After an impressive portfolio of working for high caliber event production and design companies, including six years as a Senior Event Producer at Colin Cowie Celebrations, you ventured out and launched Julie Lindenman Events (JLE). What inspired you to start your own full service wedding and event production company?
It all happened quite organically. I got to a point in my events career where I was very burnt out. I took a few months off entirely and having that downtime allowed me to rethink my work/life balance and how important it was for me. Some friends who heard I was not working asked if I could plan their weddings, and I decided to jump back into things.
Starting my own business was an opportunity to be in control of where, how, and when I worked. I was able to pour my energy into our industry in the ways I felt would be best for me. I think sustainable working habits are so important, especially for a job that can include physical work, long hours, and an emotional investment. Most importantly, by having a greater sense of ownership I can better service my couples and clients and collaborate with them in meaningful ways.
It’s no secret that the wedding and events industry has been hit hard by the impact of COVID-19. How has JLE evolved to continue serving clients during this time?
Our industry has taken a drastic hit, globally. Being there for our clients is huge, and being there for one another is more important than ever.
While the impact has been major, I’m maintaining a cautious optimism about the future. Simply said, nothing replaces in-person gathering, so I have confidence in its return.
In April I decided to offer two new services. The first being Postponement Consultations, which offers couples and families who perhaps don’t have a wedding planner to consult with someone on what to do and how to go about postponements. From helping with contract negotiations to “change the date” wording and etiquette, these consultations are a low commitment way to get immediate, professional event guidance.
The second was a Socially Distant Elopement Package, which has since morphed into custom packages for intimate weddings, proposals, picnic-style receptions, and more. Many couples want to make their marriage official this year and stop losing sleep over the never-ending postponement cycle. We can curate an intimate celebration with a quick turn around, without sacrificing on gorgeous design or special details.
We are still taking on new Full-Service clients too, which helps me see the positive in 2020: love is still happening, and so are proposals!
Has wedding etiquette changed for guests, or hosts? What should they be aware of when attending a socially distant event?
COVID etiquette has grown into a whole new language of how we interact with each other. From talking through masks to asking if people are comfortable with an elbow bump or masked hug in advance (waving works, if not!), over communication this year is key.
As far as hosting is concerned, the more information provided to guests in advance, the better. Telling guests where the event will take place, how many people will be in attendance, what portions will be indoor vs outdoor, and what precautions the couple and venue are taking (like an abundance of hand sanitizer or tables for family members only) — in my opinion, the more information shared upfront, the better.
Also, consider adding a virtual component for guests who can’t attend. Technology has quickly evolved with us throughout 2020 as we find ways to be present from afar. I foresee hybrid events becoming more commonplace, with guests who can’t attend having an option to join virtually. For those who want to include a virtual component, consider having 3 RSVP options: Attending, Not Attending, Will Attend Via Zoom. It’s a way to include more of your loved ones at a time when we wish we could be together.
In terms of guest etiquette, keep your distance until you know someone’s comfort level. Always pack a mask and a backup mask. And due to COVID being such an individual experience, don’t hesitate to ask the planner or the host questions about an event beforehand. The safer we are, the more we can put the ‘social’ back in social distancing!
What advice would you give to couples that are debating whether or not to move forward with their 2020 wedding plans?
At this point, I think it depends on how eager someone is to be married this year. For the couple that doesn’t want to wait, have an intimate gathering for immediate family or elope to make the marriage official. Most couples still plan to celebrate with a much larger group in the future; I love the idea of a first anniversary party or a bigger wedding that includes a vow renewal.
One of my clients who postponed has chosen to have 12 attendees for a civil ceremony now, but will wait for their larger celebration once science tells us more. In their words, they still want a “sweaty dance floor celebration,” so whenever that can safely happen again, we’ll be thrilled to plan it.
If you were to leave us with something to think about, what would it be?
2020 has been a year. I’m still so grateful to be in the best industry with so many creative, resilient, supportive, love-loving folks. There is a different vibe now on my calls, a feeling of empathy and understanding. The feeling of “we’re all in this together.” I was walking through Soho the other day and passed a sign that I stopped to take in: the comeback is always better than the setback. This felt like the sign I needed, so now I’m passing it on to you.
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