Posts Categorized: Wedding Planning

Post Pandemic Weddings & Events: Behind the Scenes of 2021

Spring 2021, the floodgates have opened. The wedding and social event industry in the Greater Seattle area has gone from a small trickling of celebrations in 2020 (thanks, but not thanks COVID-19) to a million miles an hour. Events are happening and inquiries are coming in stronger and faster than pre-pandemic levels as people are eager to celebrate both this year and in the year ahead in 2022! While our industry is thrilled for weddings and events to return as we’ve been waiting to get to this point since March 2020, the post Pandemic event world has changed and the wedding and events industry is doing it’s best to come back to life as smoothly as possible. 

Photo by Joanna Monger Photography

Weddings & Events are Back!

Couples who had postponed their wedding in 2020 are finally able to move forward with their wedding plans and are locking in final details for celebrations throughout this year. Families are eager to lock in celebrations that were put on hold and simply celebrate life with friends and family whether it being Birthday Parties, Post Pandemic Family BBQs or getting a chance to Celebrate a Life lost during this time.  In addition, newly engaged couples are worried that dates will soon be filled and are frantically locking in dates, venues and vendors in both 2021 and 2022. 

Photo by Jenn Tai Photo Artistry

While most people outside of the wedding and event industry see the front of the house I thought it might be helpful to give you a glimpse of behind the scenes and what is currently happening.

As a wedding and event planner we are used to working with a large volume of events and juggling a constantly full inbox plus meetings throughout town however this time it is different as the pause in the industry caused everyone to kick off planning at the same time. Pre pandemic, bookings for weddings and events would come in throughout the year, always heavier post Holidays, but making for a balance of the planning schedules for each event. However this time inquiries and the interest in planning has all happened at once – hello spring 2021. Clients we’ve been working with since 2019 and 2020 that chose to reschedule dates to 2021 and beyond having been excited to resume planning that was put on hold for 10+ months. We have been working together since the New Year revisiting plans and revising for the celebrations to come in the year ahead. At the same time weddings and events for both 2021 and 2022 are booking and planning at speeds we’ve never seen. Typically we are planning events that fall within a year to a year and a half away but this time we are planning events that should have taken place in 2020 as well as new events for 2021 and 2022 that are all at the same starting point. While we can’t complain it’s definitely a full and rushed start! 

As planners we get an inside look at every aspect of our industry and have firsthand knowledge of what we are experiencing working with venues and other vendors but not everyone gets this viewpoint. Here are just a few examples of what we are hearing as told by some of our most trusted industry pros.

Floral

Things to consider as you work with your florist as told by Flora Nova Design

Photo by Joe Tobiason Photography. Floral by Flora Nova Design.

~ We are seeing shortages and therefore pricing increases throughout the floral supply chain. It affects basic staples like white hydrangea, specific blush garden roses varieties, and favorite vases we love to use – just to name a few. 

~ Just a few weeks ago we were not able to get a single stem of white hydrangeas: an item usually available abundantly and stocked generously at our local wholesale markets. We needed to sub with white roses and white stock – not the same look but it worked. 

~ We are used to ordering specific rose varieties from our suppliers and keep a list of preferred colors, growers, and variety names. Repeatedly we are told that these varieties are not available which keeps us scrambling for possible replacements. 

~ One of our favorite glass centerpiece vases, which is our go-to for low designs, is out of stock until August. 

~ The list of shortages is long. It’s been a frustrating experience. Because of the shortages we see a 20% (and even up to 50%!) price increase on supplies. Customers need to be aware that pricing of wedding flower orders placed in 2020 or even in 2019 will need to be increased. 

~ The reasons for the shortages are manifold: I read that some farms have gone out of business. However, the majority of farms were simply not able to maintain their staff to plant the necessary crops in 2020 (because of the shut downs), therefor affecting supply this year. South-American farmers even switched to the much more lucrative farming of cannabis – a crop in high demand throughout the pandemic. 

We hope that this situation will normalize by 2022, but for now we need to roll with what we have. 

Tenting & Rentals

An inside look from CORT Party Rental

Photo by Alexandra Knight Photography. Tenting & Rentals by CORT Party Rental.

~ For drivers in the rental industry it’s more than just driving a truck and dropping off some equipment. Most times it also includes setting up and breaking down tents, flooring, and more. It’s more of an installer job. The need for delivery drivers has increased during the pandemic with more and more people having items delivered to their homes through companies like Amazon, UPS, FedEx, GrubHub, and UberEats.

