Despite the devastating toll that COVID-19 has taken globally on the event industry, what is something positive that has happened to you, your business, or community because of it?

Despite the devastating toll that COVID-19 has taken globally on the event industry, what is something positive that has happened to you, your business, or community because of it?
Event professionals talk about their 'silver linings' in the midst of a global pandemic.

I think the best thing is how it forces us to take a breath (as a yoga teacher I love that) and remember the importance and impact that in-person, face-to-face human connection has in our lives.

I think the best thing is how it forces us to take a breath (as a yoga teacher I love that) and remember the importance and impact that in-person, face-to-face human connection has in our lives. Even though we as event planners know this because our business revolves around that very value proposition, it’s easily overlooked by so many others as just “the day to day” when in reality, events and human connection are how businesses are built and societies function at their optimal level.

Now that it’s taken away from all of us, I see the importance of how much it truly means to us individuals, businesses and society becoming, even more, self-evident, which will help the event industry rebound faster when the concern over gatherings is no longer a threat to the public health.

This is also a great opportunity for organizations to look at their whys and hows and see if their previous event plans and promotional tactics are still relevant in this new and changing world. Post 9-11 we learned to take off our shoes and not to bring water on planes. We are adaptable and there are new resources that will allow us to connect and participate in experiences using virtual technologies that are ever-evolving. Yes, we want an event, but we should never have one for the sake of having one. Maybe now we’ll look at what could be done virtually to convey the messaging so that when we DO have in-person events they are even more effective.

This is the time for us to try new approaches from yoga classes via live Zoom calls to Virtual Happy Hours on Hangouts to a digital fly in via Microsoft Teams. We have a safe space to test these new approaches now.

"I think the best thing is how it forces us to take a breath (as a yoga teacher I love that) and remember the importance and impact that in-person, face-to-face human connection has in our lives." Click to Tweet

Amaia Stecker

Managing Partner, Events and Fundraising

Pilar & Co.,

First, and the most amazing, is the collaboration between wedding vendors standing in solidarity with each other and with our couples.

The biggest impact I am seeing the Coronavirus have on the event industry is two-fold. First, and the most amazing, is the collaboration between wedding vendors standing in solidarity with each other and with our couples. This industry is made up of people who truly care and who want to take care of our couples who rely on us to make their wedding day amazing. This is when we as an industry can really shine. While we can’t predict the future, we can continue to support and encourage our couples through this unpredictable time. Planners, in particular, are the backbone of helping our couples through this. We are becoming counselors, encouragers, and as needed, transferring entire vendor teams over to a new date. We are running ragged ourselves but would do anything to assist our couples through this time.

The wedding industry is being hit hard right now, that is no lie. Our couples who are rescheduling are offering to pay the final balances in full at the original due date to keep that money coming in when it was expected. Most couples are very understanding of the financial impact this is having on sole proprietors, which most of the wedding industry is. We are thankful for couples that understand they are our only source of income, while we are not theirs. We are so thankful for their understanding of this and continuing to make payments to help keep the roofs over our heads.

The second is the amazing ingenuity we’re seeing from the vendor community. We are one of the best industries out there that roll with the punches. We are born to see, assess, refocus, and pivot. The amount of businesses (especially restaurants and caterers) that are killing it with their to-go orders, shifting gears to their service offerings, and supporting this community lifts my soul. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? We are definitely seeing this within our industry.

The venue I own doesn’t have our first wedding until May 1st. Because we don’t have any events now through April 30th, we are able to open our doors to couples being affected by Coronavirus within the CDC guidelines of 10 people or less, 6’ apart, etc for couples to maintain their original wedding date and party later at their rescheduled to date.

We are loving seeing the innovation of our peers!

"First, and the most amazing, is the collaboration between wedding vendors standing in solidarity with each other and with our couples. " @NewCreationsWed Click to Tweet

Rebecca Grant

Owner/Lead Planner

New Creations Weddings, Kirkland, WA

For myself, because I am no longer commuting 40 minutes each way, I am now getting over an hour back in my day to prioritize my physical health and practice self-care.

I am glad to say we had a very smooth transition from in-office to working from home. We travel so much as part of executing our events that we’ve been cloud-based for a while and everyone is good with working from laptops in different locations. We also decided to move to homes quickly for the best of each person’s health and overall morale. Flexibility is so important to keep positive attitudes when running a company I believe.

