The wedding industry got hit particularly hard at the beginning of the pandemic. Now, we are pivoting to provide wedding day services within the constraints imposed upon us by COVID-19. Where we once offered in-person orientations, we’re now setting up virtual consultations. Where we used to host on-site tastings, we’re now scheduling deliveries to a couple’s home address. As they say in show business, the show must go on. It's in these unprecedented times when it really matters that we support one another.
When many of us began in this industry, we knew that styling shoots and building up preferred vendor lists were a couple of ways to exchange support. However, in years like 2020 and 2021, the importance of collaborating well virtually and in light of a contingency plan is higher. Engaged couples are making tough decisions about whether or not they will follow through with their wedding date. When they do, it’s possible that one of their vendors has to bow out on the wedding day due to a complication related to COVID-19.
If and when the novel coronavirus puts any one of our lives at risk, we have to have a contingency plan. We need to be able to call on a colleague to serve our respective vendor category on the wedding day. This is an arrangement that you can place under the contingency plan section of the contract between you and your clients. Often, the pandemic isn’t the unfortunate event that forced us to be aware of this kind of contingency plan, but should definitely serve as the catalyst for many of us. There’s always a possibility that you could get injured—or worse—and need to cover yourself. Your clients rely on your service plan to ensure the wedding day proceeds with integrity.
Much like the contingency plan we want our clients to consider, our own “Plan B” is not the most fun thing to think about. There is a sense of perfectionism that comes with being a creative professional. As business owners, we often make a guarantee that things will happen on time, as discussed, and as designed, because we are the ones to see it through. It's not always easy to delegate or make concessions with your own business. To maintain industry support during this time, we have to work together. If you're a photographer, for example, consider having a backup photographer on standby. They should be properly trained, equipped with the shot list on hand, and be familiar with all your upcoming wedding day details. Just in case you can’t shoot on the day-of due to an unforeseeable emergency, they can step in without a glitch. Similar contingency plans apply to assistants.
Wondering where to find your backup vendor(s)? Think about some industry organizations and affiliations that can get you started. There are several national associations for all wedding vendor categories. Get involved, network, and connect with other vendors who cater to your ideal clients. In some cases, you may consider these vendors as your competition. In cases of emergency, those very same professionals can be your heroes if you unexpectedly fall ill on the wedding day.
Virtual wedding fairs, online wedding industry meetups, summits, and conferences are also great sources for connecting with local area wedding vendors. Coming up with a contingency agreement is a valid topic to discuss at such events. Find out what other vendors are doing to create mutually beneficial support.
Aisle Planner’s collaborative tools can facilitate contingency plans so your backup vendor can fulfill your wedding day duties if necessary. Your contingency contract with your backup vendor(s) should include the wedding date and details. Note special requests from the couple and non-negotiable requirements for the day-of. Write up your transitional checklist for your backup vendor to take over if and when you need to make the judgment call. Finally, draft email templates to alert your client about when the contingency plan goes into effect. That way, if you need to assign someone to send those emails on your behalf, they're written and ready. No one likes trigger backup plans in worse case scenarios, but it's way easier to do when you thoroughly plan for them.