Working with your Vendors During Times of Uncertainty
From Lisa, Kentlands Mansion (Gaithersburg, MD) comes a timely post about working with your vendors in times of uncertainty.
We are all in this together.
This sounds like a tag line but nothing could be closer to the truth than this statement, right now. We -as individuals, are struggling to figure out what these strange times will mean to our well-being. We -as families and communities, are working on how to integrate this new normal into our everyday lives so we can get back to work and fun.
We- as the wedding industry, are trying to think outside the box to stay solvent and help our couples begin their lives together in a safe but meaningful way – even while gathering sizes are limited and people are trying to social distance. Though we are being paid to provide a service, most of us are here because we believe we can be OF service and help create something beautiful and memorable for you, our clients. We are rooting for you and your event! Not just because it means we can stay in business but because we love and take pride in what we do and hope that you will also love what we do.
You started planning a date specific event many months ago– who could have foreseen that a PANDEMIC would turn life upside-down? It’s a challenge! Believe me, as a venue manager, we really wish we could give you more definite answers but besides having to stay within the limits of government mandated guidelines, remember – we want the best for you – and that includes keeping you and your guests safe. When life throws a curve ball, we have to readjust our mindset to stay in the game! That means staying flexible and being creative.
The good news is that’s where we thrive! We are the experts in our fields and we wouldn’t have made it this far without some fancy footwork of our own. Let’s work together and make the best of this tricky situation!
Here are a few ways to move forward even without the luxury of firm footing:
- Figure out and write down your top 1-3 priorities. I’m talking about BESIDES marrying the life partner of your dreams. Be a little superficial now – if you have to choose – is it the big party you want or have you been dreaming of the beautiful flowers? Is your inspiration board full of cool décor or yummy looking food? Is it your grandmother’s attendance or your best friend coming in from California the thing that will make your day complete? Maybe it’s the vendor you’ve always wanted to book or a specific first dance song? Choose the 1-3 MUST HAVES at your special day – write those down.
- Once you figure out what you must have, figure out what you can cut out. This can be very cathartic! It’s like Marie Kondo-ing your wedding plans- declutter your day! Only keep the things essential to you and your fiancé’s happiness.
- Use these lists as your roadmap to navigate how you can keep the essence of your day, even if it looks a little different than the original plan. Talk to your vendors and let them help you figure out how to incorporate these items within the guidelines of what’s allowed.
Example: Let’s say your top 3 priorities are to have your grandmother there, use that really cute centerpiece idea, and finally get a great picture of your whole family together (with you and your beloved in the middle, of course). Well, you can definitely do these things even within the current climate!
First, figure out when your grandmother can make it. If you’re concerned that a delay will keep her from being able to attend – you’ll just have to get married sooner rather than delay – which means a smaller ceremony. Does that mean you can’t have your centerpieces since there will be fewer in attendance? NO WAY! You can make the centerpiece bigger and BETTER since you only need one – and use it as the focal point at the ceremony or refreshment table. Is your family too big to stay within gathering restrictions? Have your photographer meet you at a central location, tell your family (who will want to at least drive by to honk and congratulate you) pop out of their cars and have a picture snapped right there. Then, work with your photographer to create a really unique collage to commemorate the special day! Make a large print for yourself and then send smaller ones to your family – they will love to remember this crazy, fun, unique day!
OR: Say your priorities are to throw a huge party but you really want to get married this summer – what to do? Talk with your venue to see what options you have for a shift or sequel wedding! You’ll still be able to conform to gathering restrictions but have your big party!
A shift wedding is when you have one set of guests come for the beginning, take an intermission, and then the second “shift” guests come for the end. This is pretty close to the natural flow of a wedding, anyway. Your older relatives will probably leave shortly after the meal and younger guests will really enjoy the party after all the formalities. Arrange to have heavy hors d’oeuvres served throughout the night, take most of your formal pictures right around the “intermission” period so you can have both shifts represented and go for it! You can even live-stream the ceremony and reception for those who want to experience it all! **Make sure your venue can accommodate a thorough cleaning between shifts** The bonus – you and your fiancé can take a little breather and share a quiet moment between the first and second halves of your party!
A sequel wedding is when you do an intimate commitment ceremony (the actual wedding) with just a few people and then plan your big reception for later in the year, when everyone can gather. You’ll be following in the footsteps of stars like Michael Phelps, Hailey Baldwin, and many others – who had an intimate ceremony first and then a big reception later. The bonus – this fantastic solution gives you TWO parties and lets you focus on each element – the vows to each other and the celebration with your loved ones – separately.
At Kentlands Mansion, we offer a few different choices to bespoke your big day:
- The I Do For Two Elopement Package – For a low-fuss way to tie the knot, this includes a 2 hour rental for your ceremony and photos. Available ceremony areas include the newly renovated garden, front lawn, or inside one of our elegant reception rooms. Bring your officiant, photographer and up to 4 guests.
- The We Do, Plus a Few Micro Wedding Package – For the couple who wants to keep it intimate (no more than 20 guests total). This package, includes a 4 hour rental for your ceremony and photos. Enjoy our bridal suites for getting ready. Bring your officiant, photographer and up to 20 guests.
- The above options can be combined with a longer rental later to create the sequel wedding!
- And of course, the standard ceremony + reception rentals of 7-8 hours.
Our expert wedding staff is always happy to help you find great local vendors and can deftly guide you to help create a day to remember, no matter the format.
In the end, we find what we’re looking for, right? We can focus on the things we can’t do or challenge ourselves to find the things we can. We should all be rowing together! Collaborate with your vendors, stay open and you are sure to come up with the plan that works best for you. Here’s the bonus – whatever cool ideas or creative solutions we come up with will only make the day more interesting and special – a day everyone will remember. And after all, isn’t that the goal? For more inspiration, check out our facebook, instagram, and pinterest
Working with your Vendors During Times of Uncertainty