If there’s anyone who can understand what 2020 brides and grooms are going through during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s the wedding vendors who are right there with them. Not only are these professionals scrambling to reschedule one big event but, likely, more than you want to know.
As engaged couples navigate these unprecedented times, many are being kept sane thanks to their incredible vendors who are working tirelessly to support them as their own lives and financial security are completely uprooted. Whether your vendor has been your saving grace, doing everything in their power to accommodate the challenges you're facing, or you're just a human who recognizes all they are doing to help couples who are currently coming, a simple “thank you” might not seem like enough.
For this reason, we asked wedding professionals the best way appreciative clients can show their gratitude during this stressful time. Their answer? All agreed that no matter how you go about expressing your thanks, it will be especially uplifting right now.
So, if you want to think outside of the box, here are their (13!!) suggestions for powerful ways to show your gratitude right now.
Leave Positive Reviews
Don’t wait until your wedding day to leave glowing reviews online. “You can always go back after the wedding and edit your review to reflect your experience on the wedding day,” says Amy Henning, marketing manager for The Wedding Exchange. "Just sharing how wonderful they’ve been to work with so far not only shows how much you appreciate their effort but it will also help them secure future clients while their business is likely taking a hit at the moment."
Give Some Social Media Shout Outs
While you’re social-distancing, consider giving your vendors some extra social media encouragement. “Most wedding vendors get their business either from social media or referrals. If you love working with them, make sure to spread the news,” says Abby Lee of Sugar Plum & Co. “If your planner sends you a beautiful mood board, post it on your IG stories tagging them. Obsessed with your engagement photos? Post them! Every shout out helps.”
In addition to the extra posts, boost engagement with some extra likes. “Engaging with positive reactions, comments, and shares help them keep their name out there and shows new potential clients that they are well-loved and respected,” says Christie Altendorf, senior event planner and marketing manager at D’Amico Catering. "Bonus points for tagging your newly engaged friends.”
Stick to Your Original Payment Schedule
If your vendor has worked to accommodate a new wedding date, consider thanking them by keeping your old payment plan to help them keep money coming in during this difficult time. “Most wedding vendors are small businesses who are relying on the deposits and income to sustain themselves and their families,” says Feyisola Ogunfemi of Statuesque Events. “Continuing payments on the original payment schedule instead of halting payments until the new date helps these businesses to make payroll or the cash flow needed for that month.”
Even if you can’t give the full balance at the original time, paying a portion of the bill now is a powerful gesture of gratitude. “This shows them that you understand the financial burden this whole ordeal has put them in,” says Jenna Culley of Jenna Culley Events. “If you know you are going to use them for your rescheduled date anyway, this is a great way to spread out your payments and help your favorite vendors out at the same time.”
Consider Accelerating the Payment Plan
Even if you didn’t contractually have a payment due any time soon, paying part of your balance now is an incredibly thoughtful act. “Cash flow is the main problem for small businesses right now and business loans and grants are slow to process,” says Amy Shack Egan of Modern Rebel. “Sending part of your balance through now would be a huge help and help to ensure the business is viable in the future.”
As many couples scramble to move wedding dates, they may lose a few of their original vendors along the way. Whether you’re sharing your vendor with engagement friends or suggesting them to stressed-out brides in Facebook groups, now’s the time to sing their praises. “You can’t beat word of mouth,” says Catherine Bachelier of CB StyleMaker. “Tell anyone you know about the vendor who helped ‘save the day’ for you."
Put It in Writing
Although emails and calls are also appreciated right now, never underestimate the value of a thank you note. “Something as simple as an e-card just thanking the vendor and reminding them that you value their work and are excited about finally working with them on the big day goes a long way,” says Ogunfemi. “I recently received an email from one of my 2021 brides simply encouraging me and thanking me for what I'm doing for our 2020 brides (who she's never met) and it truly warmed my heart.”
