Since my last post the world has been turned on its head.

The coronavirus pandemic has spread rapidly across the globe, with over 430,000 cases globally and almost 20,000 deaths, affecting almost every country around the world. Just this week, the UK government followed many other countries and announced a total UK lockdown of all but essential social and physical contact to control spread of the disease.

We’re living in unprecedented times, both for our beloved wedding industry, and our community as a whole. The impact on the wedding and events industry has been huge, with event cancellations and wedding postponements enforced.

It’s a scary and uncertain time, but please try not to panic. The wedding industry is founded on mutual love, respect, collaboration and support. I have already seen a huge amount of positivity from both couples and suppliers. I know that this community will be at its best as we pull together to offer reassurance, help to reschedule, provide cover, and figure out ways to help our clients.

Whatever happens, I am here for you. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I can help all of you through the effect this will have on your businesses. And, while it is a fast-moving situation, I want to offer the best advice I can based on what we know today.

No matter how brilliantly you’ve been girlbossing up until now, I know that this new situation has left many of you feeling powerless and overwhelmed. But there are measures you can take now that will help you weather the storm. Here’s your COVID-19 action plan.

PUT YOUR OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST

The next few weeks and months are going to be physically, mentally and financially draining. If you are panicking about your own situation you are not going to be in the right mindset to help your clients rearrange, reschedule and replan their weddings.

Ensuring that you eat healthy, stay active and look after your mental wellbeing is essential. Find what works for you – whether it’s new cooking shows that help you to prepare meals with what (random!) items you can find in the supermarket, meditation apps to focus your mind, online fitness classes to look after your physical health, you need to put yourself first.

SECURE YOUR FINANCES

For all of us, finances are going to be your biggest challenge. Cut costs wherever you can.

The government has already put many measures in place to help you if you are employed, employ staff and/or run a business premises through the job retention scheme, zero business rates, local authority grants and deferred tax payments.

If you have a mortgage, you can now quickly and easily apply for a 3-month payment holiday. Many banks and lenders are offering the same option for any outstanding loans, credit cards and other debts. Speak to them as soon as possible, and always before payments are due.

As I write this, it is yet unclear what support will be available for the self-employed and company directors who fall through the cracks of the current HMRC funding, but there are positive signs this is to be debated in parliament with announcements soon.

Before cutting non-essentials, consider what physical, psychological or educational benefit they may provide you over the next few months – you’re going to need that support.

To find out what support is available to you speak to your accountant, and visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus  

CHANGE THE DATE

As devastating as it is for your clients and your business, weddings and events in the immediate future must now be cancelled or postponed. Be pro-active in reaching out to your affected couples and helping them to reschedule as soon as you practically can.

I encourage all of you to support your clients to #changethedate by being as flexible and human as possible. But I know that despite your best efforts there may be times when new dates just don’t work out, or clients choose to cancel, Check your contracts for what to do in this scenario, and again, be human when dealing with deposits, payments and refunds. If in doubt, speak to the lawyer who wrote your contract or head to https://www.facebook.com/StanfordGould where Heather has created a wealth of information to guide and support you.

STAY CONNECTED

Now, more than ever, you need your tribe. Staying (virtually) connected to others, talking, listening and being there to support one another is absolutely vital.

Whether it’s sharing a virtual coffee with a friend, hosting a zoom dinner with family or staying active in industry communities where you can find support, advice and training to help you through this situation and keep building a thriving business.

If you need a virtual hug, come and join my free Facebook group Meet Learn Thrive where you’ll find a ready-made community, practical tips and support.

Hang in there. You’re not alone!

Louise xo