19 Tips From Global Wedding Experts On Dealing With COVID-19! (Part 2)

It’s not about the wedding industry right now. It’s about the community. It’s the human touch which we are craving right now. And this is widely seen on our social network. People are coming out and extending help and support in whatever ways they can, spreading positivity and love to those who need it. This is exactly what we need! Stay Positive and Don’t Panic! When this is all over, weddings will continue to be a moment about connection—and we will all be craving that connection more than ever.

As Meehan Fee from Destinations Unveiled beautifully sums it up: “We’ll come out on the other side of this better for the lessons we’ve learned as a result of these times.”

So here are our next 19 tips to help you stay positive and be at the top of your game: 

 

1. Strategize

“Start working on new concepts & designs and be ready for the seasons once the situation gets better as weddings won’t stop & we have to be ready with unique ideas for future celebrations as there will be a surge of events for those who want to celebrate once this pandemic is over. Analyze what will lie ahead in terms of trends because things will definitely change after the current situation.” shares Bhavnesh Sawhney, Co-founder, FB Celebrations Pvt. Ltd, India based event management company and destination wedding specialist.

“Think strategy 2021 and how to best penetrate the wedding industry.” adds Fabien Gastinel, General Manager, Oberoi Hotel Marrakech, Morocco.

 

2. Clear Up Files And Outstanding Payments

“Brush up on any obsolete systems or templates that are used for back end. Concentrate on closing old accounts and clearing up files that you long wished to. Pay off all those whose accounts are outstanding with you; which will be the best service you can do for their families in times like these.” Shares Vikram Mehta from Mpire Events, Luxury event consultants from India.

“Stay calm and watch, probably it’s happening for good. It’s a good time to assess your strengths and weakness. Develop your internal office  system efficiently, get formats made properly so that when wedding queries hit up we are well prepared.”adds Ashish Bohra, Wedding Planner, Perfexion Events also from India working on royal weddings and destination events. 

 

3. Support Your Vendors

“Show off the vendors you work with, they need you. Share your vendors’ profiles so they can share yours. Do not ask vendors for commissions” Costa Rica based wedding planner Cristina Salazar recommends.

“Build a sense of community with local vendors. The entire industry is hurting and we will see the repercussions/impact of this at least through the 2021 season. Support your vendors on social media, help them navigate changes to their contracts, business practices, and communications, share insights. Let’s take this time to help each other grow. There’s enough business for everyone – take this time to make sure this industry stays afloat.” adds Minoti Mehta, Founder / CEO, Event & Wedding Planning Company, Vermilion Weddings & Events from USA.

“Communication is very important. Stay in contact with your couples, advise and assist them with postponing their dates rather than canceling their dream event. depending on the availability of the venue organize with vendors and see the flexibility of the possible new dates in order to protect your couples’ payments.” further adds Seema Radia, Passage To India, Portugal.

 

4. Postpone, Don’t Cancel

“Educate brides and grooms on how their deposit can save a vendor through the season, and that postponement is a better option than cancellation. Also, educate them that should they postpone, a Friday or Sunday celebration will help vendors make up for lost income in 2021, and that this way most vendors and venues will be open to postponement without any extra cost.” shares Kerrin Wiesener from Signature Events, Germany.

“Profound understanding, flexibility and sincere communication with the couples and the collaborators is a must. As hard as it may be for the industry to pause the activity, only with great respect to our clients, we’ll manage to postpone the weddings and not to cancel them. Let’s offer the couples the chance to anticipate with even greater enthusiasm their very special day!” adds Iosifina Politi, Event Manager at Santorini Gem Wedding Venue from Greece. 

“As planners, we have the responsibility to guide our clients in this crazy situation, and we have to try to postpone weddings rather than cancelling. In this uncertain time, we can postpone weddings to Autumn or to 2021.”Costanza Giaconi, Founder of Bianco Bouquet, Destination Wedding Planner from Italy further adds.

5. Relax & Learn Something New

“Take advantage of this time to do the things that you dream of doing but are normally too busy. Write that book. Submit work to magazines. Write your blog posts. Begin using a social media program like Later or Sprout Social.” emphasizes Michele Fox Gott, Event Producer, Center of Attention Events from USA.

“Use this time to rest, recharge, and do the things that can feed your creativity. Your creativity is vital to your ability to innovate, problem-solve, plan and design amazing events. If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends, now is the time to re-mold that candle and set things straight. Ban anxiety from your thoughts, it will only feed fear and negativity. Read a book, cook, watch that series you were afraid to get caught up in and allow yourself to be present. When you as the business owner are strong and refueled, you can better steer your business.” –Mwai Yeboah, African Wedding Specialist from UK  further adds.

