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Posted by NJWedding.com on 03/12/2020

New Jersey Weddings and The Coronavirus

New Jersey Weddings and The Coronavirus

The next few days, weeks and months for New Jersey brides, grooms, their families and friends will be very challenging. With the growing and evolving crisis of the Coronavirus pandemic, engaged couples will have to make decisions on whether to keep their wedding plans, postpone or cancel outright. 

With the recent news by Governor Phil Murphy where he recommends that any gatherings of 250 people or more should be cancelled, it makes decision making more difficult (since weddings and wedding-related events can be from small to very large gatherings, depending on many factors).

On Wednesday, March 11th, along with Marie Danielle Vil Young, owner of A Votre Service Events in Somerville (and State Manager for the Association of Bridal Consultants - NJ) and Mike Walter, owner of Elite Entertainment in Tinton Falls, we asked questions of over 100 New Jersey wedding industry professionals to find out the impact of the Coronavirus on the local weddings community.

The questions were as follows:

1) Have any of your clients decided to postpone their wedding plans or outright cancel? How are you handling that?

While many wedding venues and vendors hadn't reported many postponements or cancellations at the time of this online discussion, they were prepared to work with their clients to accommodate them with new, future dates for their wedding celebrations. Some wedding venues that normally have a minimum guest count discussed reducing those minimums if guests can't make it for various reasons. To make spaces more healthy and safer, one venue put up more instructional signs in the restrooms about hand-washing, added Purell stations throughout the property so guests can use them as they see fit and included antibacterial soaps in the bathrooms. Servers will be asked to wear gloves, and there can also be signs throughout the event encouraging guests to cover coughs and sneezes, and use hand sanitizer.

2) What are some specific concerns that YOUR CLIENTS are facing right now?

Some of the biggest initial concerns has to do with guests traveling from various locations, whether locally where there is a State of Emergency, or internationally where there is a ban on travel or risk of travel from countries with lots of Coronavirus infections. Other concerns are situations where a couple has to postpone their wedding and see if their venue can accommodate a new date at the same price (off season weddings, like in March, are often priced more affordably). One New Jersey bride I heard from today stated that their wedding was going to take place on March 20th, but felt the need to postpone their reception and is waiting to hear back from the venue. She and her fiance are going ahead with a small church ceremony to be married on that day, but will then figure out a good time to celebrate with family and friends in the future. Brides and grooms are doing the best they can given the circumstances. Members of the wedding business community are handling this one day at a time, with the concerns of their clients in mind.

3) Do you have any specific feedback to share that will provide help to couples or other professionals that are concerned or dealing with this issue?

Some helpful advice that came from industry professionals include: staying calm in everything you do and say, show clients that you are taking precautions, offer hand sanitzer to those you are meeting with, be flexible, and most importantly, be kind. You never know if they know someone who may be sick or can't attend the wedding or event because of a current medical condition (asthma, respiratory issues) and that can be difficult on any family. Be as accommodating as possible. We are all running businesses and contracts are in place to protect all parties, but if we approach this with a sympathetic mindset (because this really isn't their fault), then we will ease people's stress level. Vendors also encouraged couples to have their vulnerable loved-ones attend "virtually" and participate in their wedding day via FaceTime or other options. Venues can also offer more outdoor options to provide more space so that they're not so confined indoors. When it comes to working with couples during this important time in their lives, wedding professionals know that compassion, love and honesty always works.

At the time of this discussion, the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared the Coronavirus to be a pandemic, and on Thursday, Governor Phil Murphy put out a statement about canceling events of 250 or more in New Jersey, so this has been an evolving issue which creates various concerns.

In a Vox article entitled "How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart" it discussed "flattening the curve" by canceling events and self-quarantining to prevent a huge spike and slow down the spread of Coronavirus. It's a recommended read to understand the benefits of staying aware of what's going on, diligently keep healthy and use common sense when interacting with others (especially in group settings) so that this can be resolved as soon as possible.

- Erik Kent, Co-Publisher, NJWedding.com, (908) 874-0417

P.S. Please feel free to call or email (info@njwedding.com) with any feedback or other suggestions. Your input is always welcome and encouraged.

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