As we usher in the 2023 wedding season, the industry landscape may look slightly different from how it did last year. A fresh batch of trends, recently-launched event companies (and competitors), and a whole set of newly engaged couples will undeniably influence how we plan, design, and execute weddings.
However, if you expect a slowdown from last year’s wedding boom, you’re in for a shock. While the surge of rescheduled COVID weddings started in late 2021 and continued through 2022, there is still plenty of catching up to do in the industry.
But entering the second year of the wedding boom won’t be as challenging as the initial upswing. By now, industry pros have learned to navigate the post-pandemic environment—from expanding teams to implementing health and safety measures, this year’s busyness is matched with experience, expertise, and preparation.
So with peak season approaching, add these six tasks to your to-do list to get ahead of the curve.
Updating your tech stack
It’s never a bad time to check in with your company’s tech ecosystem to ensure everything is running as smoothly as possible. And if it’s not, you’ll have a starting place to search for the best solution for your team.
“Putting time into finding the right tech solutions is an investment in your team and your business,” assures Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss. “Small, easy solutions can save your team immense amounts of time, which will give them the bandwidth to allow you to work with more potential clients and provide a higher-quality experience.”
Sheils encourages business owners to “set yourself up for success by prepping before the busy season with a tech audit and make sure your biz is as efficient as can be before things get crazed again.”
Missed deadlines, lost emails, and wasted time are all signs that it’s time to whip your tech into shape, so commit to removing inefficiencies from your business’s processes.
Expanding your support system
Successful companies rely on more than one set of hands to keep the gears turning. So if you’re stretched thin as a solopreneur or simply need more help on your team, it’s a good time to switch into hiring mode before weddings are back in full force.
“With the increase in demand, I have started to hire and train more part-time workers,” reveals Monika Kreinberg of Furever Us. “Hiring more people will allow me to say 'yes' more often and be able to help couples create their dream day.”
Lilia Shatnaya of Plume and Stone Invitation Studio shares a similar attitude, offering a reminder that business owners can—and should—delegate non-essential tasks too.
“I am getting ready for the second year of the wedding boom by outsourcing Pinterest work,” Shatnaya says. “Since stationery is very visual and Pinterest is a search engine for all visual material, this step is important but quite time-consuming. This year I have outsourced this to a company that will set up and optimize my boards, refine the page, re-pin content, and focus on current 2023 trends to drive traffic to my website.”
Managing the workload of busy season—even when it’s not a wedding boom—requires the support of a reliable team. If hiring is on your to-do list, evaluate your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks to determine what you can outsource easily.
You’re not the only one heading into a hectic year. Your industry peers are right there with you! So before getting lost in the chaos, dedicate some time to nurture your relationships before everyone’s schedules fill up.
“The wedding industry relies heavily on connections, so it’s important to invest in your network by connecting with vendors, venues, and other professionals,” confirms Jacqueline Vizcaino of Tinted Events Design and Planning. “This will help you establish trust and create new growth opportunities. The lifeblood of the wedding industry is networking and referral business, so don’t miss out on this vital strategy.”
From gaining new partners to earning referrals, strategic networking can open many doors for you and your business. Put on some comfortable shoes, pack your business cards, and get out there!
Revisiting your workflows
Workflows make the world go ‘round—and if yours are broken and inefficient, you can expect plenty of headaches as the season picks up. And during a wedding boom, wasting time and energy is the last thing you want to do.
“You need to make sure that every aspect of your client onboarding and experience is mapped out and that all key touchpoints are either automated or set up as tasks in your project management tool(s),” states Merri’s Randi Bushell. “Investing this time in the end-to-end experience mapping today will save you hours of time during peak season AND ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.”
“By streamlining your workflow, you can free up more time to focus on delivering exceptional service to your clients,” Kreinberg agrees.
Set aside some time to review your workflows, removing unnecessary steps and applying technology to streamline and automate the rest.
Setting clear expectations
Running a business looks different when it’s all hands on deck, as it often is during a wedding boom. You may have less availability for meetings, delayed response times, and even added surcharges for periods of especially high demand.
While it’s essential to adapt to your capacity, Tonya Hoopes of Hoopes Events asserts that you must keep clients in the loop about evolving standards.
“Communication is the key to building and maintaining good relationships,” she says. “It is very important during this wedding boom to set clear expectations for your clients and to ensure you follow through. If you are waiting on a vendor, communicate this to your client so that they never feel as if they are left in the dark.”
Expectations can change, but that doesn’t need to impact the client experience negatively. Prioritize effective communication, especially when business is more hectic than usual.
Collecting client feedback
Now that we’re a year into the wedding boom, it can help to look back at input from last year’s clients to determine what went well and what needs improvement.
“We are ensuring we follow up with clients for our post-wedding questionnaires,” shares Diane Kolanović-Šolaja of Dee Kay Events. “The feedback is vital to our business, and seeing how our clients have changed in the past couple of years with their wants and needs is very useful. Taking a candid and humble look at our internal workflows, finances, and business reviews has given us new eyes for this boom.”
And while you’re at it, it’s worth reviewing your process for gathering client feedback. Do you have an easily accessible form to complete? Are there too many questions? Not enough? Is your request for feedback built into your offboarding process? Gaining insight into the client experience can help you improve and grow, so make it as easy as possible for customers to share their opinions.
This year’s wedding boom doesn’t need to come with unnecessary pressure. With the past several seasons under our belt, it’s clear that industry pros are resilient and well-equipped to address any challenge that arises!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.