If you’re recently engaged, we know it feels a bit strange to lock in your wedding suppliers right now given some of the restrictions in place across Australia. But here are a few of our thoughts and tips that will hopefully help you to keep moving forward (confidently) with your wedding plans…
Note: A lot of the tips here are also designed for couples who are currently rescheduling a wedding due to covid.
– Let’s start with the wedding date:
Covid induced postponements are placing an unprecedented demand on wedding services for December 2021 and beyond. We have a situation where many 2020 weddings (and now 2021 weddings) have shifted into 2022, so new couples are finding it challenging to find key suppliers that are available on their ideal date(s).
But don’t panic! Even with the current climate, it’s still possible to assemble an A Team of wedding suppliers if you opt for less (traditionally) popular dates.
If you haven’t locked in a date yet, we suggest considering a date other than a Saturday in summer.
For instance, Thursday and Friday weddings are increasing in popularity and they can be great options when choosing a date. Here’s why…
If you’re having an out of town wedding (which is a rapidly growing trend) then Thursdays and Fridays are fantastic because you then have the whole weekend to relax and celebrate with your family and friends. Think recovery breakfasts, lawn bowls, dinners at the local pub, and camp fire chats with THIS PLAYLIST simmering in the background 🙂
Couples often tell us that the wedding day felt like it went in a flash and they didn’t get a chance to properly chat with every guest. So if you go down this path of elongating your wedding celebrations from Thu – Sun or Fri – Sun, you’ll have heaps of quality time with everyone you love.
We can also assure you (based on our experience) that guests really won’t mind taking a day or two of leave from work to facilitate this. After 18 months of this pandemic, we’re all up for any excuse to have a long weekend away with friends!!
The other off peak period to consider are Sundays. We’ve been involved with many awesome Sunday weddings the past 18 months in the warmer months. Often the ceremony would start earlier (around 2pm) followed by a low key reception (of various guests sizes) at a venue with lots of outdoor scope. It was the ultimate Sunday session with an awesome vibe. Cocktails, share plates, low key acoustic tunes, outdoor games and quality conversation. Guests of all ages loved the atmosphere. The receptions typically finished earlier (around 9pm) and then the couple and their younger mates went out to another venue to kick on. Of course, Grand Pa Bob can come too if he’s still got pep in his step.
Winter weddings are also a great idea. Some locations around Australia actually have better weather in June/July/August for weddings. The only thing we do suggest here, is to bring your ceremony time forward slightly so you’ve got enough daylight to play with.
Finally, the awesome thing about Thursday/Friday/Sunday and winter weddings, is that most wedding businesses will offer better rates for these periods. We certainly offer $ discounts for these dates.
Being flexible and thinking outside the square with your date options will help to kick start an easier planning process.
– Once you’ve got an idea for a date, we suggest turning to your venue (if you haven’t already done so), as this is arguably the most important item to confirm. Your date and venue options may actually operate in tandem. i.e. If you have your heart absolutely set on one venue only, then their availability will largely dictate your date. By the way, WED SHED is a good starting point for your venue search.
Make sure you’ve read your venue’s terms and conditions and understand what their postponement policy is in case you need to change dates in the future. Venues have different policies in relation to covid lead postponements; largely dependent on their staffing models and their day to day overheads. Some venues have rigid postponement policies, whereas some are very flexible. So it’s important to shop around and understand where you stand.
– We suggest considering a venue that has a malleable space that can feel good with lots of guests or a small number of guests, and, packages that can be scaled up. The reason we suggest this, is you could start off conservatively and book a package for less guests. Then, when no restrictions are in place as the date draws closer (yes, we are gunning for this outcome!), you can tweak your guest numbers and scale your venue package up to your ideal scenario.
*We mention the above because in 2020, there were periods in most states where square metre rules per person at weddings did ebb and flow.
– Once your venue is locked in, we suggest sending a digital ‘save the date’ to your first round guest list asap. If travel and accommodation is a requirement for your guests, make sure you encourage your guests to book hotels and flights with flexible options.
*A note on guest expectations:
We have had some of our couples feel guilty about their wedding plans changing, in terms of the inconvenience it causes their guests. But let’s be honest, every single person is now used to the challenges of covid. Your guests will always understand and support you if things change beyond your control.
– Shortly after confirming your date and venue, make a list of secondary suppliers that you feel you also need to confirm in order to have a wedding (!) and to ensure you feel relaxed about things. For us, that would be: celebrant, photographer, dress/suit (because this also keeps the excitement levels up!) and your entertainment. But your list may look a little different.
– When you are booking these options, again, check what each of their postponement policies are. Also, we encourage you to shop around to find businesses that are offering special discounts or add ons. Lots of wedding businesses are currently doing this to assist couples during this period of limbo. For instance, we have our FLEXI PACKAGE W/ ADDED BONUSES. There are some awesome inclusions on offer here for couples looking to book.
– Another tip is to lock in your suppliers, but consider booking them with their smaller/entry level packages initially (assuming they can be scaled up at a later time). This just reduces the financial stress by bringing your overall investment down at the front end.
– Once you have your vital suppliers locked in, you can sit back and feel confident that your wedding plans are underway! At this point, create your wish list for your remaining suppliers and continue ENJOYING that research process. The reality is that many supplier categories do not need as much booking lead time as a venue. This is particularly the case if you have opted for an off-peak date as we have suggested above. For instance, many wedding suppliers may be booked out for Saturdays in March 12+ months out. But if you’re getting hitched on a Thursday in March, you may be able to book them literally a few weeks out!
As the lead up to the day then unfolds, try not to panic if covid restrictions rear their head, particularly if you’re still a long way out from your wedding. And our hot tip is DON’T monitor covid case numbers every single day! This will just drive you bonkers!
The perception is already changing from case numbers to a focus on living alongside covid cases…safely of course. So obsessing over case numbers is a dead end path.
If anything, check the daily vaccination rates which are going up and up at a rapid rate. covidlive.com.au is a handy site for this and we’re sure it will give you some confidence and optimism.
There is a lot of evidence now to suggest that restrictions and borders will open up later this year, and they will stay that way into 2022 and beyond. This is primarily due to our vaccination rates which are looking increasingly positive.
– In terms of lead times and restriction concerns, we suggest that a lot can change and improve at a rapid rate. Last year, we had many couples in several states choose to postpone their October/November/December 2020 weddings when they were still 3+ months out. In NSW, WA and QLD, things bounced back very quickly and weddings were able to go ahead last year with practically no restrictions in those last three months. So, even now in VIC and NSW, it’s important to remember that restrictions can unwind quickly, particularly with our growing vaccination rates.
As we write this, we know that many parts of this country are experiencing tough restrictions. Things like travelling, holidays, going to bars and restaurants, dancing at weddings, attending the footy at the MCG and visiting friends overseas feels like an impossibility. But life is so much better when we can be optimistic and proactive. So we’re continuing to back the belief that these wonderfully ‘normal’ (!) things in life will be bouncing back extremely soon.
So in the mean time, stay positive and excited. Your wedding will happen. And it will be awesome.