What a wild ride the last year and a half has been. I am confident that when the clock struck 12:00 at the beginning of 2020, none of us had a clue what we were in for. I never in my wildest dreams could have dreamt up what we would face in 2020, and I am sure you all feel the same way. This worldwide pandemic has rocked the wedding industry to its absolute core, and over the last several months we have really started to see the long term affects that COVID has brought to the wedding industry.
Before I share how the wedding industry has been affected, I wanted to acknowledge that so many people have been affected in ways much more significant than what we are seeing in the wedding industry and what I’m going to share about today. Sickness, death, job loss to name a few. While the last year and a half has absolutely been incredibly challenging in the wedding industry, it’s nothing compared to what some have dealt with. It’s not lost on me that I still get to wake up every day and serve the best couples and dream up the most incredible wedding days. It’s a blessing I will never, ever take for granted. Especially after 2020.
As a wedding planner, I really started to see the long term affects COVID has had on the wedding industry earlier this year. These changes have been significant and have made us really have to be creative and flexible to make things work as smoothly and as beautifully as they did before COVID. Here are some things that the wedding industry is facing, and things you might deal with while planning a wedding during this time:
- The Wedding Boom. Many couples were scared to truly start planning for the future with so many unknowns last year. Pair that with months of postponed weddings, and the demand for everything in the wedding industry has never been higher. We are completely booked for 2021, more than half way booked for 2022, and have already started booking for 2023. Yesterday alone, we received 10 (!!) inquiries from new couples. In one day! I’ve literally never seen anything like this in my 10 plus years in the wedding industry. And I know my vendor partners are seeing the same things.
- Supply shortages. Every single aspect of life is seeing supply chain issues right now. From housing to furniture to food. And the wedding industry is no different. We are seeing shortages of many items due to the wedding boom and due to not being able to get in new stuff as quickly as we used to. Rentals, linens, flowers…there are massive shortages of it everywhere. Prior to 2020, I could dream up anything I wanted for a client and one of my creative partners could make it happen. Now, I am being told “no I am so sorry we can’t get that in time” more than I like to be.
- Significantly increased costs. Unfortunately, with shortages comes an increase in costs. The costs of labor, transportation, shipping, and supplies are up significantly, which of course is making vendor costs increase. The wholesale costs of flowers is up almost 25% right now. That’s a big increase! In order to continue to operate a business, vendors have certainly had to increase their prices as well to cover their rising costs.
So what should you do if you are planning a wedding during this time?
- Hire a wedding planner. It doesn’t necessarily have to be us (although we’d love to have you!), just be sure it’s a good one! Planners have inside access to information, quick access to vendors, and the know how to navigate and manage the process during these challenging times. If you weren’t planning to hire one previously, you should definitely strongly consider it now.
- Be flexible. I hate the word flexible when it comes to wedding planning, but unfortunately we just have to be right now. Flexible with dates. Flexible with vendors. Flexible with guest lists. Flexible with budgets. Flexible with everything, honestly.
- Be prepared for inflated costs. Because of all the things I listed above, everything is just more expensive. A wedding that cost $x in 2019, is at least 25% more than that now. Weddings have always been an investment, and that investment is rising more and more. I promise your vendors aren’t pocketing all of this extra money – they are literally turning around and giving it to someone else whether that’s their team, FedEx, their wholesale suppliers, etc.
- Have grace with those in the wedding industry. While the wedding boom is not an excuse for wedding vendors to not do their job and not to do it well, we are all struggling a little bit to keep up. Give them a little more time than you normally would to respond and get things back to you. Previously, I really wanted to see a response from our vendors in 48 business hours. Now I am completely understanding if it takes a week to get back to me. My patience hasn’t grown during this time, unfortunately. But I do understand what they are dealing with and am trying to be as gracious as possible! I think I can speak for most vendors when I say we are so thankful to be back to work, and we are trying really hard to make our clients wedding dreams a reality.
With all the negative news and energy in the world right now, I know it can get discouraging. But what an amazing time it is to be able to celebrate the most precious gift in the world – your new marriage! Wedding planning is hard sometimes – but it’s SO worth it. We are so incredibly excited to celebrate our sweet couples’ love stories, now more than ever!
To my wedding industry peers:
We made it through 2020. But I know 2021 is a hard year too, in a completely different way. Give yourself grace, and continue to serve your clients to the absolute best of your ability. But remember to give your clients grace too. They are excited about their big day. They are excited to work with you. What. An. Honor. I am confident that this is just a season of hustle, and serving your clients with grace and understanding will always make you win in the long run. I’m cheering you on, and excited to work with and grow with all of you in 2021 and beyond!