2022 is the year of the wedding BOOM, with an expectation of over 2.6 million weddings to take place – a record 40-year-high! In addition to this resurgence, there are still the repercussions of the COVID carryover of postponed weddings from the past two years placing extraordinary demands on current availability and access.
Imagine weddings being on pause and, suddenly, the world pressing the “play” button all at once – then, fast-forwarding through 2 years of pent-up wedding industry demand.
I don’t want to make it seem like the sky is falling (not even the ceiling😄), but the reality is the demand is skyrocketing and, coincidently, wedding planning timelines are accelerating.
During this wedding boom climate, time is of the essence! Planning during a wedding boom demands that decisions are made and executed much sooner.
- Prior to the 2022 wedding boom: Your decision process may have allowed you to take a week or two to consider venues/vendors after meeting with them.
- Currently: The decision window has narrowed significantly, dictating that you make informed choices swiftly. Within a matter of hours – sometimes minutes (no exageration). Venues and vendors are prioritizing their calendars and confirming dates based on a “first-come, “first-paid” basis (forget about temporary holds on dates).
- Costs for products and services have increased from 20-40% over 2021; be prepared to increase your wedding budget!
Whether you’ve just got engaged (Congratulations!) or working on a postponed timeline, the following must do’s will help you plan your wedding day pressure-free and proactively; which is critical during a time of such industry overwhelm. The goal is to keep your stress at a minimum, so that you never lose the flutter of that wonderful, soon-to-be-wed feeling.
STEP ONE: PRIORITIZE
Take a moment to have an in-depth conversation with your partner about the overarching goals of the entire wedding planning process.
- Begin with a list of no more than 5 must-haves
- Determine your non-negotiables
- Outside of a professional planner, decide who else will be closely involved in the planning process, such as a supporter or financial contributor
- Delegate responsibilities in the planning process.
STEP TWO: SET YOUR BUDGET
Smartly, set a budget. A budget will empower you to plan accordingly, be more prepared as you hire vendors and track your expenditures. As with any aspect of the planning process, remember the two of you are partners, therefore agreeing upon the budget is key to maintaining joy throughout the process
The first quick calculation to budgeting is knowing your CPG (cost per guest); this will provide you with a more realistic guide on how much to spend on your big day based on the style of wedding you envision. CPG includes all associated costs: venue, food and beverage, entertainment, floral décor, entertainment, your wedding planner, transportation, etc. – everything you plan to spend money on for your wedding divided by the number of persons in attendance for your wedding.
- If the national average cost of a wedding in Washington DC (per media statistics) is approximately $40K and the average guest count is 100 persons; $40K divided by 100 equals $400 per person (this is your CPG).
- If you plan to invite 200 persons, then multiply 200 by $400 to get your estimated total wedding budget ($80,000). Anticipate to pay much higher in larger metropolitan areas and if you plan to utilize all professional vendors rather than DIY your wedding.
This is a great starting point to determine your budget. However, be cautious as there are a myriad of variables that factor into establishing a budget (based on the style, geographical location, details, the type of venue etc.)
Bonus Tip #1: Consult with an experienced wedding planner, and inquire about their average CPG. This will help you forecast your overall budget. If you were to consult with me, I would inform you that the average CPG (cost per guest) for the weddings I planned in 2021 – with an average guest count of 150 persons – was $800: average total wedding budget – $120,000.
STEP THREE: CHOOSE THE IDEAL DATE
Your wedding date will be one of the first questions that will be asked by your family and friends, guaranteed. So, you may be asking, “How do I choose the ideal date during a literal wedding boom?”
One of the hardest parts of planning during a wedding boom is going to be establishing a wedding date. For this reason, I urge couples to be open-minded to alternative options and to remain flexible.
Keeping flexibility in mind, here are a few suggestions to inspire your thought process as you choose a date:
- Symbolic Dates: Make a note of the significant days in your life or special moments you have shared as a couple. How romantic would it be to be married on the date you first met or on your grandparents’ anniversary?
- Honor Cultural Traditions: In some Chinese weddings, the newly engaged couple will consult a Chinese calendar to choose a favorable, “lucky” date. This incorporates a cultural tradition in a way that makes their day feel special.
