COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS POSTPONEMENT POLICY
Just...wow. What a year 2020 has been thus far.
As you can imagine, I've had to postpone a significant amount of weddings and events at this time. I know this pandemic -- and the unknowns every single one of us are dealing with even today -- is tough on you. Luckily though, we're starting to see things slowly ramp back up to a new normal (at least for a bit). But it'll take a bit of time to do so. That includes weddings, with a significant change that has positively affected weddings beginning May 1, 2020 (which I'll address later).
I know many couples are stressed and facing difficulty. I want you to know that I've been thinking of you, your wedding & want you to be comfortable, safe & want to relieve as much as stress as possible. I'm working to be as accommodating as possible while also protecting my sustainability as a business.
I actually pay very close attention to each and every daily update by Governor Mike DeWine (as it's also part of my job), so I consider myself more knowledgeable about this than quite a few other vendors in our area. Several of my couples (especially out-of-town) who've been impacted have told me they've been very relieved of the detailed info and insight I've provided.
Here are some key things to consider as it relates to your event (the order of things is pretty relevant, too).
How your event is effected by state &/or local orders
Events March 2020 - May 31 are definitely affected **RESCHEDULE** (see below)
Events June 1 - June 30, 2020 are likely affected to some extent **RESCHEDULE AVAILABLE** (see below)
Events after July 1, 2020 could be affected. WATCH THIS PAGE FOR UPDATES
Carefully review each of your event contracts
What is the postponement policy?
What is the cancellation policy? (this is key as it could cost you $$)
What is the COVID-19 special circumstance policy, if any?
Via email, contact your venue to inquire about re-booking date options in the near future (see below for important suggestions to avoid additional costs)
Consider NON-Saturday dates;
Consider off-season and/or other unique dates (see below for some hints)
Ask them if they can "pencil you in" for that date with a first-right of refusal
DO NOT SECURE A NEW DATE UNTIL YOU DO THE OTHER STEPS BELOW!
Create an Excel Form or a Google POLL with your venue’s re-booking availability dates, cc/copy all the Excel Form or Google POLL to each of your day-of vendors to see what their "Plan B" availability is.
Select the "Plan B" date where most, or all, of your vendors are collectively available AND ask them if they can also pencil you in with a first-right of refusal.
DEPENDING ON HOW FAR OUT YOUR WEDDING IS, YOU SHOULD NOT RE-BOOK ANOTHER DATE WITH THE VENUE UNLESS YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE ABOUT POSTPONING (AND ALSO AWARE OF POLICIES/CONTRACT PROVISIONS IN YOUR AGREEMENTS WITH YOUR VENDORS).
Relax, stay healthy and continue to trust your pros (especially me!) to handle all of the behind-the-scenes stuff for you!,
COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS FAQ'S & PROCEDURES
MY WEDDING IS UP-IN-THE-AIR DUE TO THE MASS GATHERINGS LIMITS
Events between March 16, 2020 and June 30, 2020, I am allowing to re-book for a future, comparable date (within 12 months of their original date) without any re-booking fees. Certain dates are off-limits or hold higher-fees due to holiday or demand.
MY WEDDING OR EVENT IS AFTER JUNE 30, 2020
My focus remains on immediately impacted events & couples so I can ensure a smooth transition to their new date. Because of current orders & the tremendous progress the state is making, events that are currently originally scheduled for dates on and/or after June 30, 2020 are unable to transfer Non-refundable initial payments (retainer). Cancellation policies as stated in your Agreement will also apply.
I am reviewing this policy as states release ongoing updates and guidelines (SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFO). Of course, if there winds up being orders that would prevent your wedding from taking place, then that will be addressed at that time.
NOTE: You can still postpone your event or wedding to a new date, but an additional retainer for the new date would be required. Rates I'm charging for 2021 will also apply. Now, if I happen to re-book your original date, then I will gladly refund your retainer or simply apply it to any remaining balance.
I, along with majority of other vendors, are moving ahead planning that weddings & private events can/will be held -- especially since wedding ceremonies are no longer restricted to ten guests or less. So, unless there is a specific order as it relates to your date, we're all anticipating your event will be a go on the original date you booked us. I'm no exception (I'm so itching to get back to weddings as it is!) :)
WHAT ABOUT IF MY VENUE POSTPONED OUR EVENT?
I understand a number of venues have made the decision to close for an extended period of time, which might have resulted in your wedding or event being postponed to a later date, despite your wishes.
Although their decision to remain closed is their personal preference, the terms of my postponement policy (along with cancellation policy) would still apply.
NOTE: Per contract law, a venue doing this has breached their own agreement with their clients. Which would give those clients the legal right to find another venue for their original date without penalty (a venue would have to refund all of the monies you paid, regardless of contract language). Again, weddings have always been allowed as those were specifically exempted by the Governor. Venues who are doing this are not only being inconsiderate of their clients, they're also creating situations for other vendors as it relates to their clients as their decision to breach an agreement is causing lost income for other vendors.
