Photography: The Billings
If you have an upcoming wedding this Spring, you're probably feeling A LOT of strong emotions, confusion, and uncertainty. Here at the WC, we hear you, and we realize that even in this age of social distancing and isolation it's more important than ever to support each other through this difficult time.
As more and more brides and grooms panic over whether or not they can host their Spring weddings, venues are undoubtedly one of the first calls they are making. Tabitha Mason, the co-owner of the award-winning venue, Cornman Farms, is here to give her expert guidance on all those burning questions you may have about how to deal with your upcoming wedding during this pandemic.
Q: Are couples keeping their wedding date and scaling down guest count, postponing or canceling? How are you handling that?
A: Understandably, many couples feel committed to getting married on their chosen date. To make that happen for them, we’re offering larger weddings the opportunity to switch to one of our smaller packages, such as an Elopement (20 or less) or Tiny Wedding (10 or less). Whether you decide to simply elope as a couple or extend invitations to your closest friends and family, there are plenty of venues like ours that can still help you host an intimate wedding gathering. At Cornman Farms, we can arrange everything from officiant and photographer to flowers and cake, and we are fortunate to have incredible vendor partners who have been extremely flexible with us in this process.
For those that choose to postpone their wedding, we’re fortunate enough to have Friday, Saturday and Sunday availability for this year, so we are allowing them to reschedule and choose from our available dates. I know many couples may be panicking that they won’t find a venue with availability for 2020, and I’d advise them not to go there until they’ve done their research! Reach out to your venue and find out what options are available. Please keep in mind, most venues are small businesses with high operating costs and plenty of staff, so they are also trying to stay afloat during a time where there is no revenue coming in.
Q: What would you say to couples that have had to cancel/postpone their weddings?
A: I’m so sorry this is happening. Wedding event professionals are used to handling crises, from rain plans to officiants who don’t show up to wedding cake disasters to groomsmen who overindulge before the ceremony; we do it event after event because we love pulling off incredible weddings that make our couples happy. It’s never seamless, but we make it seem as though it is.
Now, there’s a problem that we can’t fix, and it’s heartbreaking. Wedding planning can be full of emotion and stress under normal circumstances. As someone who has been married for 14 years (and who ended up not being able to wear her wedding dress down the aisle on her big day due to, let’s say, a wardrobe malfunction), please believe me when I say that the love you two have for each other is what counts. If you plan to exchange vows and commit to each other “for better or for worse”, know you are off to a great start. Just remember, someday this will make one hell of a story.
Q: What precautions has your venue taken to ensure the health and safety of guests and staff?
A: Our most important priority at Cornman Farms is the safety and well-being of our guests. Since we are in the catering business as well, we already rigorously follow and exceed Food Safety Laws to ensure we have a clean and safe environment and kitchen. For example:
Our staff members strictly follow food handling standards, from hand washing to glove usage.
We regularly sanitize all customer and staff areas.
We are safety trained. All chefs are Servsafe certified food safety managers.
Our health inspections are spotless. For the past year, we have had zero violations per our entire property.
We do not allow staff to work when feeling sick.
We've also added additional measures during this time of heightened awareness:
We are offering virtual tours of the farm - both one-on-one and live on our Instagram page (the next one is Sunday, March 22 at 2:00pm est).
All non-essential staff members are working remotely.
We have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting the property with antibacterial and antimicrobial solutions.
There are plenty of restrooms available for guests to wash their hands and we encourage all guests to wash their hands frequently during their visits for at least 20 seconds, as the CDC recommends.
We now encourage all guests to use hand sanitizer as they enter the property, and there are hand sanitizer dispensers throughout our facilities.
All of our self-serve beverage and food stations are now operated by farm staff members.
Q: How do you think this will impact the wedding industry as a whole?
A: Personally, I think we will rebound stronger than ever before. Celebrations, gatherings, food, and drinks have always been the keystone to family and community. When we can safely get together again, I believe we will, and we’ll do it quickly.
I had 22 people at my wedding, and so it’s always been important to me to offer all-inclusive packages that allow for smaller weddings with stress-free planning. I think we’ll see people cutting down guest lists and opting for smaller, more intimate gatherings with close friends and family. It’ll be important for venues and vendors to offer flexibility in order to accommodate emerging micro-wedding trends.