Wedding planners warning of delays due to coronavirus

Wedding experts in Ottawa are warning clients about potential difficulties in receiving items for their big day because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Some bridal stores that rely on Chinese suppliers say they're starting to experience delays in receiving stock, and  that could worsen if shipments out of China are further restricted.

"In past years, at this time in February, there would be no issue for us to order [custom dresses]," said wedding consultant Danica Labonte.

"Now, we're really recommending that people who are getting married in August and September do purchase off the rack." 

Labonte, who works at Dominique Levesque Bridal in Ottawa, said custom dresses normally take up to six months to arrive, but since the outbreak she's added three to four weeks to that estimate.

"[Our suppliers are] doing the best that they can, and they're definitely communicating with us ... but at this point we know very little information," she said.

"All we can do is reassure clients and keep moving forward."

Speaking at the Economic Club of Calgary earlier this month, Finance Minister Bill Morneau admitted the coronavirus would have ripple effects throughout the world because of China's massive economic footprint. Experts say the full effects of the coronavirus on Canadian businesses will become more evident in the coming months.

Managing expectations

"Everybody is a little worried and a little bit stressed," said Ottawa wedding planner Shannon Kennedy. Kennedy said vendors that provide clients with things like furniture, linens, exotic flowers and even paper goods are feeling the effects of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

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"[It's all] trickling down from third-party manufacturers to larger national suppliers, and now our local suppliers," she said.

Kennedy said given the circumstances, her focus right now is to help manage clients' expectations, and to plan weddings accordingly.

"With everything that's happening globally, it's important to know that we might not get everything that we want, but it's still going to be amazing."