Today’s engaged couples are facing tough decisions and added stress due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now is the time more than ever that couples will have to lean on their wedding planners, friends and family to get them through these difficult times. But in the midst of postponements, cancellations and uncertainty, what is the best way to support your local wedding vendors, who, as small businesses, are no doubt feeling the pinch? They may have had to temporary close their storefronts, pivot to other means of serving clients, and have to deal with logistic issues. We chatted with wedding photographer Jessilynn Wong, cake designer Trisha Medina of Rococoa Butter and floral artist Deanna Rogers-Murray of Deer Dutch to get their thoughts on how they are affected by the pandemic, and how couples can best support their local wedding vendors during these trying times.
The best thing that clients can do at the moment? Stay in communication with their vendors. “We are here for them to help them through this difficult time and want to work with them to move forward together,” Rogers-Murray shares. “If they’re having concerns, I encourage them to get in touch with their priority vendors and talk it out to come to a solution together.”
“I’ve had a few cancellations and postponements now and the only thing we can really do is remain calm and understand that we are all working together to best assist everyone in finding solutions,” says Medina. “At this time, I am happy to help couples move their wedding date as long as the new date is available. Unfortunately, a few couple have tried to move their big day to the fall which is always the busiest months for me, and the first to fill up.”
Although it may be a challenge to find a 2020 date, Wong says that for many vendors, not losing their 2020 wedding season completely is important. “For couples with weddings in 2020 who are considering postponing, please include your vendors in the conversation. Be opened minded with your new date. 2020 is a wildcard and many weddings will be taking place on days other than Saturday,” she shares. “Do your best to keep your wedding in 2020—it means you’ll get married this year and you’ll help keep your vendors in business. Some business will not be able to sustain themselves through to the following year if every wedding moves to 2021.”
Keeping the lines of communication open with your vendors is key to supporting your local wedding vendors. “I’ve heard of instances where clients have completely postponed and rebooked their wedding before notifying all their vendors, and if they are unavailable for the new date it can be costly to both parties,” Rogers-Murray says. “Vendors are facing the potential of losing their entire 2020 season or their business all together and are invested in their clients as well so to lose out on working with them can be devastating.”
Whether you are in the process of sorting out a new wedding date, or you’re sitting tight for your wedding in the near future, there are some things you can do to help your local wedding vendors now. Here are some ideas:
- Purchase goods from them that you can enjoy now. This includes ordering flowers or a cake for pickup or delivery. To support wedding photographers, Wong says for brides and grooms whose wedding has passed, they can order prints or a wedding album as a precious keepsake. Makeup artists and hair stylists may also have products for sale that you can purchase.
- Pre-purchase services you can redeem at a later time. For cakes and flowers, you can order these items ahead of time for any birthdays, anniversaries or special events down the line. Many makeup artists and hair stylists offer gift cards. Your photographer likely also shoots things other than weddings—consider purchasing a lifestyle session, which includes family shoots, or update your headshots with a branding session.
- Share their work. “Tell you friends and family about their product or service,” Wong explains. “Give them a shout out on social media—you don’t know who will see it and be inspired to work with them.” Because many couples turn to their friends who have been married for wedding vendors and advice, sharing recommendations through word of mouth or social media is important for vendors. “I’ve booked couples on weddings I photographed years ago because my couples keep sharing their wedding photos and keep crediting me in their posts,” Wong says. “It may seem small, but it goes a long way.”
- Reach out to your vendors. “During these challenging times we are best when we all come together,” Wong says. “Many of my couples follow me on social media and they message me to say hi and check in with me. I’m really thankful to have couples who care about my well being and want to work with me.” Rogers-Murray echoes the same sentiment, sharing, “I’ve had so many wonderful clients reach out and just let me know they’re thinking of me and honestly that means the world to us.”
When it comes to supporting your vendors, it can be as simple as treating them with kindness and compassion, and communicating any concerns you may have. “You want to work with us and we still very much want to work with you,” Wong says.
It is important for everyone to work together. “Clients and vendors alike, please just be understanding of the situation. We have never faced a pandemic of this scale in recent times, and not having all the answers right away is OK,” Rogers-Murray says. “Everyone’s situation is different but we are all feeling uncertainties and doing our best at this time so I just ask that we move forward with understanding and grace. Be kind and support each other.”
“We all need to just do our part and stay positive,” Medina says. “A wedding can always be moved, and to a much happier time!”