SKYSIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY WEDDING OPTIONS FOR COVID-19 POSTPONEMENTS
Hello brides, grooms, parents and family...
I am so sorry that this pandemic is causing so many to have their dream weddings swept out from under your feet. Know that you are not alone in this. When your wedding day does come, it will be worth every second it took to wait for it. I didn't personally have this problem with my wedding, but it did take me four years to get pregnant. And many many moments over that time I wondered, will it ever happen? Will it feel like forever when the day finally comes? Is it worth this pain and agony? How will I wait another day, month, or year - for something I've been waiting for so long already? Somehow you do find the strength, and find patience needed. And it will be SO WORTH THE WAIT. Whether you have a smaller wedding this year, or postpone to a large wedding next year, it will be full of amazing moments no matter what. In fact, a small intimate wedding is just an amazing in every way as a larger wedding. Trust me - I've shot every size wedding from 0 guests except myself and officiant to over 400 people. EVERY WEDDING is special in its own unique ways. Recently, I shot the first wedding allowed of the season as our county was just moved into the yellow phase the day prior. The bride and groom were not 100% what they were going to do with their wedding, but they knew no matter what they would have their ceremony with a few people. When finding out a week prior that they were able to bump the guest list safely and legally to 25 people, they went for it. They rented a tent and decorated their backyard into a beautiful wedding wonderland. Family came together and made it happen, and they didn't regret it. They had their gorgeous day, amazing weather, beautiful photographs, and most importantly they said their vows. They did not fly away to an exotic honeymoon, but they will. They did not have a packed crowd on the dance floor, but they had their closest family and few friends by their side. And you know what, they made the best of their situation and were so happy. They didn't stop smiling from ear to ear all day. Friends drove by with signs saying "Love can't wait" and "We love you! Congratulations" while waving, blowing bubbles and beeping. People who were supposed to be wedding guests sent videos which were edited together by the bride's father and they watched as they rode in their limo alone from the church. They blew kisses from their driveway to friends driving by and their closest family had a lovely dinner under a gorgeously decorated tent. They spaced the tables, had only immediate families sit together, and some people opted for masks. It wasn't their original plan, but it was their day regardless. I tell this story, not to push you to downsize your wedding, but to show you that love conquers all. Even in the face of a difficult time in the world, a wedding was able to happen. You can choose to go this route, or postpone your day completely, or do a little combination of both of these things. Whatever your choice - we support you and will do our best to accommodate the new wedding plans you build.
Here are a few options that we are offering for changing your package.
1) POSTPONEMENT OF ENTIRE WEDDING PACKAGE
You can choose to postpone your entire wedding to a new date pending our availability. (If we are not available for your new date, a cancellation of contract by client will be the only option.) Per your contract, there is a fee to do this. That fee will be due in addition to signing a change of contract addendum for anyone who chooses a new Saturday in peak season 2021. If you choose an open Saturday in the remainder of 2020, off season (Jan - April), or a Friday/Sunday in 2021, we will discount that rate. If you choose a new wedding date, please inquire before booking the venue for the new date. Often the venue will give a few date options so that you can find the date that all of your vendors have in common for availability.
2) CANCELLATION OF WEDDING PACKAGE WITH CREDIT FOR PORTRAITS
If you choose to cancel your wedding completely, your contract does state that all retainers paid to date are nonrefundable. You do have the option to just execute a cancellation form and lose this deposit paid. However, I do have a better option. I've decided to offer something that I have never done before in the past with canceled wedding contracts. Due to the current pandemic we are facing, I've decided to turn deposits paid into a portrait credit good for twelve months, minus a fee (amount of fee will be half the postponement fee per your contract) which will come off the credit total. This portrait credit can be used for any portrait session for you OR a friend/family member (you can transfer it). For example, if you paid a total of $1500 in deposit to date, and your contract postponement fee is $700, you would have 50% of that fee ($350), taken off the credit total ($1500 - $350) for a total of $1150 in credit. This credit must be used within a year, and it must be used all in one session. If the session package is less than the credit amount, you can use the remainder to purchase prints.
3) SPLITTING OF WEDDING PACKAGE HOURS BETWEEN TWO DATES (EXAMPLE: 8 HR PACKAGE BECOMES 2 HRS THIS YEAR, 6 HRS NEXT YEAR)
If you choose to have a small ceremony with celebration this year, and just move the entire big reception next year, you may choose to use a few hours on your original date and the remainder for next year. If your package had 8 hours, you can use two hours on your original date for a small celebration and the remaining six hours next year on the new date, pending our availability. (If we are not available for your new date, a cancellation of contract by client will be the only option.) If you choose this option to split your package hours, you will just follow the postponement rules explained above in #1 for fee requirements (full fee due to move to peak season Saturday, or discounted fee if you move to off season, friday or sunday). For the record, I do urge you to seriously consider option #4 below before choosing this option unless your original package was more than 9 hours. I do not recommend splitting 7 hours into 2 + 5, for example. Because in my opinion if you still plan to have a ceremony for the wedding next year, you'll still need the bulk of the time you originally booked. To summarize, here are a few bullet points of going this route.