~ As the season is ramping up and mandates are reducing, more and more people are ready to plan events which means an influx of rental requests – from both regular account customers and consumers. Adding sales associates to help with the demand will impact our success but with everyone else in the industry trying to ramp back up, the talent pool is either getting hired elsewhere or those previously in the events industry have moved into different industries like technology, real estate, and insurance, to name a few.

Everyone Wants a Tent!

~ From the beginning of the pandemic we knew that tented weddings and events would be the first type to come back. An outdoor environment is the least restricted option in terms of the regulations for COVID and many guests are more comfortable being fully outside. 

~ Because of this demand, the availability for tents is getting reserved much sooner than previous years. We anticipate seeing the surge of outdoor weddings and events last for a least a few more years, so reserving tenting well in advance of the event date is going to be important for all customers.

~ The important part to remember about tenting is that the installation requires a specific skill set of labor that has the proper training. Which in turn means that across all rental companies, there are only so many tents that can be setup in a day with this skilled labor force.

Supply Chain Shortages

~ We are seeing delays in product arrival across the board, but primarily in the tenting and lumber industry. Tent manufacturers have been running in overdrive this year to support the demand for outdoor space. Requests that would have been fulfilled in 3 weeks in 2019, are taking up to 18 weeks in 2021. In addition, lumber has been in high demand and the price has surged this year, which impacts the larger projects where the buildout includes a lumber subfloor. 

Stationery

Behind the Stationery Scene with Sablewood Paper Company

Photo by Barbie Hull Photography. Program by Sablewood  Paper Company.

SO many things are different this year than last year! Besides being overbooked for everything due to postponements from 2020 and new clients/income for 2021, there are definitely some stationer-specific differences: PAPER SHORTAGES.

Almost every colored paper out there is backordered until the end of June or beyond, especially the popular colors of 2020/2021 like muted greens, dusty rose, dusty blue, et cetera. Cotton paper (a favorite for letterpress) is in very high demand and is also backordered through a lot of print vendors. Paper mills are facing unprecedented shortages of supply and employees. Our production partners for wax seals, ribbon, and more are struggling to keep up with demand. I’ve had to source 5 or 10 sheets/envelopes from multiple vendors and colleagues just to get enough in hand to make a project work! 

Wedding Cakes & Custom Desserts

Honey Crumb Cake Studio owner Carla shares how the event world has changed for her team post Pandemic

Photo by Barbie Hull Photography. Cake by Honey Crumb Cake Studio.

~ Our calendar for summer 2021 is DOUBLE booked. 2021 includes new orders, plus last year’s postponed weddings.

~ Lots of shuffling around on the staffing front — we are now actively trying to recruit new talent for the summer workload, but the pool of qualified people has definitely shrunk as people found other jobs after being laid off during the Pandemic!

~ There will be no in-person tastings at Honey Crumb for the foreseeable future. Given the possibility of viral variants, we’re playing it as safely as possible. Tastings will still be “pickup only”, and we offer a complimentary Google Meet consultation ONLY for those clients who are looking for a custom-designed Fine Art cake.

~ In 2020 we added a whole new catalog of Micro-Wedding Cakes to our range last year, and those designs have been selling. We’ll keep that range available in the long-term, so that even as weddings open up, couples can still choose to have a beautiful cake to display and cut (and we can add a separate kitchen cake to the order for larger guest counts).

Beauty

Salon Maison, a look before Hair & Makeup is applied

Photo by La Vie Photography Hair & Makeup by Salon Maison.

~ Finding people to come back to work is nearly impossible. We are paying the most we have ever paid consultants plus doing sign on bonuses and bonuses for our existing consultants to keep them working extra days or longer days.

~ People are still getting covid and have to quarantine or not work while they get testing. This makes it very hard for scheduling. For example, we may have 3 consultants scheduled and 1 is exposed to covid in her personal life and has to not work until tested which takes them off the event schedule.

~ Keeping up with all the emails and calls has become almost impossible. Postponed brides from 2020 who were already contracted for a new date this summer but are now wanting to move up their dates so we have to start the booking process all over again and find them a pre date. We are having 4 times the work and not passing any new costs on to our brides. Plus all the new inquires for new bookings because we are dealing with our existing brides. It’s a lot but if people have patience we will get to you!

~ Not to mention supplies aren’t as easily accessible. Everything is sold out for weeks. 

