COVID-19 · Uncategorized

COVID-19: Your Wedding & Your Hired Vendors {Updated 07.02.2020}

 

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Photography by Tarabeth Photography

{UPDATED 07/02/2020}

Today, Governor Baker announced Phase 3 details that will take effect on 7/6/2020 (and some of these will not take effect until 7/13/2020 in Boston).

What we know:

•Phase 3 begins Monday, 7/6/2020

•Indoor events can happen, but only up to 25 people max, but also depends on size of the venue. There can be no more than 8 people per 1000 feet of space. NO BARS/DANCE FLOORS ALLOWED. Social distancing, masks and hygiene protocols must be followed.

•Outdoor events can happen, but no more than 100 people max, but also depends on size of area. Must follow 25% capacity max. NO BARS/DANCE FLOORS ALLOWED. Social distancing, masks and hygiene protocols must be followed. So, if you have having a tent/outdoor wedding, and the size of the space is 30′ x 50’….12 square feet is figured per guest when there are tables and chairs involved. This calculates to 125 guests…25% of that would be 31 people, and keep in mind that no matter if you had a tent that accommodates 2000 people socially distanced…you still have to adhere to the 100 people max guideline. If your tent is 30′ x 30′, it means 75 people would be your max. No more than 6 people per grouping (per table, for example).

•Anyone living out of state that comes into MA needs to self-comply with a 14-day quarantine when they arrive. (Previously announced guideline that is still in place)

•The Governor still gives guidelines to avoid big crowds when possible.

•Phase 4 will have more guidance for weddings/events, but Phase 4 will not happen until there is a proven therapeutic treatment or vaccine, and not before.

What we don’t know:

•When Phase 4 will begin

•What the updated guidance will be for wedding/events in Phase 4

Source: https://www.mass.gov/news/reopening-massachusetts-baker-polito-administration-initiates-transition-to-third-phase-of?fbclid=IwAR3mdFuunJZkv7cdP_E1utVGKRwzalIuYD3ABnhPjDvgXsJD0CpybVCbcDk

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6/19/2020 –

Hello and I am here with a much needed update and to touch base with you. Today, the Governor’s Office gave an update. I will post the State link to today’s press release when the State posts it.

WHAT WE KNOW:

•Part 2 of Phase 2 begins 06/22/2020

•Even in Part 2 in Phase 2, no one is allowed to stand at/around the bar…which I think is important to take a clue from regarding bars at weddings when Phase 3/4 happens. (When weddings are slated to be allowed at some capacity)

•Part 2, Phase 2 does not allow for weddings

•The Governor will be making an announcement next week about people coming in from out-of-state for events/vacations, especially given the spiking happening in other states right now.

•Wedding shops can open to clients and open fitting rooms by appointment only

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW:

•How long Part 2 of Phase 2 will last. But, if we are gauging from Part 1…that was about 2 weeks long. BUT the Governor has continually said that it’s not the date that will direct the next phase, but the data. So, this doesn’t mean for sure that Part 2 will 2 weeks long. Please keep that in mind.

Also, as a note, earlier this week the Governor stated that he is not going to rush to re-open and will continue to proceed with extreme caution because of what he sees with other states rushing to re-open and now are facing higher rates than they had when the pandemic first hit.

The Governor’s office will be speaking with the medical advisory board about predictions of what the Fall will look like with the pandemic. He feels that being diligent now, through the phases, will hopefully help to reduce a re-spike in the Fall/Winter.

 

Sources: https://www.mass.gov/covid19-updates
https://www.mass.gov/news/reopening-massachusetts-baker-polito-administration-initiates-transition-to-step-two-of-second

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We have a target in sight to slowly phase in weddings, but not much as far as solid details. But, hey! At least we are on the radar! I like to think that the efforts of me and my fellow wedding colleagues had a part to play in that.

WHAT WE KNOW:

•Weddings in outdoor spaces only with moderate capacity will begin in Phase 3.
Read the Governor’s guidance here.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW:

•What moderate capacity means (I anticipate 25-50 perhaps)

•When Phase 3 will start

•What rules will surround the weddings and how they will be enforced

I will continue to pursue information and keep you updated!

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Melanie Zacek Photography

UPDATED 05/29/2020

Governor Baker’s office had a press conference today, specifically addressing restaurants and hospitality/lodging and BARELY addressed weddings, but here is what we know (and what we don’t) about weddings based on today’s mentions.

