Covid 19. Postpone. Cancel. Boarders Closed. Flights Grounded.
These are words that for the past 15 months have haunted our team. In March 2020 when the world started closing boarders and going into lock downs, we never could of dreamed we would still be “closed” over a year later.
These are numbers that will stick with me for my entire work life. And yes I am aware that this is nothing compared to what is happening with the virus and the world. This is just one perspective of our work year.
56 – 56 Weddings we were meant to carry out in 2020.
4 – The number of weddings we actually got to do before flights stopped coming to Bali and our Airport closed.
14-03-2020 the last wedding we did in 2020. What a day. I still smile when I remember Shelby and Shane.
But what does that mean for everyone? What happened to all the other Weddings? Can you get Married now? Are Weddings happening in Bali this year? Read on…
For our 2020 couples. Some made the heartbreaking decision to cancel their special day but most asked to postpone and wait it out. In 2020 our team spent countless hours weekly consoling stressed out Brides, negotiating with venues and suppliers to postpone wedding dates, going back and forwards until a date worked for everyone and making all arrangements to accommodate these postponements. Most of these were pushed to later in 2020, when again we had to repeat this process to move the wedding dates again to 2021. We can not thank our Industry Partners enough for just how patient and empathetic they gave been.
However a year on and the boarders to Indonesia still remain closed. And again the cancellations are rolling in. For most couples, they have been “lucky” I say this loosely as no one wants to make that sort of decision. But thankfully they took our advice and had wedding insurance that we helped them claim so they were not out of pocket.
For the remaining, again we have postponed their weddings until 2022, Contacted all vendors, Updated invoices, Made sure all dates matched, confirmed new dates. Its been a mission. But it needs to be done.
For our other couples who cancelled with no insurance – We have endured threats, lawyers letters, small claims court appearances, name calling, threats of bad reviews and more. Please be aware, as Your Wedding Planners. It is our role to PLAN YOUR WEDDING. We are not a venue, we are not Photography, We don’t do catering, We don’t sing or DJ. So when you have paid for your wedding partly or in full and decide to cancel please remember we also do not hold your money for all of the above. We have paid it out to everyone involved in your wedding. We take our deposit at the start and our full fee when the final invoice is due which is normally less then 10% of the total cost of your wedding. The rest of any money paid, as per your invoice is sent to your suppliers you have chosen. It is in our contracts clearly that all deposits are Non refundable and to take out wedding insurance to protect your day. This is not just our decision. Every Venue and Supplier has the same terms.
The reason I point this out is many clients feel they are entitled to full or partial refunds. Not just from us but from suppliers as the wedding hasnt gone ahead and as such “no work has been done”. This is frustrating on all fronts. As a past Bride and a human being. I get it. I really do. You spent all this money for a day that hasnt happened and no one showed up so you should get a refund or something back right? WRONG.
If you have found us, our website and our Company. YAY!!! But without a Website or an email address or phone you can not find us. Or contact us. When you pay a business or any service the pricing is not just “by the hour” or a set fee for a day. Businesses incorporate all fees into thier pricing to cover thier day to day overheads of running a business.
For us personally we have to pay in order for clients to find us and for us to operate efficiently –
- Web Design and Yearly Hosting
- Domain hosting and registration
- Phone and Internet for all staff to be contactable
- Book keeping software and book keeping staff
- Google Drive to host all documents and Photos needed
- Staff wages and insurances
- Rent and office insurance
- Laptops for staff with Microsoft / virus protection subscriptions
- Visas and Company document renewal Yearly along with Work permits for any foreigners
Not to mention past training in order to be able to be an Expert in Planning Events. I personally hold – An advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management, Advanced Diploma in Business Management and a Diploma in Project Management. And my whole team have been through – English lessons, Upskilling in various areas, Sales training, Customer Service Training and spend at least a year in training with me before they can run their own events.
All of these expenses are taken into account when we set our fees. You are not paying a fee for us to show up on the day, you are paying a fee for our knowledge, experience, expertise and all equipment we require for you to find us and to plan your wedding.
This applies to ALL vendors in the event industry.
Catering companies need to have large, clean Catering kitchens, All utensils for cooking, plates, cups, cutlery, huge industrial fridges and freezers, trained chefs and staff, insurances, trucks for transportation.
Photographers need to spend time and money studying, thier cameras and equipment cost thousands, photoshop subscriptions cost money too.
