Help! There’s A Pandemic Threatening My Event!
updated April 22, 2020
SMP Coronavirus / COVID-19 Event Crisis Management Tips, Steps, and Frequently Asked Questions
Wow, what a year March and April 2020 have been! While every single person on this earth is facing the unknown together, we at SMP want you to feel comfortable and safe…together. The below information is updated the moment news becomes available to all of us. Policies are being constantly reviewed to ensure the physical and financial health of all parties involved. We share this information from the professional guidance to our small business, but more as fellow humans.
Please review our Special Circumstance guidance below for events affected by Coronavirus and COVID-19.
As always, please keep yourself informed with the most up to date information and safety guidelines set forth by the CDC Coronavirus Guidelines
Coronavirus / COVID-19 Recommended Plan B Course of Action Steps
- Decide how your event date is affected
- Definitely affected (March 8, 2020 - May 4, 2020)
- Likely affected (May 5, 2020 - July 30, 2020)
- Possibly affected (August 1, 2020 - all future dates)
- Carefully review each of your event contracts
- What is the postponement policy?
- What is the cancellation policy?
- What is the COVID-19 special circumstance policy, if any?
- Contact (via email) your venue to inquire about re-booking date options for a NON-Saturday in the near future
- CC/Copy all of your day-of vendors (venue, caterer, hair/makeup, photographer, officiant, etc.)
- Create a Google Forms POLL with your venue’s re-booking availability dates
- Send the Google Form POLL link to each of your vendors in that day-of vendor group email and ask to submit poll responses ASAP
- Select the re-booking date where most, or all, of your vendors are collectively available
- Confirm re-booking date with venue
- Begin re-booking process with all vendors
- Since most, or all, have confirmed availability for the future date, this step shouldn’t be a hassle
- Sit back, stay health, and trust your wedding professionals to handle the behind-the-scenes for you
If you have a professional third-party (not venue) wedding planner hired, they are likely the ones to handle these steps for you. If you do not have a planner, now is certainly a great time to research wedding planner availability and assess your need for one. They are very likely the peace of mind you crave at this moment.
We are in this together.
Coronavirus / COVID-19 Affected Event Steps and FAQ’s
My Wedding or Event is Currently Banned by Government/CDC Guidelines
Start an email NOW with your venue and CC all of your day-of contracted vendors. Check each contract and each contract’s respective postponement clause carefully as you seek guidance from your vendor team.
Additional steps below.
My Wedding or Event is Currently Threatened by Unknown Gathering Ban Extensions
Check rebooking policies and collective availability of each vendor for a new date to have ready for plan B JUST IN CASE. This will make any later forced postponement much easier to handle for everyone.
My Wedding or Event is After June 1, 2020
For events on or after 6/1/2020, please refer to the ‘Plan B’ steps below as a STARTING point to prepare yourself, your guests, and your contracted vendors to be ready in the event that the gathering bans and CDC guidelines extend beyond this timeframe.
At this time, we are unable to reschedule events on or after 6/1/2020 as part of the Special Circumstances Postponement and events postponed that are originally scheduled for dates on or after 6/1/2020 would be unable to transfer non-refundable retainer payments.
This policy is being reviewed as the government releases ongoing updates and guidelines.
What is SMP's Contract Postponement/Cancellation Policy?
TERMINATION OF SERVICES
If the Client Terminates services more than thirty (30) calendar days prior to the date of the event as noted above, the Client will be required to pay any unrecoverable cost already incurred by Talent and the Retainer Fee shall be treated as a Termination Fee. If services are terminated with fewer than thirty (30) calendar days notice, any unrecoverable cost already incurred by Talent and the balance due on the Total Performance fee shall be payable in full. All service terminations must be in writing with the Clients signature. If an entire event is postponed, all monies paid up to the full balance will be transferred to an alternative date within six (6) consecutive calendar months of the original date and subject to Talents availability.
How are Coronavirus / COVID-19 affected event retainers handled?
Postpone to Mutually Agreed 2020 Date
All retainer payments paid to SMP for a currently contracted event that is forced to postpone specifically due to government orders will have all monies paid to SMP transferred without fee to the mutually agreed-upon 2020 date. Certain dates (Labor Day Weekend, Columbus Day Weekend) are off limits, or hold higher minimums due to the holiday weekend event rushes.
