We are living in a world full of uncertainty right now. For those who were forced to cancel wedding plans or who are still waiting with bated breath to see how things unfold before they make a final decision on their destination wedding plans, Amy Abbott took some time out to talk about how COVID-19 has shaped the wedding industry in Los Cabos.
Back in February, whisperings of COVID-19 trickled into Los Cabos. It was only a matter of days before that trickle turned into a landslide of action from us in response to the pandemic. Initially, there were inquiries about events due to be held in March regarding increased safety measures. But it didn’t take us too long before we made the decision to pro-actively recommend that our clients postpone their early 2020 travel plans.
Our Response To Cabo Wedding COVID-19 Challenges
Within a 5-day period, our team moved to postpone 45 events. While I never thought I would see the day when we would pro-actively be the ones recommending our clients put their plans on temporary ice, our mantra was (and still is) that we have to do what’s best for our clients. Many of our clients have pushed their dates forward into fall 2020 and into 2021. Understandably, some clients have been forced to cancel their plans due to the closure of international borders (eg. South Africa, Canada, and Australia).
We were happy with our immediate response. As event-planners we are accustomed to putting out fires; we’re used to plans changing and we pride ourselves on our calm responses. Years of honing these skills resulted in our team really coming together at the beginning of this crisis and staying committed to the welfare of our clients, while at the same time adapting to the impact of the change to our work and family lives.
In spite of the upheaval that 2020 brought us, we’re excited for what’s to come in 2021. Having a forced pause in 2020 has given us all time to rest and recalibrate, which is incredibly rare in our line of work. Having extended planning periods for our 2021 events has been a hidden blessing and we feel more prepared than ever and ready to move past this dark cloud and go back to planning fabulous events.
Changes In Los Cabos Since The Pandemic
The difference between an event destination like Los Cabos compared to somewhere in the US or mainland Mexico is that our community is almost completely dependent on tourism for its economy.
Therefore, local resorts and businesses are unparalleled when it comes to security measures and sanitation protocols. Grocery stores are taking temperatures, enforcing one-person per family entry rules, along with pre-entry hands and feet sterilization- all with a smile (hidden behind a mask LOL).
Transportation companies are going beyond the call of duty to ensure their vehicles are sterile, so as to provide safe passage from airport to resort. The majority of resorts and their employees are certified with COVID-19 training and procedures. The success of our economy here demands that we keep our standards high.
Even outside the confines of resorts and private villas, the local government displays guidance signs on highways, reminding citizens and tourists of best practices when it comes to safety and hygiene. Local hospitals have easy-to-read exterior signage guiding people where to go and what to do in the event of illness.
Proactive Not Reactive
It’s not just our team of planners that have taken a proactive approach. For example, one of our fall Brides shared, “As long as I have my ride or dies there for my wedding day, then it’s going to work.”
Still determined to have her wedding day, she pivoted her plans by having a small wedding in the US, then is planning a Cabo first anniversary vow renewal using the same hotel room block and celebrating at her chosen venue of Flora Farms (way to reinvent the wheel 🙂 ).
Keeping Things In Perspective
Brides and grooms have been saving for their special day for years. Families have put aside an allotment of monies for these one-in-a-lifetime experiences, therefore it’s up to us to come up with some alternative ways of reassigning that same budget and re-designing their destination Cabo wedding in a way that works for them during COVID-19.
While I am a firm believer in taking appropriate caution when it comes to this pandemic, I want to emphatically say that our brides and grooms deserve their wedding. They deserve their engagement party. They deserve to celebrate all aspects of their union, from their bachelor parties to their destination wedding vows. And so, it’s our goal to honor their rite of passage, all the while respecting and adjusting plans with grace.
An Attitude of Gratitude
It’s worthwhile taking a moment to sincerely thank a few of our favorite venues and resorts: One&Only Palmilla, Solaz, Chileno Resort & Residences, Esperanza, Las Ventanas, Flora Farms, Acre, The Cape, and the Montage to name a few. In spite of the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on these venues, each of our trusted resorts has been unbelievably accommodating when it comes to making changes.
There has been an incredible capacity for empathy from these resorts, in addition to our local vendors and of course our clients. I am in awe of the flexibility and willingness to adapt and modify that everyone has generously displayed. Collectively, there’s an unspoken understanding that we have all suffered loss or significant change. I’m proud to be a part of a community that comes together during these uncertain times.
Brides and grooms that are moving forward with Cabo wedding plans over 2020-21 should expect to see standardizations with regard to heightened sanitary measures. Unsurprisingly, we are seeing a surge of requests for personalized hand sanitizers for wedding gift bags. During each event, our team will ensure that the entrance to every venue or bar space has hand sanitizers, even down to individual restrooms.
These standard practices will be inclusive irrespective of event size BTW, therefore brides can plan for an intimate or larger celebration.
Another helpful feature to consider is the inclusion of live stream during your wedding ceremony. Individuals who cannot travel internationally due to pre-existing conditions can feel included on the big day by tuning in and watching your ceremony taking place. If this sounds like something you want to include, the best place to start that ball rolling is to consult your videographer who may offer a live stream add on to your existing plan.
Approximately half of our clients have wanted to stick with their same wedding month but in the following year. The other half move their plans into a different season. Bear in mind that seasonal changes in plans can affect certain aspects of your Cabo wedding. While we can maintain the same overall color/design aesthetic, the type of flower may have to be adjusted. Additionally, you may experience availability challenges when it comes to venues and hotels.
Things To Note
I encourage all brides and grooms out there to ensure they have some sort of pandemic provision in their contracts. Having a destination wedding is stressful enough without feeling responsible for the health and wellbeing of your guests. Advise your guests to make sensible choices: travel if you’re healthy. If not, stay home.
Stress the importance of staying hydrated. The number one reason why travelers get sick is due to dehydration, which is 100% preventable. Thankfully people can travel with Airborne or Vitamin C sachets, so illness is preventable if you’re taking adequate precautions. For bridal parties wanting to elevate their guest’s immunity, we can arrange IV parties midway to ensure optimal health.
We can get really creative with social distancing during wedding receptions. We can design table clusters ensuring that families who traveled together, stay together throughout. As long as we have the creative freedom to design the venue, then the sky’s the limit.
If you keep an open and clear dialogue going with your destination wedding planner, there’s no reason why you can’t pull off a dream wedding during this time. Using a virtual wedding inspiration board is a great medium for constant, open lines of conceptual communication. We can work step-by-step in health and safety to create your dream wedding even in a pandemic.
The Show (And The Love!) Must Go On
I think that by now, we have a human understanding that we truly are in this together. And we must find ways for life to go on, especially when it comes to time-honored traditions like marriages. Being ever the optimist and an unashamed hopeless romantic, I encourage people to carry out their plans in the best way that they can.
Let’s be patient, flexible, and ride this season of our lives out together.