Wedding planners are more than just event planners. We're designers, problem-solvers, coordinators, budgeteers, part-time therapists, and friends to the couples and families who are entrusting us to help them with their events. Since we're on friendly terms now, here are some tips and tricks to the trade of navigating wedding planning!
What does the COVID Vaccine mean for Weddings?
As the Wedding Planner, I really like having answers to all of the couples' (and vendors') questions. Unfortunately, this year has proven challenging with COVID safety regulations changing often. 2020 definitely threw all of us into some untreaded water. At Ybarra Events, we are working tirelessly to keep our couples and fellow vendors as well informed as we can. There are many sites to compile information from, but here are a few links for different geographical areas in Norhtern California:
The great news is, things are looking better! Tiers are improving and we now have additional information for weddings and their gathering size restrictions. See the links below to read information specific to your event. Weddings are considered Private Events since they are by invitation only.
As an optimist at heart, we are hoping as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available and it will greatly improve circumstances, allowing weddings and events to increase in size, as you can see in the links above. COVID has obviously impacted wedding couples as well as the vendors and we are all eager to assume a new normal. Now that vaccinations have started distribution, you may have new lists of questions for your 2021 wedding vendors (and maybe even your 2022 wedding vendors). Here are some details to consider with your upcoming wedding, and navigating planning during COVID.
Traveling Guests and your Wedding Location
The vaccinations have been tested and are definitely effective against COVID. With that in mind, how comfortable are people with travel. What will be the continued safety regulations on travel and how long are we predicting they will be in place? Are there different restrictions on international travel vs travel within the country or state? One of the questions to ponder: how many guests do you have traveling out of the area? Researchers are still testing how effective the vaccinations will be against the spread of Coronavirus. We are all hoping for the best, but it is still recommended groups remain in small gatherings and travel be limited when it can be. Each location has their own restrictions, so it is best to communicate with your venue and planner directly concerning your event for the most relevant information. And, of course, following COVID specific information released about the County your event is being held in.
While we are on the topic of your specific wedding venue: keep in mind, Coronavirus is more transmittable indoors, especially if the venue is not well-ventilated. Does your wedding venue offer outdoor ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing options? To keep your event as low-risk as possible, you'll want to think about a layout option that allows for maximum use of outdoor spaces, where tables can be properly social distanced. The CDC says
"The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and COVID-19 spreading" and that "The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and COVID-19 spreading". Likely, once events are fully open in 2021, we will still be required to wear masks, social distance per family group, and limit communally touched items, such as a grazing table, self-serve buffet, self-serve non-alcoholic beverages, etc.
Keeping your Wedding Guests Safe and Healthy
According to the Mayo Clinic, “experts want to learn more about the protection that a COVID-19 vaccine provides and how long immunity lasts before changing safety recommendations. Factors such as how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities will also affect these recommendations.” So, as we thinkn about how we can move forward with your wedding in 2021, we want to impliment the same health and safety guidelines being recommended. There are a lot of ways to implement safety procautions for your guests and keep your event safe.
Things you may be asking yourself:
Any changes to this Letter of Agreement must be made in writing and signed by all parties. You may cancel this Agreement, in writing, for any reason. If the wedding is cancelled, refunds are limited to unearned fees: funds in excess of unearned, unused, non-refundable fees, and out-of-pocket expenses. The hourly rate of $170 per hour and $3.50 per email will be used to calculate Planner fees.
If the Client cancels less than 3 days before the wedding, with the exception of a death of someone in the Clients' immediate family or couple contracting Covid-19, there will be no refund. If the wedding is not cancelled, there will be no refund.
In the event of postponement, Ybarra Events will work together with the Client to reschedule the event date. The new date is subject to Ybarra Events' availability. Ybarra Events reserves the right to reassign a lead Planner if the new date conflicts with their Planner's availability. There are no additional fees to postpone or cancel.
Natural Disasters/Force Majeure:
If events beyond the reasonable control of Ybarra Events occur within one month of the wedding date, including but not limited to: natural disasters, earthquakes, fires, blackouts, riots, pandemics, epidemics, quarantine, war in the United States or terrorist attacks, national or regional emergency, strikes, industrial disturbances, civil unrest, active shooters, order or act of government or governmental instrumentality (whether foreign, federal, state or local), or other such exceptional event(s) beyond the Parties control, Ybarra Events and/or the Client shall have the right but not the obligation to terminate this Agreement, without liability, upon written notice. In such cases, Ybarra Events will apply all payments made to a future event date.
In the event of a occurrence to cause your wedding to be cancelled, rather than postponed, after final payment has been made, Ybarra Events will require payment only for the time spent planning the wedding. See Changes/Cancellations."
What is Ybarra Events doing to help?
A lot of the local event vendors, including us at Ybarra Events, have banned together and joined California Association for Private Events (CAPE) and started advocating for your wedding rights! Our goal is to get reopening guidelines for the private event industry. After CAPE filed lawsuits, held a peaceful protest, and hired a lobbyist firm, we got our voices heard! At the end of January 2021, CAPE was able to get a meeting with the Governor to discuss when weddings can resume. They requested more information and we are hoping to get another scheduled meeting at the end of February. The good news is, we are starting to be heard.
Ceremonies are currently allowed, but we are still working on wedding receptions. Here is a link to keep up with the latest allowences for wedding receptions in California.
How can I Help?
How sweet of you to ask! Of course we would love your help! Here is a link to sign the petition to get reopening guidelines for weddings and other private events!
Tara Ybarra, Co-Owner and Event Planner for Ybarra Events, has been in the Wedding Industry for over 20 years. From Photographer, to Wedding Cake Artist, to Florist, to Officiant, and now Wedding Planner, her accumilated experience, paired with her College Courses in Event Planning, have given her the experience she has today. Blogging gives her an opportunity to share that knowledge with her readers.
Ybarra Events is located in California’s spectacular Napa Valley. Ybarra Events are the pièce de résistance of wedding planners. Run by the dynamic duo of Tara and James Ybarra, they help couples organize, design, and plan their nuptials at some of the most fabulous and luxurious wedding venues in Napa, Sonoma, San Francisco, and Beyond. Chat with them today to start planning the wine-country wedding of your dreams.