Recent unfortunate events such as fires at Lulu Country Club and Moorestown Community Center have prompted us to wonder, what steps can engaged couples take to avert financial loss and precious planning time in the event of a venue cancellation. Thankfully, historic Moorestown Community House has reopened to its full glory and prepared for its upcoming weddings and events. But occasionally, unplanned tragedies like this cause unplanned consequences like having to start all over.
Considering all of the planning, time and energy it takes to coordinate your Philadelphia wedding, imagine having to create a last-minute plan B if the venue cancels due to bankruptcy, fire or damaging weather. Here are some tips to be proactive and avoid being a victim of such a stressful scenario:
Purchase Wedding Insurance. Most likely, wedding insurance is not on your fun “to-do” list like a hair and makeup trial, cake tasting or band showcase. However, it should be--the cost of the average wedding is more than a car purchase, approximately $25,000-$30,000. Naturally, you would invest in car insurance to protect the vehicle. So why not your wedding in Philadelphia? It’s not the most romantic discussion; however, it will certain avoid any heated argument in the event of a mishap. And since most weddings are planned a year or more in advance, insurance shows good judgment in case a business fails or changes management.
Wedding insurance will provide peace of mind and protect you financially not only if your wedding venue files Chapter 11, but if the wedding is cancelled due to adverse weather, military deployment, a family health emergency, and more. Life happens, plan and simple.
Hire a Planner. Wedding planners pay for themselves with their large network of wedding industry contacts in Philadelphia. They can recommend the ideal venue within your budget as well as event professionals that reflect your needs. If a glitch happens, they can fix it in a jiffy. Wedding planners work for you to suit your needs whereas venue coordinators work on behalf of the facility and/or catering company. If a venue cancels, they know of 10 more that are similar and may even be able to negotiate rates in your favor.
Read Contracts. This is another area where wedding planners are indispensible. The fine print details what venues and vendors’ policies are for cancellations, if there is a deadline for full refunds, etc. They also can vary from company to company. Contracts can be complicated so it is important to have an experienced individual on your side to review the specifics.
Due Diligence. Research the venue with reviews and check the better business bureau, if you are unsure. Ask questions. Due diligence can prevent a situation like this before it starts. Visit with the venue manager on-site and tour the facility. If you have booked a vendor such as a photographer, ask them their thoughts on the venue.
Be Wary of Red flags. What is their availability like? Is it wide open or well booked? Keep in mind new venues often will have more availability as they enter the market so that is common. However, well established, reputable venues should be in high demand during high season (May through November).
How is pricing? Is it comparable to similar venues in the area or significantly less? Often if a venue has low rates that seem too good to be true, there are reasons why.
Plan B. In the event your venue files bankruptcy or suddenly shuts its doors, your first step is to contact all of your vendors via email to inform them of the situation. They may even have suggestions on a venue that will take its place. Most event professionals belong to an industry organization and their network of contacts is vast. Tap into their knowledge for a Plan B.