Right now, the world is a very uncertain place. The entire world is currently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and such an unprecedented event has wreaked havoc on even the best laid plans. Weddings, parties, graduations…even sports have all seen postponement or all-out cancellation in a matter of less than a month. And while we haven’t quite seen the end of the tunnel yet, the reality is that the more we can all do our part to help stop the spread, the sooner we can return to some sort of normalcy.
But postponing or cancelling an event is not an easy task, and certainly it’s a stressful time for anyone who had an event, big or small, planned for this time period.
Another anomaly to contend with when making changes to an event due to the pandemic is the simple fact that many businesses are pivoting on short notice, forced to adjust their business models or policies to accommodate the restrictions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
So the short of it is: there will be a lot of flexibility required in the coming months as every industry scrambles to adjust to this new, hopefully temporary, normal. If you’re facing an event that needs to be postponed or cancelled, here are some things to keep in mind:
Cancelling or Postponing an Event: Better to Give More Notice Than Less
It’s never pleasant to have to cancel an event. Even in the event of postponement, the reality is that moving an event can change plans for any invited guests. In light of how rapidly the coronavirus situation has changed, it’s best to make your call on postponing or cancelling sooner rather than later. This allows for more time to alert guests, make changes to any reservations, and work with your venue, caterers, florists, and any other service providers. It’s difficult to make such a call when the situation is unknown — perhaps you are planning a wedding at the end of April or May — but in this case, it’s most likely better to be safe than sorry.
Keep Track of Deposits and Contracts
Most large events will require some deposits and contracts. Naturally, they most likely didn’t account for an impending pandemic. So this will require some management and working with those with whom you have contracts. Organization will be key here, so try to keep all your paperwork (contracts, receipts, confirmations, etc.) in one spot. Organize them in some sort of order — alphabetical, in order of date paid, in order of reservation date, etc. — so that you can easily find what you’re looking for.
Ask About Alternatives
If there is any sort of silver lining to having to move a big event, it’s that right now, we’re all in this together. We’re all figuring this out day by day (sometimes, even hour by hour). So don’t forget to, above all, show some empathy for the businesses you’re working with. In many cases, businesses are pivoting to offer some sort of alternative for lost bookings. Ask about what options you have for your event — chances are, the business wants to find a way to keep your reservation in some way!
There’s no doubt that it’s a tricky time for every industry right now. We know it can be stressful to plan an event, let alone try to move or postpone one! Take a deep breath and take things one step at a time. And we’ll be right here waiting when the time comes to finally celebrate a return to life as we know it.