COVID-19 Town Hall: Weddings and events during the pandemic

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KOMU 8's Emily Spain talked with a Columbia event planner about the challenges to holding events and weddings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anne Tegerdine owns Annabelle Events. In the town hall, she talks about what you should do if you have an event or wedding planned soon.

She also addresses how local vendors are handling your payments when you have to cancel your event or wedding. And, if you just got engaged, she has ideas on how to plan a wedding right now, too. 

Check out her answers below.

Q: For people with planned events and weddings, what would your advice be for how to proceed? Send the invitations out and hope for the best?

"My biggest piece of advice is anyone who has something coming up between now and June 1 is the date I'm providing them, they should go ahead and go to their backup date. It's a hard thing to swallow, but that's our time right now. If something is after June 1 say to the fall, I suggest they put a little insert in their invitation letting guests know about a backup date if they have one picked and if not, sending them to a website, or maybe a private Facebook group where they can gather more information."

Q: What are vendors doing when events are cancelled? Are they offering refunds or credits? 

"It depends on your vendor and, of course, we're all doing the best we can. There's two different types of vendors out there, the ones that you sign and then, they don't talk to you again until about two weeks before your wedding or event. It's easy for them to refund, and I find most of them are. Then, there's ones like myself that have planned a lot with our clients, and it's hard for us to refund because all that work's done, but I know for us we are going above and beyond and doing everything we can, and applying payments to their future dates."

Q: For newly engaged couples, what's planning a wedding like right now?

"This is actually my biggest concern, bigger than the clients that we are planning with right now, are those folks sitting out there engaged or have an event that they want to get started with, one because I'm not hearing from any of them. So, that concerns me for my business, but also we're going to see a surge of people trying to plan all at the same time, and we're going to see the industry bogged down. So, I highly recommend couples if they're engaged, go ahead and start planning. Your venues can give you virtual tours. Photographers, planners we can all meet on Zoom. DJs and bands can send you samples. So, we can get planning, and we're all talking realistically what the date they want to have and what a back-up date may be."

Q: How is your business adapting to stay afloat and continue serving your clients?

"I'm relying heavily on Zoom for every meeting that we can. We also use a pretty detailed management software and design software, which really helps me still feel like we can visually show our clients what we're doing. But, most importantly we started offering a service called "stay-at-home weddings," and it's a package that provides dinner for two, four, or six people, a virtual officiant, a digital invitation with an unlimited link invitation to a Zoom so all of your guests can come and then, we also do a porch drop off of wedding essentials for them to enjoy the day of their wedding."

For more advice on event and wedding planning during the COVID-19 pandemic, check out Annabelle Events Facebook page and website.