Planning a wedding is no small undertaking. Planning a wedding during a pandemic is… uncharted territory, to put it lightly. A special shout out to all the couples adjusting, and re-adjusting their plans for their big day. We see you. We commend you. We are here for you. We took some time to chat with Premier Party Planners owner, Nicole Conder, and ECE Menswear founder/owner, Tom Dixon, to gain their insight on the wedding market and what it might look like moving forward.
(We conducted these interviews during the month of May as NC was approaching Phase 1 of re-opening. The phrasing of the questions reflect the state of businesses at the time.)
“Premier Party Planners is a full-service wedding planning and event planning boutique in Raleigh, NC serving the Greater Triangle area with top-quality wedding and event planning for any budget. Our philosophy is that you should feel like a guest at your own event, so we strive to handle all of the difficult and stressful organizational components while allowing you to relax completely and enjoy your event.”
With so many businesses and venues closed, how can couples best approach planning during the shutdown? What’s your first step?
The first step for any couple is to contact your wedding planner and discuss possible “Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C”. With things changing so quickly, it’s important to talk through a few different possible scenarios. Your planner should be familiar with the current state guidelines and will also be familiar with whatever phase regulations are coming our way. This knowledge will be able to help the couple navigate and map out the different plans. In addition to being familiar with the reopening phase regulations, the planner should also be familiar with how the couple’s venue and vendors are handling and navigating the rescheduling process. This knowledge will help the couple make the best possible decisions. So many venues and vendors are all trying their best to navigate these trying times and having a planner is such a great way to streamline communication and expectations with everyone.
If the couple doesn’t have a planner, then they need to be having lots of conversations with their venue owner/manager AND every one of their vendors to figure out how each of these businesses are handling “COVID rescheduling”. Each vendor is handling this differently depending on many different factors so it will be up to the couple to figure out what those differences are and how best to navigate these waters.
What will weddings and the wedding market potentially look like moving forward?
I’m an eternal optimist and fully believe this is a bump (a big one but nonetheless a bump!) in the road. Once we are out of these phases and the “dust has settled” I believe weddings will go back to the “old normal” LOL. When the world was ending in ‘08/09, people thought weddings would never look the same and 10 years later we can see that they did in fact “go back to normal”. So I’m choosing to be hopeful!
What are some helpful questions couples can ask vendors?
Pandemic aside, these are some helpful questions couples should ask when interviewing a possible vendor they are considering hiring for their wedding:
- How many years have you been in business?
- On average, how many weddings do you do a year?
- Have you worked at our venue before?
- Are you insured?
- Are you certified?
- Does anyone work for you? (2nd shooters/assistants/associates?)
- What type of rescheduling policy do you have?What is your deposit? Is it nonrefundable?
A special thank you to Nicole for sharing her time and wisdom. You can reach her at Nicole@premierpartyplanners.com.
Nicole is a Senior Certified Wedding Planner with 10+ years of experience designing, planning, creating, and implementing unique and personal events for brides and other clients throughout the US. Her dedication and zeal for serving all brides and clients alike permeates the entire Premier Party Planners team. Since starting Premier Party Planners, Nicole and her team have delivered first class weddings and events for clients throughout North Carolina and abroad, including a number of destination weddings.
Next, we chatted with our very own Tom Dixon to gain his insight on the wedding market, specifically when it comes to menswear.
How has the menswear market been affected by the pandemic?
This has rocked most menswear retailers to the core. We have seen major name brands to big box men’s stores filing for bankruptcy; some still haven’t opened or they are closing their doors for good. Thankfully, we are extremely diverse and I feel the smaller more specialty stores will emerge stronger as they can pivot quicker. Mainly for our wedding orders, we have seen it taking 1-2 weeks longer to get the suits here due to restricted numbers of warehouse staff for each manufacturer given the state they ship out of.
How are you adjusting when meeting with couples and their wedding parties?
Our process has not changed much, because we have always scheduled individual wedding consultations for our wedding couples to ensure we have time to hear their vision for the wedding and advise likewise. We have been the safest way to shop before it was a thing. A couple trends we are seeing are some smaller wedding parties and some quick turnarounds. The smaller wedding parties I believe are just a result of limited numbers allowed at the wedding, but as each state goes into different phases of re-opening we feel this will rebound. The quick turnarounds are a result of two things we have heard from our couples. The store they had booked their original suit/tux rental at is still closed or has canceled their order. Secondly, some couples are now choosing to elope and defer their “big” celebration to a later date. Here the groom is looking for just him, or him and a best man. They are looking for something that fits him well as they are still having pictures taken of the ceremony. That is why we feel owning is the way to go to ensure the best fit and you get to keep it afterwards for the deferred celebration at a later date. Most of our wedding suits average around $175.00 to own, so some couples are coming out better than what they had originally planned with a rental at another store.
Thank you for taking the time to check out this blog post. Hopefully it was helpful and gave you some good perspectives on wedding planning in the midst of a pandemic. If you have any questions about your wedding, wedding attire, etc. we’d love to help! Set up an appointment with us at 919-981-6222 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to see you!
[Photography credit for featured blog image: https://www.lauramemory.com]