With the current dilemma, we at DiMadeline & Company are working with our clients and other planners on what to do if an event is cancelled or must be rescheduled. The most common reasons for canceling or postponing an event are community-wide issues like a downpour for an outdoor event. Or disasters like earthquakes or tornados. Dealing with the death or serious injury of key participants such as the bride, groom, immediate family members, honoree, etc. But right now - it’s the public health issue uppermost in our minds and conversations.
What steps should you take, in what order, to communicate with vendors and guests?
First, is to see if you can work with the current venue to see if the event can be rescheduled for a later date. If that is a possibility, check with your immediate family and friends that are closely involved to see if the new date will work. Can you be away from your job at that date? If you can get everyone there (you may have to go months and months out), then the next thing is to check in with your vendors that you are currently in contract. Many are willing to work with you if that date is available to them. Lastly, is to notify your guests. This may be via a phone call, an email, text, evite, etc. to get the word out. And if your venue is unwilling to cooperate, refer to the contract to find out what type of recourse or protection is built in.
Which leads to the next question as to what type of protection can you build into contracts you sign and contracts you create for your clients to sign? Many venues and vendors are very willing to try and work something out. A later date is of course the easiest. Before you sign any contract, look for the section entitled, “Cancellation, etc.”. Don’t think that you can’t address your concerns regarding this section BEFORE you sign. If the venue or vendors are strict about a cancellation with no refund, then you may not want to use this venue or vendor. Many have policies that work with clients to provide later dates – up to within one year. If you’ve got a new date selected at a venue and it works but a vendor is already booked, ask them if they can refer you to a replacement vendor and whether some or all the pre-payments can transfer. Many vendors trade business back and for with tight schedules.
Which leads to the next question. When is it a good idea to take out insurance on a major event? What is event insurance?
Event insurance protects you from losses that may happen due to various factors, such as:
unforeseen events causing damage or injury at an event
· external event(s) beyond your control that may prevent your event from occurring
· extreme weather
· problems with the venue or vendors
There are two types of event insurance - liability and cancellation. You can purchase the two in a bundle that will cover both. Many venues require that you purchase this regardless - so check your policy regarding what is covered.