Can I Get My Deposits Back?
We have been hearing from many couples who are undecided how to proceed. As with most things, it often comes down to a question of finances. Well, I am sorry to tell you, refunding deposits aren't industry standard. All parties need to consider how much work goes into the planning to execute the job at hand. You should not expect to receive deposits, retainers, or previously made payments back. However, all is not lost. You can expect that your balance will not be charged until the new range of necessary tasks has been decided upon and your event is rescheduled. That said, be very careful of your verbiage. If you use the word cancel when speaking to your vendors they will be lead to believe that your wedding is entirely off and that they are free to offer their services to another. Instead, we recommend, that you opt for postponement instead. Ideally, we suggest that you try your best to postpone for a date within the same year to avoid even further charges as the cost of services increase annually. Its always best to try to repurpose the investments you've already made if at all possible.
Please be mindful that every person you've hired for your event is a small business. These small businesses survive by hiring countless freelancers since they cannot all afford full time employees. Everyone involved has declined other work as a result of being booked. Nobody is taking your deposit and using it to splurge on cars and fancy dinners. These funds are used to keep companies and contractors afloat as they work towards a common goal.
Keep in mind that when you pay a deposit, this balance not only serves to secure your date with your selected vendors, but these deposits are in place, because the person you hired has done a considerable amount of the work required to to this point as well. These balances cover the work that's left to be done as well as work on the event itself. Most often the cancellation policies previously found on vendor contracts were put in place for that rare change-of-heart scenario that happened only rarely prior to this global pandemic.
For example, once we have saved the date on our calendar, the deposit paid is used to secure the team of wedding planners that will service the event as well as secure any travel or hotel rooms that will be needed by our staff. Your retainer is to cover the cost of doing business. Vendors pay their team to hold the date, and then the remaining payments and balances paid are to cover expenses and vendor fees. If a client cancels the deposit goes towards managing the expenses and time already invested in the event.
We can certainly understand your stress and anxiety as we now find ourselves in unchartered territory. When it comes to contracts and business ethics, consider simply sitting down and having a level-headed conversation with your vendors. They aren't just a nameless faceless business in the same way that your wedding isn't simply "just another event." We are all ill at ease and we are all simply people trying to make the best out of a very bad situation. We ask that you accept that you have asked them to place a hold one date, and you are now asking them to place a hold another leaving them to juggle two commitments to you for the price of one. In the end its not fair to anyone, but we are all doing our very best to work through it with you.
As you do plan your reschedule, if you have come to find that your venue, planner, photographer, band, baker, hair and makeup artist, draper, or DJ are no longer available in your new date, have no fear... we are in the business of joy. The wedding industry has your back. I can assure you that wedding vendors are the last group of people who would ever want couples to be unhappy. We will show up for you like no other. We are all going above and beyond to be as accommodating as we can..we are all in the same boat.
Now, of course if your original vendors are not available on your new date try not to get frustrated. This could be a blessing in disguise. Was there a florist you were hoping would be available for your original date who wasn't? A photographer you fell in love with on Instagram you doubted would ever be available? Just ask. You might get lucky! 2021 brides should also consider reaching out to their dream vendors, because odds are, they'll be looking to double up for next year to make up for loss of business this year.
If it is most important to you to have that dream team of carefully chosen wedding vendors, the best way to ensure that you're surrounded by your team on the big day ensuring everything is perfect would be to choose a weekday. In addition, to save on cost, keep your wedding within the 2020 calendar year if at all possible. After all, you chose 2020 to be your year—and it still can be!
And don't forget to rely on your planner. You hired them specifically to smooth over any bumps in the road. This is where they shine! Let them handle the rebooking of your vendors or assist you in finding new ones. If you don't have a planner, don't be afraid to ask the vendors you trust to help you find someone who will offer the same level of service. Since you will not get your deposit back, consider it a finder's fee to assist you with this legwork. This isn't the time to rip apart force majeure clauses. This is the time to be as realistic and graceful as humanly possible.
And as you prioritize health, wellness, and self-care use your time wisely. Use your time at home to plan ahead. Vendors all going to get busy at the same time once the season picks up, so take advantage of this valuable downtime to talk through your timelines with them. Discuss your music with your fiancee...making those selections is so much harder than you'd think. If you changed seasons, consider any changes you wish to make to your décor and have all of those time-intensive conversations with your officiant or bridal party members giving speeches. Schedule video calls with your vendors to follow up and confirm details. Right now, your vendors are looking to give you tons of customer service! We urge you to take advantage of that.
More importantly than all of this though...remember that a wedding is a high-stress, emotional process anyway. When you throw all of this into the middle of it, everything is going to spin twice as fast. Don't forget to find a moment in your day to stop, recharge and reboot.