REACH OUT TO YOUR VENDORS BEFORE CHANGING YOUR DATE WITH YOUR VENUE
I cannot stress enough how important this is. I'm presuming you will want to keep all of your vendors IF you have to re-schedule your date. You picked all of the vendors for the reasons that you did. So, it would make sense for all of them to be available if you need to reschedule. This is why I highly recommend getting some potential back-up dates from your venue, THEN reaching out to all of your vendors to see if they have those dates available. The venue is just another part of your entire team.
I've seen quite a few couples on social media who changed the date with the venue & did NOT check with their vendors first. Now they're now frustrated because they're finding out that the vendors they hired aren't available. AND they're also losing money because not only are they losing the retainer/deposit, they might owe them the balance depending on when their wedding is (those vendors are also running a business and they just lost out on potential income with the date that opened up). This could've been prevented by consulting with all of the vendors prior.
WHAT IS YOUR CANCELLATION POLICY?
Please consult your Agreement for the terms. The policy shall apply if you choose to terminate my services for whatever reason. That could also result in full payment of your remaining balance due depending on when you terminate/cancel services. More here as well:
WHAT IF I CHOOSE A NEW DATE THAT YOU'RE NOT AVAILABLE?
That is considered a termination of services. Therefore, policies in regards to this shall apply as stated in your Agreement. That could also result in full payment of your remaining balance due depending on when you terminate/cancel services. More here as well.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY COMPARABLE DATES?
This can wind up being a little "in-the-weeds" to some, but many of you probably know there is a "prime season" and an "off-season" when it comes to weddings. "Prime" is considered May through October with the remainder of the months considered 'off-season' (although there are some days/dates during the 'off-season' that are either holidays or are in-demand, like New Years' Eve, for example, which is a high-demand date).
For example, if you originally booked a 'prime' Friday, then you can book another "prime" Friday (excluding select dates) without any re-booking fees (as long as it's within 12 months from your original date). You can certainly postpone your wedding to a "prime" Saturday, but there will be additional fees as the demand for those dates are significantly higher (and I charge different for Saturday than I do for other days).
On the flip side, if you originally booked a 'prime' Saturday and wish to move to a 'prime' Friday, then you could get a discount. That also applies to any originally booked 'prime' Friday or Saturday date and decide to move it to the off-season. If you already booked with a promotion offer, additional discounts will not be applied.
Consider 'Off-Season" -- including week between Christmas & New Years'
I realize having a "winter wedding" might not have been your original plan, but I'd strongly consider the 'off-season' option. Outside that it can be rather chilly outside, a winter wedding can be quite picturesque. Not to mention, there might be some additional discounts from some of your vendors during this period of time (My rates during the off-season are discounted. So, any re-bookings during this time would qualify for those rates. I even waive the "comparable date" policy during the off-season for most dates).
One period of time some couples haven't considered -- & I've strongly suggested -- is having your wedding the week between Christmas & New Years' Eve. You might be thinking "WHHHAAAAAT?!"
Many people have the week between Christmas & New Years' off. So there are several days during this week that you can take advantage of have your wedding then. So, in 2020, you have Saturday, December 26; Sunday, December 27; Monday, December 28; Tuesday, December 29; and Wednesday December 30. In addition, January 1st, 2021 and January 2, 2021 fall on a Friday & Saturday, respectively next year. (I did not list New Years' Eve as that is considered a special day that comes with special event pricing).
Plus, you can work in a bit of winter &/or the holiday season, in addition to some of your original themes, if you desire. I've done quite a few of weddings during this period of time over the years and they've been well-attended AND people have stayed. So, definitely do not rule out these dates. Not to mention. there could be discounts to be had as it's off-season AND during the week!
Much like you did when you got engaged and planned to get married in 2020, couples who got recently engaged are securing their vendors for 2021 date (or even late-2020 date) now. As you probably know, Saturdays are prime. Hence the emphasis on non-Saturday dates (like Friday or other dates that you might not have considered) to not only get a date in 2020 if you really wanted to get married this year, but also to avoid losses in payments to vendors who are unable to collectively postpone their contracts.
I, personally, can NOT speak on behalf of any venue and/or vendor not covered within my Agreement signed by the client originally. Nor, can I honor the terms of another vendor.
Businesses establish policies so that their business can be sustained. I'm no different. Majority of us are trying to be very accommodating & working with our clients to the best of our ability, while keeping the sustainability of our business in mind. So, it is truly a two-way street.
Unfortunately, I have seen some people who are using COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic to try to take advantage of some of their vendors & the overall situation. Even some attempting to bully a vendor because they now don't agree with the terms of the agreement. Not very cool (nor does it show the person being reasonable). Most vendors will not allow to be bullied.
In an effort to save these small businesses, and your event budget, I strongly encourage you to consider a non-Saturday re-booking within the same calendar year (I can't stress how awesome Friday weddings are!!). This entire process is very difficult for everyone, and the financial health of your vendors and venues is just as important to us as your event is to you.
I plead with you to take these considerations to heart and work together for the best possible solution.
