While 2020 hasn’t turned out like we planned so far, we are weathering this storm together.
I’ve been thinking of my clients and want to make sure they’re in the know regarding the State of Vermont’s current policies for handling the pandemic as it may pertain to wedding plans.
Specifically, there are lodging guidelines in VT that state there can be no reservations for hotel, motel, bed & breakfast stays until “on or after June 15th”.
So June 15th is the earliest date they will allow guests to make a reservation for an upcoming hotel stay.
It’s not entirely clear to me how this impacts any existing reservations that you or your guests may have, though all hotels will remain closed as long as the stay-at-home order is in place which at this point that date is May 15th. The guidelines also state that they may “amend or extend” the June 15 booking date.
This is new territory for all of us and I know everything is so uncertain in terms of “what this summer might look like”, but it’s important to take note of the current policies as you continue to consider your options.
Note: At the bottom of this post you’ll find the wording for the guideline on lodging from the state’s most recent update (as found here https://accd.vermont.gov/content/stay-home-stay-safe-sector-specific-guidance).
In Real Life
I’ve been in touch with some of my early summer couples and received this reply from a bride:
“Hi Alison, It’s emails like yours that keep us going during all of this wedding (and life) uncertainty! We have every hope to continue with our original date but our planner has encouraged us to try and secure a ‘plan b’ date with our vendors…. I am crossing all of my fingers and toes that you have this date open. I know you have to fill your calendar but we’re wondering if you could put a hold on that date or let us know if another bride inquires about this date. Thank you again. I hope you’re staying safe and sane!”
I appreciate how hard this decision process is. I know it cannot be easy. But here are some thoughts I shared with her…
I’ll tell you that I honestly think it’s wise to postpone sooner rather than later for the main reason that we should expect that large gatherings will still be “less than ideal” in the upcoming months.
For example, it occurred to me while reading an article the other day that photographers may choose (or be required) to wear masks while working over the upcoming months. This struck me because I cannot imagine looking at a masked photographer on our wedding day. Our photographer was smiling at us all day to get us to smile back; a masked photographer changes the mood.
I’ve even heard wedding planners talk about hand washing stations for guests at tented weddings and the challenges of “social distancing on the dance floor”.
Please know that I am NOT trying to be a downer. Promise. I’ve been doing wedding flowers for 18 years and I cannot wait to get back to work!
However, The World Health Organization released their recommendations for how/when to reopen and at the top of the must-haves:
#1. Transmission is controlled and #2. That health system capabilities are in place to “detect, test, isolate and treat every case and track every contact.”
We are very far from having proper testing and treatments available in the U.S. so that strikes me as an impediment to planning large gatherings with any certainty. Our reported cases in Vermont indicate that we can begin to reopen slowly, however, the fact that our COVID-19 cases are low means that we need to keep or cases low or else we risk closing some things down again.
If you do plan to move forward with a 2020 wedding, make sure you embrace the idea of a small, intimate ceremony (likely less than 50 people including waitstaff and other vendors).
After I shared this input with my bride, she replied:
“I appreciate your honesty! I feel like many vendors keep trying to tell me to be optimistic about July, when I just don’t see how the world will be THAT different by then.
I’ve had a few friends telling me we could “pull it off” if I wanted to. I know I have many awesome vendors, friends and family that would make it work. But that’s just not the wedding I envisioned.
Like you said, I can’t imagine if my photographer (or guests!!) had to wear masks or sit 6 feet apart during our ceremony. Our gut feelings are to postpone. And your email helped make me feel valid in that decision. I can’t thank you enough!
We plan on talking with both of our families this week/weekend to make a final decision. I’ll be in touch soon!”
Floral Artistry’s Policies Moving Forward
I know this is a very difficult and disappointing decision for couples, their families and vendors to make. This isn’t easy for any of us.
I’ll be honoring existing quotes for clients who need to reschedule due to concerns or mandates around COVID-19. My intention is to do whatever it takes to accommodate the requested date changes and existing clients will get first dibs on available 2021 dates.
Though things are uncertain right now, I know we will be celebrating again. The most important thing is that you and your partner are celebrating the commitment you’re making to each other. Whether you do this with a small ceremony this year and a big party next year, the result will be the same; you will be married after all.
My calendar is booking up for 2021, but I do still have dates available, so please don’t hesitate to be in touch to reserve your date or book an initial consultation call.
Updated: This article is thoughtful and informative regarding the risks of COVID-19 and how to avoid them: https://erinbromage.wixsite.com/covid19/post/the-risks-know-them-avoid-them
As Noted Above, Here Are The Guidelines for Lodging, Accommodations and Resorts:
Guidance for the Lodging and Accommodations sector in Addendum 7 of the Governor’s Executive order clarifies that lodging facilities – which includes hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, short term rentals (e.g. VRBO, Homeaway, Airbnb, etc.), and all public and private camping facilities and RV parks – are to be closed except for stated exemptions when supporting the state’s COVID-19 response. Lodging may be provided for the following purposes: housing for vulnerable populations (emergency shelter for homeless individuals) as arranged through the state; providing accommodations for health care workers, or other workers deemed necessary to support public health, public safety or critical infrastructure; use of lodging properties being used as quarantine facilities as arranged by the state; and limited verifiable extenuating circumstances for the care and safety of Vermonters. These lodging restrictions will remain in place for the duration of the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order, which has been extended to May 15, 2020 per Addendum 9.
The Attorney General’s directive to lodging operations outlines the limited in-person operations that may occur.
As per Addendum 9, online reservations that were suspended may now resume for stays and events occurring on or after June 15, 2020. This date may be amended or extended. The directive in Addendum 7 that lodging providers must post a prominent notice on their web platforms which advises potential guests that reservations for lodging in Vermont that is deemed essential by the Executive Order will only be accepted by phone to screen for validity remains in effect.