Postpone to Mutually Agreed 2021 FRIDAY OR SUNDAY Date
50% of retainer payments paid to SMP for a currently contracted event that is forced to postpone specifically due to government orders will have all monies paid to SMP transferred without fee to the mutually agreed-upon 2021 Friday or Sunday (i.e., non-Saturday) date. Certain dates (i.e., Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day Weekends as well as state/federal holiday dates) are off limits, or hold higher minimums due to the holiday weekend event rushes.
Postpone to Mutually Agreed 2021 SATURDAY Date
0% of retainer payment(s) paid to SMP for a currently contracted event that is forced to postpone specifically due to government orders are transferred to the mutually agreed-upon 2021 SATURDAY date. This particular policy is in place to protect current 2021 Saturday bookings that are largely sold-out during the 2021 months of May - November.
Postpone to ANY future date even if currently contracted date is not affected by government orders
Events currently scheduled (as of today’s update 4/2/2020) for dates on or after May 5, 2020 for any future 2020, 2021, or later year date will not have retainer payments transferred. This policy will be routinely reviewed as updates from the government and CDC become revised.
What if my original DJ/MC is not available?
Why are most Saturday's 'off-limits'
Due to those dates already largely sold out, it is important to stress to clients the need to consider an off-peak event date/day of the week to avoid losses in payments to vendors who are unable to collectively postpone their contracts. SMP can NOT speak on behalf of any venue and/or vendor not covered within the SMP Event Booking Agreement signed by the client originally.
In an effort to save these small businesses, and your event budget, we strongly urge you to consider a non-Saturday rebooking within the same calendar year. This entire process is very difficult for everyone, and the financial health of your vendors and venues is just as important to us as your event is to you. We plead with you to take these considerations to heart and work together for the best possible solution.
Should I keep up to date with our planning portal tools?
Keep planning as if your event were moving forward as scheduled. It’s fun, it’s productive, and gives us all something to look forward to. We are available throughout this entire crisis to guide you as needed, or to hop on a Zoom call and enjoy some cocktails and lighthearted discussion.
Can we still meet?
During the CDC Social Distancing guidelines, we are encouraging clients to reach out FIRST via email and to schedule a phone/FaceTime or Zoom (preferred) call so we can address your particular situation ‘head-on’ in the most efficient and positive way possible. 🙂
What happens to balances due during the COVID-19 crisis/gathering bans?
1) Elect to push ALL balance due dates to the new event date, but within the same due date timeline (i.e., balances due 14 days prior to the event). We assume this will be the most popular option with clients.
2) 50% of final balance due ON/BY the ORIGINAL balance due date (14 days prior to the original contracted event date) and the remaining 50% of final balance due 14 days prior to the new/rebooked/postponement date. This option, if appealing to you, assists SMP with cash flow during this period of uncertainty and mass postponements, and helps the client alleviate the larger sum due later.
How should I handle my school prom?
Here’s the quick and dirty:
- Junior Proms may be best pushed to an early fall date (non-Saturday).
- Senior Proms and activities should remain the focus for the class of 2020
- Consider a mid-late summer weeknight postponement.
- Weekends across this industry are being salvaged for crisis wedding postponements and we would greatly appreciate your support of these couples.
- Just as mentioned above, in an order to save the industry and your event partners, please consider re-booking ALL vendors and venue so you do not lost retainer payments, and vendors don’t lose balance payments
- Consider a mid-late summer weeknight postponement.
- SMP Event Streaming Solutions is also available for Graduation and moving on ceremonies
From Real COVID Clients:
We are so happy to have chosen SMP for our wedding. In a unique situation with the Coronavirus Pandemic, we were faced with the possibility of postponing or cancelling our wedding. This news wasn’t easy to take in, and we didn’t even know where to begin in starting over in the planning process. David contacted us and took care of the WHOLE replanning process. We cannot thank him enough for coordinating with each of our vendors to find a new date that worked with each of their schedules. Thanks to David, we are still able to have the exact same wedding that we always dreamed of. I can’t thank/recommend him enough for making this difficult transition so easy. We look forward to celebrating on the dance floor this summer!
Thanks for being so understanding and letting us know you’re all available on our backup date! We really appreciate your flexibility during this crazy time.