As a venue, you and your business face a unique set of challenges as the country reopens amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This webinar was designed to help address some common questions and concerns with three industry experts:
- Tamuel Cowart – Co-Owner of Luxmore Grande Estate, and Strategic Partner of Cypress Grove Estate, President + Founder of RW Events and RW Style
- Julia Henning – Vice President of Sales, Wedgewood Weddings
- Chris Jespersen – Owner, The Madison
We recently shared seven insights for navigating the new normal for venues. Now we are answering even more of your questions from our recent webinar! Keep reading for their advice on preparing for what’s next — from safety to new layouts — and adjusting payment structures and fees. Here’s the recap from our recent webinar.
Venue Question #1: Now that restrictions are lifting and events are able to take place, if the couples don’t like the restrictions and want to cancel, are venues refunding? Allowing them to reschedule?
WeddingPro Answer #1:
Prime Dates Next Year Mean Cancelations “For the couples that are moving their dates to late next year, we’re considering that a cancelation and they’re signing an entirely new contract. If they’re moving just a couple of months out, that’s different. So for the Fall, we’ve added an addendum to our contract that acknowledges we’re all following the rules. We’re also requiring a new deposit amount to hold that date because it meant turning away other business. – Chris
Venue Question #2: Are you requiring everyone that enters your venue to sign a limited liability waiver in regards to COVID-19?
WeddingPro Answer #2:
Make It A Part of Your Overall Contract “We made it a part of our contract. It’s one of the many things we’ve updated in our contract. My biggest advice is to go to your legal counsel or find legal counsel to protect yourself.” – Chris
We’re Looking at It As a Mutual Vow Between Us “It’s really more about what we’re doing to keep them safe. Also spelling out our expectations that nobody that’s sick should come to the wedding and telling vulnerable people to stay home. And just reiterating advice that’s not necessarily state or county advice, advice that’s just sound to help keep them safe.” – Julia
Venue Question #3: How are you handling all things food and drinks?
WeddingPro Answer #3
Plexiglass Trays and Server-Portioned Buffets “We have these plexiglass trays called sneeze guards but of course we don’t use that phrase. You can get them in all different sizes. So we were able to find a size that sits on top of a serving tray— it just clips onto the tray and then you have a server coming around and using a pair of tongs to serve food to people. We’ve also put them on our buffets so that they’re covering all of the chafers and we got a very large one for the carving station. All of our buffets are being server portioned. It has worked really well and we’ve found that people are actually taking less food.” – Julia
Swapping Buffets for Plated Service “We’re doing plated hors d’oeuvres and we swapped our buffets for a plated service. However, we’re not charging them differently. We’ve also had clients asking about disposables, so we’re offering that or China— whatever makes them more comfortable. Putting their mind at ease is really the key and it’s the cost of doing business.” -Tamuel
Venue Question #4: Any advice on efforts to keep service staff feel safe?
WeddingPro Answer #4:
All Of Our Bartenders Are Wearing Masks “As of right now in Ohio, you’re allowed to walk up to the bar to get a drink so long as you’re socially distanced. And we’re not going to be pouring drinks into glassware. Lots of hand sanitizer stations just to make sure that everything is safe.” – Chris
Venue Question #5: Any advice on dancing? How to implement dance floors? Should social distancing rules be enforced? If so, how?
We’re Not Dance Instructors: “We’re not explaining anything when it comes to dancing. So once the music starts playing and they want to get on the dance floor, they can dance. The only wedding we’ve had so far was a smaller wedding and they did have a larger dance floor but they were all still out there on the dance floor having a good time.” – Tamuel
We’re Creating Areas for Social Distancing “So you have a lot of people dancing at their tables rather than coming out and getting all up in the mix. And also some of this you can control by making it a more DJ-curated experience where you have your formal dances, you can do karaoke, you can get different groups up to dance. A really good DJ can help to make this happen.” – Julia
If you weren’t able to join us live for the webinar, or if you want to brush up on the content again, you can view the recording at any time.
Photo Credit: J&N Studios
About the author: Anja Winikka is the former editor of TheKnot.com and The Knot Magazines turned educator and contributing editor @WeddingPro. She’s on a mission to help creatives, community leaders, and wedding businesses own their stories and tell the world about it (follow along via Instagram @editorinchiefmedia).