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The Knot Worldwide CEO on how coronavirus is impacting wedding industry

96% of couples with upcoming weddings want to postpone, according to wedding website The Knot. The Knot Worldwide CEO Tim Chi joins Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman to discuss how the coronavirus is impacting the wedding industry overall.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: Welcome back to live coverage here on Yahoo Finance. I'm Zack Guzman. And if you're like me, you may or may not have had to cancel some trips for weddings around the country as more couples grapple with the idea of having to postpone their nuptials across the country. And for more on that, I want to bring on the CEO of wedding registry site The Knot Worldwide and Tim Chi joins us now.

And, Tim, it's good to see you again. When we look at this, I mean, how have you seen the response for couples who had planned their weddings here-- maybe springtime weddings, a very popular time to tie the knot? How many couples have had to postpone, and what are you seeing in terms of what they plan to do in the future?

TIM CHI: Sure thing, Zack. So we host 15 online wedding marketplaces across the world, including Italy, Spain, France as well as The Knot, the wedding wire, here in the US. So as a byproduct, we've had an opportunity to speak with thousands and thousands of engaged couples, both directly with our hotline as well as through surveying. And what we found is that over 90% of couples across all of the countries we serve are postponing or rescheduling their weddings. The way it sort of breaks down is 40%-- if you're having a wedding in the next three months, 40% are pushing to late summer, early fall. Another 20% are pushing into the fall, early winter. And 15% are pushing into early 2021 right now.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, that would match up with what I've seen so far too. I was supposed to go to one in April, and that one got postponed, I believe, to July-- got to double check the date to make sure I don't miss it. But what are you advising a lot of couples out there to do in these instances, right? Because I don't think a lot would have thought about wedding insurance or options there to protect some of these costs. Because if you do need to book these things again, I mean, there's a lot of different independent contractors you might need to work with. So what are you advising couples?

TIM CHI: Absolutely. So of all of the calls that we've gotten in on our hotline, there's three main things that we've been hearing. Number one is how do I go about and reschedule and postpone? And of course, you know, the advice and guidance we give to all of our couples is you just got to call all of the wedding vendors that you've booked and work with them directly.

The second thing we've been hearing is, how do I tell my guests? What should I communicate? When do I tell them about the date change? And so our wedding experts are helping with that. And the third thing that we're hearing, honestly, is just being able to talk to wedding experts and an empathetic ear. This is a hard time for folks who have been planning for over a year now. And you know, they just want to-- we're just happy that we can offer some comfort along the way.

HEIDI CHUNG: Hey, Timothy. It's Heidi Chung here. Just because you have so much insight, we're heading into the spring summer, obviously peak wedding season. At the other side of this crisis, when it's all said and done, are we going to see all of those weddings just rescheduled? Or are some people actually just foregoing having a traditional wedding altogether?

TIM CHI: Yeah. Right now, we're tracking about 4% cancellations. Again, so the large, large majority are rescheduling or postponing. So yeah, Heidi, to your point, I think we're going to see a big demand shift to the right here that are going to hit in the summer-- late summer, early fall timeline right now.

ZACK GUZMAN: I mean, that's not exactly something you can just full-on cancel-- I guess there are some other ways to go and dial it back. For you, I would assume that that would be bad for business if people were to go that route. But when we look at it, I guess winter weddings could be a thing. That could be something that could crop up. Have you seen people getting a little bit more creative with the ways that they'll have to do this?

TIM CHI: Well, absolutely. And one of the most-- one of the biggest things we're seeing right now is, if you imagine, weddings are usually planned 12 to 14 months ahead of time. So a lot of the key dates in fall and winter and late summer-- the Friday, Saturday, Sundays are booked up already. So as this demand shifts to the right, there's not as many traditional dates available. So we are seeing more Thursday weddings or being open to a Monday wedding just to sort of absorb all of the demand that's shifting into that season.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, Monday weddings just don't-- a Monday winter wedding just sounds like a double whammy for a lot of people. But are you seeing a bottleneck effect, too, though? Because I know-- I mean, we talk about these dates. It's hard to line the stuff up. There's a lot of work that goes into it. I'm a minister myself, I've officiated these things. There's a lot of planning that goes into it. But when we look at it, could there be a bottleneck effect? Could you expect a spike in prices for a lot of these people who are moving to different dates if they are in the fall, or whenever we get the all clear to come out? Is that something that you're potentially projecting as well?

TIM CHI: I don't know that it's-- we're not really projecting or don't have a point of view on spike in pricing, per se. I think it's more of the absorption of demand. And I would say that a lot of vendors historically, in fact, if you're in the business or do it, you may notice as well-- Monday through Thursday generally aren't heavily booked as well. So it's incremental business for the small businesses that serve the wedding industry right now.

And really, it's just a necessity caused by the situation that we're in right now. So one of the greatest things about being in this industry is seeing everyone come together, stack cans, and just try to figure out how to make this really, really important moment for, you know, engaged couples work, even if it's delayed a bit.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah. And I mean, as we've seen from a lot of these things-- I've been tracking some weddings out there-- people get creative, people are there, you're surrounded by your loved ones. They don't care where it is, what you do. So that's important to keep in mind. I don't charge for my services yet, but maybe we'll discuss after-- see what we can do. Tim Chi, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate you.

TIM CHI: Thanks for having me.