For many of us, social distancing is counterintuitive to our inherent inclinations. After all, we are social creatures by nature. Particularly in the event industry, we thrive in our communities, and personal friendships are quick to blossom out of professional relationships.
So, as we're all working from home and keeping our proper distance (six feet or more, please!), we need to get creative to continue nurturing our industry ties and lean into our community more than ever.
We spoke with top event pros (virtually!) to see how they’re doubling down on community building despite the distance.
Connecting “face to face”
“I have found during this time of social distancing that a FaceTime/Zoom call doesn't have to formal. A quick call to connect with a vendor friend with a simple check-in can be very helpful. Especially for the networker extrovert type, isolation can be very hard mentally. A quick informal call to say hello, share a funny story, or even share a concern can continue to nurture the relationship and help feed the need for community.” —Mary Angelini, Key Moment Films
Looking out for others
“We are reaching out to new vendors each day, asking how they are doing and seeing if we can help in any way. We are of course supporting postponements and not cancellations, as well as trying to advocate for partial payments of the final payment in order to keep the cash flow coming in for them to ensure that they are around when this all settles!” —Laura Maddox, Magnolia Celebrates
“Take advantage of the takeout and delivery options that restaurants and cafés are offering. Consult catering companies to cook and deliver a 'private dinner' for your family, or to send to those who are quarantining alone, or to those who may be celebrating an anniversary or other event that should not go uncelebrated given the circumstances.” —Kristen Gosselin, KG Events & Design
Spreading the love
“I am currently working on a ‘Vendor Love’ campaign, where I will feature some of my favorite vendors in my Instagram stories. This includes sending over a quick set of interview-style questions to my favorites so that I can highlight who they are 'behind the brand' as well. I will also leave them a review on Google and share some picture love of our work together with their Google Photos attached to their Google Business listing.” —Taylor Bradford, Sugar Creek Creative
“Wedding Venue Map has started a new campaign on our Instagram stories. For the month of April, we are sharing all of our local community posts and stories on the Wedding Venue Map story. There is so much beautiful work that our wedding pros create, and now is the perfect time to inspire engaged couples with wedding inspiration. #sharingiscaring” —Shannon Tarrant, WeddingVenueMap.com
Providing free education
“I've been hosting 'meeting of the minds' sessions with groups nationwide to work through best practices for our businesses in this time of crisis. This has been an opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas on how we can best service our clients, and also how to solve the many challenges our industry is facing right now.” —Michelle Loretta, Sage Wedding Pros
“My team and I are arming catering and events professionals with education. Now is the time to pivot their marketing efforts towards providing relevant, helpful value at the top and middle of their marketing funnels, which will help them future-proof their businesses. I went into detail on how to do this in a free four-part video series entitled 'Navigating through a Crisis,' which provided strategies to help catering and events business owners weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.” —Aleya Harris, Flourish Marketing
Supporting clients creatively
"We are in constant contact with our clients. Whether executing contingency plans or planning business as usual for later events, we are always quick to respond and check in. If a wedding has been postponed, we are sending surprise care packages and also asking guests to send well wishes.” —Nora Sheils, Bridal Bliss
“We are trying to balance what clients want to see while respecting what is going on in today's world with the crisis. We are not encouraging buying, but are more on platforms to share pretty things like wedding dresses and jewelry. We are partnering with some of our clients to share their story of their postponement. Our clients are wanting to share and help others through this. Also, we are doing a series of fun giveaways on our Instagram to attract potential future clients. Everyone is at home and ready to enter in a giveaway.” —Tali Gallo, The Bridal Finery
It's natural to experience negative emotions in a crisis--this is an unprecedented situation that we’re all learning to deal with in real time. However, what we can do is come together as a community and support one another through this difficult period. The stronger the industry, the easier we'll weather this--after all, we are all in this together.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.