We are even doing virtual happy hours on Fridays now. At the moment it’s only internally but we would love to have more partners join in.

Action-wise, we are using this time to rethink our processes, clean up our database of information and resources, and really trying to connect with our vendor partners or make new ones, who offer education via webinars or online services.

We have worked for the last 6 months to implant our CRM and now this the perfect time to train our team on this new tool.

For myself, because I am no longer commuting 40 minutes each way, I am now getting over an hour back in my day to prioritize my physical health and practice self-care.

"For myself, because I am no longer commuting 40 minutes each way, I am now getting over an hour back in my day to prioritize my physical health and practice self-care." Click to Tweet

Valerie Bihet

Director

VIBE, Miami, FL

It's time to take apart our businesses, thread by thread, uncovering every single facet we have been too busy to look at and see how we can improve, modify, add, delete, tweak, beautify, and maybe look at a bigger picture.

There is virtually no time in the normal “pre-Corona” week to really look at all aspects of our business from written material to sourcing, vendors, platforms we use, websites, lead generators, and myriads more because we are too busy responding to leads, keeping in touch with our current clients, and prospecting. We do it again, day in and day out….

Now, what do we do? There are no leads, no clients to talk to, and no events to plan.

It’s time to take apart our businesses, thread by thread, uncovering every single facet we have been too busy to look at and see how we can improve, modify, add, delete, tweak, beautify, and maybe look at a bigger picture. Are there other multiple streams of income we can add to our business, something we can offer our current clients or do we dare add another business….

I don’t have the answers for me personally because I am just beginning this journey for me and my business but I do hope we continue to realize there are always opportunities and sometimes great things come from being “uncomfortable”.

"Its time to take apart our businesses, thread by thread, uncovering every single facet we have been too busy to look at and see how we can improve, modify, add, delete, tweak, beautify, and maybe look at a bigger picture." Click to Tweet

Lori Rizzo

CEO/Creative Founder

Lori Rizzo Events,

During this time of uncertainty and devastation with COVID-19, we are experiencing and seeing positivity and inspiration all around!

During this time of uncertainty and devastation with COVID-19, we are experiencing and seeing positivity and inspiration all around!

• Random Acts of bright florals now unexpectedly show up at places in the community; florals previously purchased for canceled events are now festively displayed in bus stops, on stop signs, and on shuttered library doors, simply to brighten spirits.

• “Lending Library’s” contained in whimsical houses in local communities are now turning into “Food Pantries” to offer aid and kindness.

• Leadership offers inspiration while calming nerves and fears as demonstrated by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear who addressed children across the state, prior to his scheduled nightly news briefings, who are worried about things they see and hear on the news. His words are powerful in that he uses “Healthy at Home” vs. shelter in place.

• The ninth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, asked Catholic parishes in Cook and Lake counties to ring church bells five times a day, as a means of calling all to unite in prayer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prayer times begin at 9:00 AM, and continue every three (3) hours each day, with the last bells rung at 9:00 PM. Each of the five (5) prayer times will be dedicated to a specific group particularly affected by the pandemic.

Our team remains distanced socially, yet we remain enlightened by a quote from Saint Augustine in that, “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”

Stay home. Be well. Be safe. Be blessed. 🙏

"During this time of uncertainty and devastation with COVID-19, we are experiencing and seeing positivity and inspiration all around!" Click to Tweet

Jeff Hughes

Chief Experience Officer

the huestudio + company, Mt. Prospect, IL

I have done quite a bit of social media posts with hope in mind and received many wonderful comments in response.

Now that most of our upcoming events have been forced into canceling or postponing, and we have rearranged those puzzle pieces, I go between panic and passion. Not knowing how long this will last and when we can go on as originally planned is the wild card. I have done quite a bit of social media posts with hope in mind and received many wonderful comments in response. In addition, I am doing a lot of observing and reading about how people are accommodating and innovating to continue to celebrate, network, and party on despite our current situation.

Depending on how long this goes on, our industry will need to retool if we are to survive for the long haul. So my suggestion is to participate in the conversations happening online and plan for a new way to host events. In doing so you will open up new opportunities. Have Zoom meetings with others, brainstorm, and remain hopeful.

We are a resilient group of creative-minded people and the more we work together to focus on our future, the more opportunities will come our way.

#staysafestayhealthy #dontcancelyoureventpostpone

"I have done quite a bit of social media posts with hope in mind and received many wonderful comments in response." @hidartist Click to Tweet

Heidi Hiller

Owner | Creative Director

Innovative Party Planners, Baltimore, Maryland

I started virtual co-working hours weekly, which are free and open to anyone working remotely.