Photography

Behind the Lens with Cameron Zegers Photography

Photo by Cameron Zegers Photography

~ This year I have triple the number of weddings that I would have in a normal year, and inquiries are coming in so fast I can hardly keep up with them. To handle this wedding boom, I went from a one-woman show to hiring 5 people and purchasing loads of new gear!

~ I brought on three additional photographers to serve couples on weddings dates that I’m personally already booked for. I hired a studio manager to help manage the behind-the-scenes processes and keep everything organized. I’m also now bringing a day-of assistant with me on wedding days to help haul gear so my body stays physically ready to handle those double and triple wedding weekends.

~ New gear to handle the extra workload: During the height of the pandemic I purchased a new telephoto lens that allowed me to physically distance more easily while photographing. I also bought two new smaller cameras to lighten my load since the extra weddings take a toll on my body. A new computer for my studio assistant. And tons of extra hard drives and memory cards.

~ COVID is still here, and yet my team and I are now attending several large gatherings per week – week after week. Which is honestly still pretty scary for us. My business is only accepting weddings that are carefully following all guidelines (whether that’s being a fully vaccinated event or distancing/masking). I am SO appreciative of my clients who are considerate of the health and safety of not only their guests, but also the vendors working at their wedding.

So thankful for the grace my clients have given me this year as my email response times are slower than normal!

Photo by Jenn Tai Photo Artistry

2021 (+ 2022) will be one incredible year of celebrations!

Just remember to have a little patience and grace for your vendors as they deal with things out of their control and do their best to make the planning experience a smooth one. We are an industry that has always been able to say YES but these past 16 months have forced us to say NO more than we’d like and we cannot wait to be back in the world of YES!

Wedding Planning During a Pandemic

Wedding Planning During A Pandemic. Seattle Wedding Experts Share What You Need To Know.

Seattle Wedding Planners Pink Blossom EventsClutch Events, and New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination have teamed up to share what you need to know as you finalize wedding planning for the summer ahead. Pandemic or not, your wedding is going to be a celebration of a lifetime and we’re here to help! 

With vaccinations rolling we are feeling cautiously optimistic that the end of the pandemic is near. As much as we’d like to ignore the never-ending restrictions and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and our Washington State Governor there is a good chance they will play a part of your wedding day. As of today most counties in Washington State are in Phase 3 and can expect the following guidelines:

Masks 

Masks (aka face coverings) are required at all times unless when eating or drinking. Make it fun and outfit your wedding party and crowd!
*Mask exceptions are listed below

Photo by Amelia Soper Photography.  Planning by Pink Blossom Events.

Indoors

Maximum capacity of 400 or 50% capacity (not including vendors), whichever is less, so long as six feet of physical distancing is maintained between groups. Table size maximum of 10. If food or drinks are served, eating and drinking requirements apply. 

Outdoors

Maximum capacity of 400 (not including vendors), so long as six feet of physical distancing is maintained between groups (groups of 15 maximum). If food or drinks are served, eating and drinking requirements apply.

Ceremony

We recommend sitting groups of 15 on either side of the aisle. Think a traditional wedding setting (ie. 3 rows of 5 people) with a 6’ space between the next grouping of 15 (ie. 3 rows of 5 people).  

Photo by Jenny Wohrle.  Planning by Clutch Events.

Cocktail Hour

While mingling is not officially allowed just yet cocktail hour can happen, and ideas are everywhere! Assigning guests their groups (up to 10) at the beginning of cocktail hour will allow them to enjoy cocktail hour safely and transition to dinner that same group of people. Think comfy seating and a mix of tables to allow guests to sit for eating and drink and participate in allowable entertainment activities such as lawn games! 

Photo by Amelia Soper Photography.  Planning by Pink Blossom Events.

Dancing

Dancing is allowed! A maximum of 10 per person per dance floor and consists of your same table group and all must wear masks. Who says you can’t have multiple dance floors? 

In addition, the following dances are expressly allowed: the couple’s first dance and the parent dances. For these specifically allowed dances, only one pair may dance at a time, both must be wearing masks (unless they are part of the same household). 

Exemption on Face Coverings – Yay!

~Wedding couples are exempted from the face covering and six feet physical distancing requirement from each other during the ceremony so long as they maintain six feet of physical distance from all other persons. 

~The officiant is also exempted provided six feet social distance can be maintained. 

~The officiant, family members, and wedding party are also exempted for posed photographs provided that the face covering is removed only briefly at the direction of the photographer to take the photo. 

~Face covering must be reapplied immediately after the photo is taken.

