Despite disruptions in business operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, wedding and event planners continue to refine logistics and explore creative opportunities to deliver exceptional experiences that are both engaging and exciting.
Last Tuesday, veteran Caribbean weddings and event planner, Natalie John hosted the virtual launch of her book, “The Destination Wedding and Events Vendor Guide to COVID-19.” No detail was spared in executing the launch of this industry publication that provides expert advice on how weddings and events can still be hosted safely and responsibly.
Known for her advocacy and bold ideas as a weddings and events planner, John’s event signaled that despite the pandemic, there is no need to cancel important celebrations or to abandon marketing plans. True to the edict of her book, John demonstrated that with the right tools, resources and mindset, weddings and events can still be staged in a safe environment. “You can still engage your audience to celebrate, build excitement and drive book sales using creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to make the most of our ‘new normal,’” John stated.
Natalie’s book received high commendations and reviews from local, regional and international experts who embrace the need for regional standards to help rebuild the weddings and events industry. Director General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Didacus Jules, stated “Crises trigger a fear response among people in general. The default position is one of pervasive pessimism, deep doubt about our capacity to survive, and a fearful uncertainty about the future.” Jules applauded John for her vision in leading the charge on “cooperation instead of competition” throughout the industry during the pandemic.
The handbook was launched in collaboration with the Caribbean Weddings and Events Professionals (CWEP), a regional non-profit organization founded by Natalie John in 2020. It provides a platform for the industry professionals to network, share ideas and excel in their talent. The book amalgamates advice from Caribbean wedding and event professionals as well as public health authorities such as the CDC, PAHO and CARPHA. It provides guidance for professionals in nine key sectors of the weddings and events industry, to ensure safe and secure operations and the protection of guests, employees, vendors and communities, while minimizing the risk of virus transmission.
Members of CWEP also endorsed the book as a beacon for the industry. CWEP Executive Member, Ophelia McKnight stated “This is a valuable resource that considers the struggle that our industry partners are going through. It maps out a clear, strategic road map to address key decisions that we must make about events and our overall operations. We have all faced significant loss in business but we refuse to be held hostage by fear and misinformation. This book provides reassurance that events can be hosted safety and responsibly.”
Following the launch of the book, John has embarked on a campaign to provide awareness throughout the industry about the need for a health and safety plan. On Tuesday night, she hosted a discussion among wedding and event professionals on Clubhouse, an invitation-only audio-chat iPhone app. A media campaign will soon be launched to facilitate ongoing engagement throughout the industry, via print, social media, live chats, radio and television. The book is available on Amazon in paperback ($19.99) and Kindle ($4.99) formats.
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