Apr 27, 2020
Welcome back, folks, for Part Two of this mini-series! (You can find Part One here, dedicated to those couples whose weddings are within the next few months in 2020).
To get you up to speed: a few weeks ago I was wracking my brain for ideas on how best to serve my couples (current and future) during this crazy time, and it dawned on me, Who better to ask advice from but four wedding planners located in the tri-state area? Thanks to these talented planners- Corinne Van Arsdale from Canvas Weddings, Kristi Fiola from Verve On Location, Angela Christoforo from Elite Wedding Planning, and Emily Baldwin from Emily Baldwin Events– I’ve got plenty of words of planning wisdom to share with those of you who recently got engaged and have yet to start planning the wedding, or for those who did start already but the planning came to an abrupt halt when Covid-19’s beloved Stay at Home orders hit.
Your wedding budget needs a good, thorough evaluation- especially if your financial circumstances have changed in Coronaland. Being detailed is important.
“One of the best things you can do right now is gather quotes and start to build a wedding budget that is a) super detailed b) based on REAL numbers and c) works for you!” Corinne from Canvas Weddings suggests. I agree with her on this, especially because pricing for vendors can vary state-by-state, and it can also vary based on experience level.
If your finances have recently changed, “Create a budget breakdown spreadsheet and perhaps see where you can cut back by really determining what you will be able to afford and what the most important aspects of your wedding are,” Emily from Emily Baldwin Events recommends. “Do you want to have amazing food? Can you cut out having a cake? Perhaps [consider] a DJ over a band to save some money?”
Personally, I recommend making a priority list- which vendors are your absolute Must Haves? Which ones can you go without or what aspects can you DIY?
This one was a big one among all the planners; researching and vetting vendors has never been easier. “SO much wedding planning can happen over Zoom calls! You can discuss menus with a caterer, floral designs with a florist, the best jams with a DJ and the timeline and family photo shot list with your photographer and SO much more from the comfort of your own sofa. Quarantine does not necessarily need to slow you down in your planning,” says Corinne from Canvas Weddings.
Many vendors have done what they can to make their services easier to access for review. Kristi from Verve on Locations mentions, “We are loving that venues are now doing ‘virtual tours’ of their spaces. Bridal salons are going ‘live’ posting new collections, [and] bakeries are allowing couples to pick up cakes to be tasted at home rather than in the bakery.”
One thing is for sure though- if you fall in love with a vendor and you’re in a position to do so, book as soon as you can. “Due to all of the weddings this year being postponed, the 2021 availability for vendors is going quickly and we would hate to see [our couples] miss out on a dream vendor due to taking an extra few days to decide,” adds Kristi.
PRO TIP: Make sure to read your contract and ask questions (if you’re unclear what certain terms mean). “We are advising [our couples] to pay particular attention to contract language regarding postponements and cancellations. I think this is something everyone should be looking at because your wedding could be canceled or postponed for many other reasons, not just the coronavirus,” recommends Angela from Elite Wedding Planning.
Corinne from Canvas Weddings agrees. “My couples are MUCH more keenly into reviewing vendor contracts and clearly understanding the language as it relates to cancellations and liability clauses. I always review contracts and know what is standard industry-wide, but this situation has made all of my couple conscious of what they are agreeing to with all of their vendors and they’re taking more of an active approach in making sure they are comfortable with what they are signing.”
These wedding vendors had a lot of recommendations for what you can do while you’re stuck at home: draft a guest list, collect addresses, design your seating chart or Save-the-Dates, or even put together party favors (if they’re simple).
“Work with your family to narrow down your guest list and really determine the number of people you can invite based on your budget, as your budget may have changed since the pandemic hit us,” suggests Emily from Emily Baldwin Events.
PRO TIP from yours truly: make a list of the top 50 attendees including yourselves and any must-have vendors in case government restrictions do not allow you to have more than that amount and you are not otherwise postponing.
Kristi from Verve On Location had a similar great suggestion. “Create an Excel sheet with multiple tabs that you can have your engagement party, bridal shower, Save the Dates, invites and Thank You lists ready to go! Most companies will allow you to easily upload these to their systems to print on your envelopes.”
I wanted to end this little mini-series on this final note shared by Corinne from Canvas Weddings, because I thought it was so hopeful and encouraging:
“One thing I really hope changes in the wedding ‘mindset’ is what our focus is when we make weddings. Weddings are SO fun to plan – they’re beautiful, we feel special and celebrated and it’s an amazing rite of passage. But I really hope that when it’s all said and done, our culture starts to value weddings as primarily investments in the future – the creation of families, the support of communities and a celebration of the fact that we as people are at our best when we are committing ourselves to love each other and support each other. The rest of the details of planning a wedding are wonderful and fun, but the heart of a wedding is that we are promising to continue the best parts of humanity into the future – love, commitment and support. I hope that this time spent in uncertainty puts us into the right perspective going forward when we think about what a wedding is and what it means.”
Dang, girl, I couldn’t have said it better mahself!
If you’d like more detailed information regarding wedding planning during the pandemic, you can hit up the LIVE REPLAY of a webinar I hosted last week with Alison Semmler of Lifestyle Maven Events. Ali is an OG city girl who’s been in the wedding industry for many years and plans and design weddings and non-profit events through the tri-state area as well as intimate luxury destination weddings.
As always, if you’ve got follow-up questions, feel free to hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org! And I’m sure any of these wedding planners would be more than happy to hop on a call with you to see if they can help you in your wedding planning journey.