I am feeling deeply for the event planners out there and, in particular, the Wedding Planners! In the last 6 days, I have had about 15 inquiries from Wedding Planners, which prompted me to write this.
Do I Need To Refund Everything? No, especially if (1) you have performed a large chunk of the work; and 2) the wedding is only being postponed, and not cancelled. Planners tell me that 80% of the work is done well before the wedding. You have earned that.
Tip: if final payment is due, say, 1 month before the wedding, you could, if you wanted to, defer the final payment to 1 month before the new wedding date
Should I Be Proactive? YES. Divide your clients into “those due to me married within 8 weeks” and “those outside the 8 week period” for example. You can let those know who are outside the 8 week period that you are happy to work with them on rescheduling, coordinating with Vendors, etc., but that you need to first service your March, April and May Couples.
Tip: This way you are not grappling with those outside the 8-week period wondering if they need to continue to pay you. They should be still paying you on schedule, except allowances can be made for the “final” payment being deferred (see above). Do this in a proactive “Client Letter”
My Client Wants to Add A New Clause to Our Contract: Nope.
What If The Postponement Will Be More Work than the original SOW: So, technically, you can charge for any amendments to your Scope of Work that are outside your original SOW. You may choose, as a business decision, to not charge extra, except, of course, reimbursements for expenses. HOWEVER, if there will be significantly extra work on your part, some of my clients have decided to charge a “discounted hourly fee”. Listen, you don’t have to discount yourself at all, but I want to add in some practical solutions here as well in light of our current situation.
Should I Tell Couples To Coordinate With Me on Dates, Or Just Let Them Choose? You need to know if you are available on the date they want to get married, so it is important that you are kept in the loop before they make any final decisions as to date. The key is mere postponement, NOT cancellation.
To all of those whose very livelihood depends on your and your clients’ ability to physically “be” somewhere, there is no doubt about how difficult and terrifying this is on so many levels. I am so sorry. There are ways we can work together to be compassionate and accommodating, however, without giving up our livelihood completely.
Much Legal Love,