Summary of what we know for Phase II:

•Phase II will start no sooner than June 8

•In Phase II, outdoor or indoor weddings/events of any kind are NOT allowed, at all. 
See the Governor’s office information here

•Venues will remain closed

Summary of what we don’t know for Phase II:

•If Phase II start date will start on time or not

•How long Phase II will last

When I watched today, I wondered if some of the restrictions and guidance handed out to restaurants and lodging will carry over into later phases when weddings and events happen again, or if those restrictions and guidelines will change at all.

Here are some of those items mentioned today for restaurants that I can see potentially translating to weddings and events, eventually:

•Restaurant tables have to be at least 6 feet apart and can have no more than 6 people at them. 

•Masks have to be worn accept when eating at the table

•Only plated style meals and no preset dishware on the tables

•No standing at the bar at all

•Signage with rules having to be posted for employees and guests to see

•Sanitizing/handwashing stations throughout

•Frequent cleaning of bathrooms and surfaces throughout the night

•If the establishment has a COVID-19 case, it needs to temporarily close

Here is the Governor’s press release for restaurants.

Here are some of those items mentioned today for lodging (including AirBnB types) that I can see affecting weddings and events eventually:

•Guests need to be told about 14-day quarantine if they are coming in from out-of-state, and they will  need to self-comply

•Reservation information can potentially serve the purpose of tracing

So, what am I doing in the meantime?

•Helping clients with rescheduling, whether it’s with tasks or being a resource for ideas or just being there to talk to.

•Sending out my reschedule or cancellation contracts to clients, as needed.

•Brainstorming creative ideas on my own, and with other wedding planner colleagues, to prep for the wedding and event phase-in (whenever that is) to be very modest and very different than the original wedding plans were. If there are any weddings and events this year, we still want it to be special.

•Booking 2021 weddings and events! My 2020 clients get first dibs, of course, but because I only take a small handful of weddings, I won’t have issues with booking new clients and re-booking existing clients.


UPDATED 05/18/2020

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Tiffany Chapman Photography

We all, for various reasons, have been on pins and needles to hear what the Massachusetts Governor’s office had to say today. May 18th was the big day of releasing information for the new reopening phases and the details surrounding them.

To summarize what we know (kind-of):

• Weddings and events (and gatherings in general) are still limited to 10 people or less in Phases 1 and 2.

•Phase 1 begins May 25th, officially, for the most part.

•Each phase is guestimated to progress every 3 weeks or so, if cases don’t spike and if people and businesses comply.

To summarize what we don’t know:

•Whether or not each Phase will take more than 3 weeks to advance, because the Governor’s office is going to be constantly assessing data and happenings.

•What the gathering size guidelines will be in Phase 3 or 4, and with what regulations. (Masks, etc.)

•When the next anticipated earmark will be in terms of when we will hear if/when Phase 2 (3 and 4) will happen.

•Why the State is not specifically addressing weddings and events. Other states have released wedding/event specific PDFs and guidelines. Massachusetts has not.

What I have been doing to advocate and stay in-the-know:

•I have emailed the Governor’s office. No response.

•I have completed the form on the State website, that was for giving reopening feedback as a business owner, specifically aimed to be received by the reopening task force, pleading for guidance on weddings and events moving forward. No luck. 

•I have reached out to a local Mayor who is on the reopening task force. Got the same vague answer and was pointed to the same form to fill out to share my concerns with the task force on the State website.

•Consistently researching any updates and keeping in close communication with other planners and wedding professionals.

It’s safe to deduct that Phase 2 will start no sooner than early to mid July. So, if your wedding is late June or July, and if you have not already started the reschedule process (below in my initial post), it would be a good time to begin that so you can choose a new favorable date that works for you, and for all your chosen wedding professionals.

Also safe to deduct that Phases 3 and 4 will likely come with modest headcount allowances and steep restrictions. My advice would be for late June, July, August and early September weddings to strongly consider rescheduling.

Creative additions (and option) to the extended planning journey:

I know this is not at all ideal and is super-frustrating….having your wedding affected by an unpredictable, uncontrollable force…with no answers in sight. Let’s put an uplifting spin on things, shall we?

•Create some fun “Change the Dates” to send electronically or by mail. Update your website with some light-hearted wording to lift the spirits of you and your guests. Consider a video message on the website so guests can see and hear you.

•Consider still doing something together on the original date…watch some dancing lessons online and practice, share a special meal with immediate family via Zoom at your table, write each other love letters and hide them away…to be given on the new date during getting ready time.

