When my husband, a high school administrator, came home one day with talks of schools closing over the Corona Virus, I knew that things were about to take a turn. In a matter of days, moment by moment, changes sent our part of the world in to a spiral. From schools, to churches, to gyms, we saw the gradual slow down, then shut-down of everyday life. With national guidelines and then local guidelines regarding gatherings of people from 500 to 250, to 50, to 10, and shutting down restaurants for dine it, it was then that I knew that my spring events would not be happening, or at least not in the ways my clients and I had been planning.
Quite honestly, I was a little nervous to reach out to my clients, not knowing how they were feeling or how I could help them thru something that wasn’t really able to be helped at all. But what I found was reassurance. With each of my clients, my role is different, so I wasn’t sure what I would be met with. I anticipated a whole lot of trouble-shooting, talking people off of ledges, and maybe even having to endure a verbal lashing (because sometimes I’m the person who has to just listen), but instead all four of my client’s chose love, compassion, and understanding in the face of unexpected circumstances.
Glow in the Dark Birthday Party – April 4 (POSTPONED)
With Chicago declaring no school until at least April 20, no gatherings over 10 people, no non-essential businesses being open, and quarantine in effect until at least April 7, this was the first of my calls. Liz, whose son’s seventh birthday was undoubtedly not going to be happening on April 4 as planned. With invitations already sent, RSVP’s collected and all the décor, favors, etc. in-hand here for me to finalize, there was only one thing to do. “I don’t think it matters when we celebrate, Rosanna. After being in quarantine, it’ll be great to come out of hiding and celebrate with friends and family once this is over, regardless of the date. I really appreciate all the work you have put in, and our whole family wants to see this through. And we want you to help make that happen as long as you can make it work in your schedule.”
Liz’s response was really just so reaffirming. In time of uncertainty and chaos, she chose to be positive, to be encouraging and to assess what really was important to her and to her family. So together, we sent all her guests a message letting them know that her son’s birthday would be rescheduled for a time that would allow all of them to gather together in the happier and healthier days ahead.
The Cutiest Gender Neutral Baby Shower – May 3 (HOPING IT’S NOT CANCELLED)
Nancy hired me to design and style a gender neutral baby shower for her son and daughter-in-law at the beginning of May. Unimpressed by yellow and gray and other predictable neutral themes, we came up with something bright and fun. And truth be told, I was so excited about the execution of this event. But, with an out-of-state mommy and daddy-to-be and an impending due date, this event might not be able to be rescheduled if the CDC guidelines keep restaurants closed or keep gatherings under a certain number in place. Nancy’s response, “Send the invitations Rosanna. I have every intention to celebrate my grandbaby-to-be. If for some reason we have to cancel due to regulations and rules, then so be it. If we can return unused favors, décor, etc., great. If not, I won’t let something as silly as those things bother me. What matters is that we are all ok. That we are all safe and healthy, you, me, our friends, and family. And if we can’t have a party, then we can’t have a party. Until we hear otherwise, let’s proceed with joy and love.”
I love that Nancy has every intention to celebrate, and that she is allowing love and joy permeate her feelings without letting fear reign.
South Asian Wedding – May 9 (PREPARING FOR POSTPONEMENT)
This was by far the most worrisome call on my mind. Vrajika & Raj have been planning a traditional South Asian wedding for over 425 friends and family. Many whom are coming from out of state. So you can imagine the level of stress for this couple as they continued to hear about travel bans, gatherings, social distancing, and quarantine orders.
When I reached out to them on March 14 before all the shut downs, the bride and groom were rather optimistic. They had already called the venue right away, decided to proceed as normal, but realized that this would be a day by day process. Two days later on March 16, the possibility of postponing or cancelling became a sudden reality. Their first request was for me to review all the venue and vendor contracts to help them determine what their options were as far as postponing or cancelling.
Currently, the CDC has issued a recommendation that weddings in the United States be cancelled for eight weeks, or until May 15, 2020. While the venue is still holding on for hope of being able to host this wedding ceremony and celebration, the bride and groom aren’t so optimistic. They are ready to officially postpone their date.
Of course, none of the 2020 dates that the venue has available are ideal, and they don’t yet know if the rest of their vendor team will be able to accommodate, but through of all this Vrajika, a very sweet and soft spoken bride, has been nothing but calm, sweet, and finding the silver lining as we laughed about the possibility of having an October 31st anniversary.
“Yeah, someday I’ll be able to tell my grandkids the story of how we were supposed to be married on May 9, but that the world had other plans.” And while a fall wedding isn’t quite what this couple wanted, they said they have realized, “the day, the date, the month, the season, none it really matters. What matters is that we will be there, together, with those who matter most, safe, healthy, and happy even if that means sharing our anniversary with ghosts and goblins.”
Brown Bear Birthday Party – May 17 (TAKING IT AS IT COMES WITH EVERY INTENTION TO CELEBRATE)
I’ve been working with my client Rachel for six years. And now that she has three children, I get to work with her three times a year. What’s great about repeat clients like Liz and Rachel is that you get to know them, their families, and their tastes. It makes working with and for them such a great experience.
When I called Rachel to touch base, she first asked about how my family was doing amongst all the challenges and changes to daily life. I thought it was sweet that her first concern was me, and not the party we were planning for her son. It wasn’t just about business.
As we began discussing her son’s event, and whether or not we should put the brakes on, or end our contract, Rachel made it very clear that not having a celebration wasn’t the answer. So instead, we are sending a little note in with each of the invitations that reads, “We hope that this message finds you and your families happy and healthy in the midst of this unprecedented time! With such great uncertainty, and in a time where anything can change in the drop of a hat, we are choosing to focus on all of things that are worth celebrating. So, with that being said, assuming that we will all be allowed to congregate in the near future, we are planning to celebrate Knight’s Second Birthday on Sunday, May 17. If for some reason we are unable, then we will make sure to update you with further details. Until then, be well!”
Spending time crafting this message to send to her guests gave me a confirmed sense of hope, that once this virus settles down, and our “social distancing” period is over, friends and family will again be eager and able to gather together and celebrate once again!
When it comes to my business, I’m thankful for clients who are choosing joy admist the uncertainty, choosing to postpone if they can, and that they are filled with a hope that looks forward to celebrating their special moments and milestones when this is all over.
So what does this mean for me?
It means a couple things. The first, I have the BEST clients. I’ve always said that, and I wholeheartedly believe it. And the second is that I’ll wait. I WAIT WITH my clients to see what will happen in the world in the next several days and weeks. I’ve got décor on hand, and invitations in the mail, and I’m still connecting with new potential clients for Day of Coordination dates in both 2020 and 2021. I’m here and I’m ready, come what may!
So, in the mean-time, I’ll celebrate the everyday with my four kids and husband. Thankful that we have a home to be quarantined to, enough food to eat, and enough toilet paper to use. I’ll be thankful for slower days, plenty of board games, and a teaching degree to help me thru this journey in to the unknown of e-learning and at home schooling.
If you or any of your friends or family members are having to postpone or cancel or need some help navigating this, send them my way. I’m always here to help, any way that I can.