First off – breathe, everything will work out ok in the end. The most important thing for everyone in Ireland and the world right now is to be safe and to practice the guides given by the government and the health professionals in terms of isolation, cleanliness practices and social distancing. The speed and severity of how the Coronavirus pandemic has developed has been staggering and its fair to say that most people have been taken by surprise with the speed and enormity of it all.
That being said as a Wedding professional it’s really important that I don’t add to the uncertainty and worry that a lot of brides and grooms are feeling right now. My job is not only to supply a service (which in my case is a wedding photographer) but also to be your guide through your wedding day and now that responsibility has been somewhat elevated and I am here to guide you through these slightly troubled waters. I was thinking about this a great deal over the past couple of days and wanted to share my own thoughts about wedding postponements as a Wedding Photographer.
My first point is that it’s really important to remain as positive as you can. It’s so easy to slip into a defeatist mindset and worry too much. You can’t change the current situation but you can choose how to react to it. Choose the green platform and not the red one. Restrict the amount of time you are on social media and watching the news, its important to be informed, but sometimes there is such a thing as too much information. There is a difference between being a realist and a pessimist, try being real but proactive.
This is an especially important time for you to elevate your communication game and get in touch with your Wedding Suppliers as soon as possible, knowledge is power. Try and find out as soon as you can and if it’s possible for your wedding to take place on its original date. The best way of doing that is to contact your reception venue (hotel or otherwise) and also the person performing the ceremony – whether they are a priest, HSE celebrant, humanist, solemniser or otherwise and ask them to confirm if your wedding can proceed on its planned date.
Note – if you’re in any doubt, postponement is the only real option as uncertainty brings worry, and worry and weddings are not a good combination.
Once you know for sure that the wedding can’t take place on it’s original date or you have any doubts – it’s best to put a backup plan in place and this often starts with picking a new date. Its important not to pick a date too close to your original date as there is no certainty that the pandemic will have passed at that stage and the last thing you want is to have to postpone again.
Organising a wedding is tough, twice – even more difficult but three times is near impossible..
When it comes to picking a new date, you should consider the following :
- A week-day wedding like a Wednesday or Thursday, they are often less expensive and often your original suppliers will have more availability on these dates.
- Off season – Consider a wedding in Jan, Feb or March, again these are often quieter times for your wedding suppliers and the chances of booking your original suppliers is much greater. You may even get better value services during this time.
- Try and retain your original supplier, you picked them for a reason.
- An alternative wedding – think outside the box !
Once you have let your family and friends know you should start contacting your suppliers with new dates and date check them for the new dates to see if they are available. It’s often a good idea to ask them which dates they do have free rather than just the one date and maybe they don’t have that one and then back and forth communications ensues. Take note of the dates they have and cross reference them with the key suppliers you absolutely want for your wedding day. This will help cut down on admin time.
Be careful what you ask for..
Especially if it’s an opinion, its like asking a man who has two watches, what the time is – he is never sure. Everybody has an opinion and some of them you may not like, trust the professionals to guide you through the process. Take counsel from family, but don’t pay too much heed to all opinions, otherwise you will be overwhelmed with decisions.
With regards to deposits for wedding services, in the majority of cases if your original supplier is free for your new date they will just transfer the deposit from the old date to the new date with no additional fees. If they aren’t available its unlikely they will be in a position to give you a refund back. Remember they have already paid Tax/Vat on the deposit, maybe put it towards marketing or supplies. It’s generally accepted that deposits are not refundable.
Deposit – a sum payable as a first instalment on the purchase of something or as a pledge for a contract, the balance being payable later.
Of course its not ideal to lose money but looking at if from a wedding supplier point of view, they may have had 2-3 months of cancelled work and are dealing with a crisis situation and not having any work for months is going to put them under serious pressure financially and also emotionally. Be kind, work with your supplier, they will do their best for you. Ireland is full of great people and fantastic wedding suppliers. Remember some suppliers won’t make it through this crisis.
I even had a lovely couple who postponed their wedding to a new date, which thankfully I was available for. They then offered to send some of the final payment early as they knew it is a tough time for wedding suppliers and also know that I am on their side and will work super hard at capturing their wedding day perfectly. I see it as a partnership.
Ask for referrals
Once you have your new date agreed and your main suppliers are available – you can start to relax more, if you have a supplier that isn’t available for your new date – ask them for a referral. You’ll find they will refer you to someone they know, like and trust and also have a similar style or skillset to them, so it’s a win, win. Your new supplier will be delighted to take a booking at this difficult time and may offer a small discount in some cases.
When you have your new date set and your suppliers organised, it’s important not to compare the new and the old date. Start fresh and embrace the opportunity to create something on a clean blank slate, enjoy the process and be mindful of all the stress you have been through and enjoy the process of something new and exciting.
Plan to do something on your original wedding date.
Even if its a takeaway and bottle of vino, or if you have kids – do something with them, even if its indoors, mark the occasion and make it special to you, acknowledge it – don’t hate the date forever !
Not everyone who is going through this pandemic crisis will make it, some sadly won’t make it, we know this. Some business won’t survive it, some wedding couples won’t get to rearrange their wedding date in the short terms for various reasons, be thankful if you do and try and have some perspective about the situation, acknowledge that it has happened but don’t dwell on it. As long as you and your family and friends are safe and well – thats the most important thing.
If you or any of your friends are looking a creative, relaxed soul to photography your wedding, get in touch with me through the links below. If you just need any advice on your wedding or postponing it, you can also contact me, because I won’t be that busy for a few months and would be pleased to offer any advice. Email if firstname.lastname@example.org