The new year—and the release of the COVID-19 vaccine—has brought renewed hope for couples looking to wed in 2021. Yet it’s perfectly understandable that some might be hesitant to start spending money. Questions like “Will this vendor still be in business by the end of the year?” and “What happens if I need to postpone my event?” are running through many couples’ minds.
So can planners ease those fears while still keeping business moving forward? Here are some tips to help you do just that.
Show your support. Let your clients know that you fully understand their hesitation with putting down deposits. This past year has been difficult for everyone, and the idea of potentially losing any amount of money is scary. That fear needs to be validated.
Be honest. With that said, in order to start planning their big day, deposits will have to be made. “We’re pretty clear and firm from the get-go that no deposit means no date is held,” explains Skylar Caitlin, lead planner at Chancey Charm Weddings. “Once we block off a date for a couple, we begin to turn away other couples who want to book for that same date. We require a deposit as good faith payment to secure your date.”
Explain the alternative. Holding off from booking key vendors could cause problems later on—popular wedding pros are still getting snatched up fast, explains Renee Sabo, owner and lead wedding planner at Urban Soirée. “If you have your heart set on someone, it is best to reserve them as soon as possible.”
Arrange vendor meetings. Prior to booking a vendor, allow them to explain to a nervous client how they are managing the pandemic and what steps they've put in place to ensure longevity. “By understanding a vendor’s unique plan on managing the pandemic, it'll allow you to make smart decisions on whether or not to work with them. If you start to get an off feeling, then trust your gut,” says Sabo.
Review contracts with clients. This past year has led many vendors and venues to update their contracts, which will give better insight for clients on what to expect in case of a postponement or cancelation. Planners should review all contracts with their clients and reach out to vendors for any clarification if needed. “The knowledge and awareness with help your clients make the decision of whether or not they want to book,” says Krisy Parker Thomas, owner and lead senior certified wedding planner at Southern Sparkle Wedding & Event Planning.
Try to be flexible. You can show your clients you empathize with their worry by making concessions with your own business. “We have, especially this year, been flexible with payment plans including reducing our deposits from the previous standard of 50 percent to 25 percent,” notes Caitlin. “However, we’re still collecting the same amount as we would throughout the process, just more spread out.
Hero image courtesy of Robed with Love