With working from home the new norm for now, virtually planning your wedding has also taken on a life of its own. Just because you can’t connect with your vendors in person doesn’t mean you have to put the planning process on hold. All planners, venues and vendors have pivoted their business to serve clients as seamlessly as possible and ensure your event plans stay on track.
Lexi Haslam, owner of Lexington and Co. Events and winner in the wedding planner category of Weddingbells 2020 Canadian Wedding Awards says that even before COVID-19 she connected with many couples virtually. “We work with many clients who are planning overseas and in different countries that are getting married in Toronto,” she shares. “We are used to working virtually via Google Hangouts, FaceTime and now ZOOM, which is a game changer. We have currently moved all of our in-person meetings to be used over these virtual platforms. This allows us to continue planning, continue working towards crossing off important tasks so that we do not fall behind when we get back on track.”
As for what types of details and services Haslam and her team have co-ordinated with clients, she says pretty much everything and anything to do with the event is fair game. “I have planned full weddings virtually and I have met couples in person the week of their wedding,” she explains. “Though I do prefer to do detailing meetings in-person, like event rentals or florist samples as I find it helps clients to better envision their wedding day, including their tablescape and place settings. That being said, it isn’t always possible to have these types of in-person meetings, which is when we rely on our virtual meeting spaces. During these times, I will have my vendors complete the set-up of our linens, napkins, rental furniture, flowers and more. I ask them to take photos and videos or use FaceTime to loop us into their showroom to help the client visualize. Details like the schedule, music selection, floor plans, seating chart and food dietary restrictions and anything that is more logistical is easier to do virtually. However, it is still possible to do the detailing, design and rentals virtually too since software like ZOOM allows you to screen share.”
Katelyn Powers, senior designer and studio manager at Toronto’s Paper & Poste says for the time being the company has shifted all their meetings to phone, FaceTime or Skype and are happy to send out physical samples if necessary, to clients. “We work with clients across the world, so communication via email and phone is a part of our daily protocol and we love exchanging inspiration via Pinterest and Instagram, “she says. “We find that, while clients can’t physically feel or see the papers and print methods in person, photography is still an excellent way to communicate those tangible elements.”Powers says the are also providing help for clients in a tough situation due to coronavirus. For those clients whose wedding dates have been compromised, they are providing a designed digital file outlining this message. “The files are totally prepared for print so they can be printed at home, trimmed and mailed. The file is also appropriate for email. At this time, we really are encouraging our clients to set up even a very basic website for the purpose of updating their guests on an on-going basis.”
In the realm of wedding catering, you can also still continue to plan your menus and table settings with virtual ease. Carlyanne Pruger, director of events for Vancouver’s White Table Catering Co. says even with its kitchen and offices closed right now, the company has been able to continue to keep things running as best we can so when things do get back to running as scheduled, they are prepared and on track with clients.
“We do all our floorplans, staffing, and menu alterations through online software, so updates are able to be sent easily electronically to clients,” Pruger details. “As well, our rental catalogue is available online too, so clients are still able to select their rentals without having to go into the showroom. Meeting online with Google meeting is a huge resource we are tapping into right now to keep communication with our team, couples and planner partners going. We are also keeping in constant communication with our venue and rental partners to have the most up to date information available for our clients, so they can stress less and have a streamlined source of information. We are finding most of our clients are waiting or postponing to the fall if their wedding falls in the next couple months when we are unable to operate. No doubt it’s been a challenge, but we are working hard to keep positive and know this is just a temporary hiccup and we are all in this together.”
Haslam echoes this statement and says though the wedding industry is currently facing an incredibly uncertain and stressful time, both clients and vendors have been compassionate and understanding. “We are in this together, and we are all doing our very best to be accommodating and ensure our client’s wedding is everything that they envisioned. My advice as of today for couples getting married this year is that if your wedding is taking place from June onwards, continue business as usual. I would advise to reconvene at the beginning of April and see what our current status is before making any decisions. I would also recommend that if you have not collected all of your guests’ emails, to start working on the list. This way if you do need to postpone the wedding date, you will have the means to do so in an efficient manner.”