Getting engaged is one of the most exciting & highly anticipated moments of your life… However, when you get engaged in the midst of a seemingly never-ending global health crisis, the excitement might also be followed by a slight sense of anxiety when it comes to starting down the road of planning your wedding. After what we’ve all been through, where to even begin, and is it actually okay to start planning this thing?!
The answer is yes. It is go-time. There may be some bumps left in the road, but pop the prosecco and settle in as we answer 10 commonly asked questions to help you navigate the (hopefully tail-end of) pandemic wedding planning…
What are weddings going to look like in 2022?
Although we don’t have a crystal ball, most of our events are anticipating being able to fully move forward without indoor capacity restrictions assuming some sort of vaccination requirement or proof of a negative test is in place by the host venue (ex. the Restrictions Exemption Program in Alberta) This is becoming more commonplace for many indoor public events and spaces too.
As for masking, it is likely we’ll see that requirement in place at least for early 2022 in indoor public spaces, with possible mask restrictions being lifted for fully vaccinated individuals. But as we all know, only time will tell, so buy the cute matching masks just in case.
Is it true that popular venues/vendors are already booked till 2023?
Most popular wedding vendors can confidently tell you their year is close to or already fully booked – 2022 is going to be very busy for weddings, it’s like the Wild West for inquiries! This is mainly because of all the large weddings with international guest lists that didn’t opt to downsize and got pushed from 2020 to 2021, and again to 2022. Between now and then, so many couples were also joyfully engaged as life goes on, so here we are in the highest levels of daily inquiries that any wedding vendor has ever seen.
… But, should I care about that, or should I push on?
It might not be a problem for you depending on how flexible you are. If there are certain vendors you have your eye on to work with, we advise to inquire/book early and be open to off-peak dates such as weekdays or off-season (November – May). Some couples are happy with those compromises and it’s up to you to decide if that’s what you want. Here in Canada, we have a smaller population than say the US, so the best venues/vendors do book earlier than usual.
What do I do first after I get engaged?
Once you’re ready to start planning & you’ve sufficiently celebrated your beautiful new jewelry, discuss when you’d like to get married and then reach out to a few of your favourite venues for availability. Knowing that summer 2022 is busy, choosing dates in the non-peak season (November – May) is a good idea to ensure a higher chance that the venues/vendors you want to work with are also available. If you have the ability to be flexible, pushing things to 2023 if you want a peak date or opting for off-season might make it a little less stressful for you.
Next is getting together the guest list. For most weddings in 2022 we are not anticipating the need to cut numbers and that most venues are opting for the REP in order to proceed business-as-usual. So that’s the biggest change from 2021 to 2022, and all in the “good news” column.
What tips do you have for planning a wedding in 2022?
Let me tell you, from what we saw in 2021… People are ready to party. After months of being cooped up, please expect your guests to unleash themselves like a pack of wild animals. Guest RSVP rates are higher than we’ve ever seen them, at often upwards of 95% when the past baseline was 70%, so be very considerate of any “courtesy invites”. Invite the people you actually want there, to be on the safe side. Bar tabs have been a little higher as a result too, so plan for a little extra on that budget line item.
It will still be important that you communicate any vaccination or negative test requirements of the venue to your guests in advance of the wedding day, so that they can arrive prepared either via the wedding website or an email blast that goes out a few weeks beforehand.
Should I still consider a smaller wedding or elopement?
Smaller weddings (often called “micro weddings”) have been a blessing in disguise for many couples. They are typically less stressful, more authentic/personal, and more focused on what really matters. For some, this might be just the permission you needed to have a smaller, more meaningful wedding day.
If we can offer two tidbits of insight from the weddings we were a part of this year; Fewer guests doesn’t mean less fun. It means more quality time spent between you and the guests who are able to attend. And also, this is good news for your budget, because smaller guest counts allow your budget to have a bigger impact. If you have to compromise on the guest count, sometimes that means you can splurge on something else like the floral arch of your dreams or the videographers you’d always wished you could work with. Your dream wedding becomes more affordable on a smaller scale.
If we can’t dance, should I still book a DJ or musician?
YES – Often DJ’s will also provide a sound system & mics for your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception – It’s a lot more than just the dance, and there is nothing worse than a crackly mic during your vows if the house system at your venue isn’t great. We are firm believers that live or recorded music is essential to enhancing the mood and creating a special atmosphere at the wedding, no matter how big or small – It goes a very long way. This is one wedding pro we wouldn’t recommend cutting out.
Is live-streaming still a thing?
Yes! And it’s a great solution if you feel a smaller wedding is still the best fit for you, even if things are opening up. Some guests may still be cautious with international travel, and the ability to livestream has been revolutionized to provide a great feed & multiple angles for your virtual guests… They might even end up having the best views! There are creative and fun ways to make “would’ve-been” guests still feel like part of the magic – Some of our favourite ideas include sending guests a care package in advance, with a small something to toast with as they view the live stream.
What should I look for in a venue contract?
Be clear on their willingness to comply with the Restrictions Exemption Program which would mean your event can proceed with minimal measures in place, and any postponement & cancellation policies. Most venues will not allow event cancellation without losing the deposit, however it’s good to be aware of what their policies have been in regards to postponements if you need to do so.
Should I pay deposits for vendors or hold off on planning?
Yes, yes, yes. As numbers have decreased and more information is known about the virus versus last year, now it’s finally okay to get excited about your wedding without too much stress about the what-ifs. Once you have your date & venue confirmed – full steam ahead.