled with those that love you, nothing can ruin your special day. I am sooo happy for Tim and Nancy, and am so excited to plan their future wedding celebration as planned. Thank you, Tim and Nancy, for letting me be a part of this crazy journey we call love. Now, some day, you can tell your children “We got married in the time of quarantine.”