Kerrie Wood, Director and lead Wedding Planner of LUXE Unforgettable Events, has been a beacon of hope for those planning weddings during the COVID -19 crisis. While many have had to cancel or postpone, Kerrie and her team have worked hard to inspire couples to pivot their plans so that they can still have their dream day. We chatted with Kerrie to hear all about her best COVID -19 wedding advice, as well as hear from one of the couples she helped to marry during this difficult time!
What is your number one piece of advice for couples who have postponed their weddings?
The most important message - don’t stop looking forward to your big day! The postponement of a wedding is multifaceted across the financial, logistic, creative, and of course the emotional commitments, so too is the rescheduling of a wedding.
"I would urge all couples to seek the advice of an experienced wedding planning service that can guide the couple through the labyrinth that is the postponed wedding rescheduling process. They can also assist to preserve and redeploy financial credits moving forward with all the wedding services, suppliers, vendors, and venues in the contract." Kerrie shared.
Other Important Points To Remember:
- The public health orders of the day will inform the number of wedding guests that may be hosted, based on the capacity of the venue and these are not uniform from state to state or territory.
- They may need to be variations to your “planned” wedding day. This may include floor plans, seating, décor elements, catering and in some instances the venues too.
- There may be restrictions you aren't aware of, so do your research and chat to your planner!
Some couples are struggling to decide between postponing their day or having a smaller, more intimate wedding sooner. What are your thoughts/advice on this?
"We have many couples who are still undecided and are hoping that 'things will return to normal sooner rather than later' so they may have the day that they had originally planned with all their families and friends from near and far physically present with them on the day. Realistically, and until there is a vaccine, we have to continue to pivot when required across all wedding activations. The international border issues will most certainly not be resolved any time soon and the domestic borders are still in a state of political development." Kerrie shared.
Kerrie also suggests NOT cancelling a wedding venue or engaged service unless there is no other recourse and be sure to seek professional advice before making any final decisions. Cancelling a wedding can have many financial and logistical implications and could mean losing deposits. Also, be sure to read all terms and conditions of all contracts before doing anything!
Regrettably, wedding insurance will not cover loss due to any elements associated with the COVID – 19 pandemic. If there is non-performance in contract associated with the pandemic, this may still be covered but this will depend on the policy. The first thing to do is check-in with the wedding insurance company and be across the “Terms and Conditions” of your policy to confirm the status under current and future activations. Again, your wedding planner should be able to assist you with the right decision for you and your day but always read all of the fine print of any contract or policy before you sign it across all of the parties that may be associated by agreement for the wedding day.
An Intimate Celebration...
"We have just delivered a wedding day that had to be re-visioned, replanned, and restyled for Jane and Harlan. The couple, their families, and every wedding guest who commented on the day and continues to comment on the delightful warmth, ambiance, and intimacy of smaller wedding day activations overwhelmingly embraced the intimate “vintage country romance” new look. There was still such a feeling of joy, celebration, and beauty, just like any traditional wedding. Of course, this direction will not be for every couple, their families, or friends. It is a very personal decision and no couple should ever feel pressured to reset their planned wedding day if that is not what you both really want at this time. It is after all your day - tomorrow is always another day…and possibly the opportunity of another way."
What is your advice for wedding vendors during the time of Covid-19?
- Be professional and be fair with a ‘can do’ attitude where feasible. Be informed about the ever-changing public health order permissions. With so much confusion and misinformation, being clear and concise will provide clarity with key deliverable pathways for clients (and future clients too) who are looking for guidance and reassurance from a professional and experienced specialist planner to assist them to navigate this very trying and stressful journey.
- Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver and do not tell a client what they want to hear or undercut existing performance contracts to win business at any cost.
- Be a registered COVID - Safe business with approved COVID - Safe operational plans. The more open and honest you are about the real world influences and capabilities of the day, the better. This is critical and will prove to be an invaluable essential moving forward.
- The priority is health and safety of our wedding clients, their guests, wedding industry partners, and the on-the-day delivery teams.
- Only provide information you're sure about. "Sadly (and too often) I hear clients or potential clients that have the wrong information and this has impacted their decision-making process in a negative way."
- Try to maintain some sense of humour. "It is an essential component of our humanity and dare I say an invaluable business asset that we could all appreciate during these challenging times."
A Real-Life Covid Couple - The Story of Jane and Harlan’s wedding...
We were lucky enough to chat with Jane and Harlan about their special day and the experience of planning a wedding during a pandemic. When asked why they chose to go ahead with their wedding, they said, "We had to think about how long might it be until we could have our original dream wedding. We realised that we didn't have to destroy our vision; we just had to change it. You can move forward with your plans, even if they're a little bit different." The couple also stated that having a smaller, more intimate wedding meant that we were able to talk to everyone and really celebrate.
Kerrie shared that the experience of planning the wedding for this couple was not what they had initially expected, but was certainly magical on the day! "Jane and Harlan’s wedding was a complete design, style, plan, and deliver in 4 weeks. The task was made possible by the extraordinary and collaborative efforts by all of the prep, planning, and on-the-day delivery teams". This included a couture gown going from design to delivery in just over 3 weeks! From the majestic florals to the surprise first dance, every element of this wedding was planned out carefully and kept within all COVID safety measures. “My take away from this day was and remains the collaborative spirit of the wedding industry professionals I was privileged to work with, as well as the look of pure joy and happiness on our wedding clients faces as we said goodnight", Kerrie shared.
You can check out the incredible vendors that helped bring this day to life below!
When it comes to planning a wedding during Covid, what do you think are the biggest difficulties? How do you suggest overcoming them?
"The key issues for me are of course the safety, health, and welfare of our clients, their guests, and our on-the-day delivery teams which is our policy and commitment to any wedding day." Kerrie also states that the public health orders and parameters do create a fine line between logistics and creative balance so that the vision, style, and ambience aren't diminished in any way. "The concepts (no matter the formulation) are totally doable as this wedding day clearly illustrates but not without pause, consideration, collaboration, and experience." Kerrie also suggested seeking professional advice before moving forward with any rescheduling plans to avoid COVID wedding stress which is totally doable if you partner with the right wedding planning service for you.
We know health and safety are so important when it comes to wedding planning…what are your best tips to make a wedding Covid safe?
- Having open and honest communications with our clients from the beginning about what and how we can deliver their day under the continuing public health orders.
- Encouraging and assisting our clients to prep their wedding party, families, and wedding guests as to what to expect on the day.
- Having a sound on the day activation plan that is knowledgeable of the venues and access points, which is well-scoped and prepared to avoid wedding traffic congestion conduits.
- Provide a thoroughly cohesive pre-day briefing document to all wedding day delivery teams.
- The plans must remain at all times adaptable and responsive to the changing environment and landscape. It’s about being proactive, not reactive, and delivering a day that captures the true spirit of the couple and the essence of their day.
Styling, Planning and MC: LUXE - Unforgettable Events / Gown and Veil: Rhonda Hemmingway Couture / Florals: Butchers Daughter / Signage: Your Event Signage and Nikki Design Co / Venue, Food and Cake: Circa 1876 / Printing: Snap Circular Quay / Transport: Hunter Valley Wedding Carriages and Sydney Coach Charter / Music Piece: Sydney Chamber Orchestra / Strings Trio: Jasmine Strings / Dance: Dream Wedding Dance Studio / Photography: Tony Potts Wedding Photography / Video: The Lacy Day / Accommodation: The Convent Boutique Hotel Hunter Valley / Hair and Makeup: Lisa Fowler Hair and Makeup / Grooms Outfit: 21 Concept Store / Celebrant: Gary Mooney