I have received several Venmo messages from other entrepreneurs and freelancers who have sent money to buy a cup of coffee, and also reviews and messages of support on my pages.

I also started virtual co-working hours weekly, which are free and open to anyone working remotely. Learn more here: https://bethlawrence.co/event-planner-blog/announcing-virtual-coworking

It’s funny—I’ve been waiting for a long time to have this much time with my husband. We typically have opposite schedules, so even a long weekend together feels like a vacation. We are on day 9 of our self-quarantine, and we have taken Diesel on so many walking/driving adventures, played board games, watched movies, FaceTimed with friends, cleaned the house, and he has cooked some amazing meals for us. Finding the silver lining and the gratitude amongst the chaos is helping my anxiety and lifts me up when I’m starting to spiral.

"I started virtual co-working hours weekly, which are free and open to anyone working remotely." Click to Tweet

Beth Lawrence

CEO

Beth Lawrence Meetings & Events, Philadelphia, PA

We have seen caterers post recipes for all of us at home cooking while quarantining and getting creative with what they have to offer with catered family meals.

Our community, the events industry, and the hospitality industry as a whole have really come together to support each other and our clients. We have seen vendors post on social media promoting each others’ businesses. We have seen caterers post recipes for all of us at home cooking while quarantining and getting creative with what they have to offer with catered family meals.

The way everyone has reached out to each other and put each others’ needs before their own to support each other has been amazing. This is not something we ever imagined going through, but we will come out of this as a stronger community.

"We have seen caterers post recipes for all of us at home cooking while quarantining and getting creative with what they have to offer with catered family meals." @ChrisWEvents Click to Tweet

Chris Weinberg

Founder/Lead Event Producer

Chris Weinberg Events,

I've had the opportunity to reassess my goals for the rest of the year.

With everything that has happened because of this pandemic, I’ve had the opportunity to reassess my goals for the rest of the year. I’ve also had the pleasure of updating those events that involved person to person into virtual events. This has been very exciting to do.

The main objective with this drastic change in the industry is to stay positive and think of new ways to grow your business while being socially distant.

"I've had the opportunity to reassess my goals for the rest of the year." @designplan4you Click to Tweet

LaKisha James

Owner

Designer Events by LaKisha, Conyers, GA

While many events are canceling all over the place, spring has sprung in our neck of the woods and my family has been taking advantage of the sunshine...

While many events are canceling all over the place, spring has sprung in our neck of the woods and my family has been taking advantage of the sunshine, warmer weather, school spring break, and forced isolation to work in our garden and get it ready for spring. It feels good to be out in the fresh air and working with the earth. The sun is a natural disinfectant – if not for the body, at least for the mind. Cleans away the grieving for the lack of closure on projects, the reduced funds, the uncertain future, and replaces it all with brightness, new growth, colour, and hope for the season ahead.

"While many events are canceling all over the place, spring has sprung in our neck of the woods and my family has been taking advantage of the sunshine..." @hssharpe Click to Tweet

Heather Sharpe

Event Producer

Sherpa Group Events Inc., Vancouver, B.C.

Where I have found comfort and positivity is with my peers in the industry and taking the time to get to know new vendors.

There is no denying that watching event after event that we’ve poured our hearts and souls into get canceled and postponed is devastating. Where I have found comfort and positivity is with my peers in the industry and taking the time to get to know new vendors. As a small business, its comforting hearing the struggles we are having are not unique to us, and now that we have the downtime to connect and get to know new vendors during this difficult time, we are forming new partnerships to thrive with once this has all settled down.

"Where I have found comfort and positivity is with my peers in the industry and taking the time to get to know new vendors." Click to Tweet

Kelly Soule

Founder/Principal Planner

Kelly Elizabeth Events, Boston, MA

Yes, it is wonderful we have banded together and chat every day bouncing off ideas and best practices...

Yes, it is wonderful we have banded together and chat every day bouncing off ideas and best practices, discussing suppliers who have decided to temporarily diversify their services, “what would you do” questions, postponed or canceled situations, sharing links on where to find government aid/help, discussing loan extension payment … basically all of it – nothing is off the table.

