So you’re engaged, but there’s this really annoying thing going around everyone’s calling Covid-19 or the Coronavirus. What the heck do you do now? You KEEP PLANNING…social distancing style.
Here’s some advice on how to handle virtually booking/planning with each vendor:
If you take no other advice from us today, take this- hire a wedding planner first! If the current state has taught us anything, it’s that the brides who have had a wedding planner are in a much better position during this pandemic than brides who have not. That’s because a wedding planner acts as the buffer between you and your vendor team and have the connections to make the impossible, possible. They will guide you through the planning process, answer any questions you may have, pair you with the right vendor team and make sure you are set up for success from day one. Wedding planning is highly visual, and wedding planners, like other vendors, are depending on video calls now more than ever. Ask to set up a virtual consultation to get to know each other and see if your personalities and styles mesh. Come armed with a list of questions to ask and some inspiration photos to show and get their input on!
One of the hardest, but most exciting parts of wedding planning is choosing your venue! Under normal circumstances, you would be able to go and tour venues in person. Since right now that’s not an option, the venue coordinator can do a live tour with you to show you the spaces and answer any questions you may have. A lot of venues may also have pre-recorded tours on their websites, or regularly post them to Instagram stories!
Most photographers work from home unless they are off shooting an engagement shoot or wedding. Given the current state, you should not have a hard time booking a virtual meeting with a photographer. Heather with Heather Purvis Photography says “It's important that couples visit with me to make sure we mesh as a team and in artistic style. I show samples via video chat and can show them full portfolios of past weddings.” We also suggest you also bring some shots you would love to have taken at your wedding and get their opinion. Heather has also offered Facetime photo shoots to her clients! It’s such a cute, fun way to interact and have some laughs.
Seeing as you can’t exactly taste food virtually, catering is one of the most important vendors to meet with in person. Assuming you don’t live really far away, ask your caterer about a pick up or drop off food tasting. The presentation may not be as pretty as it would be on your wedding day, but at least you can get a feel for the taste and cohesiveness of the menu. They should be able to provide photos of their presentation!
Hair and Make-Up Artist
Unfortunately, having to stay 6 feet a part during social distancing makes it impossible for hair and make-up artists to provide bridal trials. Start by looking through their profiles and see if they have done styles that match what you are envisioning. Then, compile some inspiration photos and send to the stylist. Get a zoom meeting on the calendar so they can get a feeling for your hair and skin type and come up with a look that will work for you! You can always schedule the trial when we are able to engage in human contact again!
Rentals are one of those things you often want to be able to see and touch. Zury with Linens and Events suggests that you “book the major items first – 1) venue 2) planner 3) caterer 4) photographer. Start browsing and pinning ideas for the color scheme, look for dresses… as far as rentals go – It’s best for brides to book once they finalize wedding colors, order bridesmaid dresses (and don’t forget to order a swatch so that we can bring in the wedding colors when possible). In the meantime, it is helpful to start a preliminary quote so that you can have a better idea of what to budget for the necessities (linens, napkins, and chargers for example….).” If you’ve already done all this and you’re ready to book rentals now, send your rental company your inspiration board and ask to do a virtual consultation. You can also see if they can send you or let you pick-up some fabric and color swatches.
More than ever, florists are relying heavily on photographed work to showcase to potential clients and are moving what would be an in-person meeting to a virtual one via Skype, zoom, Facetime, etc. This allows them to screen share with you and show you ideas, inspiration pics, on hand inventory, etc. Keep in mind, with all going on some flowers and hard goods may not be available. Stay flexible and trust the professional you’ve hired to make your vision come to life even if not every flower you love is an option.
Most couples opt not to meet with a band or DJ in person even during normal circumstances and instead, rely heavily on reviews and online videos. A phone call or a video chat can go a long way in getting to know each other. If you are opting for a band, ask for some links to videos, order some dinner and have a concert date night at home. Who said you can’t have a dance party in your living room?
Much like your caterer, hiring a baker is heavily dependent on tastings. Wendy with Edible Moments said she is “still open for appointments via Skype or Zoom. They are more than welcome to swing by and pick up their cake testing to go and have a virtual tasting party!” Champagne welcome of course.
If you are needing to order save the dates and get them mailed out (6-8 months before the wedding) the good news is there are sites like Minted and Zazzle that have pre-designed stationary you can get in a flash! If you are looking for something more custom, reach out to local calligraphers and custom stationery businesses to see what your options are. They can set up a virtual consult, and possibly mail you example suits for you to look at based on your budget and style!
So, there you have it! Your complete guide to booking vendors during Coid-19. As you are reaching out to vendors remember to be patient. While a wedding pro should always get back to you in a reasonable amount of time, remember that they are also going through a lot of uncertainty right now. They are juggling running a business, cooking 17 meals a day and possibly home schooling their kids as well. Also, make sure you are reading your contracts thoroughly. If there is something you don’t understand, do your research and/or ask for clarification before you sign.
We hope this helps! Happy Planning!