For those newly initiated into the fiancé(e) club, you’ve likely heard that you’re not the only one planning a wedding. Not even close. The wedding boom continues to impact the industry, as venues and vendors work through a backlog of celebrations postponed during the pandemic.
And while the industry plays catchup, couples face steep competition to secure the wedding dates of their dreams.
While booking a venue is the first step to landing a date, many other factors go into a well-planned wedding. We asked industry experts to chime in with advice for engaged couples — follow these tips to plan your big day without worrying about the wedding boom.
Keep an open mind.
A flexible approach is always best for wedding planning, but it’s especially crucial while the market is at high capacity. Avoid setting your sights on specific elements, as Sandy Brooks of Timeless Event Planning suggests.
“Couples should be open to different venues, locations, and vendors, or they will be pretty disappointed when they don’t have their dream team,” Brooks asserts. “When couples are flexible with dates, it leads to fewer heartbreaks when you find out your top vendors are unavailable.”
Remember: Your wedding day isn’t about hosting the perfect party for your loved ones. It’s about marrying your partner and starting a new chapter together, which is beautiful regardless of your wedding’s backdrop or support team!
Skip the Saturday tradition.
If you have your heart set on a specific venue or vendor, you may find more availability by adjusting your wedding date to a less-popular day of the week.
“With so many weddings rescheduled due to the pandemic, it’s a tough time to be newly engaged,” affirms Betsy Scott of Hudson Valley Weddings at The Hill. “Saturdays are tight, but there may be some wiggle room in your area for Friday or Sunday weddings.”
And if you’re concerned about breaking tradition, rest assured that there’s no reason to worry. The Soulful Wedding’s Maureen Cotton confirms that “many guests have to travel or take off work for weddings regardless, and it’s no longer a faux pas to celebrate on other days of the week.”
So don’t be afraid of a weekday wedding or Sunday brunch celebration — your loved ones will join and celebrate your love any day!
Don’t wait too long.
As you tour venues and meet with vendors, you’ll feel in your heart when you’ve found the right fit. And when you know, you know — so don’t waste any time booking! Otherwise, you may lose your wedding date (and even the venue) to someone else.
“The best thing you can do is focus on making fast decisions on booking your venue,” assures Shannon Tarrant of Wedding Venue Map. “When you find the one that feels right, works in your budget, and has a date that works for you available, sign the contract and put down the deposit ASAP. Many venues do not hold dates, and with limited availability this year, couples need to decide quickly.”
Deciding on the spot can be stressful, so head into your tours and consultations prepared. Sit down with your partner to agree on your must-haves, nice-to-haves, and must-nots when it comes to the best match. That way, you’ll have a systematic way to determine whether to book a venue or vendor without letting emotions take over.
Hire a planner for support.
Of course, every step of wedding planning is made easier by having a professional on your side! An experienced planner isn’t just there to check off your to-dos; they also have a robust network in the industry, which may help you unlock some extra spots with a dream venue or vendor (and even save money in the process).
“Absolutely hire a planner as she/her/they will have unadvertised venues up their sleeve, likely with more availability,” recommends Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss. “In addition, the time and stress your planner will save you are priceless.”
If you haven’t secured a date or a venue yet, consider making it a priority to book a wedding planner first. Then, you won’t have to figure out the rest of it on your own!
Opt for a scaled-down celebration.
Sometimes, there’s a date so significant that it must be your wedding day (and anniversary for years!). But if you’re finding the local market challenging to navigate, it may be worth considering a smaller celebration on that date.
“If a date is truly meaningful, consider an intimate, at-home wedding ceremony and then plan for a grand celebration with family and friends later,” suggests Bunn DJ Company’s Joe Bunn. “By being flexible, you’ll get the best of both worlds.”
In this way, you can honor your special date while still having the big reception of your dreams at a later time. Bonus: You get two anniversaries if you choose!
Wait it out.
Alternatively, you may find it easier to press pause on your wedding plans and wait for the industry to settle down. (It will!) Not only will waiting improve the likelihood of getting the perfect wedding date, but more time to plan can also mean less stress along the way.
“While it can be frustrating to delay your wedding, think of it as an opportunity to plan without stress and even build up that bank account for your special celebration,” says Peter Mitsaelides of Brooklake Country Club & Events.
So if you don’t mind carrying the fiancé(e) tag a little longer, consider pushing back your wedding and celebrating all of the fun and excitement of simply being engaged!
Take it slow.
Whether you’re ready to get hitched ASAP or you’re choosing a wedding date further out, stress and overwhelm have no place in your plans. Slow down and remember your wedding is just one day, whereas your love and commitment to one another are forever.
“The more you wait for good things to come, the fewer obstacles you will face with vendor availability,” assures Monika Kreinberg of Furever Us. “You will be able to make better choices as you are not rushed or pressured to book immediately. You will be able to shop around more with more options. Ideally, couples must see time as a friend, not as a dream quencher. Their love for each other will not change if they do not get married within a specific timeframe.”
Cotton agrees, noting that “taking time to be intentional and fully in sync with your partner will always yield a better wedding and less stressful engagement.”
Long story short, you cannot control the circumstances influencing the market. However, you can prepare strategically and govern your emotions to adapt to the changes.
Whether that means planning a different-but-just-as-perfect wedding or waiting until the rush slows down, remind yourself about what matters most: celebrating your love in all the moments — not just the grand ones, but the small everyday ones as well.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
We’ve partnered with OFD Consulting to bring you this great advice from their collective of wedding professionals.