But if you can go the extra mile with an old-fashioned thank you note, put that pen to paper. “Handwritten cards never go out of style and you’re sure to brighten your vendor’s day with one,” says Altendorf. “Just do us all a favor and don’t lick the envelope!”
Give a Local Gift
Sending a treat from a local restaurant, distillery, vineyard, bakery, or gift shop not only is a treat for your vendor but also for the local business who can use the support. “Consider purchasing a local restaurant gift card or a DIY cocktail kit from a local distillery,” says Altendorf. “Not only does your thoughtfulness honor their work, but it also helps to sustain their community during this time.”
And while shopping online, make sure to look into which local shops are now offering delivery. “We’ve been able to send other fun gifts including cozy blankets, handmade soaps and bath products, and even puzzles,” says Katherine Stinnett, sales and marketing manager at RT Lodge. “For our vendors who don’t live locally, we are working with these same local shops to ship gifts to their doorstep as well.”
Send Fresh Flowers
Reach out to your florist about having him or her make arrangements that can be dropped off without contact to various vendors. “Blooms inspire hope, now more than ever, and this gesture is sure to put a smile on countless faces,” says Altendorf. Plus, it will help support your florist as well—especially if they have an influx of blooms from canceled events. In addition to your florist, you can also reach out to local flower farms. “They have an abundance of fresh blooms they’d grown in preparation for spring events that are going unused,” says Stinnett.
Surprise Them With a Gift Card
The amount you can put on the gift card doesn’t matter—it’s the kindness that will leave an impact. “It’s a small gesture that spreads joy even in the darkest of times,” says Mary Angelini of Key Moment Films. “The best part is that they won’t be expecting it—making an even bigger impact of gratitude.” You can also take it one step further to thank those vendors working tirelessly for you by buying a gift card from their company for future use. “Not only will it help the vendor financially, but it also shows that you will continue to support that business in the future once the outbreak dissipates,” says Karen Norian of Simply Eloped. Whether you plan to use it for an upcoming birthday, parties, or as a gift over the holidays, this show of appreciation won’t go unnoticed.
Keep in Contact
Many vendors are being slammed with appreciation—in the same emails that contain major fires to deal with. But sending an encouraging text or email, just because, is incredibly thoughtful. “Vendors are human too — and we are feeling sad, stressed and anxious just like everyone else. Of course we'd never let our clients see this, but this season is really hard on us,” says Lee. “Sending a sweet note that you recognize all their hard work during this time will brighten up their day and refuel them.”
Consider an Early Tip
Many couples thank their hardworking vendors with a tip after the wedding, but given the unprecedented circumstances, if a tip before the big day is in your budget, send the gratuity early. “Many couples have already set aside gratuities or purchased gifts for their vendors. I had one couple go ahead and send me the gift they intended on giving me this month after their original wedding date because they felt like we could all use a pick me up,” says Amber Anderson of Refine for Wedding Planners. ”They wrote the most thoughtful note, simply acknowledging all I have done to help them and it really lifted my spirits.”
Make a Donation
Although your vendors have been champions working tirelessly to make transitioning plans as seamless as possible, the true heroes in this situation are the front line workers who are tending to the ill and keeping our communities safe and functioning, reminds Altendorf. “Pay the kindness forward and make a donation to a local hospital, food bank or shelter in their name — and don’t forget to tell them that you did so!” she says.
Give Them Extra Time
If there was ever a time when patience and extra flexibility was appreciated, now’s it. Especially knowing that your vendors aren’t just working to help you but likely all of their spring clients. “They’re doing all this while at home juggling schooling kids, dealing with a spouse working from home and maintaining a household,” says Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss.” “Give them a little leeway to take longer than normal to respond, and know that they want your wedding to happen and be as special as you do.”
And, finally, the obvious: Say "thank you" as many times as you can. As the Atlanta-based wedding pros in the above photo prove, we are all in this together. Thank you!