Interviews with New England Wedding Vendors: Event Planning
This interview covers the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the wedding industry. Today is specifically for vendors in event planning. The interviewees featured today are Kayce May at Kay Mae Design, Pam White at Events by Pamela Joy, Tracy Dapp at Inked Events, as well as Patricia Fratto at Perfectly Coordinated. Keep reading for their detailed and thoughtful responses.
A little about the interviewees…
Kayce is the founder and lead designer at Kay Mae Design, a sustainable wedding and event planning company specializing in eco-friendly services. They hire locally, donate to their clients’ favorite charity with every event. In Addition, believe in making the world a little brighter through the art of celebration.
Pam has been wedding and event planning for over 33 years and even has a second business – a dry hire bar called The Tipsy Horse. Pam helps navigate the planning process any event they are planning; whether it’s a memorial service, graduation, shower, or wedding.
Tracy is the owner and lead planner of Inked Events, a full-service wedding and event planning company. They offer full and partial services and above all, wedding management (or “day of” coordination).
Patricia is the owner of Perfectly Coordinated, an award-winning wedding planning company. Her services include full planning, partial planning, and day-of coordination. She particularly works with busy professionals; the busier the couple is, the better! Patricia loves handling the logistics and minute details that go into planning a wedding.
Love how inspiring these ladies’ work is! Without further ado, let’s get into the interview…
How has the COVID-19 Pandemic affected your business? What’s been one surprising positive aspect of this?
Kay: COVID-19 has posed significant emotional challenges for our couples. As the planner, it’s been my focus on supporting couples emotionally right now. Personally, I have had to shift quickly into offering micro-services to create products like DIY Wedding courses. Surprisingly enough, it’s been a fantastic time to revamp our new website, focus on marketing strategies, and a time for learning. We’re focusing on how we can be aware of inclusivity for all as well. Most importantly, it’s given us space to really care for those couples who are struggling with the disappointment and loss of their wedding date.
Pam: Just about all of my couples have postponed to 2021, however, I think the slower pace is nice. Above all, it made me realize how much I’m usually go, go, go! I’ve definitely been able to connect more with my clients [and] I have been joining lots of planner forums and groups.
Patricia: Almost all of my 2020 couples have rescheduled their weddings for next year. The one good thing is that all of my couples have actually rescheduled their weddings, and not outright canceled them.
I certainly hear you Patricia!
One of the big frustrations that I have right now is the fact that we in the wedding industry here in Massachusetts have gotten NO clear direction for how we will be able to move forward with the reopening. Rescheduling a wedding requires lots of work. The first thing that comes to mind is how extremely supportive wedding vendors have been to each other. The colleagues that I’ve been networking with have been an absolute godsend to me during these challenging times.
Tracy: All of our current weddings have been rescheduled to 2021 and our corporate events have all been cancelled for 2020. [However] with all the unusual free time I now have, I’ve been focusing on a different avenue to bring into my business. It’s also given me the time to focus on some internal business projects. I’ve continued to educate myself by watching webinars, trying new things, reading and I’m even relaxing!
How do you think the wedding industry as a whole will be affected by the pandemic?
Patricia: I don’t know of another vendor who is NOT experiencing the same challenges I am. The media has created a very negative impression of our industry through the news stories they continue to run. However, what would be REALLY nice is to see a news outlet tell the industry’s side of the story.
I’m honestly not sure when the pandemic will quiet down. There seems to be pretty solid evidence that we can expect to see another surge in the not too distant future. On the other hand, my bigger concern right now is to get the guidance we so desperately need to be able to operate within the current environment. I think in the near-term we will continue to see an increase in the number of very small, intimate ceremonies as well as elopements. In addition, bigger receptions next year. In fact, I think at some point, when the pandemic is behind us, weddings will be bigger than ever!
Kay: It’s my hope that those of us in the events, entertainment, and hospitality industry will be heavily sought after post-COVID. I believe that right now people from all walks of life are realizing just how important celebrations, gatherings, and connectivity is to them. Above all, in a post-COVID world there will be a need, a desire, to celebrate as often as possible.
Pam: I tend to think [intimate] Petite Weddings, Elopements, Mini-Monies, [and] Micro Weddings will be more trendy. It may be 40-50 people, but it would allow couples to spend a bit more on certain aspects of their wedding, that they may not have done, had the guest count been 120 or more.
Tracy: I feel weddings will be conducted completely differently than what we’re used to seeing or have seen in the past. I hope to see 2021 weddings back to being somewhat “normal” with some of the elements changing.
What regulations do you think should be put into place moving forward?
Tracy: I see sanitizing stations being more common practice at weddings and events. For our couples, I would request to see their sanitation process information prior to the event. With corporate events, I would also see sanitizing stations, seating assignments and pre-registration. For the safety of the attendees and vendors, walk-in’s would not be allowed. Pre-prepared name badges and swag bags will be the new way to confirm attendance.
That is to say, I agree with Tracy!
Patricia: It’s going to be important that there are protocols and precautions in place that are flexible enough to allow couples to have their weddings and for guests to have a good time, while still keeping everyone’s health and safety at the forefront. I definitely think that as much as we try, social distancing is going to be almost impossible to maintain at weddings […] it’s just the nature of weddings for people to be hugging and mingling at a close distance.
Pam: I would hope that anyone hosting or going to a function will adhere to the suggestions of wearing masks and washing hands.
Kay: We have a September wedding happening this year, no matter what. It’s important to this couple it takes place this year, for many personal reasons. As a result, I and the vendor team have had to get creative in ways we can serve while keeping the wedding party and ourselves safe. I’m really proud of the creative solution the caterer, B&W catering of Vermont, have come up with as a tentative solution. I think precautions like [B&W’s] are going to be what it takes for the [future]. Facemasks for our vendors, handwashing, and social distancing should all be set in place.
I certainly agree
I agree, Kay. Safety is a priority during these times. After everything this pandemic has presented us thus far, especially with the influx of new information, I think safety and sanitation will always be a top priority moving forward.
Thanks for reading, and special thanks to these lovely ladies for their responses! Be sure to stay tuned for the next upcoming interviews.
EVENT PLANNER SOCIAL MEDIAS & WEBSITES
Kayce May at Kay Mae Design
Pam at Events by Pamela Joy
Tracy at Inked Events
Patricia at Perfectly Coordinated
IG: @PerfectlyCoord Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/perfectlycoord