Planning during COVD-19 is such a funny feeling in some ways. You're somewhere between feeling like everything should stop and also like it's a great time to get things done. We feel the same way as we design these beautiful celebrations we are so looking forward to while also wiping down groceries and helping kids with school work! But whether it's for later in 2020 or in 2021 (which suddenly feels like it's coming so fast!), there are some major pros to getting some planning checklist items accomplished during this "Stay at Home" time if you are able.
Here are a few tips!
Book your primary vendors during this time if you can!
While everyone in our industry and certainly on my team is going to be ready to help you if at all possible, vendors are also facing unique demand for dates as many spring and early summer clients are pushed to late 2020 and 2021 and thereby, doubling up the load in those times. Also, as people have more down time with Stay at Home orders, brides and grooms (and their parents!) want to get things checked off their non-work to-do lists including spring cleaning but also wedding planning! This means others are planning, too, so while there is no pressure or stress, it’s a good time to get your primary things locked in to ensure they remain available for you!
Be smart but positive about the bit of uncertainty.
While we are not encouraging clients to book events for dates in the immediate future since the likelihood of changes for the client just isn't worth the stress it may cause for them in most cases, we know at some point, Fall and definitely 2021 events have to make some progress and will likely be just fine. BUT in the spirit of being open and careful along the way since this experience has made us ALL realize things can change (whether that be due to COVID or whether it be something entirely different like family illness or a natural disaster), as you wait for COVID to settle down, book the vendors and elements you LOVE that you would want absolutely want to move to a new date if that were needed and that you trust will take care of you in the unlikely event that were to occur down the road. Your planners and your good vendors will be with you on this!
Take advantage of your vendors’ down-time by getting their full attention!
For us and many other vendors, almost year-round we are in the middle of executing events while also working on new designs and with the on-boarding of our new clients whose events have not happened yet. While we have plenty of capacity and processes to ensure every client is still well taken care of in that "normal" state, this is a unique time when vendors can be helpful to you while NOT being in between events. (Ever receive one of those “It’s event week! Please be patient as we do so-and-so’s wedding this weekend!” emails from a planner?) During this time, we are certainly all busy still running our businesses (and homes!), but your planners, florists, our team, catering teams, etc. really do have unique time and attention to give you! This means their creative juices can go between your different elements with less lag time in between, you may get the perk of having faster turnaround on proposals and responses, and their down time may even be giving them some pretty brilliant and beautiful creative ideas to share with you!
Book your hotel blocks & flights!
Your planner will likely be on top of this! But just a tidbit-- there will be festivals and other events that occur later in the year (**SEE NOTE BELOW) at odd times due to being rescheduled from COVID-19. This will book up hotels, etc. and cause flight and hotel costs to increase. BUT many of those festival dates have NOT been announced yet. Booking your event date and getting your hotels and flights locked in prior to those festival dates being announced will allow you to secure pricing that is NOT at the peak costs that come once the date becomes popular. P.S.-- These dates will start getting announced fast once we start to get "over the curve" of COVID and those festivals want to get on the books, so there is a little upside to getting this done before we are actually seeing things get better! Also, this supports your travel industry at a time they so need it. If you're going to book anyway, it's a win-win to do it now. Lower prices and security for you. Hope and support for them! You may want to be wise in choosing hotels and flight options that allow you to move dates JUST to be safe.
***EDIT 3/14-- Since this was published, the Mayor of New Orleans has expressed that all festivals will likely be pushed to 2021 to lessen the likelihood of a relapse spike in COVID spread. While this changes the seasons festivals and other large scale events will be pushed to, the principal is the same! These tidbits will just apply to whenever those events are pushed to (or when the next year's fest naturally falls).
Embrace the crazy!
If a festival falls on your event weekend/week-- no matter when your event is, even if it's totally unrelated to COVID-19-- WHO CARES! As long as you booked your flights and hotels and other elements in advance, embrace the party! It will NOT ruin your wedding. Your planners and venues and rental companies and all of the above KNOW this city backwards and forwards, and in New Orleans, there is ALWAYS a party and a big event going on. Your vendors will make sure you are taken care of if you were already booked with them and a festival pops up, and I can assure you your guests aren’t coming to New Orleans for super chill scenery! :)
Embrace your own down time! It may help your wedding be more cohesive!
If you’re like many of us, you’re still juggling work from home, etc. At the very least, you’re juggling how to get groceries or keep your dogs entertained, which is a feat these days! BUT your down time at home will let you (like your vendors) concentrate a little more rather than squeezing in tiny bits of wedding planning between the rest of your usual busy life. You will be able to think on it more intentionally and with those times being closer together-- maybe even a couple of times a day or setting a time each morning to jump into it. This “string” of focus on your wedding will make things go a bit faster and also means things are fresh in your mind as you shift from one element to another. In our experience, this often results in a more cohesive design and good attention to detail since you aren’t so fragmented in your planning! You also may have your parents and partner in the same boat-- with a little less vying for their attention so maybe they can enjoy the process with you for the same reasons.
Get the most out of your next trip to NOLA by having all your vendors booked!
While it’s great to get to see and meet with vendors prior to booking, if you really love their work, you know it. And you can get a feel for whether your vendors are right for you long-distance through e-mail, phone chats, their prior work you find online, following them on social media, etc. So instead of making a trip to NOLA to “check out” vendors, turn your next trip to NOLA into a “tour of your vendors.” These are often our BEST meetings! When we have been able to really work through designs with clients prior (not cramming the full design into an hour meeting) and then they come see us later in the process and visit their vendors all in one day. Ex: Start with a session with your planner to review your design/plan, visit your florist, stop by your cake tasting and get to high give on how it’s even better than you imagined, stop by to see us and view all those beautiful pieces in person and if you fall in love with a new chair, swap it! Then, hop over to your venue and imagine it all in place one last time before the big day! This makes the end of this “NOLA Day” feel so accomplished and like you really just confirmed everything rather than feeling like you’re just getting started and have so much to do and decide when you get home. Your planners and other vendors do this often with our destination clients, so they will know just how to handle it! Plus it’s so much more fun to go for tacos and margaritas after this kind of day rather than a “pick everything out all day long” kind of day! AND this takes the stress off of WHEN you are able to make your trip to NOLA with all of the uncertainties around travel right now because you will not be worried about losing availability or feeling your wedding is going unplanned between now and your trip. It will all be done! The trip is just a sort of big official stamp that it’s as good as you imagined and a happy time when you get to see it all in real life!
Hope this helps even if you are not planning a wedding in our city! For those of you who are, our team is here and ready to help you if you reach out to us!
You can hop over to the contact page or email us directly-- email@example.com