Impact of the Corona Virus Outbreak on UK Asian Weddings
Updated: Mar 20
Wow, it is a tough time for the global events industry.
As the Virus continues to cause havoc across the world the reality of its impact is certainly hitting home. I have been in this industry for 10 years, so not as long as some but also longer than others. The wedding industry got through the recession relatively unscathed, largely because it wasn't a direct hit to the pocket for most. It was an economic crisis not a humanitarian crisis, we could still walk, talk and party - just perhaps on more of a budget.
Covid-19 or Corona Virus , as it is so affectionally known, was just merely something happening in China a month ago. Like many others, I really did not consider the impact it could have in the UK. I probably would have made a few more wiser decisions with money and investments too. It literally has been a smack in the face and being one of the most laid back people in the world (that i know of!) I was still adamant last week that we'd be ok.
Then Monday hit. The repercussions of this virus fully hit home.
April is an important month for the UK wedding industry. You will hear claims from people that they have no wedding season and they are booked all year round, bullsh*t! April is the start of the season and Easter weekend is the opening ceremony. Let's be clear, this season will not be starting in April. If we're lucky, we will squeeze the peak season in, IF we're lucky!
Naturally our clients are worried. They don't want to postpone their special day but they do want everyone to attend and have a great time. They particularly do not want to risk the health of their parents and elderly relatives. There is also a financial factor which for most is very important. They say your wedding day is the second biggest purchase you will ever make, and that's pretty accurate. Customers are going find themselves having to make some tough decisions and the questions being asked need answers, I will do my best to assist here.
We're not sure how long this virus will last, my event is in 2 months, I am worried, what shall we do?
There is simply no right answer here. If you postpone, will the virus effect the postponed date? Contractually unless the government ban mass gatherings you should be going ahead with the event. However, I am of the view that a clearer indication of the spread of the virus will be given in the coming weeks and I would make a final decision around 4 weeks prior your event. The venue or government may take this decision out of your hands so it's a good idea to start flexing some dates with your vendors and maybe consider pushing your date to the Autumn, keeping in mind that the date could change again. Don't start reissuing your wedding cards anytime soon! Also just ensure all your vendors are offering this type of flexibility. I have spoken to most vendors and they are being very flexible and respect the decision to postpone.
My event is in November, what shall I do?
With all due respect, you are not really important at the moment. Hold out until September and we can reach out to you then or vice versa. August needs to be dealt with first!
Will I lose my deposit if we postpone because of COVID?
In short, no. Your deposit should be deferred to another date with the flexibility given until end of March 2021. The reason for this cut off is literally because the season begins again in April 2021 and the industry stands to lose another year's income if the main season is booked with 2020 postponements. The flexibility is there so use it but be reasonable, you will gain so much more!
My venue has closed due to COVID-19, can I have my deposit back?
Each individual contract will dictate what happens with deposits. My experience is that deposits are non-refundable but are transferrable. No one wants to lose your business so don't worry, your money is safe - pick a new date that works with everyone but you will not get anywhere by asking for your money back!
My vendors are asking for full payment as my event is in two weeks. I have decided to postpone, what shall I do?
Your contract again dictates what happens here. Normal contractual obligations apply unless the government dictate otherwise. If your event is within the next 90 days and your vendor advises payment is due, then you should rightly pay, I highly doubt you will lose your money. The key point is you seek assurance in writing from your vendor that they will hold the money for a future date with an agreed cut off time. Remember your vendors are relying on income and may need it to keep active in time for your rescheduled event. No one gains if your vendor folds - your deposit goes with your hopes and dreams. If you have confidence in your supplier and they're an established brand you have nothing to worry about. At the very least broker a deal, some vendors will be happy just to move your date and take payment at the rescheduled time.
I have so much family abroad who want to attend but can't, what shall i do?
Let them know you can live stream your event. Speak to your DJ or Videographer and have a camera connected during your reception. Kudos are offering this service and its a great way for them to enjoy your big day.
Key things to note are:
Communicate with your vendors
Make timely and considered decisions, not emotional ones!
Read and understand your contract
Revisit your finances
Speak with your wedding insurance company
Don't panic, we all want your event to happen be it now or later!
For the ruthless, the weddings will still go ahead as planned. I myself find myself in a situation this weekend where 800 guests have gone down to 300 but the wedding is still going ahead. Believe you me, 90% of the industry is happy to carry on, their livelihoods depend on it. Everyone is 'business as usual', except some venues. No one wants the virus and precautions are being put in place in regards to hygiene but ultimately we will provide the service you booked, if you so require.
In the coming days or weeks, the decision to attend a wedding or go to the pub may soon be a decision we cannot personally make. This will mean we have no choice but to close off and hibernate whilst this virus passes over. Please don't worry, your money will be safe and once the worse is over you will just need to reschedule. We will get through this together!
My hope is that all my colleagues, clients, friends and family are able come through this quite absurd time in full health. The government continue to warn us of the potential loss of loved ones, so it is a time to focus on what is important - health and family.
I'll be back with more blogs - please follow me on Instagram @harvkudos and we can chat there if you have more questions!
I have looked at both sides of the coin here, from a client and vendor perspective. I am not here to dictate what is right or wrong, just airing some views! My views are my own and not of Kudos Music or anyone else. There are some topics that are out of my remit, such as honeymoon cancellations and travel issues etc. I consciously avoided these topics because there is a lot of legislation that helps you there. The wedding industry is unregulated and people are lost, I hope I have helped!