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We Asked Wedding Suppliers How They're Handling Cancellations Due to COVID-19

Postponing love in the time of Coronavirus.
We Asked Wedding Suppliers How They're Handling Cancellations Due to COVID-19
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Postponing love in the time of Coronavirus.

To say 2020's been tough on the wedding industry so far is an understatement. From having to postpone a multitude of "I dos" due to the Taal Volcano eruption, to once again overhauling finished plans and moving everything to an uncertain date in the midst of COVID-19, it seems true love just can't catch a break.

However, despite all these setbacks, wedding suppliers are soldiering on. Whether it's aligning for a new schedule, or reconsidering clauses in their contracts, one thing remains certain in the face of all these seeming string of defeats; they're working tooth and nail to make sure their couples still get the weddings of their dreams. Even if that means both parties will have to wait it out for a few more months.

Below, we checked in on wedding suppliers from stylists, hosts, planners, photographers and more, to see how they're handling cancellations and rebookings related to COVID-19 and the one month Enhanced Community Quarantine.

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Gideon Hermosa, events stylist

"We have received a lot of postponement requests from clients following the community quarantine announcement by the government. Most of our events have been moved to later dates this year, with a hope that we are virus free by the second half of the year. We value our clients more than ever, and we understand their frustrations during this difficult time, that's why we’re doing best in communicating with them through online conferences, and assuring them that we will still provide them with our excellent service. 

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"We’ve all been affected by this unfortunate news but we always try to look on the brighter side. We will use this time to reflect on our actions and think of new ideas and concepts that might be useful in future events."

Eri Neeman, wedding host

"So far it's been a hard hit for all couples and suppliers in the industry. Everyone is affected. But that is an important thing to remember. All of us are affected by this. We're all going through this together. Right now we've been moving all dates this month and for May to later dates. June couples are also leaning towards rescheduling. No rebooking/rescheduling fees are applied of course. No one chose this. This is all beyond anyone's control. The main challenge right now is finding a date where all suppliers are available.

"Right now I feel the month on where to move the date is crucial. So far, according to what I’ve heard, it's a 3 month estimate for things to get back to normal. But that's not a guarantee. I feel August or later would be a decent time to move the dates. But with how everything is progressing there's no telling what would happen in the later months. So I believe a Plan B and Plan C are necessary to adjust to different scenarios. But it's a really heartbreaking time for couples. I feel for them. We’re doing our best to make sure everyone is taken care of, but the brunt of everything is with all the wedding planners and coordinators as well. So really, props to them for all that they're doing for the couples who are affected."

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Teddy Manuel, events stylist

"We encourage our clients to postpone their events and not to cancel. We cannot give up on celebrating love. Instead of being fearful, we’re making sure we’re here for them through online communication as we address their concerns.

"Personally, as an educator who’s been doing Masterclasses for 5 years, I want to share my knowledge [by doing] free online classes. I want my fellow event stylists to [come out of] this crisis with new knowledge.

"With regards to refunds, proper communication is  key. Most of us were not prepared for this. The volume of cancellations in a span of two weeks deeply hurt the industry. Both parties should talk about how they’ll be dealing with this since there is no one-size-fits-all solution . Proper terms can be arranged for both parties on how the refund will be arranged. '

"Also consider celebrating small first and save your big celebration for later. We also have to think about the booked venues and suppliers, and if they’ll be ready once the quarantine is lifted. Small celebrations sometimes are the most meaningful ones. 

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Rhed Sarmiento, wedding planner

"For me, the primary thing to consider is rescheduling the wedding. In these trying times, suppliers are more flexible on the issue. Though most of our contracts indicate that payments are non-refundable or non-transferable, should the couple postpone or reschedule the wedding, we’ll reconsider the terms as long as we schedule it within the year, subject to our availability.

"Constant monitoring of the issue really helps as well. Even before the announcement of the President, I already reached out to my couples and some of the suppliers for the terms and conditions of a postponement. I immediately created group chats including all the suppliers and the couple. After we announced the postponement, I asked them to send me at least three options for their preferred dates, preferably for the last quarter of this year to the first quarter of the next year. To be honest, no one knows until when this will last, but it’s best to already be prepared and to avoid rescheduling again."

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Jeff Galang, wedding and debut wardrobe stylist

"Fortunately, I haven't had any cancellations yet (crossing my fingers that I won't be getting any), just postponements of events. As early as now, we are already checking our date availabilities with our fellow suppliers for schedule alignment to at least [lessen] this "burden" for the couple. [We are also] giving them the assurance that we are with them in this situation, that this virus won't stop us from celebrating their milestone and that we can still make it happen, just in a different timeline."

