First of all, I am thinking of you, know what you are going through & want to be of assistance in any way I possibly can. COVID-19 may be putting a damper on our plans, but I wanted to take a second to provide some practical assistance & encouragement.
Let’s start with the encouragement, because I think it is exactly what we all need right now.
Your love will still shine
This pandemic does not have the power to “ruin” your wedding day. Yes, it changes things on a practical level & that sucks, but your day is about the commitment you are making & that hasn’t changed.
During this time, I am advising my clients to either reschedule or elope (outside of the shelter-in-place time period). I won’t expand too much on this as I’ve already discussed these options in my blog post “Is Corona Virus Affecting your Wedding? We have a solution”, but I did want to touch on this and remind you that your date doesn’t have to change, unless that’s the route you prefer. Elopements are such a special & intimate thing. Get married – you can celebrate once this is all over :).
Imagine how special a celebration will be once this whole thing is over! Everyone is going to be so ready to celebrate the good in life once a very hard moment in history has passed. You are loved & you will be celebrated once it is safe to do so.
I GET YOU
Look… I really do get you. I am also “a Corona bride” and have dealt with ALL the emotions surrounding this. I’ve felt disappointed, sad, anxious… you name it I’ve probably felt it within these past couple weeks. BUT, this has been a huge “put your money where your mouth is” moment for me.
I constantly tell my couples that this day isn’t about all the glitz & glamour, but it’s about the forever commitment that you are making. In the midst of planning my own destination elopement followed by a backyard party, I was definitely following the philosophy of “celebrate your way”, but have been challenged on the thought that nothing else should be able to ruin that. Well… what about a global pandemic shaking up all of the “celebrate my way” plans?!
I have needed to really evaluate my priorities and the “why” behind my wedding day. And, although I have moments of disappointment about the strong possibility of a canceled destination elopement, this has forced me to remember the “why”. I am marrying the love of my life, and when I focus on that, everything else seems to be okay.
I am a lover of adventure & travel, so I’m no going to lie – it’s disappointing! THATS OKAY! But this is life. You are committing to your person for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer…. isn’t this exactly what marriage is? You figure it out & celebrate life as it comes in every stage. COVID-19 is giving us the unique opportunity to truly “take it as it comes” even before the marriage starts. Although it may not be as glamorous, there is something significant in that.
With the right perspective, your day will be just as beautiful as you planned (if not even more beautiful). It may look different, but it will be your unique story to tell for years to come.
The Practical Stuff
So, this is the meat & potatoes of all your questions. I am going to lay out the policies I have put in place one at a time & explain them as we go. If you are one of my clients, please reach out with any questions at all & I will do my best to get back to you ASAP.
- I am currently offering reschedules to all of my clients.
If you need to move your wedding date due to COVID-19, I am waving all rescheduling fees. This is something that has been out of both of our control & I would hate to make this any harder on you by charging you extra! I have a list of available dates that you can choose from. Most of my Saturday availability for the late summer / fall is completely booked, so most weddings will need to be held on a Friday or Sunday.
- I cannot issue any refunds.
Unfortunately, due to this pandemic, many small businesses (including my own) are greatly suffering. Due to the number of cancellations & reschedules, I am not financially capable of issuing refunds without destroying my business. In each contract is states that every payment made is non-refundable. I cannot issuing any refunds & need to be very strict with this policy. The best I can offer is reschedules free of charge OR to use the package amount for a future credit (like a vow renewal, one year anniversary, etc.). I have had to sign up for unemployment & government loans to keep my business afloat. I promise you I am doing my best & wish I could issue refunds to every bride & groom that will need one – this just isn’t the reality of the situation.
- If you are rescheduling for after March 2021, you will need to pay a new retainer.
Due to the nature of all of this, I can only reschedule before March 2021. If I started to reschedule too far out, I would be unable to sustain my business in following years. Ideally, it is best to reschedule in 2020 so that your wedding vendors can still survive & rebuild their businesses in 2021. If we continue to prolong the issue by reserving prime 2021 dates for clients who paid in 2020, we may not survive through 2021. This issue is extremely cyclical, and in order to be there for your wedding day, I need to be financially responsible & be sure my business survives through this. I know this is a tough pill to swallow for some, but it is one of my only options besides going out of business.
- Explain your situation to me & I will do my best to work with you.
The policies I listed above are all put in place to protect my own livelihood & to guarantee that Ashley Steffens Photography can make it to your event! Of course, if something above will not work for you, I am open to discussing your unique scenario. I want to be a support & help in any way that I can & if we can find a way to make this work for you, I will do my best to accommodate. I want to reassure you that all of these policies are put in place not only for myself, but for you as well! As my clients, you are my priority in this pandemic. PLEASE reach out with any concerns & communicate with me so that we can come to a conclusion that works for everyone.
Okay well now that that’s over, I would like to reiterate how excited I am to be a part of each & every one of your special days. This is a once in a lifetime memory, and COVID-19 can’t take that away from you.
Remember… YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED! (Eek!)
Here’s a photo of me & my fiance – we’re with you in this & I am here for you! If you need to ask practical questions, reschedule or just vent – I’m here. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.