I cannot imagine the stress you are feeling right now and our heart goes out to everyone as we navigate these unchartered waters. It's safe to say this is a new situation for all of us, and i am doing everything i can to be flexible and accommodating during these times.
As measures to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) have reached our area, i want to reach out to my couples and community at large to address some of the challenges and expectations we are facing with rescheduling of 2020 weddings.
I would like to be as accommodating and sensitive as possible to this evolving crisis. I hope that we can alleviate some of your concerns with potential rescheduling issues, as well as outlining the steps that i am taking to ensure the safety of our couples and team during this time.
While all of this information may seem overwhelming, i wanted to give you all the details you may need should this issue develop further and effect your wedding date. Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please reach out to me directly.
Moving Forward as Scheduled
In the event that there is not a local quarantine or that venues do not cancel, i am committed to moving forward with all weddings as originally planned. Of course, i am paying close attention to the news and staying in contact with all of my couples and event partners. i am also complying with all health and safety standards.
If state directives arise that would prohibit any of my weddings from taking place altogether, i am committed to working with my couples to reschedule to new mutually-agreeable dates.
I am asking my clients to keep me promptly and efficiently up to date for rescheduling and work with me so we can efficiently move monies paid to a new date. In the event a new date is confirmed, i will send you a new contract for that date to officially secure it on my end. It is extremely important our couples stay in upfront communication! Please see below for my cancellation and rescheduling policy in light of COVID-19. No wedding date changes are official until you sign a new wedding contract for the new date. New wedding dates are not guaranteed, available on a first come, first served basis and we ask you to please sign those new agreements as quickly as possible.
First and foremost, any team members that show signs of sickness or specifically of Coronavirus will not attend your wedding. I will make every effort to fulfill our contracted services and are preparing to have additional photographers on standby in case anyone is affected.
Safety of our team and our couples is my number one concern. We will be taking every precaution in regards to protecting ourselves and others by following the Health department guidelines. We will also be taking every precaution to clean any and all equipment that we may be bringing onsite for your wedding and of course wash our hands and avoid excessive contact.
Wedding Season 2020 Turn-Around Times
Many weddings from the spring are rescheduling to the fall, and while i usually place a limit on the number of weddings i take during each month, i am doing my best to accommodate all of the rescheduling for the year. My turn around times may be delayed due to the density and high volume from the weddings that are rescheduled and consolidated into a shorter time span. Please be understanding and flexible as i do my absolute best to accommodate this crazy time!
2021 Rescheduling Updated Pricing
If you elect to move your wedding to a peak season Friday or Saturday date in 2021, my updated pricing for 2021 will apply. All monies paid will be transferred. Please inquire to receive our updated pricing if this applies, and i can send my pricing.May to August and is my non-peak months. This also does not apply if you are forced to move your date due to government rules or government bans.
2021 Updated Pricing Fees Are As Follows: 1. Our 2021 pricing will be applied ONLY for peak season Fridays and Saturdays in 2021 (September to april) 2. There are no changes or increases for non-peak 2021 months and any Sunday-Thursday events
Why Update Our 2021 Rates Only For Peak Season Dates?
That is a wonderful question, and one that is going to require i share a bit about how my small business works year in and year out. As a full-time photographer i have a limited number of weekends per year to make all of my income. My small business depends on booking these dates to sustain myself for the year and continue to grow as a small business, and at this point in my career, I am pretty guaranteed i will book those weekends with new bookings. I only take a limited number of weddings per year, per month, and per weekend so i can serve my clients best . For each date that moves to a peak 2021 date, i am turning down a new booking and a large percentage of our 2021 income. By moving to a Sunday in peak season or a non-peak date, you are allowing me to still book the work i would have had in 2021.
If you do have to reschedule, i want you to know i understand this stinks and i do not want to add any more stress, especially financially, to your plates. I am doing my best to be accommodating and flexible, while still maintaining a balance and fairness for myself to book new work and make an income in 2021 to sustain my business and it's growth. (I Am really mad at the Coronavirus, too.) I am handling everything individually on a case by case basis, so please reach out if you have any worries or concerns.
I am not offering refunds in the event of cancelation due to COVID-19 or rescheduling to a date i am not available for. I do this to protect my business since i often turned down other opportunities, and have already made investments such as meetings, emails, timelines, preparations in training staff, and other administrative work. In these trying times, a small business is pushed to its limit emotionally and financially, and i am trying to navigate these moments with as much grace as possible. I realize this would obviously negatively affect both of us, and we have no interest in this happening to either one of us. I encourage my couples to postpone, instead of canceling!
I am so sorry our couples have to deal with this while planning a wedding — this is supposed to be the happiest time of your life and wedding planning is already stressful enough. But i want you to know we are all in this together. Know that i am here and will do everything i can to make your day the best day ever. I appreciate you working with me, and i feel even more connected and dedicated to my couples as we grow through this time alongside everyone.
Your wedding day is going to be such an incredibly special day for all of us when we get there!
For my entire professional life, and photographs. Nothing about that will ever change! Please be kind to others — and most importantly, yourself. The world may feel like it's ending, but it isn't. We will all get through this together.
Attached below is my general cancellation policy:
"...the Reservation Retainer is non-refundable, even if the date is changed or the wedding cancelled for any reason, including Acts of God, strike and/or extreme weather."
"Cancellation: In the event of postponement or cancellation of the wedding, the booking fee and all payments received to date shall be retained by Nikolai Polzenhagen Photography and shall be non-refundable in all respects."
However, i am breaking my own rules for this situation as a gesture of good will. I have been doing non-stop research and discussion within our industry over the last few days to determine a concrete policy that is best for my clients and fair as a best business practice for moving forward in this unchartered times.
Below is my new Covid-19 Rescheduling & Cancellation Policy:
A) If the event is rescheduled to a different date (in the calendar year 2020) due to Covid-19 concerns or cancellations, and the Photographer is available for the new date, the Photographer will waive all change fees and apply monies paid as a credit to your new date/invoice/contract. The "Photographer" is defined as any available photographer associated with or contracted by our studio.
B) If the event is rescheduled to a different date (in the calendar year 2021) due to Covid-19 concerns or cancellations, and the Photographer is available for the new date, the Photographer will apply monies paid to your new date/ invoice/ contract. Clients may reschedule to our peak season if i am available, and the updated pricing will apply. Clients may reschedule to a non-peak month in 2021, and we will waive any pricing changes. My non-peak season is May To August
C) If the Client wishes to outright cancel the contract or desires to choose a date that the Photographer is not available for, all non-refundable monies paid to Photographer will be held as liquidated damages per the contract.