…and how to maintain quality saving on costs.
If you have decided to plan your destination elopement or micro wedding even in the midst of a global pandemic, you deserve all my esteem and support. It is a really difficult time for everyone, but especially for those looking to plan the most important day of their life from abroad. If you feel like you are running into an obstacle with every step you take in the planning process, don’t worry: you are not alone. The wedding industry has had to make some big clear-cut choices not only to keep their clients’ plans moving, but also to keep their work afloat.
At the start of the pandemic, weddings were suddenly suspended, like everything else, and many couples were forced to postpone, while some decided to cancel, due to the inability to invitate the original number of guests. It has been a sad and stressful time for everyone, and sadly many have lost large sums of money they had already paid in advance for their wedding.
Now there is undoubtedly a clearer vision of how to manage the planning process of a wedding or elopement during the pandemic, as well as a better understanding of how to perform safety precautions, from temperature checks and sanitation stations to COVID quick testing. And so the planning got a little leaner, but as a result of all these additional worries and tasks, new things to watch out for and huge financial losses from the 2020 season, many suppliers are driving up costs.
Flower hatcheries and farms have lost acres and acres of productions due to weddings that were not allowed and the lockdown of months when it was more necessary to take care of the crops to keep them from being lost, thus causing an increase in the price of flowers for pay farmers. The closure, or in any case the problems related to transport and customs have also increased the prices of imported flowers. Just like any other professionals, most wedding vendors work in this industry full time and having months without weddings (in 2020 a full year) and the drastic negative change of the industry for the foreseeable future, price increases for making a living may be the only way most can keep themselves alive.
As many weddings since 2020 have been postponed to 2021, this has automatically created a very full wedding calendar for 2021 and starts to be already for 2022 as well, which has created a situation where suppliers will be pushed to the limit in next year of marriage. It will take additional staff and manpower to be able to support a robust calendar of weddings and events over the 52 weekends of the year. And this will lead to higher costs for each company and therefore higher costs for customers.
If you are planning your wedding in 2021 or 2022, it is true that you may be facing higher prices than when planning your wedding in pre-pandemic 2019. To avoid wasting money unnecessarily and trying to keep the expenses for your wedding in Italy under control, here are my 6 tips:
1. Hire an Italian Destination Wedding Planner :-)!
While being tempted to forgot a wedding planner and coordinate all the planning that accompanies your big day might seem like a good way to cut costs, it’s actually a quick way for them to add up.
Wedding planners have relationships with suppliers and can therefore not only negotiate better on your behalf, but also use their industry discounts. You will also save money because your wedding planner has the experience and insider knowledge to guide you through all your decisions and envision what your best options are, including what is affordable or otherwise good value and what you may not have need it at all. It has an overview of the event that you, of course, cannot have.
If you give your wedding planner a budget, they are more likely to stick to it than you would on their own due to their greater knowledge of how to plan a wedding.
2. Reduce the number of guests
Are you sure 60 or more people will get together as your wedding date approaches? Cutting your guest list in advance will surely help you cut costs considerably.
Much of the planning process is related to the guest count, so when you reduce the number of guests, all those costs go down too. You therefore need less space, less food and drinks, fewer rentals, fewer flowers for centerpieces, fewer favors, etc. In these new wedding times in which many cannot or are afraid to move, reducing the number of guests can also means having a hybrid virtual wedding, with virtual guests, and this is a great way to reduce the overall costs without reducing the number of actual guests.
3. Choose a less popular date or midweek
Sure, a Saturday night wedding might be optimal, but it will also cost you a lot more money than any other day of the week. To reduce costs, I recommend that you choose a less popular date. A weekday, for example, many times will save you money not only on your venue, but also with some of the other providers because weekends are in high demand. Same thing, or maybe even more, goes for choosing a wedding date in the off season. In Italy, there are areas that are more expensive than others and the cult seasons, the most requested and therefore the most expensive for these iconic places are undoubtedly those that run from mid-June to the end of September. So choosing an area and period carefully will also help your costs as those dates will be in high demand.
4. Book based on the minimum number of guests
Read the contract of your wedding venue carefully, each one has its own different and totally personal internal policy: there are no unique rules. However, it is usually possible to upgrade the number of guests at a later time while downgrading is never possible once a contract is signed.
Secure your venue based on the minimum number of guests and the minimum menu you think you want. This way, you have the ability to increase the number of guests you really want when the time comes, but you won’t have to worry about reaching a certain number that you might not be able to have, for the various reasons we’ve seen they may show up this year.
5. Choose a place that offers flexibility
If you have not yet decided on your venue, I suggest you to look for a space that offers some flexibility in terms of booking and cancellation policies, arrangement and use of spaces, modification of packages already established, support and understanding by the management, to be ready for any change it may be necessary during construction, even at the last minute.
Furthermore, if you have a small number of guests, it may be difficult to meet the minimum food and drink requirements rather than different use of the spaces.
For example, I am now suggesting more than ever to my clients, wedding venues – and suppliers – who I know are willing to offer a risk-free postponing option with a shorter notice rather than modifying their packages and services a bit to meet the uncertainties of couples, due to COVID-19 issues.
6. Look for vendors that already are in the area or should already travel
If you prefer some suppliers of your dream team to speak your language to make you more comfortable, or simply they have a style that you adore and you absolutely want them to be there for you at your elopement, talk to your wedding planner! Often it is possible to organize journeys to coincide with other editorial projects or other events, or maybe you may find that they already have destination weddings booked in a nearby location. This can definitely save on travel expenses.