Has Your Wedding Been Affected By COVID-19?
To address the elephant in the room, the entire wedding and special events market has been interrupted due to the current environment of the novel COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. Social distancing guidelines have been extended to the end of April across the country and the entire state of New York has essentially been shut down for any non-essential workers. This includes restrictions on social gatherings of any size. Effects of this horrific pandemic can be seen worldwide down to the local level. In our small but close community, we have seen business adapt to the situation and others have experienced difficulties along the way. But our community is strong, and we have shown how resilient, tough and capable of facing the toughest challenges we are, together. During difficult times, is when we can step up to the plate and prove our strength, to set an example. The Lake George Area has shown it is a united team through this pandemic and the people is what makes our region the greatest. And for that, we thank you.
The Lake George Area is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the country. Our area is home to all the different kinds of beautiful venues and meeting spaces you could ask for. In 2020, the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce and CVB was planning for a great year in every category from sporting events, business meetings, conventions, and weddings, with a special Wedding and Special Events Guide to be released to help wedding planners plan their perfect event in our area, bringing in large revenue for all of our businesses. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, many events during the spring season were forced to reschedule or cancel, changing the topic of discussion to damage control. This has caused large losses in the hospitality industry. Our community was able to come together and start our road to recovery. In mid March, a small group of business owners got together through Zoom to address the wedding market moving forward.
To better help everyone, there are steps we think we should share to help wedding planners, wedding venues, hotels and everyone else involved. Back on March 15th, the CDC recommended not hosting a wedding for eight weeks, which pushed dates into mid May. We hope this date doesn't get pushed back further, but if you are looking into moving the date of your wedding or managing a venue and need to temporarily close your doors, here are some tips you should consider.
Staying Up To Date
Updates on the fight against COVID-19 are coming in daily along with new restrictions, procedures and projections of when this problem will be resolved. It is important to stay up to date to local and federal guidelines. Listen to government officials on important information and details, and avoid listening to incorrect information from untrusted sources. We all need to follow the proper guidelines to get over this as soon as possible, and keeping up to date on timelines set by officials will help you plan your wedding.
Contact Your Wedding Venues
Don't wait until the last moment to contact your wedding venues to change the date of your wedding. Contact them as soon as possible to discuss new options to move the date of your wedding forward. Hotels and other venues would much rather work with you to find a better date for the near future to host your wedding, than to see you cancel. Talk to your venues about cancellation policies, they know this is a unique and difficult situation to be in. If you are not able to move the date and need to cancel, venues might be offering wavering fees.
Contact Your Clients
If you are a manager or owner of a hotel or event venue, make sure to contact your clients as soon as possible. Let them know your hours of operation, plans moving forward, and any policies that have changed. If you have clients who have large gatherings planned such as weddings during the eight week restriction, call to help find a better date for their event, if they have not contacted you already. Consider wavering cancellation fees, be flexible and plan for a good comeback in the fall season.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Take this time at home to plan accordingly. Make sure you stay ahead of the curve and plan to be prepared. Even if your wedding is planned outside of the eight weeks, contact your venues and make sure they are ready for your event or are looking to move the date. As we said earlier, stay on top of new developments. We simply don't know how long this pandemic will last. We all hope projections are correct and we can go back to business as usual in a month or so. But that does not mean that will happen. It is still possible that social distancing will last longer than predicted. If you want to plan safe, look into fall dates or even 2021. The fall season is still a beautiful time of year in the Lake George Area.
If you are planning your wedding Internationally, listen to government officials regarding traveling guidelines and restrictions. Many countries are limiting the amount of travel or closing travel entirely, including Canada which has agreed to temporarily close the US-Canada border to all non-essential travel. Be more flexible if you plan to travel internationally and consider postponing further then local destinations.
Contact Your Guests
Reach out to your guests and inform them of any changes in planning. Even if you plan to keep the date of a wedding outside the eight week period, kindly inform them you plan to continue as originally planned. If you do postpone your wedding to a later date, consider if sending out re-invitation cards is best for you. Be creative.
A popular trend during this pandemic are micro-weddings. A micro wedding is when you get married, without an audience, and plan your big party when things return to normal. This allows you to keep your date you originally planned for and have a little bit of normalcy, and have the celebration afterwards in the future. This option is not for everyone, but is still an option to consider.
Look out for our Wedding & Special Events Guide
The Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce & CVB have been working hard to release a proper guide for The Lake George Area for weddings and special events. Everything you need to plan your special day is in the guide from hotels and resorts, unique venues and spaces, event services and unique dining options. The guide is easy to follow and gives you all the details you need to know to make planning simple and easy. This guide will be released soon so make sure to keep an eye out for it on our Facebook page or our website at lakegeorgechamber.com
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