- Celebrate the season: Consider your wedding’s personality, then choose your season accordingly. Will it be cherry blossoms in the spring, vibrant leaves in fall or a snow-filled winter landscape?
STEP FOUR: HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER
One of the best decisions you can make during this time is to hire a Wedding Planner. An experienced wedding planner will guide you with the tactical skills and creative brilliance to masterfully manifest the wedding of your dreams, in spite of the boom.
When it comes to wedding planning, every little thing is EVERYTHING, and the increased demand adds an entirely new set of new challenges. Therefore, a highly competent Wedding Planner should be number one on your wedding dream team.
Benefits of hiring a wedding planner:
- A Wedding Planner will take away your worry and stress by removing the tasks associated with wedding planning off your plate.
- A Wedding Planner will oversee the entire process on your behalf. There would be no need for you to juggle between your career and personal life, while trying to balance the multitude of logistical details of planning a wedding
- A Wedding Planner will shift your focus back to zen’ing out on your love for one another – not spending countless hours researching ideas, vetting vendors, and strategizing options. They will perform their due diligence on your behalf and have a database of trusted resources ready and at your disposal.
The benefits do not end there. A professional Wedding Planner will ensure the entire process is organized and optimized. Being organized also lends itself to streamlining and keeping tight tabs on your investment. With a planner, every penny will be well spent and accounted for.
STEP FIVE: FIND THE PERFECT VENUE
Looking for the perfect venue is synonymous to finding the perfect home. You should feel connected to the space and it should reflect your unique sense of style and personality. And just like a home, as soon as you step one foot into the space, you should instinctively know that this is the perfect place to welcome family and friends to witness and celebrate the love you share.
When searching for the perfect venue during a wedding boom, once again, flexibility is key. There are significantly more newly engaged couples vying for popular venues, causing the demand to outweigh the supply.
Prior to the current wedding boom, popular venues were typically booked 12 to 18 months in advance (with Saturday dates being the first to be contracted. Currently, competition has increased exponentially.
If you are unable to reserve a Saturday date, consider a Friday, Sunday, or weekday.
Other flexible options:
- Consider the time of day; possibly host an early morning wedding versus the traditional evening wedding.
- Ask your venue about non-peak seasons which varies by each location; this provides the opportunity of open dates and sometimes a better value.
- Another idea is to “think outside of the weekend” and switch to a weekday date which sometimes results in releasing some of the financial pressure on your wedding budget.
Bonus Tip #2: In addition to the venue’s aesthetics and character, consider its location and the feeling it imbues. Will your wedding be in the center of a bustling metropolitan city, quaint suburb, or charming rural area – such as a farm, winery, or mountainside? The investment and experiences surrounding each of these locations vary and depend upon your expectations of your special day.
STEP SIX: CONTACT KEY VENDORS
So far, you’ve created a blueprint to stay on budget, organized and on track + you’ve considered the two common questions: “when” and “where”. Now, you can move forward by securing the remaining vendors, to include: an officiant, entertainment, caterer, photographer, videographer, floral designer, etc.
With the bustling wedding boom of 2022, I implore couples to not procrastinate in the planning process. As soon as you have completed steps one through five, keep the momentum going by not only emailing but also picking up the phone to contact vendors to let them know you are getting married, and you are in need of their service! ASAP!
Even with this step, it is important to prioritize to stay ahead of the demands the wedding boom has placed on the market. Depending on your length of planning time, you may decide to secure 2-3 vendors per month.
Bonus Tip #3: I recommend creating a planning calendar/task list. Maintain this list in a central location for you both to access and keep the communication flowing. Google Drive is an excellent centralized resource tool for sharing and storing all things wedding!
Planning a wedding during one of the biggest wedding booms in history may be a test of your patience and endurance. However, I assure you, boom or no boom, your engagement should be a thriving time filled with fond memories – and planning your wedding should be an enjoyable experience.
With these must-do’s as your guidepost, you’ll be empowered to move forward confidently, earnestly and joyfully.