What’s the worst thing that can happen to you leading up to your wedding day? Your venue closing is a definite top contender.
This is what happened in Squamish on August 10, 2019. The Sea to Sky Gondola had its cable cut causing most of the gondolas to come crashing down to the forest floor. Not only did this affect the people who worked there and the tourism it brought to Squamish, it also impacted all the weddings that were booked there for the remainder of the summer and year.
Join me in this 4-part series as I explain what it was like living through this stressful time as a planner, how I handled it, make that barely handled it, plus tips in case, heaven forbid, this ever happens to you.
To start, let me give you a bit of a preface leading up to August 10, 2019…
I found out I was pregnant with my second child in September of 2018 and my due date was set to be June 1, 2019. My last wedding before babe was May 18, 2019 and my first wedding after babe July 24, 2019. I had everything planned out. I went back to work after 6 weeks with my first so, I got this!
August 10, 2019 AM
Sh*t! The gondola collapsed. Ok, no a big deal. It’ll be up and running soon. No worries.
August 10, 2019 PM
The Sea to Sky Gondola announced all summer and fall 2019 weddings are canceled and couples are advised to look for alternate venues. F*ck!
As a wedding planner, I book clients based on a certain schedule. I have a certain number of weddings I will do per week/month so I can allocate the appropriate time each wedding needs while allowing myself to have time for my family and myself; this is pretty common amongst parents and most people in general.
August 10, 2019 turned my whole schedule and life upside down! I had a 10-week-old and a toddler at home. At times, I felt super overwhelmed but most of the time I had an adrenaline rush. I wouldn’t, couldn’t stop. Things had to get done. Venues had to be booked. Couples needed help.
The next four days I ate, breathed and dreamt venues, timelines and schedules. I had nightmares about weddings not working out. I would wake up in the middle of the night because my jaw was clenched so tightly that it started to hurt causing me to wake up.
But on Tuesday, 4 days after, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. The wedding I had a week after the gondola collapsed found a venue. Whew. Then all my other weddings started falling into place. Thank you Jesus!
In the end, my couples chose:
- Furry Creek Golf Course
- Quest University
- Canadian Wilderness Adventure Centre
- Grouse Mountain
- Private home in Britannia Beach
- Riverside farm in Pemberton Meadows
Stay tuned for a sneak peek into some of these weddings plus some tips I have in case you ever find yourself in this position.
- BREATHE. You got this.
- Start connecting with people and put yourself out there. Call a venue and explain your situation. If they don’t have availability, they may go out of their way to lend a hand in helping you find a venue or point you in the right direction. Reach out to a wedding group on Facebook. You’d be surprised at how many people want to help and how many venue offers you’ll get. This is how I found some hidden gems.
- Hire a professional. If you didn’t think having a planner or wedding coordinator was essential before this setback, I highly recommend you reconsider it now. If you have the time to plan a second wedding last minute then great, but if you’re left with one week to find a venue and relocate all your vendors and guests, you may want to consider hiring someone to help you with this. In this case I would 100% go with someone local. Time is of the essence and you want someone that knows the area, the vendors and has the connections.
- Make sure you’re organized. Things are going to be coming at you a mile a minute if you’re planning last minute. Write everything down, have paper trails for everything and make sure you follow up with vendors that you decided not to go with, especially if you are a professional in the industry. You don’t want to waste someone’s time and potentially hold a date if you decided to go another route.