According to The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study, “73% of all weddings take place between May to October. Today’s couples are engaged for 15 months and throughout that time have on average three different wedding related events, such as engagement parties (1 in 4), bachelor/ette parties (over 75%) and rehearsal dinners (79%).” For couples looking to tie the knot or host wedding-related events in the midst of a pandemic, it is important to keep up with current information, trends, and relevant data in order to successfully plan for your big day.
Here are some interesting wedding statistics to consider:
- The average couple has a budget of around $23,000 when they begin planning, but end up spending an average of $30,000 (Wedding Wire
- )In 2020, the average cost of a wedding was $28,000 (Wedding Wire)
- In 2020, brides paid an average of $1,631 for a dress, including alterations (Brides)
- The average amount couples spend on décor, favors, and stationery is $2,460 (Wedding Wire)
- October is the leader when it comes to the most popular time to get married (16%), followed by September (15%) and June (13%) (The Knot)
- The average wedding hosts 131 guests (The Knot)
- The most popular destination weddings in the USA take place in Nevada, Florida, and California (Group Travel)
- Outside of the contiguous US, the top destination wedding locations are the Caribbean, Mexico, and Hawaii (Group Travel)
Based on the stats above, it seems obvious to state that first and foremost, you must confirm your budget before you start anything else. Determine the absolute maximum amount you are willing to spend on the entirety of your wedding and commit to that amount. How do you figure out what that amount is? Consider the main objectives you want to achieve and prioritize what matters most to you. For example, do you want to allocate more money to food and entertainment, or music and decorations? Is the location of the venue more important? Or is it the available meeting space and amenities of the venue that matter more? Also keep in mind that “off-season” weddings and those done on Fridays or Sundays can yield a lower price tag, and if your wedding date is flexible, chances are you’ll have more options since you can pick your date based on the venue’s availability rather than being restricted to a certain date and limited to options that could strain your budget. Be ready and willing to compromise, to defer to your second choice if the first is out of your price range, or just say “no” and choose something different altogether that is affordable.
The second most important planning task is to gather information, both “external” and “internal”. Make sure you ask questions and get answers early on to determine in which direction you need to go. “External” information includes vendor & venue data and goes hand-in-hand with budgeting. Due to COVID, there may be extra restrictions and extra costs, so be sure to check what event services are included in an overall price quote. For example, some venues will charge extra for services such as renting tables, chairs, a dancefloor, and lighting, whereas other venues will already have them included. “Internal” information includes data regarding the people involved. Ascertain expectations from participants and guests, and in turn, disclose all safety measures you will be taking during the event. Disseminating this information and getting responses to key questions will help determine fundamental elements of the event, such as the size of the wedding party, what accommodations you will need to make for individuals, and how the strategic function of the event will affect those involved.
Crucial queries to consider include, but are not limited to:
- Are you, your guests, and the venue going to be following social distancing, mask-wearing, and sanitizing guidelines?
- Should guests bring their own masks and sanitizer or will these be provided?
- Will guests be seated in groups with close family members or will seating be spread out?
- How much of the wedding is taking place outdoors?
- How can accommodations be made for those who are high-risk and/or are not comfortable attending?
- What technology is available for those who will not be attending physically?
- How will food and beverages be served?
Remember that every city, county, and state has different regulations. The 2020 experience has taught us the importance of professional guidance, and we know it can be extremely helpful to hire a qualified event planner. If you have to postpone your event due to unforeseen circumstances, or if potentially problematic issues arise, your planner's relationships with vendors can be invaluable. Having a trustworthy experienced planner with years of carefully cultivated relationships and solid negotiation skills will make it so you can truly relax and enjoy one of the most important days of your life.