It has been a challenging time for everyone who have been planning events for several months to have them immediately disrupted; the disruption we have come to know as “COVID-19”. As many of my event professionals, we are proactively working with our clients and event partners to minimize the chaos, and to move forward with new plans of action. Our clients are our top priority!
On March 15, 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on March 15, 2020 that “in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States….Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.” (CDC Announcement – click here.)
I am sure you are wondering what should you do!? Here are a few tips we recommend helping you to navigate through this process.
- First, remain calm and collectively create a plan of action. Collectively with your team (corporate events), your significant other (for Weddings), and your Planner.
- Don’t cancel, reschedule! Now you have extra time to relax and add additional details you did not think about the first go-round of the planning process…so your event is totally going to rock!
- Your Planner is going to be essential during this time, so allow them to help you to navigate through the process; you do not have to do this alone.
- If your event is occurring within the next 8 weeks (prior to May 11th):
- Schedule a call with your Event/Wedding Planner to discuss alternative dates for your event.
- If your event is occurring in a state that has “mandated” that all venues, restaurants, anything with social gatherings to close; know mandates are enforceable by law.
- Review your contract agreements and start outlining your options.
- Before finalizing and announcing your new event date, consult with your Event/Wedding Planner and other event professionals you have contracted to make sure of their availability.
- Need to get the word out regarding your NEW date! A new invitation in the mail is not necessary! The most efficient and effective method is email – create a nice electronic invitation announcing your new details. You can create beautiful electronic invitations via Minted.Com, PaperlessPost.Com, or have the person (stationery designer) who created your invitation to create an electronic invite for you to email. Secondly, use word-of-mouth for reinforcement in conjunction with your communication. Lastly, update your website.
- Update your event website, with new details once a plan of action has been finalized (which is also stated above).
- Email your wedding party or immediate committee members of the new plan of action first before announcing it to your general audience.
IF YOUR EVENT IS WITHIN THE NEXT 90 DAYS:
- Start thinking of a Plan B to include:
- Think of alternative dates for your event
- Look at your guest list and possibly narrowing down the number of persons in case restrictions are modified to allow events with a certain number of people.
- Start collecting email addresses of all your guests; this will be a top priority to email out change of date announcements quickly and swiftly for all your guests. This is a great idea regardless of the current circumstance so that you can immediately communicate with your guests for any immediate updates.
- Review your contract agreements to see what clauses are in the agreements.
- Update your event website with new details once a plan of action has been finalized.
IF YOUR EVENT IS IN THE LATTER PART OF THE YEAR:
- Be patience as your Event Planner & Event Professionals you have contracted are addressing concerns of Clients who have events within the next 90 days.
- Keep in mind that venues are probably challenged now because they are trying to reschedule events, so there may be some delay in your planning process.
- Virtual meetings are an excellent alternative to meet and discuss your wedding/event for the next 8 weeks.
- Get event insurance!!!! Make sure that your policy will cover man-made disasters (a pandemic is considered a man-made disaster). Event insurance is not going to help if your event/wedding is within the next 90 days and you did not purchase prior to the pandemic. We recommend to our clients, Markel Insurance (Markel for Events, Markel for Weddings).
FOR EVERYONE, no matter when your event/wedding date is scheduled:
- Work collectively with your Planner and do not make quick decisions with your vendors or venue without consulting with your Planner first.
- Virtual meetings (can’t stress this enough) is an excellent alternative to meet and discuss your wedding/event with your Planner or other vendor professionals.
- As you are creating your event/wedding guest list, it is important to also get email addresses (this is great for quick communication).
- Continue to follow your State Government officials and their mandates. Continue to follow the CDC guidelines on staying healthy and safe.
- Be patient and have faith in your Event Professionals.
I hope that I have answered any uncertainties that you may have on how to handle your event/wedding in response to COVID-19. The above are tips and advice that we have created. We ask that you consult with your own Planner and vendors, insurance companies, and legal counsel to make wise decisions for your event. Find comfort knowing that your Event Professionals are on your side and are here to guide you through this process. Let’s stay safe and healthy.