Even before the pandemic that turned the wedding plans of hundreds of thousands of eager and excited engaged couples upside down, booking a wedding venue always had a specific place on the timeline recommended by most planners. But now that so many strangers know when or if at all these weddings can take place and in what kind of capacity, the schedules are shifting dramatically, with many couples even jumping on the train booking the venue before heading to the Make way a knee.
“With so many changes, postponements and cancellations to wedding dates, booking a wedding location has become more complicated compared to days before COVID,” said Marie Danielle Vil-Young, founder and creative director at À Votre Service Events in New York City. “Many of the companies we have worked with have been very generous with changes without penalties, but this is not always the case.”
With so many wedding date changes, postponements, and some cancellations, booking a wedding venue has gotten more complicated.
Vil-Young has had many experiences where booking a wedding date for her customers was anything but easy or normal. “There have been many situations where couples have been offered weekday options just because of the excess booking caused by the delays caused by the pandemic,” she says. Ivy Summer, wedding planner and owner of Voulez Events in San Francisco, even filed a client for bankruptcy due to the pandemic.
In response to these worse scenarios, the wedding venues are changing their booking methods for these very unsafe weddings. “Some venues even include clauses in their contracts so couples know what to expect if lockdown restrictions tighten, the maximum guest capacity needs to be changed, or the venue can no longer stay in business,” says Summer. “Couples getting married in the next year must now be sure that the venue will meet their needs in the best and worst of circumstances, and they must meet the venue’s requirements for masks and vaccination status, hygiene, physical distancing and protocols Capacity. ”
Couples getting married within the next year now need to be sure that the venue will serve their needs in the best and worst of circumstances.
In general, the average recommendation for booking a venue is around 12 months before the actual wedding date – usually after the budget has been set and the wedding planner hired (if you have one). But now there’s a mentality pervading the industry as planners try to do whatever it takes to create the appearance of the fairytale wedding their clients were hoping for.
Why book a venue before you’re engaged?
It’s understandable that many couples are eager to lock their wedding venue down, especially considering how many venues are fully booked due to so many postponements from weddings that should take place in 2020 and early 2021 to book your venue, experts continue to recommend to hold out until the official engagement.
“Choosing a venue before developing an overall plan is more likely to create additional challenges and costs than it will benefit you and your partner,” said Rosemary Hattenbach, wedding planner and founder of Rosemary Events in San Francisco and Los Angeles . “Doing your research before it’s official is one thing, but I wouldn’t make any deposits or sign contracts until you make it official.”
Jamésa Alexander, wedding planner and owner of Jayne Heir Weddings & Events in Washington, DC, agrees that booking a specific wedding location before getting engaged is a risky business. “There are so many things to consider that pertain to the guidelines being administered by your local mayor or state agent regarding the pandemic,” she says. “Several venues have had to close due to the pandemic and you don’t want to be in a position where you booked a venue ahead of time and are no longer in business due to the pandemic.”
For the summer, she believes the decision whether or not to book a venue before the engagement is a personal choice and based on the urgency of the couple. “If a couple is concerned that Grandma Dolores won’t be around for long, booking a venue sooner rather than later may be the smartest choice,” she says. “When a couple wants a longer engagement and invites as many people as possible in person, they may be placed in a scenario that is not in their best interests if they book a venue before they get engaged.”
The last word: is it worth the risk?
All in all, the experts we spoke to agree that the negatives of booking a venue before your engagement outweigh the positives. If you find yourself in a specific situation where this makes sense to you, Hattenbach recommends that you make sure you understand the limitations that come with it. “What are maximum capacities, curfews, food and drink restrictions, potential costs?” She asks. “Before making any binding commitments, do extensive research on hosting an event at your venue, and check with friends and VIP guests to make sure there are no date conflicts to consider before booking.”
Finally, she urges couples to check availability with any critical vendors they are trying to hire, as well as nearby hotels availability for their guests, to ensure they have the support services they need when they want.