Like most of Australia, weddings in Brisbane and surrounds have recently had a taste of the stress that lockdowns and restrictions bring.
It’s no doubt that things have been uncertain to say the least.
Pandemics, lockdowns and government restrictions present real issues for couples who are trying to plan a wedding. Being in the industry, I’ve seen first-hand how devastating the change has been for both couples – and for the small businesses involved. My best friend’s wedding was impacted by Brisbane’s first snap lockdown back in January – I raced to the church and we cried and hugged because a wedding is just never supposed to be that way.
Emotions are high, finances are at stake, and what should be the most magical season, can quickly turn into a highly stressful, confusing and overwhelming time for everyone.
And as a small business, I’ve also experienced the emotional and financial rollercoaster that many industry friends have also had to endure. My heart feels like it is breaking in half when I hear news of a snap lockdown or extended restrictions – I only ever want to see my couple’s have their dream day – and it is devastating when I know things haven’t gone to plan. Not to mention, feeling the gravity of the impacts this has on small businesses too.
I’m so grateful for the kind words and encouragement that my current couples have given over the last couple of weeks – I’ve always said that I feel so lucky to work with the kinds of clients that I do – and this season has only affirmed that. But I also know that people – both current clients and past clients – want to know how they can help, so I thought I would write a blog all about it.
How Vendors Can Support Their Clients
Before I dive into how clients (past and present) can support their vendors, I wanted to start off my providing some thoughts on how vendors can be supporting their clients first.
It might be your wedding number #78 on your calendar, but this is their WEDDING day. Weddings are meant to feel exciting, joyful, filled with happiness and anticipation. These couples are understandably really emotional – no one things their wedding will ever be surrounded with so much uncertainty, stress and confusion. Not to mention, they’ve forked out thousands upon thousands of dollars for this day. You’re allowed to feel all of the things too (#whatatimetobeabusinessowner) BUT also remember your couples are hurting – so show them you care, you understand, and you’re there for them.
Stay professional and polite.
Emotions are high for everyone, but remember your job is to be the professional. Keep your communication clear, professional and polite as possible. There’s no need to get short – or worse – nasty! Even if clients are not being as polite in their approach, try not retaliate with the same tone. Keep it classy, folks.
How Past Couples Can Support Their Vendors
Now if your wedding day has already happened, there are still some things you can do that will really help your suppliers from your wedding.
Never underestimate the power of your review! Please don’t think for a second ‘what difference will my review make, they already have heaps!’ because they truly are so powerful. When potential clients are considering a business’ services, the more positive (and recent) reviews the business has, the better impression it has on the person considering the business! The most valuable places for reviews are Google and Facebook, but feel free to reach out to your suppliers and ask if there are any other places they would like a review as some suppliers have listings on third-party directories and might appreciate some extra love there too! (And don’t worry – you can even copy and paste the same review across multiple platforms ;))
Spread the word!
We all rely on our lovely clients to spread the word – referrals are one of the key ways new clients find us! If you’re wondering how you can support your wedding suppliers – whether your wedding has happened already or not – simply tell your friends about your wedding team! You can even share some posts or stories on Instagram and tag your suppliers – it will really make their day.
Share your wedding gallery with your suppliers
This is obviously for your non-photographer suppliers 😉 wedding vendors rely on the professional photos to expand their portfolio and create content for their online platforms – so if you haven’t yet sent your gallery to your wedding supplier team, NOW is the perfect time! Be sure to check with your photographer as some photographers may have specific T&C’s around the distribution of their intellectual property. Bonus points if you post your wedding photos and tag your vendors!
How Current Couples Can Support Their Vendors
If you can, offer to make advanced payments
If you’re in a position to do so, ask your vendors if you can make any advanced payments – even if your wedding is a little while away. Their income has probably reduced dramatically with weddings postponing, so some extra cash flow during this season could be really beneficial for many businesses. Note: always be sure to ask first, as some business owners may not want to receive payments too far in advance.
Communicate clearly & concisely
Keep your wedding team in the loop, but if possible, try to keep your communication as concise (but friendly!) as possible. Your team is probably dealing with dozens and dozens of emails and calls similar to yours, so if you are sending multiple emails or calling multiple times in a day, communication is likely to get a little overwhelming (or lost).
POSTPONE, DON’T CANCEL
If restrictions have prohibited your wedding from happening – suppliers are really relying on couples to move their booking to a different date – and not cancelling entirely.
Of course, this can be a little bit tricky, and it’s not possible for every situation, but please consider postponing your wedding instead of completely ‘pulling the pin’ – or, if you are going ahead with an intimate ceremony, consider having a big celebration reception later down the track so that your suppliers can retain that booking/projected income. It’s also really helpful when couples are open to booking less popular dates (i.e weekdays, or non-peak wedding seasons)
If you are ‘scaling back’, ask your suppliers how you can best support their business. I.e a cake maker probably won’t make much profit on a cake for 20 people when they had planned a 3 tier large-scale design, a florist probably won’t make much profit on one bouquet when they had planned the details for a $3000 full-service wedding. Consider keeping your bookings with vendors but distributing the value in other ways. For example, maybe now you can transfer the value from your 10x centrepieces that are no longer required, and now you can get married under your dreaaaaam arbour! Or perhaps your cake maker can make cupcakes that you can give to your friends and family.
Remember your suppliers are real people.
Your suppliers are just real people too, with real emotions. They are feeling it all with you.
Let’s all show kindness, patience, grace and understanding in this time. This too shall pass.