Here in Montreal, the industry is small and we got hit at all, and I mean all, levels. Not only do we have contracts in limbo, but, most of our vendors/suppliers have lost their jobs. It’s a nightmare, however, we are staying positive (trying) … we know we are in it together and we are hoping it will not last too long…. “this too shall pass”.

I personally have more of a let’s wait and see situation; weddings on hold and a few milestone birthday parties mostly in June and August. The prep work for these is 90% done, just need to execute them.  As for my corporate clients, their programs are mostly to be executed in September/October/November – most of them locally-held events, educational workshops, sales meetings, Board of Directors retreats, and client/employee appreciation galas ….Fingers crossed….

"Yes, it is wonderful we banded together and chat every day bouncing off ideas and best practices" @MontrealPlanner Click to Tweet

Daniela Caputo

Owner/President

Montreal Event Planner - Daniela Caputo Event Management,

Amidst the worries of Covid19 pandemic, we did what we could to implement safety protocols and offer elevated glove service from set up to the after-party to elevator service.

I had an event on March 14, 2020, at the Tideline Ocean Resort and Spa in Palm Beach, Florida. It was an endeavor preparing for and executing flawlessly considering the rapid safety protocols that had to be addressed and the number of employment layoffs that are happening in the hotel industry.

We were faced with a lower than expected service staff, kitchen staff, and catering sales staff the day of our event. We were not advised a day before that we would have such a limited-service staff assisting during a very important 25th Silver Anniversary party where clients were traveling from Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Tampa, Sarasota, and locally, Palm Beach. We had to confirm with the clients that all out of town guests were “not sick or getting over the flu and had not just returned from an out of the country trip.”

I had travel size Clorox wipes, hand sanitizing gels, latex-free gloves, and face masks. I had to implement specific safety protocols for my entire team and clients and guests the moment they entered event spaces.  Due to the shortage of supplies, I asked if they had their own personal hand gel and any Clorox wipes, to please bring these to the event. Gloves were worn for setting up all tables, silverware, glassware and any items that had to be added to guest tables (hotel staff). The Signature Event Team had to wear gloves, use Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer gel during set up. Gloves were worn when serving cocktails for guests during cocktail hour. The Signature Event Team wore gloves as they greeted guests at the entrance of the hotel, and as they greeted guests at the entrance of Ocean Terrace for cocktail hour. At the guest table, I had one staff member wiping pens down, and keeping all areas that guests were using to sign the guest book, and add gift cards, sanitized. Staff would offer hand sanitizing gel after each guest signed the guest book. Guests were encouraged to greet using elbow bumps, shimmy’s, and hip bumps.

As there was a Buffet table set up in the event room adjacent to the reception room, we had a Signature Events team member standing on each side of the entrance. Our team offered each guest a bit of antibacterial hand gel as they entered the room before they approached the buffet table. Some guests asked: “we already got a handi-wipe?” Our staff reassured them by saying: “We are giving you extra special safety, as we want you to truly enjoy your dinner.”

During dinner, I made sure that there was glove service from serving drinks, to replacing dirty napkins, to bringing desserts to the table for the guests. We made sure that we followed safety protocols as best possible during set up, cocktails, reception, and dance party. I could not control people on the dance floor when they hugged and shook hands. But, I did offer every type of sanitary product I could.

Amidst the worries of the Covid19 pandemic, we did what we could to implement safety protocols and offer elevated glove service from set up to the after-party to elevator service. Our team had a wonderful time, as they enjoyed seeing the happiness, and joy that each guest experienced during the 25th Terrell Anniversary Celebration at Tideline Ocean Resort and Spa.

"Amidst the worries of Covid19 pandemic, we did what we could to implement safety protocols and offer elevated glove service from set up to the after-party to elevator service." Click to Tweet

Abigail Vasquez Bruton

Director of Creative Experiences

Signature Events by Abby, Palm Beach, FL

The overwhelming presence of community during this time has been so refreshing.

Although we have been thrown so many uncertainties and so many new rules (which are in place for the safety of each of our couples, their family and friends – and us and ours too!) we have equally been shown immense gratitude and understanding from our couples and vendors. The overwhelming presence of community during this time has been so refreshing.

We are watching the event industry rise together to support one another emotionally and with ideas to lift each other up and out of this hole. I will not be surprised to see each and every one of us come out from the situation so much stronger.

"The overwhelming presence of community during this time has been so refreshing." @storybookchi Click to Tweet

Nicole Hensley

Founder and Owner

Storybook Weddings and Events, Chicago, IL

We are preparing ourselves with a plan B of goals depending on the aftermath of COVID19.