MORE COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS POSTPONEMENT FAQ'S & PROCEDURES:
Within 12 months of your originally booked date:
- Sunday-Friday: NO additional charges
- Saturday: NO additional charges (IF your event was originally booked on a Saturday)
- Saturday: Original event total PLUS 20% (IF your event was NOT originally booked on a Saturday)
After 12 months of your originally booked date:
- Sunday - Friday: Original event total PLUS 15%
- Saturday: Original event total PLUS 15% (IF your event was originally booked on a Saturday)
- Saturday: Original event total PLUS 20% (IF your event was NOT originally booked on a Saturday)
Should any client choose to postpone prior to state government guidelines that would affect their original event date, there will be a re-booking fee of 25% in addition to new date rates (above, if applicable).
HOWEVER, if state government guidelines eventually cover your original date OR I re-book your originally booked date, this re-booking fee will be removed from your account.
Should any client choose to terminate my services for any reason prior to state government guidelines that would prevent their event from proceeding in anyway on their original event date, cancellation policies as stated in your Agreement shall apply.
In addition, any event re-booked will be subject to an updated cancellation policy.
What happens to balances due during the COVID-19 crisis?
As a small business, I rely on these funds to operate our day-to-day business. That being said, I understand the unforeseen impact this has caused us all. No one -- or business -- could prepare for something like this that suddenly caused many things to cease without notice. Including business operations.
So, I have developed a couple of options for clients to select from when re-booking for a future date:
1) Elect to push ALL balance due dates to the new event date, but within the same due date timeline (as stipulated in the Agreement). I presume this will be the most popular option with clients.
2) 50% of final balance due ON/BY the ORIGINAL balance due date (10 days prior to the original contracted event date) and the remaining 50% of final balance due 10 days prior to the new/rebooked/postponement date. This option, if appealing to you, assists me with cash flow during this period of uncertainty and mass postponements, and helps the client alleviate the larger sum due later.
As usual, you still have the capability to pay down your remaining balance within your online planning portal at any time.
As all of you know, I have a rather unique business model as a professional DJ/MC service as I'm not one of these "big box"-type DJ services that hands off events to other DJs in order to accommodate multiple events in a day. Since I only book one event per day, dates on the calendar are my inventory & I have previously passed on events that inquired about these dates. While this business model is unique to me as a DJ, it's not that unique to vendors like venues, photographers and videographers, for example. Majority of these small businesses don't get to be bailed out like corporations and companies do.
In an effort to save these small businesses, and your event budget, we strongly urge you to consider a non-Saturday re-booking within the same calendar year (I can't stress just how awesome Friday weddings are!). This entire process is very difficult for everyone, and the financial health of your vendors and venues is just as important to me as your event is to you. Many vendors are truly struggling because events have stopped as has their income. We plead with you to take these considerations to heart and work together for the best possible solution.
Which is why, on behalf of other vendors, I plead with you to take these considerations to heart and work together for the best possible solution.
I can't think you enough for understanding and for working with me to find the most viable solution for all parties, should you be forced to make this tough decision. Just imagine how OFF THE HOOK your event will be when we all "ungrounded"! :) Here's to better days ahead -- and they are ahead. It'll just take a bit of time to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
I truly look forward to celebrating with you.
As usual, do NOT hesitate to reach out to me about anything -- especially if you need to vent/talk (I can offer much better advice and insight than a Facebook wedding page, for example). ;)
MAY 2, 2020 UPDATE!
Beginning May 1, 2020, Ohio moves into "Responsible ReStart Ohio" stage. As Ohio starts to "re-open" there have been some changes. The state's previous "Stay-at-Home" order has been changed to "Ohio Stay Safe" but has quite a few exceptions. Businesses start re-opening on May 4 with retail and service operations opening beginning May 12th. Restaurants and bars will opening after that (specific date TBA).
As it relates to weddings, WEDDING CEREMONIES are no longer limited to the ten persons limit, although the wedding reception currently is. So, you are allowed to have a wedding ceremony of any guest count, but there "social distancing" guidelines
Due to the tremendous progress Ohio has been making -- and that ceremonies are no longer bound to ten persons -- my policy regarding not being able to transfer retainers to a new date still applies. I AM CLOSELY MONITORING POLICIES AND PROGRESS THE STATE OF OHIO MAKES AND WILL ADAPT ACCORDINGLY! Within the next several weeks, I'll be making a decision regarding events through mid-July. I know many couples are on this timeline as well as they really do not want to pull the plug if they don't have to.
Also, since wedding ceremonies are no longer bound to the ten-person limit, I am now offering a ceremony only offering for those who are going to do a ceremony on their original date, but wind up moving their reception to a later date. Contact me for info regarding this as pricing varies.
Just a reminder, you can certainly move your date, but there is a charge to retain the new date. If there is an order that would prevent your event from taking place and/or I re-book your original date, then you get that additional retainer refunded. I know this might be frustrating, but as I stated earlier, many of us small businesses are balancing our policies between being accommodating while keeping the sustainability of our business in mind (as dates are our inventory).
You can also read a blog entry on some aspects of this as it relates to retainers here:
Thanks again for your continued understanding! Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions!