Crisis Management – How to prepare for an unexpected wedding nightmare!

The Coronavirus pandemic is causing worldwide chaos. It has already had serious impacts on many industries. As a business owner and a bride it is a stressful time. It is challenging, everyone is trying to figure out what to do for the best and these decisions do not come easily.

Sadly, I know couples who have had to cancel their weddings due to quarantine and businesses that have been forced to temporary shut down. We have also had cancellations. We respect our couples wishes and we are willing to do all that we can to help those of our remaining couples to make postponements during this challenging time.

The media has installed so much fear into society. People do not act rationally in fearful situations, hence the ‘buy in bulk’ craze we are seeing across the nation. It is so sad to see so many individuals acting selfishly during a time when we should becoming together. Of course, we need to be prepared should we suffer a lockdown situation like Italy but there MUST be a balance.

I, myself am only 6 months away from getting married in Italy. YES. I know what your thinking….“awkwarddddd… it’s on shut down”. I am not going to lie and say that it hasn’t got me worrying because it has. Just like any other bride, I am terrified that we will have to cancel our dream day, that we might lose thousands of pounds or worse that it might put our guests in stressful situations.

So, how do you prepare for such an unexpected outbreak? How do you crisis manage when it comes to your wedding?

Well, firstly. Wedding Insurance:

It might surprise you to know that actually only 25% of couples take out insurance for their big day. Which means a staggering three quarters of all weddings are completely financially unprotected. Crazy! Why take out insurance? How likely is it your wedding would get cancelled? that your venue would burn down? that an pandemic like ‘coronavirus’ would occur?

Honest answer. NO ONE really knows. But there is always at least a 1% chance that something bad could happen, and when it comes to your wedding day in my professional opinion you should avoid taking chances. Which brings me back to the importance of Wedding Insurance – is it worth getting? should it be a priority on your budget sheet?

Ok. Brides, Grooms, lovely people – Wedding Insurance typically costs you no more than £80-£100 for full coverage of up to £30k. (Of course, the bigger your budget the higher the cost.) When it comes to our wedding spend we have no objections allocating chunks of our budget for our Manolo Blahnik beauties, but yet we cannot seem to justify a hundred pounds on insurance. Why? I’ll tell you why…..because it isn’t a tangible product.

Why Wedding Insurance is important…

It is not something we get or feel instant satisfaction from and should our weddings run perfectly (Amen!) we do not see a return from the insurance investment. Which is often when people start questioning why they made the purchase and start reminiscing over what they could of spent that extra £100 pounds on. When realistically NOTHING is the answer.

I highly doubt that after your wedding you will feel it could of been all the more better if you had spent that extra £100 on your cake, lighting or etc. So, please take our advice when we say – Wedding Insurance is most definitely worth it.

Choosing your Insurer

We recommend to many of our couples a company called ‘Wed Insure’ and in fact this is who we have used for our own wedding insurance. They offer fabulous coverage, really reasonable pricing and the customer service is great.

As soon as the Coronavirus hit, we emailed all our clients to make sure that they reached out to their insurance providers immediately. Just to check exactly what they were willing to cover in such an unusual circumstance.

Wed Insurem I can confirm do cover ‘Coronavirus’ but only if the Government puts travel bans in place, the venue you have booked cancels, or if you or one of your wedding party members contract the virus. Every supplier has their own ‘terms & conditions’ so I would definitely suggest going through your contracts and if you are still unsure reach out to ask.

Try not to panic!

Recently I met up with a friend of mine, a fabulous London based photographer – Amanda Karen (who’s background actually used to be in crisis management) so as you can imagine during our last coffee catch up I ended up racking her brains on the whole ‘Covid19’ nightmare, and she had some really valuable advice. Which actually really put me at ease as a ‘bride to be‘ and small business owner.

Photography – Nkima Photography

Kindly Amanda allowed me to record her answers, so I thought it would be good to share her advice with overs.

1. Please tell us a little about your background? It wasn’t within the creative industry right?

That’s right, in fact instead of being surrounded by happy days in the wedding industry, my previous career was 12 years in crisis management and contingency planning.  My time was spent looking at the risks and worst case scenarios of those risks and then putting plans in place for a London wide response and then working with other businesses to ensure they were as prepared as possible and could respond and recover should one of those risks materialise.  

2. What do you think about the current situation with the ‘Coronavirus’ pandemic? 

As a nation, we are in uncertain times and it is causing a lot of stress, which can (and appears to) be exacerbated by the sharing of mis-information across social media.  I’m fortunate having worked in this field that I’m trying to avoid this and am referring to official sources such as nhs.com and gov.uk. But whilst there is a lot of fear and unknown, as with any crisis I’ve responded to, I’ve seen snippets of humanity come through, people pulling together to look out for each other, support each other.  It’s a shame that it’s not these acts that are making the social media feeds.  

3. What precautions did you take when planning your wedding? and what would you recommend to your couples?

Being “in the industry” when we got married, it would have been remiss if I didn’t have a contingency plan in place!  We took wedding insurance out immediately, had wet weather plans in the shape of indoor locations for the elements we’d wanted outside, umbrellas and wellies at the ready!  When talking with suppliers, we discussed contingencies in the event they were unable to fulfill their services.  

4. What are your thoughts on wedding insurance? and did you take wedding insurance out for your wedding? If not, would you if you were to do it again?

Yes we did, my Dad was in the military so we needed to ensure that should he have to go on deployment we would be covered for a change in date.  As well it covering the usual risks.  We always advise our couples to take out wedding insurance, it’s a huge investment planning a wedding so this acts as a layer of protection.  The important thing for couples to be doing at this time, is checking what is and isn’t covered within their policy, I’m not an insurance professional so I can’t advise on how policies will respond in light of Covid-19, so my first port of call would be to call their policy provider. 

 
5. Do you have a lot of couples affected by this current problem?

At the moment no, we’ve had one couple who may be postponing their wedding and we are working with them on this.  We have also been revisiting our own contingency plan to ensure that it is robust for this current risk, we’re lucky to be part of an incredibly supportive business network.  As information unfolds and measures are implemented as part of the pandemic response, we are adapting and will be communicating with our couples to ensure we are able to support them, as I know it will be a stressful time for them, when it should be a celebration of their love story.  

6. If you could spread one message at this time to ease your couples minds, what would it be?

Try not to stress, I know that’s easier said than done.  But if you’re worried about your wedding date, talk to your suppliers.  Cancellations, can be costly, if not covered by your insurance.  We’re all working hard to ensure we have plans in place to deliver your special day, and if the date needs to move then your suppliers will do all they can to accommodate your new date.  

We have also included some links to further resources that can keep you up-to-date on the severity of the situation and hopefully provide further reassurance:

Coronavirus Covid-19 Public Information

NHS: Advice, Symptoms and Treatments

FCO: Travel Advice – Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We fully appreciate there are many couples out there who do not have the benefit of such professional support and assistance during these challenging times. We are more than happy to help; so if you are due to get married within the next few months and need urgent help, advice or support do not hesitate to contact us.

Peace of mind is an important investment”- Abigail Lucy

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Love & Well Wishes,