Hair and makeup Artists spend money studying, thousands of dollars on their kits of make up and hair products which need to be constantly restocked, taxes on importing quality brands into Indonesia.
Everyone involved in a Wedding or Event has similar overheads as well – Websites, Phones, Insurance, Laptops, Internet etc.
So when you ask for a refund as you feel “no work has been done and it hasn’t cost anything” Please rethink. You really do get what you pay for and I am sure the photographer that hasn’t been trained and uses his / her iPhone will happily refund you some money. But not the company or supplier who has spent thousands of dollars to offer you the high level of service you need.
In our case, we have panned 90% of the weddings and all that is required is us to show up on the day and make sure things run smoothly. So asking for a percentage of a 50% deposit back from us after we have bent over backwards to help you postpone once, twice sometimes three times and we haven’t even been paid in full? I understand, but it just is not viable for us nor do we have the money to do so after the past year of not working. Our team have managed to stay afloat the past 15 months and have been around when needed for all of our couples. While some companies disappeared or stopped replying to emails, our staff have still be available when needed and unfortunately that means our bills still need to be paid.
Vaccinations. Coming to Bali. Boarders Reopening. Elopement
My new Favorite words of 2021
The past 9 months we have had time to reflect, adapt and revisit the way we do things and get our love of Weddings back. This year we were so excited to plan 2 small weddings for expat families as well as 2 elopements for couples staying in Bali. These little events were just the reminder we needed of how much we love what we do and how lucky we are to be in Bali. We have around 10 weddings for later this year booked from couples in countries that seem to be reopening, so we can not wait to be making magic happen again.
Bali has been pretty lucky in the fact that vaccinations have rolled our here FAST. Thanks to the Bali Wedding Association all of our team have been fully vaccinated along with most of our trusted industry partners and we are itching to get back to planning events again!
At the moment Weddings ARE happening in Bali, but with some changes.
Venues are only allowed to be at maximum 50% capacity. Masks must be worn by all guests. Temperature checks and rapid tests are required for all suppliers at a wedding, Guests must wear masks unless eating or drinking. No Buffets are allowed. At the moment only people holding a KITAS or Business Visa are allowed to enter Indonesia, this has to be Via Jakarta and with a 5 day hotel quarantine.
Couples from Countries such as the US, Singapore and UK are already contacting us to get a head start on planning their wedding for late 2021 and for 2022. So this is the advice I have for them and anyone planning a wedding in Bali in the future.
WEDDING INSURANCE!!! I can not stress this enough and we have always insisted clients get this! Even if they don’t cover for Covid. What if you lose your rings? Cant travel as you are sick? A volcano erupts and you cant fly? You (hopefully not) Break up and want to cancel? Wedding insurance is a MUST and will cover you for all the unexpected things and should be the first thing you book after your venue.
Check All Terms For Postponements With Vendors. Travel is so unpredictable at the moment but that should not stop you starting to plan and book in your dream day. Just make sure it is in the terms of your vendors to allow for a postponement in the event you still can not travel by your chosen wedding date.
Book In Advance Your Main Suppliers. Due to the hundreds of postponed weddings from 2020 and 2021. 2022 Is set to be the busiest year EVER in the Wedding Industry. Not only do we have all the postponed weddings to carry out, but we also have all the new weddings coming who have been waiting for the boarders to re-open. The best suppliers will book out dates fast, so try and book in as soon as you have a date and a venue – Photography, Celebrant, Hair and Makeup and Entertainment.
Be understanding about deposits. All suppliers require a 50% non refundable deposit on booking in. As scary as this is in this unknown time to pay, most suppliers have been without an income for over a year. And the income they were supposed to receive for so many weddings was lost. Bali is not a First world country. There is no government support when you are out of work and have no income. These deposits are required to pay basic bills for businesses and keep their families eating.
Use a Trusted Wedding Planner. Don’t know who is trusted? Read reviews, join our Facebook page – Bali Brides Past and Future, ASK US. Even if you don’t use our company we are happy to recommend other companies we know and trust. Check Bali Wedding Association they can also tell you. A Wedding Planner can take on the heavy load of work and help you if for any reason you need to postpone or just want to know what’s happening in Bali. Feel free to reach out we are always happy to chat!
For more info feel free to contact us http://www.balibrides.com.au