During COVID19, I have the time for website updating, working on other content writing, reaching out to current couples/event hosts, and checking up on past clients who are in the medical field. Sending them some extra prayers and well wishes during this storm can let them know they are saving lives!

I have taken some time to reach out to vendors during this time to do damage control on current events that are postponed or canceled. I’m also continuing on educating myself and elevating Chandai Events. We are preparing ourselves with a plan B of goals depending on the aftermath of COVID19.

"We are preparing ourselves with a plan B of goals depending on the aftermath of COVID19." @chandaievents Click to Tweet

Chandai Raghunauth

Owner and Planner

Chandai Events, New York City, NY

It's comforting to know that even when the worst really does happen, you have the strength to make it through - and to pull your clients out with you.

I am deeply sad for my wedding couples and industry partners who are enduring the effects of this crisis. The one silver lining for me has been learning that I really can handle anything for my beloved clients. When you’re a wedding planner, you spend a lot of time trying to mitigate risk. What’s the worst-case scenario? How can I avoid it? It’s comforting to know that even when the worst really does happen, you have the strength to make it through – and to pull your clients out with you.

"It's comforting to know that even when the worst really does happen, you have the strength to make it through - and to pull your clients out with you." @MeggieFrancisco Click to Tweet

Meggie Francisco

Wedding Planner and Designer

Meggie Francisco Events, Columbus, OH

We have taken this crazy time to focus more on our social media presence, to interact more with our followers and clients...

We have taken this crazy time to focus more on our social media presence, to interact more with our followers and clients through email, live chat, and Q and A style communication. This has helped us to build a stronger bond with our community, and plan our future content and events based on their desires and needs.

"We have taken this crazy time to focus more on our social media presence, to interact more with our followers and clients..." Click to Tweet

Sam H.

Lead Planner/ Owner

Full of Life Events, Victoria, British Columbia

This photo reminds me of all that is beauty, love, happiness and reassures me that we will see these beautiful images again.

In the midst of this global pandemic during which time we are all trying to stay positive and look ahead to better times, I am reminded of a, not too distant, time when our bride wore red in this most fantastic Borgo. Italy, my country, the most beautiful country in the world and definitely the most sought after destination for any wedding, has been hit the hardest by this pandemic. It breaks my heart to see the number of losses that, despite all the measures in place, are continuing to rise.

This photo reminds me of all that is beauty, love, happiness and reassures me that we will see these beautiful images again.

Photo credit: Studio fotografico Righi.

"This photo reminds me of all that is beauty, love, happiness and reassures me that we will see these beautiful images again." @cristinaverger Click to Tweet

Cristina Verger

Founder and Principal

Cristina Verger Event Planning & Production, New York City, NY

It has been rewarding for me to be getting calls for advice.

It has been rewarding for me to be getting calls for advice. Current clients – with weddings sometime later this year or into next year – as well as former clients, are contacting me for advice on contingency planning, either for their own wedding or for someone they know.

Sometimes we forget that we as planners have been, or are going to be, a pivotal part of people’s lives in working with them to create and execute the day of their dreams, which is sometimes a lifelong dream. We are embedded in their lives in ways that we sometimes don’t appreciate or are unaware.

So it has been so validating to get these calls, to be a sought-after expert, in this time of great uncertainty.

"It has been rewarding for me to be getting calls for advice." Click to Tweet

Rene Kraus

Owner/Chief Event Officer

Fete Perfection, Minneapolis, MN

The hand-holding, love, affection, and compassion that people are giving their clients right now is so remarkable!

The events industry is made of superheroes. I have seen people move mountains in the last couple of weeks. The hand-holding, love, affection, and compassion that people are giving their clients right now is so remarkable!

In light of everything that event professionals are managing: homeschooling kids, trying to keep businesses afloat, postponed & canceled events, and loss of income, event professionals are showing their best selves. It is truly inspiring.

"The hand-holding, love, affection, and compassion that people are giving their clients right now is so remarkable!" @sageweddingpros Click to Tweet

Michelle Loretta

Owner & Chief Strategist

Sage Wedding Pros, Miami, FL

We are more united than ever!

This photo is from an event partner, Patrick Properties Hospitality Group – Charleston, SC.

"We are more united than ever!" Click to Tweet

Francesca DiSalvo Follmer

Owner

Pure Luxe Bride, Charleston, SC