Planning or postponing a Hudson Valley wedding during Covid-19

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Photo: Turnquist Collective

Photo: Turnquist Collective

On May 1 we began a four-part webinar series for couples in the midst of planning or postponing their wedding because of Covid-19. We started with the new normal of planning a NYC wedding, and on Friday, May 15, a panel of Hudson Valley wedding professionals gave us their advice for upstate weddings.

With large celebrations still on pause, a few trends are clearly emerging. Even when large weddings resume, a virtual, livestreaming element will likely continue for those who can’t attend. In the meantime, wedding vendors by and large remain flexible and try their best to honor any new wedding date, but given the number of reschedulings, being open-minded about a new wedding date may be necessary for couples, too.

Following are some of the key takeaways from our discussion with Basilica Hudson, Hudson Valley Ceremonies, Home/Made Hudson, Sprig & Social, Turnquist Collective and Hasbrouck House.

To watch the webinar in full, you can view it here. 

Jeanne Stark, weddings coordinator, Basilica Hudson and planner and founder, Hudson Valley Ceremonies

Given the lack of clarity on when large weddings can resume, Stark is dissuading couples from booking new 2020 weddings at Basilica. She is offering virtual tours, though, for those who are actively planning 2021 weddings or beyond. Despite many new rebookings for 2021, there are still dates left at Basilica. This is partly because it is the rare Hudson Valley venue that can accommodate 3 weddings in a weekend, whereas most upstate properties book just one couple a weekend.

 

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Jesse and Rebecca Turnquist, Turnquist Collective

Photographer Jesse Turnquist said that there will likely be a virtual element to all weddings going forward, given travel restrictions as well as the health concerns of guests. Turnquist Collective, like many wedding photographers, is preparing for this new style of documenting weddings so that guests who cannot be there in person can experience it from afar. (Once large-scale weddings do resume, perhaps couple can use livestreaming as a way to invite their B list!)

For those having a virtual or small celebration now to exchange their vows, and a larger celebration later, they can present photos or videos of the vow ceremony at the actual wedding.

Monica Byrne and Leisah Swenson, owners and founders, Home/Made Hudson and Atelier Roquette

Monica Byrne spoke about the catering side of her company, which is now doing socially distanced consultations and beginning to cater small dinners from a distance on their Germantown property, Farmette Roquette. She envisions new, safer styles of service and a move away from the grazing table, as well as seating 6 to a table instead of 8. All these precautions will add some new costs to a catering bill, so because of this, she suggested that we might see headcounts go down in order for couples to preserve the style of meal they want to serve.

She reiterated that event professionals are used to problem-solving when the unexpected happens at a wedding, and this time is no different: together they’ll come up with a plan that works for their couples.

Akiva Reich, owner of Hasbrouck House and founder, Gowanus Hospitality Group

Akiva Reich, speaking from his hotel, Hasbrouck House, said his team is following couples’ leads, and planning weddings and stays for when they feel comfortable. At the same time, they are also offering multiple holds on dates, so that couples have many options. They are prioritizing postponed weddings at the hotel as these events take precedence right now.

When the conversation turned to refunds, he pointed out that deposits are not just earmarked for services that have yet to happen. They also cover the operating costs of the vendor, and the time they spend working with each couple leading up to their wedding. Being sensitive to this fact, while also keeping in mind your own personal needs for your wedding, can help couples and vendors come up with a new plan together that falls within the existing contract.

Michael Moeller and Tobin Summers, founders, Sprig & Social:

Michael Moeller of Sprig & Social spoke of providing a source of comfort right now for couples who can use the distraction of planning their florals and the beautiful things for their wedding. He recommends reaching out to your Hudson Valley vendors if you are in need of a new space or accommodations for your wedding, as they all likely have a friend or contact with an upstate property they can refer you to.

Tobin Summers talked about their drop-off service for virtual/vow ceremonies in advance of weddings. Right now they are seeing couples opt for backyard bbq-style gatherings for their small ceremony until they celebrate in a bigger way down the road. They will stay within and work with couple’s original budgets even if there is a two-part wedding.