“Keep connecting with your clients, more than ever. It could be a message out of their wedding, just to have their minds entertained with your positive mindset. Send songs, send books to read. And dig into more detailed points at their weddings.” says Muriel Saldalamacchia, International Wedding Planner, France.

 

6. Mental Wellness

“It is easy to get caught up with the constant social media noise and news updates – especially when we are all working from home, so try to limit your consumption as it can start to impact on your mental health. So instead each day try and do something for you that makes you feel happy. Here are some ideas for you, do a home workout, meditate, tidy your workspace, video call with family and friends, read a book, watch episodes of your favorite series on Netflix.” Emphasizes Radhika Nathwani, International Luxury Wedding and Event Planner based out of UK and Founder of Radhika & You.

“Stay positive. Communicate often with the clients and the vendors. Keep a work routine” – Salma Moltif, Wedding Planner, MAEV, Morocco.

“Take care of your health, your family and friends before your business.” adds Vincent NOEL, Destination Wedding Planner, Officiant, FLOVINNO, France.

7. Handling Clients Requests Promptly & Carefully

“During these challenging times in our line of business we need to remain in view of our clients (through social media, emails, calls) to address their concerns, and worries even if we’re not sure of the answers because so much is unknown.” Says Tammy Ann Kober Ortiz, luxury travel advisor, corporate event planner, destination wedding planner, Red Carpet Corporate Events, USA.

“Be genuine and compassionate! Maintain regular contact with clients who are unsure of postponement vs cancellation. Be honest with them about your own circumstances.” Adds India-based wedding planner, Annika Talwar, Founder of The Wedding Network, who has done various destination weddings in Thailand.

“Stay united and to be a team. Suggest postponing the wedding with discounts for the bride and the groom. Be flexible with the cancellation policy and payments.” states Linda Rossi,  Sales Manager, Artimino, Italy.

 

8. Build Consensus Among The Team

“As a wedding planner, this is our role as the “captain of the ship.”  It is so important that all event vendors are on the same page as to how to handle the global pandemic and how it affects each individual event.  Keeping cancellation/postponement policies similar (or ideally, exactly the same) allows for a smooth process if you need to make adjustments.” Says Meehan Fee, US-based wedding planner, Owner of Destinations Unveiled.

 

 9. Think Green, Local & Sustainable

“This all situation proves that it’s time to change for a new paradigm, the World will come to the same observation: we must think GREEN, LOCAL and SUSTAINABLE. It’s NOW!” believes Florian Dewitte, Production Director from Deco Flamme, France.

 

 10. Professional Portfolio

“Pursue the company’s website and social networks, sort out your professional portfolio. “says Katerina Krizanovska, Co-founder, Trust Events.

“Open YouTube channels, conduct training programs for brides, talk about the possibilities of the program at weddings, venues, etc. We can talk about each other with our followers in social networks, we can interview each other for our blogs or YouTube channels, we can do various collaborations!” adds Natalia Moisiienko from Chic weddings & events, Ukraine and Montenegro-based wedding planner.

 

 11. Practice The 3 Cs

Project calmness, confidence, and competence during these difficult and truly historic times. Make sure to communicate clearly and consistently with your clients and employees. If you are open for business, make sure they know that and let them know how they can interact with you. Now is the time for excellence in leadership and customer service. Shares Patrick Biehle, CEO of BY BIEHLE from Switzerland.

“Communication among planners. Vendors are the key during these difficult times so as to exchange opinions and get to know each other. Maybe the creation of a community platform would be a great idea at this point.” Adds Eleni Rantou, Sales Manager, EROS Santorini.

Muriel Saldalamacchia, Destination Wedding Specialist and Instructor, Founder, The International Wedding Planner further highlights “Organise yourselves in Mastermind groups on WhatsApp. Share you fears, your country news, how you believe we can sort out the situation, propose how we could helps in a very specific situation… Chat chat chat!!!!”

 

12. Rescheduling

“Try to reschedule the wedding cancelled in 2020 into the new year 2021 like how big concerts and events have done, allowing to start again immediately in the new year, when all this is over. (maybe without a penalty could be a consideration)” recommends Nicola Settesoldi, Managing Director, Vanessa Viaggi – Vanessa Wedding.

“Reschedule weddings from May and possibly June till later in the year.” – Vaios Zissis, General Manager of Santorini Princess Luxury Spa Hotel & La Ciel Wedding Venue, Greece.

 

13. Go Digital

“Work online. Technology allows us to go on with our meetings via phone or video conferencing like FaceTime, Skype, Slack, or Zoom.” Florencia Abramzon, General Manager at El Dok Haras from Argentina recommends.

