This week I had the heartbreaking job of sitting with a bride at the event hall where her wedding is to take place when she received the news that Israel is limiting gatherings of 100 people or more. Now it seems, the options for even a small event are dwindling further. The world is in panic mode: the coronavirus has taken us all by storm and almost every industry in every area worldwide is feeling the impact. For some of us it is worrying, for some scary. And for some, like my bride, it’s downright tragic.
The different reactions out there is a real education in human nature. Some are figuring out how to profit from the situation, some are stepping up to the plate, but mostly, what I see around me is widespread worry and stress.
Specifically in the event planning industry in Israel just this week, hosts and vendors alike are left with hands in the air, wondering how to handle this unprecedented, unknown situation and how to survive it. One of my most requested photographers had 11 event cancellations and one of the most popular local caterers is trying to absorb two months of cancellations – thus far. Some vendors are giving back full refunds, some are considering offering postponement dates. It is causing all of them great economic uncertainty, and the more people I speak with the more I learn that it is touching just about every business, regardless of what industry.
The other day I had a conversation with one of my vendors about past challenges we faced when external situations impacted our industry: wars, stabbings, intifadas. And through all of that, we had successful and meaningful events. Perhaps in those cases, people felt strongly they wanted to show support, to show our resilience as a country. However, the coronavirus outbreak has caused a more sudden and quick wave of cancellations all at once than any past war. The good news is, in Israel we are resilient, strong and innovative.
By nature, event planners are creative adapters who know how to find solutions in a crunch. We are constantly creating and finding industry tips to help everyone keep healthy, adhere to the Health Ministry’s instructions and make your event fabulous. It’s our job to think on our feet and come up with creative solutions to make your event a success, and I am working at helping every client that can adapt, to find the best way to do so. Faraway family who may need to miss the event? Live Streaming video will bring them closer. “Traveling” guests who can’t attend large gatherings? Creating a separate space in a separate area lets everyone stay included. Being an event planner means that you constantly need to be on the tips of your toes, adapt to the circumstances, and always have a solid backup plan.
For those that have no choice to postpone or cancel, sometimes all that can be done is voice support that family, health and safety come first, and that there will be the right time for “partying” down the road, as hard as that feels right now.
Despite the fright of coronavirus, I’m proud of my clients’ strong will to stay positive and move forward, and I feel honored to be their guide and advocate during this time.