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Do you have a Plan B?

What to do when you can’t perform a ceremony you’re booked for

I’m sure you have a few Celebrants you’re connected with who could take over your ceremony if required.

But what if that need was at short notice? Would they be available for the day and location you need filling in for?

The Who

So, let’s think about who your Plan B is;

  • I’m assuming here that they are someone you’re connected with and trust they’ll deliver what you have already crafted, and would be a good fit for your clients.
  • Do they work within the same geographical location as you do?
  • Are they in demand and have plenty of future bookings? If they are, then do you have more than 1 backup Celebrant in your Plan B?

If they’ve ticked all the boxes above, you have your “who” sorted!


The Details

Now, let’s think about the detail; booking dates and contact details for clients; client information and interview notes; the actual ceremony ... has it been written? Do the clients have a copy? Where is your copy stored (laptop, hard copy, cloud)?  Is the information only accessible by password e.g. laptop password or password for cloud storage?

Assuming you don't live alone, who in your household would have access to all this information?

Would they know who your backups are? Could they locate anything your backup Celebrant would need?

What if something happened to you when you were away from home, is your Plan B still a plan that will work?

Think one step further.  If the people you live with were also caught up in your “situation” or simply not aware or unavailable, what would happen then?

Similarly, if you live alone who could find everything that may be needed to hand over to another Celebrant?  Would “someone” be able to identify your up and coming commitments and make contact with clients?

Now, hopefully, if you needed a backup, you would be coherent and able to fire out instructions and details, but we don’t control that piece and things have a way of happening when we least need the inconvenience!

Suggestion, make sure all your ceremony bookings are in an online calendar.  Share that calendar with someone who you trust, who could share any ceremonies you can’t perform with your plan B.  Have the details (ideally) filed in a client folder in Dropbox, Google Drive or similar and link to that folder from the calendar event.  That way all the info relating to a ceremony is accessed through your calendar.  So if you’re out of action or have an upcoming ceremony you can’t perform then it’s quick and easy to share the calendar event with your nominated plan B celebrant.

The Why

Recently I became the point of contact for a Celebrant colleague who had been involved in an accident. On what started out like any other day, she headed off on a well-planned bike ride and received an unexpected New Year’s jolt resulting in an injury that is taking 3 months plus to recover from.   

It was fortunate that we had some contact by text the previous evening as that is how her daughter-in-law located me (from my friend’s cell phone text list). At the time I was contacted my friend was in theatre, in fact she didn’t know much for 7 hours and even then had limited memory for a while.

She lives alone but fortunately the family knew she had a wedding in 2 days’ time! Of course, this just happened to be in the thick of holiday season when most Celebrants were either away on holiday or Celebranting!!

 I too was Celebranting, leading a funeral at the same time as the scheduled wedding.  But I was fortunate that after some hours phoning around I secured a replacement Celebrant and the family worked together with the clients and the replacement Celebrant.

But they (family) needed to crack the password on the laptop to get all the ceremony details and the copy of the ceremony, as well as the details of the rehearsal for the following day.

Her next wedding was a couple of weeks later so we had some breathing space to get that one in order.

We always think “This won’t happen to me” but since being in that situation and picking up the pieces to resolve the immediate situation, I have put some steps in place myself.

I live alone, so my list may be different to yours but now my next-of-kin (NOK) know where I keep the things they may need:

  1. Laptop: NOK know where they can find the logon password and where my secret stash of passwords (hard copy) is kept. If my laptop happened to be with me, they could log in to Dropbox (using my secret password hard copy) and locate what they need from there.
  2. On the back of my office door I have a Calendar wall-planner with the dates of confirmed bookings and contact details of couples
  3. While writing this I have realised that my NOK don’t know who my backup Celebrants are so I have just added that (names and contact details)

I am sure this list isn’t fool-proof and you will have your own systems and backups but please think further than your immediate family, those you share the biggest portion of your life with, as when things go belly up, more than likely they will be with you.

I hope that you never need to so drastically implement your Plan B, but once you have one, update and review regularly. If you are the Plan B for another Celebrant, make sure you know you can access everything you may need.