•If you’re interested (whether a client or not) in doing something more unique, creative or intimate (safely), I’d love to chat! I would love to set a beautiful elopement setting with gorgeous props, work with your photographer and filmmaker (or suggest some) to make a gorgeous option for you. Epic Filmmakers can do same-day edits…meaning you can share your wedding film with your guests that day! I can put together a stellar team of beauty stylists, an officiant and will even provide a champagne toast for the post-I-Do bliss. I realize this option isn’t for everyone, but if the original date is special…doing a safe ceremony now, and party later is completely okay!

As we continue to wait and see what the coming days and months bring, I am here for you! Have questions or need advice? Feel free to text me or email me! If you are a client, we can certainly schedule a time to Zoom or chat by phone.

I will likely do a Live or Zoom in the coming days, to be of extra support and to see if I can answer any questions any couples might have.

If you haven’t read the original post below, there are lots of helpful tips on how to efficiently reschedule.

XOXO
Tanya
413-313-2579
tanya@tanyacostiganevents.com

Jill_Aaron_Wedding_Favorites-156
Tiffany Chapman Photography

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First and foremost, I hope this blog post finds you and yours healthy and safe.

You have an upcoming wedding or event planned and you must be feeling confused with the opinions, information (and misinformation) that seems to be flooding in from all directions. What does this State of Emergency mean for the wedding you have invested so much money, time and thought into?

You must be wondering … what are my wedding vendors thinking and doing right now? You are looking for guidance and insight.

As a wedding planner, I had refrained from addressing too much about COVID-19 until enough time passed to assess things. Since it’s still not quite wedding season where I am in the Northeast, I wanted to give it a week or two before coming forward with information and guidance.

If you are getting married in Massachusetts,
here is what you need to know:

•Effective 3/10/2020, there is a 30-day restriction on mass gatherings of any kind, per the State of Emergency declared by the Governor. There is a high potential that could be extended. The CDC states 60 days in their advisory statement.

This means if your wedding is in April 2020 (and likely May), you’ll need to reschedule. If your wedding is May or after, you can either wait until the wedding date gets closer to assess what’s going on at that point…or you can be proactive if you prefer…or are hearing concerns from invited guests.

•Venues, along with the rest of us, need to adhere to the above and to any future instruction by the federal, state and local governments.

So, now what?

  1. You (or your planner) should reach out to the venue asap about rescheduling your date (asking the venue to give 2 or 3 dates available). The sooner you do this, the more dates you’ll have to choose from. Remember that other couples will be doing the same. Because of the uncertainty of what the rest of 2020 looks like with restrictions in the coming months, you may want to plan to aim for very late 2020 or aim for 2021.
    **If this is a tent wedding, the rental company is who you should reach out to.
  2. Once you have 2 or 3 dates from your venue (or rental company), ask them if they will be tentatively holding the dates while you consult your other vendors…or if they will contact you if someone else inquires about the dates…or if they will just book on a first come, first served basis. This is important to know!
  3. Create an online poll through Doodle and invite all of your vendors to take the poll. This will help you to know which date(s) are ideal so you can keep your dream team of vendors!
  4. If there are no dates that work for all vendors, reach out to the vendors that cannot accommodate the dates and ask if they have an assistant or colleague that is able to fill in for them. Most vendors have a back-up plan and will likely offer that up anyway.
  5. Ask each vendor if the monies paid will follow to the new date.
  6. Sign a rescheduling contract with every vendor.
  7. Update your wedding website and share the site on your social media pages or reach out to your guest list for them to keep up-to-date by visiting the website.
    It’s okay to keep things light and pretty to lift spirits and to give everyone something to look forward when we get through this!
  8. Reach out to the company you got your wedding insurance through now that the date has changed. You’ll want to know if you’ll need to get an entirely new policy, whether the premium can be transferred to that, or if the current policy can be adjusted to the knew date. As a note, some insurance companies have put a freeze on doing anything with certain types of insurance…so if this isn’t something you can do now, set a reminder in your calendar to check back with them at a later point. Here is a statement from the WedSafe website:
  9. Due to the quickly changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and potential denial of claims, we are unable to offer event cancellation coverage during the ongoing crisis.  Please continue to check back with us for event cancellation coverage when government restrictions on gatherings have been lifted. 
  10. For additional information, please visit our Coronavirus resource page.

As your wedding professionals, we love our small businesses, we love what we do and we love our clients! Truly! We are here for you and will work with you to reschedule your day, as needed. We promise the day will be gorgeous and fun and worth any wait that may ensue. XOXO

Tanya

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{Elaina Mortali Photography}