Planning a wedding can be stressful especially during this time, so we’ve asked some of our vendors for their advice!
Plenty of things have changed in 2020 and that includes pricing and contracts. Make sure your prospects are willing to discuss their policies openly. Of all the questions you are often advised to ask by wedding blogs, knowing about your wedding photographer experience, business practices, and agreement clauses are the most important. If you have a wedding photographer who is open and excited to be your listening ear and guide, you might have a keeper!
When the time comes to find the perfect wedding photographer to document your celebration, do not delay. Popular photographers in the area are often booked a year or two in advance. Add to that the 2020 celebrations we needed to move to 2021 and our availability is limited. We are trying to accommodate both newly engaged and postponed celebrations, so 2021 and even 2022 will be very busy years!
Scheduling a phone or virtual chat to get to know your favorite photographers should be your first step. By getting to know them, besides what you see on social media, you will be able to narrow the ones who are the best match to your personality. Yes, it is not only about pretty pictures. Your wedding is about emotions and your ability to be comfortable expressing them in front of your photographer. This first contact will help you connect on a personal level. Connecting with your wedding photographer gives you images that are truly yourselves
Now that you know what makes your favorite photographer different from the rest, schedule an in-person meeting. During this meeting, you will want to view the products, collections, and reassess your connection. Is it strong enough? Do the products and services match your goals? Does the collection have everything you need within the budget you have set? If so, do not delay booking! This goes for every one of your vendors, really. When you have fallen in love with them, put a ring on it!
For any brides in the midst of 2020 wedding planning, my recommendation is to really understand your vendors’ deposit policy. If the deposit is non-refundable, and there’s a chance your event may be impacted, ask upfront about available options for Plan B. It breaks our hearts when our brides have to reschedule or cancel but we’ll do everything in our power to make it up to you! While a full refund for small businesses may not be feasible, I’ve personally offered styling for a separate event when the time comes (bridal shower or holiday party). We always hope to be available in the event that you have to reschedule, but it’s not always guaranteed. And if that does happen, rest assured we know plenty of amazingly talented artists and vendors in the area and we’re happy to offer recommendations to ease the wedding planning process!
Make sure to focus on themselves for the wedding. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s very similar to gas in your car. Of course you know you need it, but if you don’t intentionally stop and get it, you’re in for a frustrating ride. A great idea for every couple that has just started to plan is to view this as building a new brand. They should sit down and brainstorm just like new companies do. Who are they, what makes them different/unique, what is their mission statement/vision for their wedding. This sounds totally unromantic, but if they do this and have some concrete things written down, they can then use that as a baseline for all of the decisions that are to come. They can also be intentional at this stage to add in dates, special moments, etc. as part of their wedding journey. Plans up front always help things run smoother.
But of course, always be concrete in flexibility because as we all know, something IS GOING TO HAPPEN and some changes will need to be made. If you expect it up front, it’s easier to flex once it happens.
And of course … grab your officiant early! They are responsible for driving the ceremony itself so you don’t want to have to settle for whoever is available. Even if they are great, they may not be the best fit for you.
–Evan Poe, Married by Evan
It has been a crazy year for me as a wedding DJ! So many awesome couples have reluctantly postponed, or even canceled their planned events on our “restriction roller coaster.” But there are so many options for you out there! If you are afraid that a smaller wedding won’t be fun, you couldn’t be further from the truth!
In the past few months, I’ve provided music and MC services for a handful of weddings that were under 35 people total, and each one was amazingly fun. I even enjoyed doing a wedding that had only 17 people (kids included) and we had a blast!! Never underestimate how a large dinner party atmosphere can be just what you wanted all along. Remember “2” is company… “3” is a crowd… “25” can be perfect! Besides, if you want to do a couple’s swing dance lesson (yes, we offer that) you’ll need more space to dance anyway!
If you just have to have more friends and family, there are still options: Some venues will allow you to group your guests either by time slots, or by separated spaces and still maintain all mandated protocols. You can do games like limbo, scavenger hunt, family feud, etc… And let’s not forget about the perpetual “3rd choice” of streaming portions of your ceremony/reception to your preferred platform.
Either way, fight for your wedding, like you’ll fight for your marriage! You can do it… you love each other!!
–Ezra Washington, E & E Special Events
I think our biggest tip would be to think about incorporating your wedding colors in unconventional ways! You don’t have to use table clothes to add color to your wedding! Tie in your wedding colors using a bomb runner or a super cute napkin! Doing a small gathering instead? Use fun and colorful linens for cocktail tables, decorating your bar, or your mask table! There are many ways to include your colors than just the tables so think outside the box!
If your date changes, then reach out to the hotel sales department directly once your date is in place…before others groups book or area events are announced. Ask for a Courtesy Rate Agreement so you are not responsible for unused rooms. Not all hotels offer this as an option but it’s always a great idea to ask! Lastly, go to the dollar store & create a little gift bag for each room. Along with a bottled beverage, aspirin, VA Peanuts, masks, Forbes Saltwater Taffy include important printed information such as phone #s in case someone gets lost & the timeline/agenda with the address of the venue. You would not believe how many guests arrive at the hotel & do not know where to go for the wedding.
Navigating the pandemic as a business owner and a bride has given me a unique perspective on weddings today. As a business owner I have adapted products in order to serve a delicious charcuterie graze while keeping social distancing in mind. The traditional grazing table has now turned into individual “boogie boards”. As a bride, I have shifted my mindset from what I am missing to what I am getting. In a time where so much feels uncertain, I encourage couples to find joy in knowing they have found something so certain, their love for one another!
–Katie, Long Board Charcuterie