There have been a lot of tough decisions we’ve had to make as industry professionals since the debut of COVID-19. One of the most uncomfortable conversations is about the COVID-19 vaccine, and as wedding and event professionals, it's important that we talk about it with our clients and vendor partners. Let’s discuss a few considerations for conversations about the COVID-19 vaccine!
Wedding Vendors & the COVID-19 Vaccine
Setting boundaries is important. As the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidance changes with the seasons, re-evaluate your own safety concerns and preferred personal protocol, like wearing masks, physical distancing, and having guests be vaccinated. If you have staff or assistants, you can offer them a survey to get a sense of their opinions and intentions. Some of your employees or contractors may choose to not disclose their opinion or intention. Get as much internal information as possible. If and when your clients ask whether your team assigned to work at their wedding will be vaccinated or not, you'll be able to answer as best you can.
Based on that evaluation, create wedding day standards for COVID-19 safety protocols that your team agrees to follow. Relatedly, establish your own non-negotiables around what safety protocols your prospective clients absolutely have to respect. Especially if you or your staff are immunocompromised, there are boundaries that you have no choice but to set. These boundaries comprise information you can share with vendor partners who don't want to or can't get vaccinated. In some cases, you may want to continue to work with a wedding vendor who won't or can't get vaccinated for medical or other personal reasons. Determine if there are other safety protocols that suffice based on your and your client’s comfort levels.
Our clients expect that we give them informed referrals. Those of us with preferred vendor lists and partners have a responsibility to check in with them about their vaccination status. It’s important to determine who among our referral network is vaccinated or intends to get the vaccine before we refer our clients to them. Moreover, some venues may have their own guidelines to which all wedding vendors and guests must adhere. Always check in with the venue about their guidelines. It’s especially important because some venues are located in a county that has different guidelines from the next county over.
Clients & the COVID-19 Vaccine
As professionals, what can we do if our clients aren't vaccinated and don't care about COVID-19 protocols? Well, they either measure up to our own guidelines that we set for our staff and company, or they don’t. If they don’t, then we can refer them to a vendor that sets safety protocols that are a match for the client’s comfort level and safety concerns.
It’s a different story if our clients have opinions about the vaccine that are the opposite of their wedding guests. The CDC offers helpful guidance about having these types of conversations with friends and family that you can share with them. Coming from a place of authentic curiosity and respect for others’ concerns is a great place to start.
Clients who want to establish safety measures for wedding guests to follow are asking about how to effectively enforce them. The best way to do that is to lead by example. If they wear masks and physically distance themselves when they interact with others, then guests will most likely follow suit. Like with nearly everything else in life, it’s critical to build a good foundation before doing anything else first. Encourage your clients to discuss and create their own COVID-19 safety protocol before discussing pandemic-related topics with their guests.