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Dave Sandoval, events stylist

"At first, I felt bad and sorry for the clients, especially the bride. But since the government instructed a strict enhanced community quarantine prohibiting mass gatherings like weddings, as a responsible citizen, I’m fully supporting the initiative. I do message my clients once in a while just to make sure they’re okay and that they’re reassured. Little actions like that for sure mean a lot to them. I hope everything will go back to normal. Let’s just all pray for everyone's safety, and soon we can continue to live our normal lives.”

Kaye Manalo of Mayad Studios, videographer and photographer

"We’re considering two things for our booked clients whose weddings fall [between] March and April during the community quarantine period:

1) Rebooking without any additional fees to a new date as long as their chosen director and/or photographer are available, provided that their new wedding date would fall on 2020 or 2021. 

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2) If their originally chosen director and/or photographer won’t be available, we will give them the liberty to choose any available director or photographer in the roster, honoring the lower package rate. Hence, we will be willing to return package difference accordingly.

"Meanwhile, for meeting requests, inquiries from clients, etc., our team is on standby online, ready to answer queries to help ease their burden and attend to their concerns ASAP.

"This is a very trying time for us as well as the whole industry and we can only imagine what every couple is going through right now. Despite all these, we will continue to remain optimistic."

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Gerry Rosales of The Paperblooms, events florist

"We've been hit hard since the Taal Volcano eruption, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We advise clients to just reschedule instead of cancelling to save events. Though we understand that it’s also a challenge since we also have to consider other suppliers and their availability to lessen the cost. Rescheduling fees are waived. We [also] look back at our service contracts to see if we can find any remedy or help on our behalf. We’re also assuring our clients that their events will be well taken care of.

"All of my paper flower workshops are cancelled too. In lieu of this, I made a module for a free online workshop, that anyone can joinso they have something to do while on quarantine. Initially, via Zoom slated for this Saturday, if the turn-out is good, I might open it more widely via FB Live."

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Kevin Lapeña, events host

“I’m just really focusing on keeping fit and healthy at the moment. It gives me time to give more attention to other work too, given the absence of events. Clients have mostly postponed their events, but we continue to keep in touch to survey the situation, and decide on another date.”

Roch Chua, wedding planner

"With regards to my other clients, I told them not to push through. The wedding or event is not cancelled, though. I told them that this just gives us more time to prepare. With regards to the contract, we can always move the date of the event. We just have to check the availability of all the suppliers.

"I'm making sure that my clients know that I’m with them through all of this and that they’re not the only ones whose event is not pushing through. These weddings aren’t cancelled. We are just moving them to a date where everybody is safe and can be there to witness and join them in celebrating their special day."

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JM Benitez, photographer (Team Benitez Photo)

"Sadly, all our March and April weddings have been moved to a later date. Thank God so far wala namanng totally cancelled weddings, puro postponed lang since most weddings talaga may guests from abroad kaya they opt to move the dates na lang. And of course para na rin sa safety ng guests and suppliers. On our end, we didn’t charge any rebooking fees since sa current situation natin, wala namang may gusto mag-move talaga ng weddings. But if they move it to 2021 we need to give the 2021 rate na.”

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Marex Gaba, events planner

"Thankfully, my clients have been calm in dealing with the situation. So I'm calm as well. Nothing good will come out of panicking. I am thankful (and lucky!) that no supplier or talent has been talking about cost implications. Or maybe it's too early for it. I, for one, am considering asking for a fee on top of the original contract fee. But this is something I will discuss later on. I wouldn't be surprised if the others will do the same. I am hopeful that the clients will be open to it. It's the same with my other weddings and events. I just had to inform all concerned. And thank goodness all have been understanding.

"I heard of stories that some are immediately demanding refunds, regardless if they've been planning for months and the wedding day is so near. I feel bad for my fellow suppliers, but I also understand the couples. In this time of uncertainty, people don't want to spend. They want to make sure they have funds in case things get even worse. But there has to be a discussion. What we do, the service that we give, all the time we spend working on the weddings and events have value, and we have to be paid. What's on our respective contracts should be followed. However, if couples insist on not honoring it, they and the suppliers have to discuss this and come up with a decision that will be acceptable to both parties."

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Daday Limjuco, events planner

"So far, I don’t have any cancelled weddings. My clients have rescheduled their weddings to a later month. As of now, all of our March until May weddings have been moved to the -ber months. Imagine, no income for me and my staff for 3 months. I can't blame the clients, though. Because of the fast-spread of the virus, we have to put everything on hold.

"The situation is now chaotic and no one really knows what will happen. But I always tell my clients to never cancel and to just postpone. I always keep them updated about the situation regarding the virus (mostly good news to give them hope that everything will be okay.). I also try to give them other options should the quarantine extend, like small church weddings, civil weddings, etc."

For more stories on COVID-19, please click here.

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