Hurricane Irene + Events = No Bueno

For those of us in the middle of a heat wave with 100+ degree weather and 0% percent chance of rain for the weekend, it’s hard to imagine what our friends on the east coast are going through as they brace for Hurricane Irene. The hurricane is supposedly going to wreak havoc from North Carolina to New Jersey, and needless to say, I’ve been worried about my NYC peeps in the path. I know we’re all hoping that it’s way less severe than the reports are saying. Kind of like Snowpocalypse 2011.

While everyone’s safety is obviously the biggest concern, the event planner in me couldn’t help but think about all the events that would be affected this weekend. According to a New York Times article, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is revoking permits for special events in the city on Sunday and in the low-lying areas (including Coney Island in Brooklyn, Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan and parts of Staten Island) on Saturday. With street fairs being huge in the summer, 300 of them will be affected. And the Dave Matthews Band concert scheduled for Sunday on Governors Island has also been cancelled. I can only imagine how all those event planners are scrambling right now.

I feel even worse for folks with weddings scheduled this weekend near Hurricane Irene’s path. According to this article from ABC News, The Knot Wedding Network says there are “at least 448 expected weddings this weekend in north and central New Jersey, 401 in North Carolina, 264 in Virginia, 264 in Connecticut, 209 in South Carolina, and 151 in South Jersey.” Not only will the wedding events likely be canceled, there’s the whole other problem with guests traveling in from out of town. Have they already arrived in the destination city and waiting out the storm in their hotel rooms? Were they able to cancel their flights earlier enough? And will the couples lose their deposits for canceling their event so close to the date, regardless of the reason? Chances are, deposits for perishable items (like flowers and food) won’t be refundable, since the vendor had to pay for the supplies in advance and may only be able to be recouped with the help of a wedding insurance policy. (Do you have one? I know I didn’t.) But hopefully vendors with less pre-event investment, like photographers, will be willing to work with the couple to reschedule the date without a penalty.

To all of you on the east coast, I’m sending good juju your way that Irene is way less destructive than the news makes her out to be. And for those of you with events being cancelled, postponed or otherwise jacked with this weekend, I hope the planning and re-planning process is relatively painless.

 

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