Nothing goes exactly as planned. We all know that so much better than we did last year. Some couples are right back where they started over a year ago in planning their wedding. Now that vaccines are rolling out, we all see a glimmer of hope and the light at the end of the tunnel. Our goal for fall weddings is to make the best decisions we can with the information we have. If you’re getting married in the fall of 2021, the kinds of tasks you should be knocking off your to-do list this spring include invitations, vendor research, and contingency plans.
Plan Your Invitations
It’s a good practice to send out your invitations at least 8 weeks before your wedding day. Your caterer will need to know your final guest count about 3-4 weeks before your big day, and most of your guests will return their RSVP cards within 3 weeks. “If you have a lot of out-of-town guests, they need time to make arrangements,” said Lauren Granato of Custom Creations Boutique. “So, you may need additional time to send out [those] invites.”
Before you can send out your invitations though, you’ll need to consult your stationer to design your suite and coordinate addressing each envelope. In other words, if you’re getting married at the end of August, for example, reserve April and May for booking your stationery vendor and designing your stationery suite. According to Granato, your entire stationery suite can include your:
- RSVP Cards
- Thank You Notes
- Escort Cards for the Ceremony and/or Reception
- Table Numbers
- Wedding Weekend Summary
- Directions or Details Cards
- Wedding Day Timeline for Guests
- Wedding Announcements
- Shower Invitations
- Jack and Jill Party Invitations
While many of these stationery components are optional, it’s important to think about which components you want to print or digitize for your wedding website. You’ll notice that there are some other key decisions you’ll have to make before you can print your stationery suite. For example, you’ll want to share your registry when you send out your invitations. You need to know what your caterer can accommodate before you can prompt your guests to select a meat dish or vegetarian option on your RSVP cards. This is one of many reasons why spring is the perfect time to do some vendor research for your fall wedding.
If you’re getting married in the fall, you might still have some vendors you need to hire in the spring. Refer to your desired wedding style or theme and your budget. These details will instantly narrow down the kinds of vendors you need to seek out. Some venues require you to hire from their preferred vendor list for any wedding services you need. In any case, make sure the vendors you want to hire have the opportunity to visit the venue a season in advance so they know exactly what they’re working with.
Wedding planners are a great one-stop-shop option to expedite your vendor research. They save you time and only recommend vendors that match your budget and style. Focus on finding makeup artists, hairstylists, caterers, and bakers. Schedule your trials and tastings throughout the spring season. This will give you ample time to thoughtfully consider and book your ideal professionals in these vendor categories without feeling rushed.
Make Contingency Plans
As we learned from 2020, everything can completely change at the drop of a dime. It’s always a good idea to create a contingency plan. I’m not only talking about your backup plan in case inclement weather threatens your outdoor wedding festivities. Whether there’s a pandemic or not, your wedding vendors are not invincible. They can fall ill or have to tend to an unexpected emergency on or before the wedding day (god forbid), even they’re vaccinated.
Build a contingency plan for each vendor right inside the contract. Ask your wedding vendor if there's a backup vendor who will be available to take over their wedding day responsibilities in the unlikely event that a backup is necessary. This won’t take too much of your time to discuss with the vendors you choose to hire. They will know another vendor in their network who they can trust to follow through.
Hero photo courtesy of Soft Hearts & Stills