NOTE: This post will be updated as new developments are made within the Kansas City community.
Our focus at Wed KC is to support the engaged couples within Kansas City. Usually that includes sharing local inspiration and planning tips, but solemnly, today that means we need to help you prepare for what impact the Coronavirus may have on your wedding.
In case you missed it, yesterday Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas made an announcement that all public events with over 50 guests are banned from Kansas City for the next 6 – 8 weeks. This mirrored the CDC recommendation to prohibit public gatherings in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Some of you may not be affected by this, but others are going to be displaced (and emotionally drained from having to re-plan), so we want to offer you some “next steps and strategies” to assist those that are being affected. This message doesn’t only come from us, but also from the vendors that have worked tirelessly to help make your upcoming wedding a dream. We are all heartbroken for the situation you are going through, and if we had anything in our power to make this virus go away and to give you back your picture-perfect day, on the date you had hoped for it to be on, we would all championing by your side to move mountains on your behalf.
If you read nothing else, you should know these things:
- The private event ban is effective immediately and has a 6-8-week extension from this moment on; however, it could become longer (which would then affect late May, June, and possibly July weddings).
- You may feel frustrated and overwhelmed during this time. It is our suggestions that if you have been on the edge of considering a wedding planner, this is the time to hire one. Let them take some of the burden off of you, let them help you move or reschedule your wedding. This is your first time planning a large event, and they do it for a profession – they know the exact help you need and how to get it done with the least stress possible!
- If you plan to reschedule, our conversations with venues and planners have suggested that finding a back-up date in January, February, and March of 2021 would be best as those are industry off-season months. Second, look at non-peak days such as Thursday, Friday, and Sunday.
- Your patience is appreciated at this time. You, your vendors, and the industry as a whole is all finding out the evolving changes and restrictions at the same time. Vendors want to honor their commitments to you, their beloved client, but need to think through the strategy of how they can best deliver their services to all of their impacted clients. We are talking hundreds of weddings impacted all at once; give them grace and time to find a solution.
- This is going to be a rescheduling fiasco. Sorry, we are not trying to be insensitive, but we also want to give you a true picture of what is happening. If you choose to reschedule your wedding, it is going to be extremely difficult to find another date that all of your booked vendors are available on. Take a deep breath, you can get through this! You can help yourself by being flexible on the back-up date, so that you can find an alternative where all of your vendors (and the deposits you placed with them) could be transferred. However, if you find that a particular vendor is not available, ask them for recommendations for a substitute. The event industry is very close-knit in Kansas City and your vendors are going to want to go above and beyond to help you find a similar substitution if they are not available.
- Each of your vendors is different in their reservation and booking process. While they sympathize for you during this time and want to help you in every capacity that they can, you should expect that each of them will have their own stipulations or conditions in rescheduling. Their livelihood has been rocked to the core, your respect of their need to protect their small business through these stipulations will go a long, long way!
- Regardless of what your decision may be in regard to your wedding (going to under 50 guests, postponing, etc.), it is important that you reach out to your vendors to communicate your chosen path of action. Keep them updated on your plans so that they can continue to best serve you!
First things first, you can throw out any doubt of how helpful a wedding planner can be, because during an unforeseeable event like this, they can be absolute lifesavers. If you have the means to do so, immediately hire a wedding planner to help you navigate the corona-chaos – especially if you are planning on rescheduling for a later date! The abundance of knowledge and resources that they have at their fingertips can make your transition less painful. You can view our list of preferred planners or scroll down to find additional options. Trust us, this will be money well spent (save your sanity)!
YOUR WEDDING OPTIONS:
If you plan to travel the road without a planner, and your wedding falls within the “banned” window (or shortly after as there is a chance that the ban is extended) here are your current options. We understand that you won’t like any of them as an alternative to what you have planned, but you may have no other decision than to pick one of these:
Small Ceremony Now, Large Reception Later.
You can keep your original wedding date by decreasing your guest count to the most important people in your life (can’t be more than 50 including yourself) and saying “I Do” at your chosen venue. Your counts for décor, catering, flowers, etc. would all go down since you are hosting less people, potentially freeing up money to save for a larger reception later (6+ months down the road) or you can invest that money into elevating the experience for those that are there for your wedding.
