3/17/20 Coronavirus Update for TBS Certified Wedding Planners:

I know that all of my members, venues and planners alike, are in a very difficult and unprecedented position. Between wedding postponements and cancellations, you may need some guidance. Further on are a few common questions that I have received, but first, please see my plea below:

My plea: It is best to refrain from negative social media comments that do nothing but spread ugliness and divisiveness. If you don’t believe that this pandemic is serious and you think it is overblown, you are more than welcome to believe that. However, you are not welcome be rude or mean to those who are taking this seriously. It isn’t The Bridal Society’s way to act in a rude manner. We believe in upholding a certain standard of kindness and having integrity, morals, and ethics.

Common Questions:

  1. Should I cancel my upcoming meetings with clients? I recommend listening to our government’s recommendations. They say to go out of your way to avoid being out and about if you can help it, and to limit gatherings to less than 10 people. My personal recommendation is to change your in-person meetings to phone/video calls. If you can postpone your in-person meetings, I would suggest that you do so. Virtual meetings may be the way to go for a while. Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype are the popular options that planners are using.

Remember: If all of us take a “break” from each other for a specific period of time that our government recommends, they are positive that we can avoid the rapid spread of this virus. It may be best to err on the side of caution. Many people don’t realize that they are carriers and could infect the elderly or those who have a compromised immune system. Let’s think of others during this time, not just ourselves.

  1. What do I say to my clients who are filled with anxiety and panic and want to cancel their wedding? It is important to be calm and and to explain that it is not in anyone’s best interest to cancel the wedding. However, it is in everyone’s best interest to reschedule it. We are asking our clients to consider “off” days when rescheduling their event, such as Fridays, Sundays, or other weekdays, in order to help with the overflow of events that will be taking place. We need to remind our clients that most Saturdays are booked for the next year or longer. This is why we ask them to be flexible. It is also important to read and understand your contract. You may want to talk to an attorney. If you are a TBS member, check your members-only page on our website, because our attorney has special rates just for you. I would recommend that you tell your clients that contracts were designed to protect both parties, and that we have to stand by them just as our wedding pros and venues do. You, the planner, may want to add something about infectious disease situations into your contracts moving into the future. If you have the TBS contract template, it does cover circumstances like this.

Remember: It is important to remind your clients that we are all in this together and that our hearts are breaking for them. Let them know that wedding planners are working very hard for all of the couples who are in this position, and that we want nothing more than to make this as easy of an adjustment as possible.

  1. What do we do about Venue guest limitations? Venues have had to make some very difficult decisions, and they are all trying to stay within the limitations of the number of people who are allowed to gather together. The CDC said 50 people a few days ago, and since then, the President has said no more than 10. This is an ever-changing situation, and we are all trying to do our best.

Remember: Things can change in instant. So, let’s be flexible and explain to our clients that we are at the mercy of the limitations and guidelines that our government is setting in order to help prevent the spread of this virus.

  1. What can I do during the down time when I normally would have had meetings/weddings? OPTION 1: Offer services to couples who didn’t hire a planner. Review their contracts, offer to make calls on their behalf, and walk them through this unprecedented situation. Ask your venues or wedding professionals if they need assistance with this for their clients. OPTION 2: Invest in continuing education. The Bridal Society will be releasing their Master Certification Course in the coming weeks, so you can sign up for that soon. The Bridal Society also has an online go-at-your-own-pace Wedding Design Fundamentals Certification Course available now that you can take from home.
  1. What should I put on my social media posts? I think you should use your social media platforms to educate couples and to reassure them that your company has everything under control. Give tips and helpful guidelines that will assist your couples through this difficult time.

In summary, be smart and sensitive to others. Showing empathy is crucial, and it also shows your true character. Be kind to one another even when you disagree. I wish you luck, and remember to be the calm within the storm. People are looking to you for guidance. Give them that.

Sincerely,
Laurie Hartwell
CEO of The Bridal Society

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