On March 16, the CDC issued a recommendation to cancel all gatherings with 10 or more people for the next eight weeks throughout the United States. Since then, many states have enacted Stay at Home orders. Following the announcements, engaged couples across the country found themselves forced to pause and pivot their plans for a spring wedding due to COVID-19.
EastCoast Entertainment has been in business for over 40 years. During this time, we have grown to become the largest, full-service entertainment agency in the country. Booking more than 6,500 events annually, we want to share insight and advice to those navigating this uncharted territory.
First things first, do not panic. While the current situation is unprecedented, the vendors you have booked are likely seasoned event professionals. They are accustomed to solving challenges and working under pressure. Lean into them, and together you will be on your way to a fantastic Plan B.
INCREASE THE ODDS OF RESCHEDULING ALL OF YOUR CHOSEN VENDORS
According to Wedding Wire, the average couple is engaged for 15 months – with over 85% of couples discussing their wedding preferences prior to getting engaged. This means that most couples with 2020 weddings have already booked vendors for their events. Couples forced to postpone their Spring 2020 weddings must now compete with everyone trying to reschedule, in addition to those couples who already booked their 2020 weddings. For this reason, it can be challenging to find a new date that works for every vendor you have chosen. However, there are some strategies you can use to increase the odds of finding a date most, if not all, vendors are available.
Select a Non-Saturday Date
Rescheduling to a non-Saturday date is, by far, the easiest way to increase the likelihood of rescheduling all your previously chosen vendors. According to data from the 2018 Real Weddings study conducted by The Knot, approximately one in five weddings take place Monday through Friday. Even with the popularity of non-Saturday weddings on the rise, it will be exponentially easier to reschedule most, if not all, of your vendors for a non-Saturday date.
Look for Available Dates in Traditionally “Off” Months
Spring and fall are the most popular seasons for weddings. You will have more options if you reschedule your wedding during late summer (July, August, early September), late fall (November, December), or move to the 2021 winter season (January, February, March).
Do Not Delay
There are only a finite number of weekends in any given year. While some vendors can scale and book multiple weddings per weekend, many cannot. Pause, take a deep breath, be methodical in laying out options, and prepare to make swift decisions.
Couples recently engaged (or soon-to-be engaged) and planning 2021 weddings should also heed this advice. Dates in 2021 will fill quickly with the many weddings originally scheduled for the spring and early summer of 2020. If you are planning a 2021 wedding, go ahead and nail down your choice vendors while availability is still favorable.
WHEN CHANGES MUST OCCUR
As much as everyone wants to find a mutually agreeable postponement date, it isn’t always feasible. The following tips can help narrow your focus and improve your chances of securing your favorite vendors.
Prioritize Your Vendors
Choose your top 2-3 vendors and try to find a common date available. Once selected, revisit other vendors to see who are available on the new date. You could get lucky and find that most are available.
Right now, most vendors are extremely accommodating to couples rescheduling their weddings. To guarantee success, both parties should exercise a bit of flexibility. For example, the original venue you booked may not be available on your preferred reschedule date, but they may have an alternate space or room that is available and just as lovely.
Even in entertainment this can happen, and our flexibility due to our size can be one of our greatest benefits. At ECE, we have more than 150 exclusive artists. Perhaps you find that the artist you originally selected is booked on your new date. Your entertainment agent will work with you to find another amazing artist who is available. Unlike working directly with a single artist or even a small agency, working with a larger agency allows for greater flexibility and options when things go awry.
Remember, we are all in this together. Our hearts go out to couples having to scramble to find a new wedding date. Find comfort in knowing that your vendor team is understanding and ready to work with you to make your wedding day even better than originally planned … and, most importantly, what a story this will be for your grandkids!