Planning a Wedding During a Pandemic

Planning a Wedding During a Pandemic

Rocko Dorsey

April 1, 2020

We find ourselves in new territory as the rise of the COVID-19 cases spread across our country rapidly, forcing the closure of schools, restaurants, bars and wedding venues. The idea that a celebration that has taken over a year to plan might not happen, is weighing heavy on the minds of my 2020 wedding clients. Planning a wedding is hard enough but with the social distancing mandates due to the pandemic, it got a lot harder.

Let’s address the elephant in the room and talk about the options. If the COVID-19 cases increase in the coming weeks, there are two options for couples who’s weddings are in the next 90 -120 days: cancel or postpone. If you cancel, the likelihood is that you will lose thousands of dollars in deposits that were already placed to hold your venue, and vendors. Postponing has it’s own set of challenges. Those of you that have entertained moving your May/June wedding to later in the season have discovered that autumn peak-dates are already consumed by other clients that booked a year ago. Aside from a weekday wedding later this season, this makes 2021 the next best solution for your rescheduled wedding reception. However, you may still have to forfeit your venue and some of your vendors if they already have events in 2021 that conflict with your new date.

Something else to consider. The economic backlash of all 2020 events being postponed to next year would be devastating to a lot of us in the wedding industry. Most wedding professionals in my area live on deposits through the winter months and wait patiently for the start of the wedding season which is usually late April. Our deposits are a fraction of the event total, the majority of our revenue is obtained by working the event. This leaves us all to wonder what might happen to our small businesses by next year. For a wedding venue, dj service, photographer or caterer to move 40+ events to the following year, means that we’ve basically “skipped” a years revenue. That kind of hardship might mean that your venue, dj, photographer or caterer isn’t in business anymore.

I have a solution that I think is worth entertaining. In Upstate New York, where my wedding entertainment company is located, our peak season is from April-October. A lot of us have little to no work between November and March. My solution is to extend our season and simply move all May/June weddings to November-March. This will essentially save our customers the pain of forfeiting their deposits and will also save a lot of small businesses who count on those events to happen in the year they were scheduled to happen. If you want to have your wedding this year, entertain a weekday wedding for later in the season. A weekday wedding wouldn’t conflict with existing events and would have favorable weather to accommodate your vision of an outdoor event.

“What’s in it for me?”, you might ask. Some of us, including myself, offer an “off-season/weekday” discount. If any of your other vendors are also willing to give you a discount, you stand to save money, marry the love-of-your-life, and possibly save a small business all in one day! The uncertainty of whether the aggressive actions of isolation will have a positive effect on controlling the pandemic are yet to be seen. My personal hope, is that if everyone takes the social distancing recommendations serious, we will eradicate the virus soon, allowing us to celebrate again with our friends and family. What a celebration that will be!

Rocko Dorsey is the Owner of RD Entertainment Services inc. located in Auburn, New York.