 

14. Use A Hashtag That Can Go Viral

Chiara Gheri, Wedding division manager, Destination Florence Convention & Visitor Bureau/Tuscany for weddings division shares their strategy. “We tried to find a way to remain positive and share a powerful message to the wedding community. We started a social campaign called  #saveyourtuscandream, encouraging to delay the event looking at new dates.”

15. Change the Vision: Help Educate Your Clients And Staff

This is as challenging to Brides & Grooms as it is to the vendors and planners that support this industry. This is the most awaited day of someone’s life and they are absolutely devastated to hear that they will have to postpone their Big Day and potentially change their vision (for example a Summer Beach Wedding to a Fall Lawn Wedding or a 500 guest celebration to a 250 guest celebration). It is our responsibility to help Brides and Grooms navigate these difficult situations by guiding them through the changes and supporting/encouraging their decisions.” Minoti Mehta, Founder / CEO, Event & Wedding Planning Company, Vermilion Weddings & Events from the USA.

“Renegotiate wages and salary temporarily if you are in small or medium wedding business” adds Eric Sugiono, Wedding Planner from Indonesia, Founder of Poetyque Events.

 

16. The Power Of Connections

“Connect with other wedding planners from different markets and discuss what they are doing and how they are managing their clients. Keep your couples and audience fresh and busy with new decor ideas and trends for 2020 through social media” adds Micheline Diab, General Manager and Wedding Planner of Giritaly from Lebanon.

“I believe we can all help each other by offering advice, support, and guidance. Some of us are more expert than others in certain areas, but one thing we all do in one form or another is handle crisis and constantly problem-solve, so what could be better than putting all our heads together to solve this problem? Together we make the perfect team to solve just about any problem thrown at us.” Says Luxury Wedding and Events Planner, Nicole Bono from the USA, Founder of Bono Events International.

 

17. Failing To Plan, Is Planning To Fail

“Based on my years of experience, I strongly urge everyone to first focus on their human capital. Our employees and team members are the assets that allow us to maintain our level of excellence and we are only as strong as our weakest link. Therefore, we must ensure that our people are taken care of in these difficult times, even at the expense of the business and our personal gain.

Once our teams are taken care of, we can focus on keeping our business alive, at least in terms of public awareness. So focus on communication, if you can’t film, showcase, if you can’t showcase content, recycle old ones but keep creating noise, keep being active, especially on social media. Everyone is stuck at home like us and they will certainly welcome the distraction and remember you once this is over.

And when this is over, you’ll need to be ready to hit the ground running, so plan ahead during this period. Go back to the drawing board, and devise Plan A, Plan B … Plan Z to consider all possibilities and cover contingencies. At the risk of sounding cliche, I will repeat the famous saying “Failing to Plan, is Planning to Fail” beautifully summed up by Elie Azar, CEO and Owner, ParAzar Productions from Lebanon.

18. Statistical Data

“It is evident the need for the destination wedding sector to consolidate more regular statistical data, there are few countries that have statistics done periodically and proven based.” – Simone Tostes, Destination Wedding Planner, Aonde Casar. Brazil.

 

19.Reduce Operational Costs

“Reduce Operational costs and project expenditure – most brands don’t adopt a frugal approach in minimizing project costs, but there is a lot of scope of optimization without affecting the output. Benefits can be as high as 25% that can make a big difference” says Pradeep Chandar, Wedding Designer from Marriage Colours India.

“Micro-level collaboration at a city/state level among the community so that there are understanding and common pricing & delivery standards. When the industry opens up in the aftermath of Covid 19 and the underlying recession, there is going to be a lot of price undercutting and desperate & harsh competition that will result in lower margins amidst a need to get back to normalcy.” He further adds.

 

And Most Importantly Stay Positive

“Even if it sounds silly: Stay positive, it’s hard to believe right now, but things happen for a reason. Look at it with the half glass full angle and keep going.” Says Tiziana Tamara, Cake And Confetti Events; Wedding Planner & Designer from Switzerland.

“Spread Positivity as much as you can! Whether it’s to your couples or fellow vendors, try to reach out and send them a little pick me up from time to time. Try some fun Instagram challenges or post some fun Behind the Scenes Stories of your team and vendors.” adds Chandni Mistry from Pearls Event and Co, USA Based wedding and events planner.

We look forward to seeing you all in November at the beautiful Mitsis Alila Resort and Spa for the DWP Congress from 4th – 6th Nov 2020

Until Then Stay Safe!

A BIG “thank you” to all the contributors who came forward to help each other. It means a lot to us as well as our wedding network. #inittogether

 

All Pictures Credit @twenty20