4) POSTPONEMENT OF WEDDING PACKAGE TO 2021 + ADD ON ELOPEMENT or "SMALL" PKG FOR 2020
If you choose to still have a small ceremony and celebration with just a few guests on your original wedding date this year, but also plan to have your full wedding as originally planned but move that to 2021, you may need to keep your wedding package hours you booked to cover the large wedding/reception next year - so adding on a small package for the upcoming 2020 wedding ceremony might be necessary. (IE: option #3 above may not work for you) So basically, all retainers paid to date will transfer forward to the new wedding date, a fee will be applied for the postponement (per your original contract agreement), your final payment which is not due until 7 days prior to the wedding will move to the new wedding, and any small package you add on will be due at the time of that session. To summarize, here are the bullet points of going this route.
5) DOWNSIZING WITHOUT DEFINITE PLANS FOR FUTURE WEDDING
For some couples, they have decided to simplify their guest list and even move to smaller venues or spaces like their backyard under a tent. This has taken some wedding lists from 150 to 30 people, and also simplified the entire day overall. Therefore, the original wedding package they booked of 8 hours was unnecessary. However, they still will be needing pre-ceremony "getting ready" shots of both bride and groom, ceremony, portraits with family, portraits of just bride/groom, and a few traditional reception events like a first dance, cake cutting and toasts. This can be a total of five or six hours of photography coverage. So if you find that your wedding package just needs downsized by 1-2 hours, we can make these changes. The only fee charged to downsize a package is $200 which come off the credit amount, not due in cash. You will still owe your full package amount (final payment on contract) however you will receive a credit via signed addendum which you can use within twelve months for any future photography sessions. For example... One couple decided to do this option to downsize, leaving some hours of unused photography coverage. They made their final payment as scheduled, and I gave them a signed credit form (like a gift certificate) for $900 which they plan to use for family portraits with a large extended group of family later this year and gift to their parents for Christmas. You could also use the credit for an anniversary session next year, boudoir session for wedding gift from bride to groom, an engagement session if you never did one and would like to squeeze it in now, or any other family portrait session.
6) CHANGING TO DESTINATION
If you are considering changing your wedding to a destination location in 2021, you can inquire with me about what the fees will be to travel and if we can adjust your package to reflect that. Some weddings may have booked nine hours for a wedding here in PA, but are now having a small wedding in a tropical location and will only need four hours of coverage. The difference of the five hours not used could possibly be converted to the travel fees depending on location. This is subject to availability, and ability to travel due to covid-19.
7) SOFT HOLD
If you are choosing to wait to make a definitive answer on moving your wedding, your venue may have offered you a soft hold date. The way a soft hold will work with me is that I will keep this date on my watch list. It is not a true date on hold as if you placed a deposit, however you have my word that I will keep a watch on this date for you! If someone calls to book this date (new wedding booking or other covid-19 reschedule that is willing to place a firm hold with deposit) you will be notified first. You will then have 24 hours to decide if you want to execute an addendum to officially change your photography package with us to this new date or not. A soft hold is not a definitive date on hold, but will be if a contract addendum is signed and postponement fee, if applicable, is made. I will do everything in my power to get the other client to choose a new date, however in the event that someone wants to place a deposit on this date definitively and you do not choose to execute an addendum to move to this date within 24 hours, you will lose your soft hold and availability for this date will become unavailable for you. You can opt to have an associate photographer however, who will photograph your wedding in my place if you ultimately do choose this date after I have become unavailable.
As far as availability, we are currently allowing the remainder of 2020 open dates, any 2021 off season date, or any Friday or Sunday through end of 2021 to be taken for covid-19 postponed weddings. Saturdays from May through October of 2021 are currently reserved for new bookings only, unless otherwise discussed and approved by Autumn.
Please note these regulations are in place for any wedding that takes place 8 weeks forward from the date of postponement inquiry. If you are choosing an elective postponement (not required by state/federal law) that is more than eight weeks ahead, all info above will still apply however we are not offering any discounts on postponement rates at this time.
There are certainly options to use your photography package in more ways than one. My goal is to work with you regardless of what pulls us away from the original plans. I would hate to see a client walk away and lose their deposits paid. So I will work with you in any way I can to give you services one way or another while out of necessity, still keeping the health of my business's financial state in mind. The havoc that Covid-19 has wreaked on the wedding industry has given me such great sadness. I have seen vendors of all types that rely on weddings for the majority of their business lose their income for the entire year, shut down completely, and suffer serious mental health issues. I assure you that we are doing everything in our power to continue strong through the entire pandemic bomb that has dropped on 2020. As a portrait and commercial photographer (in addition to weddings) plus help from the government's Payroll Protection Program, we will survive this. I assure you we will not be going anywhere and when your wedding does happen - whether it be 2020 or 2021, we'll be there. In the meantime, bear with us as we work through these unprecedented times and changes.