Will Things Ever Go Back to Normal?
The COVID-19 dust is starting to settle somewhat in Australia. As a result, couples are starting to feel a sense of confidence in planning their wedding again. Many couples are rethinking plans, and as a result, the wedding world looks a little bit different going forward.
Note: updated information available here dated 1st September 2020
How did COVID-19 affect the wedding industry?
What happened with COVID-19 has negatively affected may industries in Australia, and the wedding world was no exception. Venues, caterers, florists, photographers, videographers, make-up artists, celebrants and so many more were all of sudden without an income. This, coupled with many brides and grooms contacting them looking for advice, options, refunds, and asking questions that we were struggling to find an answer to, made it a very tough time.
There will be suppliers who won’t recover. The financial – and in some cases the mental – strain has proven too much for some. It’s truly sad, and equally upsetting for couples who have lost deposits or a dream supplier.
How did it affect me?
As a celebrant, I was lucky. Even during the tightest restrictions, I could still marry couples who were happy to have their ceremony with five people.
All my couples were amazing. I found they were kind and understanding that this situation was tricky, and together we came up with a solution.
I did lose some bookings. Some couples had to reschedule on a date that I wasn’t free. Others are based overseas so decided to cancel their dream of an Australian wedding. My heart really does go out to these couples.
I’ve managed to reschedule almost everyone (about 40 weddings) to the second half of 2020, or a date in 2021. The knock-on effect is that I have less available dates for new bookings, and therefore the impact of COVID-19 will be felt for up to 18 months.
There is a silver lining of the above-mentioned dark cloud. This crazy time has reaffirmed how much I love my job. Although I don’t think I really needed to remind myself how lucky I am, I certainly got the opportunity to appreciate how important my career is to me, and just how passionate I am about it.
The other positive is the change in the way couples are now planning for their wedding.
Having had the option of a wedding with family and friends in attendance taken away from them during COVID-19 has made couples now truly appreciate that moving forward they can share this day with others. It’s made planning easier for some. They are now looking past some of the details that were ‘nice to have’ and concentrating only on the ‘must haves’.
It’s made many couples plan the wedding they want, not the wedding that they thought they should have. It’s given couples and their family and friends something to look forward; an opportunity to celebrate their marriage, and to celebrate being with loved ones again.
How couples should plan their wedding going forward
- If you’ve postponed your wedding, and you’re trying to align your supplier, try finding what dates are available with your venue first, then provide as many options as possible to your suppliers, asking them to let you know which dates they are free. You can try an on-line tool like Doodle to help with this scheduling.
- Be aware that if some of your suppliers aren’t available for the date you’ve chosen, you may lose your initial payment. Check your contract, and feel free to ask your vendors to remind you what you may lose if you cannot find a mutually available date.
- If a supplier isn’t available, ask them if they know of anyone who is. I have a network of celebrant friends who have stepped in for me with some of the weddings I’m now no longer able to conduct, and visa versa.
- Be aware that vendors are going to have less availability for Saturdays in the next 12+ months, especially in the popular months for weddings. If you’re able to do so, try to be flexible about the day of the week you’re getting married. I personally love a Friday wedding (three days of partying – yeah!), and you may find that some vendors offer a discount for weekday weddings.
- Not all vendors are 100% back in business just yet, so you may find that some take a little longer to respond.
- You may also find that some vendors need to check with rescheduled couples on dates they are holding for them. I still have some couples who have a number of dates held as potential wedding dates, and therefore I always have to check with them first before responding to any new enquiries.
- Please don’t let any of the above put you off planning! The wedding industry needs you. We want to marry you, and we want our industry to go back to normal as quickly as possible. New bookings will help us all ride this storm. I know I am doing not-so-silent cheers whenever a new enquiry pings into my in-box.
Always feel free to contact me with any questions you have, whether you’re an existing couple of mine, or a new couple. I’m always happy to help.