How COVID-19 has Affected Omaha Wedding Vendors

The 2020 wedding season has been brutal to wedding vendors due to Covid-19. If you’re a couple planning to get married this year or if you’re a wedding vendor trying to navigate this uncertain time, let’s just chalk this year up to a big UGH.

Many industries have been hit hard by this pandemic. One industry that has been hit extremely hard is the events industry. With no concerts, conferences and gatherings (over a certain number of people), businesses who are in the world of events are taking it hard.

Here, I’m highlighting a few wedding vendors around Omaha and give their story and perspective on how they’re handling COVID-19.

I Choose You Ceremonies

Shari McCormick’s weekends are filled with happy tears. She’s an officiant with I Choose You Ceremonies and performs wedding ceremonies around the city of Omaha. Shari and her team of officiants geared up for the 2020 wedding season. They prepared several personalized wedding ceremony scripts for March, April and May couples.

And now, Shari is working on reschedules and smaller weddings. Like, super small weddings.

“I have had three weddings that still happened on their original date following the less than 10 gather rule and out of those three all will also have me perform their ceremonies at a rescheduled date when they have their larger celebration,” Shari states.

Shari is doing what she can to reschedule weddings. But being a small business who is busy weekend after weekend, Shari has found it hard to make sure that all her weddings are taken care of. Luckily, she has a team of officiants who can fill in if she can’t personally perform the ceremony.

She knows the challenges of this wedding season is seen by both vendors and couples. “So many of the vendors in the wedding industry are small locally owned businesses. The deposits that have been received have been spent to cover expenses, insurance, etc. Some of the couples that are affected by COVID are wanting to cancel their weddings and just elope and are requesting their money back from their vendors. This is not something that is feasible for the vendor.”

She is hoping that people just continue to be kind and patient to one another.

Fancy Plants Flowers and Design

Karen with Fancy Plants Flowers and Design booked all her available 2020 dates and started to book into 2021. Knowing this season was going to be crazy, she purchased supplies early and started to turn her workspace remodel from dream into reality.

And now, she’s working on reschedules, smaller weddings, elopements and reception-only parties this fall. Being a one-woman operation, she’s glad she doesn’t have a sales team to worry about, but the industry in general is one to be concerned about.

“Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the floral industry.  Flower farms around the world are facing a sudden and significant disappearance in demand while also implementing the necessary precautions and following government policy/guidelines, leaving the future to look bleak for many. Florists thrive on holidays, celebrations, and life events,” she said.

She wants to take this lemon and make some lemonade though. Karen plans to use this time to strengthen relationships with other wedding vendors in Omaha and work on an even more personal level with her couples.

Image Entertainment

Nothing makes a wedding reception better than a great DJ. Ben Doll with Image Entertainment was like most DJs the beginning of wedding season, ready to kick it off with multiple events every single weekend. He and his partner streamlined many of their processes over the winter and were ready to go.

And now…”To date we have had 37 and counting events either canceled, reschedule, or still left in limbo with no immediate plans,” Ben said.

Image Entertainment does pay multiple people in their business, mainly their DJs. So the fact that Ben can’t pay these people is heart-wrenching for him. “It is a helpless feeling knowing my staff relies on me to provide for themselves and some with families.”

But Ben knows all weddings vendors are battling the same storm, regardless of how each individual business is tackling everything. He also knows that as weddings start to begin again, his staff is going to be working their tails off to make sure that they’re there for their couples. “The physical toll it takes on us to to one gig is quite a bit… but two and sometimes three in a weekend will make you feel like you got hit by a truck. Good thing most of my staff is young and healthy.”

Lacework Films

Kelly LaFleur went into 2020 wedding season with a second crew to film weddings. She also implemented a new sales process from a conference she invested in.

And 2020 hasn’t slowed her much. Most of the couples of Lacework Films are going ahead with their weddings or postponing until later this year. They are also actively booking couples for the remainder of the year and into 2021.

“I believe that this has made couples value video more overall,” Kelly states. “With having to have a lower guest count, they definitely want to have video to capture the day.”

“Couples will still have the same feelings getting ready and we should be there to capture that. We should be there to capture the ceremony. We should be there to capture the celebration with their people afterwards. They should have some kind of meal to still celebrate and tell stories.”

Dana Osborne Design

I’ve been saying that 2020 was going to be my best year yet. My bookings were ahead of schedule, I was talking to couples with weddings that I was so excited about and then…the bottom fell.

Late March to mid April, I was helping my current couples navigate what this all meant for their wedding. I designed Change the Date cards, Postponement cards and other graphics to get the word out to their guests about their wedding.

I decided right away I was going to produce these pieces at-cost. Meaning, my clients paid what my print shop was charging. No design fee taken. Why? Because this isn’t fair to anyone. No one asked to postpone their wedding this year. And the costs associated with moving a wedding date could add up. I didn’t want to be part of the problem.

And as I designed for summer and Fall couples who are still somewhat in limbo, we added an “optimistic” card to go in with their invites. In other words, “Guests: we’ll let you know if something changes.” One of my cards (and me) were mentioned in the Omaha World Herald.

I go from one day of saying “I’ll be alright,” to the next day of “I don’t want to be just alright…I want to be having my best year ever!” But, I also know weddings aren’t going away. There is a pause in everything right now…less weddings that I’d like to see…but they’ll be back. And when we can celebrate with all of our family and friends again, I want to be crashing weddings to help my couples celebrate.

There has been a lot of stress and worry on everyone’s part. But I feel I’m doing the right thing right now. I’m helping my current couples, I’m helping couples who are booking with me navigate the right moves and I’m slowing down to prioritize things. Maybe I needed a bit of downtown. Maybe I needed a season of slow. I just hope to be back at 110% soon.

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