Nobody needs to tell you that this season is busy—you're likely in the thick of it at this moment. For many, it's busier than any year on record, and, so far, there's no sign of it slowing down. However, as the industry works through a backlog of postponements on top of events that were already scheduled for this period, event businesses must be careful to navigate the wedding boom with moderation to avoid overpromising and stretching their teams too thin.
Moving forward through the 2021 season and going into 2022, wedding pros need to safeguard their boundaries and be mindful of how much they invest into their work. When you protect your schedule and your sanity, you will have more to give your clients and go above and beyond their expectations.
Here's what top industry pros recommend for seeing your business through the wedding boom.
Fill your calendar with intention.
Your success is directly related to how you spend your time, so it's vital to cut out non-essentials and create space for what matters most. "While it's exciting to fill up our calendars again, I really think we should be making sure the projects we're taking on will actually help us move our businesses forward," reminds Jordan Kentris, founder and creative director of A Good Day.
Kentris continues: "Burning out halfway through the pick-up will not be fruitful for us or help the 2022 projects we have ongoing. I try and schedule blocks in my calendar for production, design, communication, and downtime. I find that getting the alerts at the change of every block keeps me on task and reminds me to take breaks and set time aside to recharge with family."
Set realistic expectations from the start.
With a busier schedule than usual, it's critical to establish boundaries with clients to avoid them crossing the line and demanding more than you can offer. Nora Sheils, founder of Bridal Bliss and co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, explains as much, stating: "It has become more important than ever to set expectations at the beginning of a relationship. When you will be in touch, what the process is, and what appropriate and inappropriate forms of communication are."
"Not allowing texts unless it is truly an emergency and only replying to emails during working hours are simple ways to uphold the expectations you have set," adds Sheils. "Stick with the expectations you set, and if your client continues to push boundaries, set them straight. People will push and push and push until you say stop!"
Stay true to your systems.
You built effective systems and processes before the pandemic, and there's no reason to stray from what has worked in the past. "Top priorities are to stick to your processes and boundaries," assures Gretchen Culver, owner and creative director of Rocket Science Events. "We as pros can get caught up in the rush of getting back to work and the excitement of new clients, but we have to make sure our businesses won't suffer.
Culver elaborates: "It's more important now than ever to remember not to over-commit or compromise on service/quality. You don't want to burn out or damage your reputation. Don't try and make up for lost time at the price of future business. Weddings will always be around!"
Be mindful of the inquiry process.
When time is of the essence, there's no need to spend time on inquiries that ultimately won't pan out. JoAnn Gregoli, owner of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli, explains: "It is important to pre-qualify couples by asking questions before you send out proposals. Make sure you establish and set their realistic expectations along with budget projections. Since we have less time to invest in preparing multiple proposals, make sure they know the projected costs upfront."
Another important note: It's natural to feel excited about business picking back up, especially as many companies are working to recoup the losses from 2020 and early 2021. While we should certainly celebrate the return of events, don't lose sight of the fact that the pandemic is still present and requires our attention to protect our teams and our clients.
This is not the time to let our guards down, so keep up with the health and safety measures as business picks back up. Keep sanitizer close, wear your masks (and encourage guests to do so, too!), and maintain physical distance as much as possible. We must work together as a collective, so do your part as a wedding pro to follow pandemic guidelines and keep the industry open.