A Pandemic “I Do”

By Christian Fitch

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the wedding industry hard. Jose Perez had planned to marry this June, but is now postponing his wedding plans until next year. With everything paid, he and his fiance are making tons of calls to postpone arrangements.

The idea of a virtual weddings may be ideal to some, but it is not really an option for those with specific beliefs and traditional values. Like Jose Perez, many people are postponing their weddings amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Many couples have sent out change-the-date cards announcing their wedding postponement. Emily Butler of Karson Butler Events, located in Washington, D.C. and California, says sending these stationary cards must come with clear health monitoring guidelines. It is important that guests are aware that you will be abiding by the CDC health guidelines while hosting your ceremony.

Nancy and Mike were scheduled to wed May 19, 2020, but the coronavirus halted their wedding plans. Brian Stylez, a DJ scheduled to work the day of the wedding, gave the couple a beautiful surprise. What was supposed to be Nancy and Mike’s wedding turned into a day they would still be able to remember. Brian showed up to the couple’s home playing their wedding song, it was the song the couple choose as their “first dance” song. The moment was beautiful as the neighbors watched the couple share a dance in their front lawn.

The coronavirus has many vendors and small business owners looking for creative ways to serve their clients. Many have opted to take their services primarily online, offering virtual tours, consultations through Facetime, and appointment-only bridal fittings. Urban Soiree is a company committed to personalizing weddings from city chic to elegant romance. It specializes in planning, designing, and event management services. Recently, the company encouraged its clients to be cautiously optimistic about their wedding plans and to not make impulsive decisions.

Urban Soiree advises communicating with guests, continuing to making progress with wedding plans, and discussing backup plans. It continues to service its clients by conducting virtual tours of venues, live chats to discuss linen and fabrics, and weekly updates via email, tracking its client’s wedding progress. Renee, the owner of Urban Soiree and her team share uplifting words on its site “To all couples navigating this situation, please know that your teams are going to support you and that we are in this together.”

Kindred Creeks Farm is now offering packages for an intimate wedding. On its Facebook page, the venue located in Hudson Valley advertises private ceremonies without the big reception. After social distancing and mitigation efforts, gatherings of more than 10 people are not encouraged during the coronavirus pandemic. Its Facebook page states, “Say ‘I do’ to your love and join together in the place where two creeks flow into one.” The company provides photos on its Facebook page of the farm every few days to remind people of its beautiful landscape.

Some wedding professionals are finding it tough to continue their work. Kirsten Kaiser is a professionally trained commercial photographer who holds a bachelor’s degree in photography. She is based in Peoria, Illinois. Kirsten is an entrepreneur who primarily works alone. She doesn’t have a team of people working with her developing new innovative ideas to keep the business afloat. “Most of my work for the last years has come from PR and social media agencies but just recently I have been booking weddings,” says Kaiser. “After our shelter in place orders, a lot of clients have ended our bookings and most of my income comes from unemployment.” Kirsten takes other small jobs like photographing for small product companies but solely deals with them online.

Restaurant chef and wedding caterer Gaurav Anand has been in the wedding industry for over 11 years. He has three restaurants in Manhattan and runs a full wedding catering business. He is also experienced in creating innovative recipes and ideas for international destination weddings. Anand says that since the advent of COVID-19, there have been many wedding cancellations and postponements. This has ultimately put a major strain on his catering business because weddings that were booked in the summer months are now rescheduled for winter and fall. This has caused a lot of anxiety and scheduling discord between other wedding vendors because they are used to being booked up for months and sometimes years in advance. Good.

Poinsett Bride, a bridal shop located in downtown Greenville S.C, serves everyone from the bride, the mother of the bride, bridesmaid and even pageants. The bridal salon is opened by appointment only and is limiting its bridal appointments to three people, including the bride. “There haven’t been many cancellations,” says Rebecca, a receptionist at Poinsett Bride. “We are just trying to be very supportive to our clients during these times.” Luckily for Poinsett, its business hasn’t taken a major financial hit.

Smaller businesses, like the one run by Jessica Bee, a make-up artist who specializes in weddings and proms, have been hit hard by the crisis. Bee says the coronavirus swept away prom season, which is a major money maker for her, and she had to refund a lot of her deposits on upcoming weddings booked this year. “It’s not likely I’ll come out of this ok, I’m financially burdened by just the basic expenses,” says Bee. “I need to consult with my clients, I need to touch their faces and feel their skin there are no virtual options for someone like me.”

After many restrictions are eventually lifted after COVID-19, many professionals believe events would be smaller but safer. Weddingwire.com offers great advice on how to cope with the changes made during the pandemic. It provides information on how to plan, where to plan, and how to do it safely. “Weddings will be much smaller than before, but couples will still be able to have an enjoyable experience,” predicts Leah Weinberg, an event coordinator from Long Island. She stresses a smaller guest list will make people comfortable attending. “Managing the size of your guest list is going to be key,” says Weinberg,

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