You could make the decision to move your wedding to be a backyard affair (if you have a location and the outdoor space). Given that the whole reason behind the event ban is to distance ourselves from large groups, it is strongly recommended that you don’t keep your initial larger guest count (and you will probably find that a lot of guests will decline attending anyway due to safety). But if your venue closes, and you really want your first-choice wedding date, a backyard wedding can give you a closer sense of “home” around your smaller nuptials. Local rental companies are open and available to provide you the tables, chairs, tents, etc. that you need.
Several videography companies in town are working diligently to find a solution where you can host your wedding and then live stream it to all of your beloved ones. This is social distancing at its finest and would keep everyone safe from harm’s way. All you would need is the two of you, an officiant, and some near and dear loved ones that could serve as your witnesses. Plus, you could scratch the whole venue environment altogether and get hitched somewhere really cool in town like the Liberty Memorial, West Bottoms, or Plaza.
Before jumping into the fourth option, it is important to note that the top three wedding alternatives are based on the accessibility for you to get a marriage license from the county courthouse to deem the wedding legal. License departments have already closed in other cities, and if Kansas City follows you will not be able to apply for a wedding license and thus the top alternatives would be more for show instead of holding an actual legal precedence.
Postpone the Wedding.
Lastly, making the decision to postpone the wedding is heartbreaking, and stressful, but it is the only way to guarantee that you will be able to say “I Do” the way you want to – with ALL of your loved ones in attendance. There are a lot of things to consider when postponing the wedding, the first being that, as you know, many weddings schedule far in advance and there are many dates already reserved in late 2020 and early 2021 that will be unavailable. To alleviate some of the stress in finding a new date, consider the industry’s off-season months of December, January, February, and March, which may have more openings for you to consider. Or look at Thursday, Friday, and Sunday availability in the month of your choice – while these might not be your first-choice Saturday preference, your guests all know what you are going through and the situation you have been faced with, they aren’t going to bail on your wedding if you re-schedule it on an alternative day of the week.
ORDER OF RESCHEDULING
Picking a new date and rescheduling all of your vendors to that date is going to be the trickiest part of moving your wedding. What’s important to know is that there are two different groups of vendors: the first group being those that can only serve one event per day and the second group being those vendors that can serve multiple events on the same day. It is important that you reach out to the first group first, as they have more limited availability than the second group. Let’s take it a step further, we recommend that you contact your vendors within the following order to begin the rescheduling process:
- Venue- discuss your options and explore new dates. Take down a few date options so that you can begin calling your other vendors to see what date will work for all involved. Choosing a date that your other vendors are not available on may cause you to lose deposits, so it’s in your best interest to get as many already-booked vendors on board for the new date.
- Begin contacting the “Group 1” vendors to check their date availability against the dates discussed with your venue. These vendors include: photographer, videographer, band/dj, and officiant/church. Find the date that best suits you and the majority of these vendors.
- Contact your venue immediately to reserve the new date. Determine how the deposit will be handled and make arrangements to lock in your back-up date (before someone else snatches it up).
- Once your date is locked in, communicate with your “Group 1” vendors that the new date is locked in and that you would like to have their services for your wedding on the new date. Discuss the contract logistics and requirements with each vendor (it is important to note that each vendor is different in their reservation and booking process, so try your best to be flexible with them as they are being flexible in change with you).
- Upon getting your venue and Group 1 vendors aligned on the new date, it is time to begin reaching out to your Group 2 vendors. These are the wedding pros that can take on multiple events on the same day and they include: catering, florist, décor & rental provider, cake/dessert baker, invitation designer, hair and makeup provider, dress and menswear provider, dj company (if they are a multi-op), and transportation company. Whew, what a list! Contact each vendor that you have hired for the wedding and begin discussing their ability to service you on your new date and what action needs to take place to lock in their services.
A NOTE FROM THE INDUSTRY:
It is important for us to share with you that we have been in conversation with many wedding professionals throughout this process and that our dedication in giving you up-to-date information and helpful tips on how to navigate this difficult time is not solely our own, it is very much from the vendors as well. The Kansas City wedding industry is an amazing community that is exceptionally dedicated to their clients and is trying their very best to accommodate all of their impacted couples. While you may not be receiving immediate phone calls and emails, trust us when we say that there is communication going on behind-the-scenes between all of these small business owners to find the best course of action, with the least amount of damage, to the dreams that you have for your wedding. While there is a valid excuse for the disruption, they are trying their best to ensure that your wedding is everything it was already planned to be… just on a different date.
Through one voice, this entire industry offers our condolences that you are having to endure the chaos that the Coronavirus has brought upon your wedding.