To support industry professionals, navigate an ever-changing landscape during the pandemic, Natalie John, a Caribbean Weddings and Events Planner with more than 20 years of experience has released a new book. “The Destination Wedding & Events Vendor Guide to COVID-19,” is a valuable resource that outlines safety protocols to address the risks associated with COVID-19. The book helps professionals develop an action plan that is grounded in operational best practices, to protect the health and safety of staff, clients, vendors, and the community.
The weddings and events industry continues to suffer significant losses as a result of widespread cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19. But destinations throughout the Caribbean have begun to cautiously reopen for business activity. Celebrations and other gatherings must be executed in adherence to a range of new public health and safety protocols. Therefore weddings and events planners must be prepared to conduct business in a new environment with a new set of rules.
As Founder of the advocacy group, Caribbean Wedding and Events Professionals (CWEP), John noted the absence of industry best practices to address COVID-19 throughout the Caribbean. She identified the need for standard guidelines that would bring different industry protocols established by individual destinations into alignment and set out to address this gap in the industry. Using CWEP’s advocacy platform to engage industry stakeholders, John conducted in-depth discussions and webinars with various sectors and supplier groups throughout the industry.
Drawing on the wealth of experience from local industry professionals, as well as data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHAJ and other sources, John developed a comprehensive framework for her book. It was released on Amazon on January 17, 2021 and during its first week, the book received the highest number of downloads of any Caribbean publication.
A virtual book release will be held via Zoom on February 23, 2021 at 1PM EST. The first-time author will engage in a live Q & A and will delve into many issues that are addressed in the book including: economic, social, legal and environmental impacts of COVID-19.
The decision to launch this book during the Month of Love, is designed to capture the level of camaraderie that the book is already generating throughout the industry, in addressing the negative impacts of the pandemic. “We are in the business of bringing many people together and the weddings and events industry is actively reorganizing to ensure that we play a pivotal role in the Caribbean’s economic recovery from COVID-19. We recognize that we are better when we come together. We must be prepared to face adversity with a unified voice and a common agenda, to create the safest environment for weddings and events,” said Natalie John, Owner of Dreamy Weddings and Tours, a Caribbean based company with a presence in 13 different destinations.
As a member of the National Association of Black Wedding and Event Professionals (NSBWEP), John was also recently featured in Black BizStory on a list of ‘Black Event Educators That You Should be Following.’ One of her professional goals has been to play an active role in the global weddings and events marketplace. She is passionate about how she can help develop tools and resources that drive innovation, workforce development and education. “In these challenging times, let us use this pandemic as an opportunity to network, create, envision and grow. Business has already become so complicated in our industry, but our communications do not have to be,” she added.
CWEP is a Non-Profit Regional Organization representing Caribbean Businesses and Entities in the Wedding & Event Planning Industry. As the regional champion for event industry excellence, CWEP provides a platform for professionals to network, share ideas, leverage their creativity and imaginations and excel in their talent. Though it’s advocacy efforts and industry initiatives, CWEP adheres to high standards and professionalism in promoting products and services, sustainability, knowledge and leadership to ensure the growth and development of its members. CWEP also strives to elevate the business acumen of its members through educational programs and other forms of support to bring greater awareness to Caribbean businesses within the wedding and events industry.