Still, catching up on weddings from 2020 and 2021? Well, hold on to your horses—the industry forecast is predicting a much longer wedding boom than initially anticipated. Wedding professionals have been working tirelessly all year to make up for lost time from the pandemic, with many of them handling upwards of five or more events per week.
Yet, it seems like this will be par for the course as we head into 2022. Weddings are set to break records in the year ahead as more and more couples expect to tie the knot. So, how are industry professionals reacting to this news? And what are they doing to prepare in advance?
See what they have to say about the busy road that lies ahead:
Consider what you want in 2022.
Rebuilding in 2021 may have involved accepting opportunities that fall beyond a business’s target audience, but 2022 is about getting back to core values and purposes. Sarah Davidson, CPCE, chief strategist and creative director for HUE by Sarah Davidson, reveals her own strategy for curating a successful year: “I’m currently taking the time to do a true self-assessment and think long and hard about what I want my ideal workload to look like in 2022.”
“I believe with how much business is out there, I’ll be able to afford the right to be picky about only taking what is a true fit for our company,” Davidson adds. “I’ve been speaking with the rest of my team about doing their own self-assessment as well and have a good sense of everyone’s expectations and availability going into next year.”
Set boundaries from the start.
An increased number of clients often comes with its fair share of headaches, particularly when planning in such tentative circumstances. Nora Sheils, co-founder of Rock Paper Coin and founder of Bridal Bliss, urges wedding professionals to protect their time and energy with firm boundaries, sharing: “We are very clear about boundaries with our clients upon booking. We are not available to them 24/7, nor should they expect us to be. However, they will receive timely responses and always be treated with respect.”
Get your systems organized before the new year.
While most event businesses will remain busy through the holiday season, there will likely be more downtime to audit your systems and get them in working order for 2022. Bri Marbais, bridal stylist at The Bridal Finery, is focusing on that, affirming: “With 2022 quickly approaching, now is the time to take a hard look at your business's internal processes and procedures.”
“Running a successful business requires constant moving parts at all times,” she says. “Take the time to carefully and intentionally dissect each part of your business to determine what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs improvement for next year’s boom. Going into 2022 with ease and confidence will ensure a better state of mind and preparedness.”
Keep your calendar updated.
In an unprecedented season, your calendar will be your closest companion keeping you going through the year. An organized calendar will inform effective task management, as Janice Carnevale, owner of Bellwether Events, explains: “To prepare, I’ve triple-checked that the master calendar was completely up-to-date for my events and my business partner’s events.”
“When it’s all over, I’ll probably work 140% of my typical capacity in 2022,” reveals Carnevale. “Couples are pressing forward, and wedding pros are going to be absolutely slammed next year. The stress and exhaustion of 2021 apparently have no end in sight. Setting up tasks and automating emails are going to be crucial for me to stay organized once 2022 arrives.”
Prepare for larger-than-life events.
Socialization has been at an all-time low for the past couple of years, and engaged couples are ready to leave that isolation behind when they say “I do.” They miss their friends and families and are ready to reunite with them to celebrate.
“With the lack of social gatherings and family events, I've noticed that many couples normally wouldn't have a big wedding, but now they are,” confirms Jaime Melfi, cake artist, designer, and owner of Autumn Nomad. “So next year, I also have a lot of couples who actually told us that they've decided to go big because they've barely seen their families. So 2022 will definitely be a year for the books!”
Manage inquiries strategically.
Lots of weddings mean lots of inquiries, so wedding pros must be smart about managing their inboxes. Bobbi Brinkman, owner of Bobbi Brinkman Photography, speaks to the importance of having a system in place: “We knew that we needed to be faster than normal in replying to inquiries. We had to have a system in place to respond to the new couples reaching out.”
Brinkman elaborates, explaining the value of automation: “It couldn’t be a canned response per se, but was just automated enough to let them know we were available and could not wait to speak with them. It had to explain that we are currently catching up with multiple weddings weekly as we take care of all our couples that have been dealing with COVID rescheduling.”
Prioritize mental health and self-care.
It may seem like there are few things more important than the bottom line, but burnout runs counter to success. Kimberly Sisti, lead planner, florist, and owner of Sisti & Co, expresses concern for the wellbeing of industry professionals going forward: “Some of us are pushing ourselves to a state of burnout and over-exhaustion.”
Sisti continues: “The quality of our work has not changed, but something needs to give if we continue overworking ourselves with three weddings plus a weekend, ridiculous client requests, flower shortages, etc. Our mental health is suffering, and we really need to be kind and show a little grace to our pros. This isn’t sustainable, and we need to be honest with ourselves and our clients. We are, after all, only human.”
Looking ahead, the key to weathering a wildly busy season lies in balance and focus. While balance mitigates the effects of burnout, the focus will help to keep wedding professionals on track and committed to their big “why” in business. Together, these qualities create resiliency that will see you through a successful 2022.