Covid-19 has crushed plans, ruined celebrations and pretty much shutdown the entire wedding industry in New Jersey—and the world—leaving many brides scrambling to postpone, cancel, start over, or for the lucky ones who could get their hands on a marriage license, elope.
What should be one of the happiest times of your life has been cruelly turned into a nightmare.
But a lot of discussion and erroneous information swirling around on the internet is only making things worse and causing brides to panic because they don’t have all of the correct facts. Here is the reasoning and rationale behind a lot of what you’re hearing regarding wedding postponements.
Your Venue Is On Your Side
Many of New Jersey’s wedding venues are family-owned and have operated for many decades. These families have invested years of their time, energy and money into creating beautiful spaces for couples to get married. When you book a venue, they welcome you into their homes and into their hearts. These same families spend many hours and weekends away from their very own loved ones to be part of another family’s day and are happy to do so.
ALL venues want you to get married and are working to reschedule your weddings. ALL of them want life to get back to normal as soon as possible. ALL of them are just as upset and devastated as you are. MANY of them have had to furlough the majority of their staff—people who have worked with them for decades and whom they consider family. Since they’ve been deemed non-essential, ALL of N.J.’s wedding venues have closed their doors temporarily. They’re both large businesses and small, all affected like so many others around the world.
The day of your dreams WILL still happen. And you need to know that the wedding day you have been planning and dreaming about—in some cases for years—is just as special to your venue. They have spent time getting to know you and your families, and they look forward to providing you with a magical and memorable wedding day. This has been an emotional ride for both venues and clients alike, but venues are looking forward to reopening their homes to you as soon as they can.
Questions You May Have Right Now:
- I need to postpone my wedding. What should I do?
Reach out to your venue with any concerns. Most venues in New Jersey are already in the process of rescheduling April and May weddings. If you’re not sure whether you should postpone your wedding or not, click here for month-by-month guidance.
- My venue is not rescheduling my date yet. Why not?
The venues are there for you and are trying to do what is best for each and every couple to the best of their ability. Remember that venues are working with couples to reschedule their weddings based on the news cycle and in month order. For example, those clients directly affected in the months of March, April and May are first in their target window, and they are actively working with those couples to reschedule those dates first. If your wedding is scheduled for June, July, August or beyond, it is understandable to be concerned, but looking to postpone your date at this current time might not be feasible with your venue, just yet. This is NOT because they don’t care about you. This is because they’re going by the state’s restrictions and don’t have a lot of open dates available. They, like ALL of us, are hoping that summer events will be able to take place. If it becomes evident that summer events cannot take place, then you will be next in line.
- Why are they offering me a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night? The larger, more popular venues are booked with weddings through 2021, with extremely limited dates and availability. Therefore, keeping an open mind when speaking to your venue is extremely important, and this may mean considering a week-day wedding. This is also a practical way to keep your vendor list intact AND get married at your venue this year. By keeping your other vendors intact will enable you to NOT lose any other deposits as well.
- Will my guests come to a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday event? You bet they will! Once this is all over, your friends and family will love to celebrate your wedding, regardless of the day of the week. Everyone will be more than ready to see one another and have fun.
- Will my rescheduled event cost less? Venues will likely be operating six or seven days a week with postponed affairs. This will incur substantial overtime and put a financial burden on venues. Couples who are booked on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening who have been moved to a weeknight cannot necessarily expect a reduction in price per person. Instead, work with your venue or caterer to include enhancements that you did not previously have, such as extra carving stations, additional hors d’oeuvres or supplemental desserts.
- I’m concerned that I may not make my guaranteed minimum. Will my venue work with me? Yes, we’re hearing that many venues are making exceptions to guaranteed minimums. Talk to them about your concerns and they will work with you.
- I heard of a September bride moving her wedding to 2021 already. Why can’t I?
Smaller venues are not as fully booked for 2020 and 2021, so they may have a greater ability to move brides around than the larger, more popular venues. Again, this is not because they value their clients more. It’s simply because they have OPEN dates and are able to do so.
- I want to reschedule my event from this year to the same time frame next year. Will I have to pay more? While some venues in New Jersey are able to shift weddings from this year to next without any increase in price because they have open availability, higher prices will be a reality for most. Venues are losing millions of dollars during this pandemic and still have yet to see the full economic impact once they are able to reopen.
- Why would I have to pay more to move my event to 2021? Keep in mind that the day your venue opens its doors, ALL of their costs will be higher: New rules, regulations and safety procedures may be instituted that will require an exorbitant cost such as PPE for all employees, sanitizing stations for guests and staff, contact-tracing software, increased food and labor costs, and the overall necessary means to reopen post COVID-19. It is their job to protect their venue and to return to a safe, happy, and healthy environment.
- My friend’s venue is offering her a different solution than my venue. Can I ask my venue to offer the same?
EVERY venue is handling this entire process differently right now, so you can’t compare what your venue is doing to someone else’s. EVERY bride’s circumstances are different as well, which is why you can’t compare apples to oranges. MOST contracts are also different, so while your contract may say one thing, you shouldn’t take advice from others who have completely different contracts, payment plans, types of events and venues.
- I want to completely cancel my entire event. Will I get my money back?
Some couples have asked to cancel and receive refunds, but for most venues, contracts state that deposits are non-refundable. Read your contracts to see what YOUR specific wording is regarding cancellations. Deciding to cancel will most likely mean the loss of your deposit. It is important to talk to your venue with an open mind, since taking the legal route is the least fruitful direction. The ultimate goal is for couples to postpone with the venue they originally contracted with and have the wedding of their dreams.
- One bride told me to consult with a lawyer. Will I get my deposit back this way?
While you can always consult with a lawyer, legal action is not going to get you married faster. And the worst thing you can do is take legal advice from someone you’ve never met on an online forum who’s never read your contract. The best way to handle this is to work with your venue. Legal action will not be worth it financially or emotionally.
Hang in there. I know this is awful. But the venues aren’t the enemy. They didn’t cause Covid-19. They’re suffering just as much as you are. And if you want your dream venue to be in business so that YOU have a place to get married, please try to understand things from their perspective. They want you to get married just as much as you do!
If you have more questions, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And good luck!
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