Follow this link for the most up to date guidelines outlining Phases 1-3 published 3.23.21. 

Note: We are not certified CDC health experts. Our ideas are suggestions based on current guidelines and our years of experience. We know these may adjust down the road as guidelines change however, we, your wedding planner and vendor team, are here to support you and make it the best day ever!

Communicating Regulations with Your Guests! 

Between evolving regulations, updated county phases and guests traveling from all over the country with their own local rules, it is important to make sure everyone is on the same page and aware of the safety guidelines at your wedding! 

Here are some tips to ensure you properly communicate the safety guidelines and regulations for your county!

~Double check the current regulations so you communicate the most update to date rules. A great reference is the WSWEA regulations page!  We also recommend confirming these rules with your venue and vendor team, so everyone working your wedding is on the same page!

~When sending out your wedding invitations, make sure to note on your details card that your wedding website will include up to date COVID-19 restrictions and make sure to list the URL. We suggest having a dedicated tab on your website where you can outline the rules that guests will need to follow.

~Incorporate the major rules into your welcome signage for your wedding so that guests can see them as they enter the venue for the first time. Your vendor team will be happy to remind guests of the rules if they aren’t following them correctly, but everyone will be appreciative if you alert them in advance!   

~Write a quick addition for your officiant to read during the ceremony! It is the perfect quiet moment to have the rules listed out so that it takes away the pressure from you during the reception. 

Here is a quick example:

“On behalf of the couple, their families and the team of vendors here today, I would like to quickly talk through the safety measures to ensure we all have a great time while we celebrate together. Please keep your masks on unless you are eating and drinking. If you get up from your dinner table to use the restroom or go through the chefs’ stations, please remember to wear your mask.

Please keep in your group of ten while enjoying cocktail hour, the photobooth and on the dancefloor. 

I will be releasing you by rows so that we can avoid a crowd while moving to cocktail hour where there will be tray passed drinks and appetizers brought to your tables. The staff will do their best to refill your drinks, but if you go to the bar and there is someone in front of you, please remember to keep six feet of space between you.   

We have hand sanitizer throughout the venue, so please sanitize often.

We realize this may not be the traditional wedding we planned for, but we are so excited that we are able to still celebrate together. We really appreciate you keeping everyone’s comfort level and safety in mind! 

We hope these communication tips allow you to be more present in the moment of your wedding day to thoroughly enjoy yourselves!!”

Photo by Jenny Wohrle.  Planning by Clutch Events.

Keeping Your Wedding Vendors! 

We as a collective wedding vendor and venue community are forever grateful to our couples for hanging in there as we’ve rode this pandemic rollercoaster right alongside you.  We are excited for the opportunity to safely celebrate with you and your families on your wedding day.  

We all had some amazing intimate weddings in 2020 and are thrilled that weddings are extremely close to ‘normal’ given the current climate. We know what you might be thinking, “After reading these dang rules, should I just cancel my plans and host the wedding in my back yard so I don’t have to follow the rules?

We get it.  It’s a lot to navigate.  However, this is what wedding vendors do best- we “pivot” and navigate on a daily basis.  If any group of people were built to handle the ever-changing regulations, it’s us. 

Having your wedding at home might sound easier, but not only will it be a huge logistical undertaking turning a home into a wedding venue.  It will also have huge financial repercussions for you, and it does not get you off the hook for following regulations.  As the host of the wedding, you are the responsible party to keep your guests safe as it states in the Wedding & Event regulations linked above.  Regardless of where your wedding is being held, the same rules are to be followed.  

If they are not followed at a private home/property,

1. This puts your vendors in an incredibly tough position from needing to keep their income and truly wanting to do your wedding day however knowing regulations will not be followed, to

2. The possibility of having your vendors tell you no and remove themselves from their contracts as you are putting them in a potentially dangerous/hazardous environment.  Most contracts have a portion of them that state that a vendor can and will leave an unsafe environment with no money due back to the client.  

After a year of risks with the virus, don’t risk the health of your guests and the livelihood of your vendor team by having an unsafe wedding.

Venues and vendors truly have your best interest at heart through this.  We WANT a successful wedding day for you and your guests to celebrate and enjoy.  We know these current rules feel tiresome, believe me, we get it; but we are here to help you through them and find ways to creatively still have a fabulous wedding day.

We’ve come this far together, and we’ve been a part of some amazing wedding days in 2020.  We are so ready to fully get back to work and be a part of your fabulous 2021 wedding day.