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To refund or not to refund

Kate Cataldo

To refund, or not to refund. That is the question.

With the COVID-19 crisis, more and more weddings are being cancelled or put on hold.

People are being forced to delay their nuptials due to this virus.

And both couples and wedding professionals are devastated.

Months and sometimes years of planning – gone in a matter of weeks due to circumstances out of anyone’s control.

A lot of couples are not letting the emergency rain on their parade.

However, several couples are daily dropping out of the ring and opting for alternatives.

Some are canceling vendors all together, and some are postponing until a later date this year.

Many even have to resort to Sunday dates just to get the deed done.

Those who do cancel, want their money back. But, where do vendors draw the line?

Most services provided by wedding planners, photographers, venues and more are based on a contract which is signed by both parties before the start of service. Typically these contracts protect businesses, even during “acts of god,” meaning situations just like this one.

These policies are in place for this very reason, so why are wedding vendors and professionals changing their terms?

Well, we have never had a situation like this before, for one reason. Two, it’s easy to feel sympathetic towards couples who have spent so much time and money planning the event of their dreams just to have it all ruined by a pandemic.

Heck, I myself would even opt out and just elope if I was trying to get married this year.

But, these couples made a promise and some are turning on those promises.

It’s understandable that couples want their money back. It doesn’t hurt to ask, right?

But, here is the issue.

Professionals that you book for your wedding reserve that date in their calendar for you. The money that you provide them is what keeps their lights on and food on their table.

By making it common to start refunding, couples can potentially put professionals in the wedding industry in a financial crisis.

There is no way of telling that vendors will ever make that money back.

You are essentially taking food off someone’s table, and, or setting someone back.

Would you feel comfortable knowing that you canceled on someone and did not intend to reschedule? At least by rescheduling services, it is giving these professionals a chance.

Many in the wedding industry, like myself, changed postponement policies just to ease any decisions that couples have to make.

I just want couples to start working more with wedding vendors during the rescheduling process, and try to keep as many vendors as they can.

Communication is key.

And most vendors are reaching out and being proactive by opening the lines of communication with their clients.

When clients sign on with me, I make sure they are aware that the entire process is a team effort from the beginning. Even now, it will continue to be a team effort until this is all over.

I think it’s important for companies to reassure their couples that their wedding day will still be perfect no matter what.

These couples chose their vendors for a reason and they need us now more than ever.

If you know someone getting married in the next few months, or if you know a wedding professional – check in on them.

Send them love and reassurance during this time. We are all going to need it!

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