25-year-old Shelby Henry thought she would have no problem assembling the perfect team for her April 9 wedding.
After all, weddings are her business: Henry is the founder, lead photographer and cameraman of Amavi, a wedding studio in West Palm Beach, Florida and Indianapolis. She got engaged last June and began contacting vendors in August, believing that nine months would be enough time to plan her wedding for 80 people in Key Largo.
“I probably turned to 30 photographers and 20 videographers, and maybe more,” Henry said. As for the florists, “we turned to 12-15, and many have already been booked.”
Finally, she hired a wedding planner who managed to catch the vendors by paying Boca Raton’s management an additional fare of $ 1,500 for a ride about an hour and a half to Henry’s wedding venue.
At least, Henry had venue. The expected wedding boom of 2022 has caused a shortage of vendors and venues. Given that many of the 2.5 million weddings expected this year were canceled in 2020 and 2021, many couples had to rebook the venue several times – and now some have been left without it. Paula Ramirez, owner of the historic Mankin Mansion in Richmond, Virginia, said the 2022 season was fully filled by December, causing the mansion to open on dates not normally offered.
It’s not just upsetting couples; it’s also bitter for the wedding industry, which barely managed to stay afloat during the pandemic.
Anastasia Stevenson, a wedding planner with Coastal Creative Weddings in Savannah, Georgia, said her entire business has stopped with the start of COVID-19, and she closed her doors in 2020 and 2021.
It reopened in 2022 and is on its way to the busiest season in 16 years of working in the industry. Most of her dates for 2022 have been booked since mid-2021, turning even the quietest wedding parties into brides or grooms.
“My fiancé’s mother offered me an extra $ 10,000 to cancel another client and work with her on a specific date,” Stevenson said.
Samantha Goldberg, a famous wedding planner and TV personality from New York, said she also experienced extreme instances of wedding despair, especially on certain dates. Particularly popular, for example, February 2 (2/2/22).
“We had a few clients who changed dates two or three times to make us plan,” Goldberg said, adding that her business has grown significantly over previous years. She said she was offered “twice as much as my fees and she was forced to refuse” because she had already been booked.
One of the reasons why wedding organizers are in such high demand: couples very quickly realize how unpleasant it is to look for sellers on their own.
John Campbell, owner of John Campbell Weddings in Tampa, Florida, said it is fully booked for spring 2022 through the end of 2020. Typically, customers contact him in 9-14 months; now some have started calling him 24 months before the desired dates.
Even calligraphers feel the heat. Calligraphy takes weeks and sometimes months, especially on a large scale, said Emily Dulles, owner of Dulles Design, a guest company in Charleston, South Carolina. While engraving and letterpress machines can run 24 hours a day, calligraphers can’t. Custom calligraphy now needs to be booked a few months in advance, based on each order for 100. For example, a wedding with 400 guests will take twice as long to deliver a letter than an event with 200 guests, Dulles said.
When there are few vendors left, couples become creative. 27-year-old Tracy Bellamy, who works in marketing and sales, got engaged in June 2021 and in October began planning her wedding in January 2022 at the pier in Boston.
By the time finding catering it was too late.
So she and her fiancé (now her husband) asked “some of our close friends to become food vendors at the wedding,” Bellamy said. Her friends whipped chicken and salad. Luckily, Bellamy said, she found the bakery just in time, so she didn’t have to ask a friend to search for “How to Make a Wedding Cake” on YouTube.
If you are just starting to plan a wedding, you may want to think about 2023. Daniel Hess, owner of To Tony Productions, a wedding video company in Baltimore, said he had started booking rooms for next year. He said he receives four to five inquiries a day and he had to double the number of his usual crew from 6 to 12.
Not only is increased demand causing a shortage of suppliers; it is also a problem with supply chains. Gineen Cargo, owner of Gavin Christianson Bridal in Durham, North Carolina, said she encourages all brides to order dresses at least six to nine months in advance – or a year to be safe – given that all “supplies are delayed or left in ports ».
One bride in May 2023 had already said “yes” to the dress, a whopping 15 months before her big day, Cargo said.
Is it too early to feel nostalgic for Zoom weddings?