Tis the season for hallmark movies, Christmas cookies, family gatherings, and of course, the most romantic proposals under the mistletoe. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s engagement season and we’re here to give you the ultimate guide on how to plan a 2023 wedding when you’re already late to the vendor booking party.
It’s true what they say… inflation is real and 2023 is another domino falling in the wild post-Covid wedding blitz down the aisle. Vendors are booking up; your favorite photographer can’t take on one more engagement session and venues are offering Wednesdays and Thursdays in lieu of the coveted weekend soiree. What is a freshly engaged couple to do without waiting until 2024 for their nuptials? As Mrs. McCallister once said in the famous movie Home Alone, “This is CHRISTMAS! It is the season of perpetual hope!” Rest assured brides and grooms-to-be, you can still make a 2023 wedding happen and Caitlin McDonald Events has all the tips and tricks to making that list, checking it twice and crossing off those vendors in your planning process.
| BUDGET |
Establishing your budget is the very first thing that needs to happen in order to book your planner and be off to the races. Even if you’re not sure what that magic number is, any professional vendor will require a ballpark to have an idea on how to help you and what kind of proposals to provide you with. Additionally, you need to ensure you have plenty of funds up front to help with all the vendor deposits. Due to the shorter timeline, it’s likely that vendors who typically provide 2-4 payment plan options will only provide a 2-installment payment plan, which means a large increase in the typical deposit costs.
| WEDDING PLANNER |
After you’ve established a budget, we would suggest finding and booking your wedding planner prior to your other vendors. Working on a short timeline of at most 8-10mos for planning requires lighting speed, quick decision making and a professional to help get you through it. Your planner will be invaluable in providing connections and relationships with other vendors that should make your booking process take off quickly. Not to mention, while your planner is researching, vetting and booking your vendors, you can be showing off that fresh bit of sparkly and popping the bubbly while you put together your bridesmaid and groomsmen proposal boxes!
PS: Caitlin McDonald Events has few dates remaining in 2023 and would be happy to have a consultation with you to learn more about your wedding vision, date and planning needs! Inquire at caitlinmcdonaldevents.com!
| VENUE + DATE |
The second (or simultaneous) thing newly engaged clients should be looking for to secure their wedding in 2023 is a venue and an actual date. If you have a family home that’s large enough, private estate weddings are hugely on the rise since the pandemic and there’s no telling when we’ll stop seeing these sentimental spaces hosting the ultimate family gathering. Not to mention, it immediately removes the burden of having to look for alternative venues and dates that can accommodate your wish list. Other options for beautiful wedding venues that are available on a Saturday in 2023 include State and Local parks. While these types of venues might not be the first choice, don’t count them out before you take a look! Lots of Parks and Rec departments offer gorgeous venues for a fraction of the price of others which means extra room in the budget for florals, rentals, and other upgrades. Of course, you can go for that prestigious Villa, Mediterranean winery, or modern industrial lounge but you may have to settle for a week-day date. It’s not all bad though—if you ask me, many guests have enjoyed taking a Thursday or Friday off for a wedding followed by a long weekend. In addition, a weekday wedding is typically much more cost-effective and budget friendly than that star-studded Saturday.
| CATERING |
After securing your date and venue, you’ll need to *literally* put food on the table! If your favorite farm to table caterer is unavailable, you might try looking into local restaurants you love. Many upscale restaurants will cater events under 100 and you’ll get the most bang for your buck for upscale fine dining versus a larger catering company.
| PHOTO + VIDEO |
More than ever, we are seeing clients booking with vendors from outside the State that they’re hosting their wedding in. My Oregon and California weddings are increasingly booking planners, photography, and videography from Utah, Colorado, the Seattle-area and even as far as the East Coast. Instagram is a great tool for helping to find your vendor team, but keep in mind that travel fees are typically required when booking from a distance. Lucky for you though, travel prices are finally seeing some decreases in hotel and flight costs.
| FLORIST |
After the mad dash through the snow of picking those first few vendors, you finally get to stop and smell the roses! Picking a florist is one part of the planning process that even in a short timeline, we at CME take our time on because it’s our client’s first chance to establish a deeper understanding of their design and style preferences. In this stage, we recommend reviewing a few different proposals and really comparing costs, florals and innovation from the florist. Which proposal really “gets” you? Was their one florist that just absolutely nailed it? This is your moment to really revel in the wedding planning process and see your vision start to come to life!
Of course, in addition to these big-ticket items there are lots of other things you’ll want to check off your list to make sure you’re making progress in your wedding planning. Booking those dress shopping trips right away, establishing bridesmaid dress colors, sending out save-the-dates and confirming guest counts are just a few things that need to happen quickly to make your 2023 wedding dream a reality. We hope this condensed roadmap helps some of you newly-engaged couples find your way into your very own happily ever after! Cheers to your, the love of your life and a beautiful journey ahead!