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Saying ‘I do’ in a post-COVID world: Protect your plans

The wedding business is a $78 billion a year industry. The average cost is around $30,000. Yet, some of these extravaganzas can run over $100,000.

But due to COVID-19, a recent survey by The Knot reveals 52% of brides are pushing their celebrations to later this year and 33% are moving the big day to 2021.

So now that coronavirus has literally wiped out an entire season, planners are working around the clock to re-invent the wedding.

Emily Saker is not only rescheduling her clients because of COVID-19, she’s had to reschedule her own wedding.

“I’ve had to reschedule the photographer, the videographer, the hotel, and my makeup artist,” Saker said.

Emily and Tommy were planning to say their I do’s in Cancun.

“I remember stepping onto this rooftop and I literally looked at him and said, I’m going to marry you here. So just making that final decision of calling it all off was really like heart-wrenching,” said Saker.

“Everything sort of came to a screeching halt,” said Lisa Stoner, an event planner.

For almost two decades, she has been trusted with some of the most extravagant weddings in Orlando.

“This is not only an emotional investment, it’s a financial investment,” Stoner said.

She’s now planning for pandemics.

“We’re learning how to plan now away from each other, using Zoom meetings. We’re doing virtual appointments with bridal salons. We’ve all had to closely look at our contracts and have them readdressed by attorneys,” Stoner said.

One particular item to look for is a force majeure, which frees both parties from liability in certain circumstances.

“A force majeure is a clause in a contract that sort of covers both parties in the instance of any sort of cancellation,” Stoner told Ivanhoe Newswire.

Lisa warns cancellations are costly. Most venues and caterers charge a 50% fee even 180 days out. The longer you wait, the more it costs. That’s why more brides may lean toward micro weddings — simple, elegant, small.

“2021 seems very unpredictable right now,” Stoner warned.

As for Emily, her new date is set for December. She hopes this time her wedding will have that fairytale ending she and so many brides dream of.

If Emily would have canceled her wedding, she would have lost all of her money. But because she rebooked, she didn’t lose anything.

Lisa said the events industry will see a domino effect long after venues and restaurants re-open. For one, brides who need to reschedule won’t be able to find open dates for venues and available caterers as most weddings are planned at least a year in advance.

Even getting your wedding dress will be more difficult as most of the material for the gowns comes from China.