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Handling Cancelled Events


Cancelled Events: Are they really the end of the world? That’s the topic Taylor’d Events is here to discuss with us today as a contributor to the Prismm blog.

Just the thought of cancelling an event that you’ve put so much effort into can send a shiver down your spine and set your anxiety into overdrive. But, is it really so bad?

As a vendor, you put in hard work and time to the design and production of it, but at the end of the day, engaged couples break up and companies experience changes so it’s better to prepare yourself to bounce back than to dwell on the lost time.

When you do get the bad news, it’s important to compose yourself in a way that can ensure your business is safeguarded while still being understanding with your clients. Chances are, they likely didn’t plan on canceling and may not want to cancel but have no choice – so don’t take the cancellation as an offense to business.

With that said, your company is your first and foremost priority. Protecting your business begins with your contract – you’ll need a clause that states that the initial deposit is non-refundable — no matter what. Retainer fees cover the costs of lost business that could have been booked for the same day, so don’t be afraid to be strict with this policy.

Beyond the retainer, you may want to consider adding another parameter that designated non-refundable percentages based on how late the cancellation occurs. For example, if the cancellation is within 90 days of the event date, chances are you won’t be able to re-book so you may want to ensure that there are no refunds in the final stretch.

Of course, there are plenty of other factors that go into cancelling a special event that need to be considered.

If you’re able to book another event and recoup the losses, it may be a kind gesture to send over a partial refund to the cancelled client, especially if there’s a good reason behind it. You’ll want to have an attorney run through your contract just to guarantee its iron-clad and that there are no loopholes.

Every situation is different and it’s important to weigh everything carefully, but for the most part, it’s best to stick to your contract with cancelled events. Although you may feel bad accepting money for services you’re no longer doing, remember that your clients have already agreed to the terms of your contract – they went into the arrangement knowing the possibilities.

However, we are humans and, in certain situations, we can sympathize with a client. If a wedding was cancelled due to a death or serious illness, for example, we would do whatever we could to handle the sensitive situation in a way that eases the burden on the client without risking our bottom line. Take it on a case-by-case basis – only you know what’s best!

If there’s still enough time before the event date to book and plan another, then begin your outreach immediately. Share the news on social media and with any prospects you’ve had to turn down – it may even make sense to offer a discount for the date since you still have the original deposit. A discount will increase the chances that someone will bite and take you up on that date!

If the date is around the corner or you simply can’t find anyone to fill the slot, avoid dwelling on it by making the most of the events that you are working on. The stress and anxiety doesn’t help anyone in this situation! Make the most of what you have and just keep on hustling.

Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui. She is also the creator of The Taylor’d Plan, a self-administered class for wedding planners who are new to the industry and looking to grow and develop their skills.

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