Though it started off as a banner year, 2020 quickly slid into the ditch as COVID-19 hit. The economic fallout of the pandemic hit the special events industry particularly hard, as you know all too well. But special events professionals are nothing if not flexible, forward-looking, quick-learning survivors who, as Aleya Harris, CPCE, Owner, Flourish Marketing says, “Change is neutral. How we relate to that change determines if it is ‘good’ or ‘bad.’”
Harris is just one of the 22 top industry thought leaders we asked to share their perspectives on what they have learned through these extraordinarily tough times for this industry—and what they are looking forward to as we round the corner into what hopefully will be a much better 2021. From building a side hustle into a new revenue stream, to retooling both products and services and how they are delivered, to developing new business models that may just completely transform their businesses for good, here are just a few of the ways they have coped, and the ideas, trends, and positive perspectives they have for the future.
Every other week we will be brining you just a few of the ways our industry peers have coped, and the ideas, trends, and positive perspectives they have for the future. Take a look at part 1 and part 2. Check back on February 12th for part 4.
Eddie Zaratsian, Owner, Eddie Zaratsian Lifestyle & Design
Although 2021 is shaping up to be another year of micro weddings and intimate celebrations, I’m excited to see clients going bigger and bolder than ever before. Despite the tone of 2020, we’ve been able to stretch our creativity and craft over-the-top floral installations, take at-home weddings and dinners to the next level, and really go off the beaten path in terms of color, textures, and more. We would love for this to continue on into the next year.
Bron Hansboro, Chief Creative,The Flower Guy Bron
I’ve heard many people relate 2020 to the worst year in history. Yes, this year has been filled with uncertainty, but we have also been graced with an immense amount of unprecedented time. Time to focus on you, the person behind the business, your family and friends, your invaluable support system, and time to absorb the potential energy that is waiting to be unbound.
Juls Sharpley, Founder, Bubbles & Bowties
As reopening began and our county put into place guidelines for events, I took on a new strategy for 2020. I wanted to be (and appear to be) very, very busy. I wanted everyone who had a wedding in Aspen to use me and I wanted everyone watching weddings in Aspen to think I was the only business with anything going on! I dropped my minimums and just listened to clients about what they needed and wanted and from there created truly customized levels of service for each couple.
I also thought that people were going to come out of quarantine ready to just get married, no matter what that meant in terms of size and/or scale. So I got together with some of my creative partners and came up with some pre-negotiated rates for all-inclusive wedding packages. This allowed us to say, “If you want to come to Aspen and get married in a very short timeframe, we’ve put together the best of the best. You will simply be able to show up and trust that we’ve put together a beautiful wedding with top-tier selections.” These packages were wildly successful, so much so that we are carrying them into 2021.
Jamie O’Neill, Fashion Director, The Bridal Finery
Due to COVID-19, a new trend for weddings in 2021 are intimate gatherings with more experiences. Couples are wanting to reunite with their beloved friends and family and host a full wedding. Full weddings will continue in 2021; however, they will be on a smaller scale. With fewer guests in attendance, couples are using their wedding planning budget in other areas. Larger floral designs, more food options, and special guest experiences are some of the areas that will be expanded at weddings in 2021. Although large weddings have been viewed as more desirable in previous years, smaller weddings with more guest experiences will be so memorable for everyone. The bride and groom will spend less time greeting guests and more time celebrating.
Nora Sheils, Co-Founder, Rock Paper Coin
2020 wasn’t all bad—it was the year that event pros had time to take a step back, analyze their businesses, and streamline processes (and also bake lots of bread in the process!). They implemented new software (or are still in the process) and are ready to rock once events come back in full force! There is no time like the present to automate your business and take back some of that free time you enjoyed while business was slow. Event pros are grinders, but if COVID has taught us anything, it is that we are also survivors always coming up with that creative solution.