If you’re planning a wedding in Virginia, you might like – dang. I wish I could just sit down with a wedding planner and ask them a bunch of questions about 2023 wedding trends and what I should focus on before I get started.
Your wish is my command!
I met with Andrea Mason of Andrea Ferris Events and we talked all about trends and advice and tips that you will find invaluable. Andrea is a wedding and event planner based out of Roanoke. She specializes in putting together really fun parties for people who want to have a good time and look good doing it.
This is our conversation. It’s been edited for clarity but it is SO GOOD and full of things you won’t want to miss when planning your big day.
I think the most important thing in terms of booking is don’t hone in on one wedding day. Be flexible. Pick a season: fall, spring, summer. And start looking at venues immediately. Then hire a planner. So those would be my main things. It’s going to be a lot easier to navigate this crazy market [meaning it’s hard to find a venue] with an event planner. And you don’t want to pick a wedding date and end up falling in love with the venue if it’s not available on that day.
Looking for a great venue? Check out this round-up of the Best Intimate Wedding Venus in Charlottesville and The Best Roanoke Wedding Venues.
I see a lot of people that don’t realize that in this area, football is king. So you’re not going to get a great hotel rate if it’s a football weekend. I’ve planned with people that maybe have family here but they live in California, and they’re like, can you negotiate this hotel rate? No…it’s a Virginia Tech football weekend. That’s the rate and that’s what you’re going to have to deal with or not have a hotel room block or whatever. I think that, that that becomes a hurdle.
When people have a shorter timeframe of planning it’s not that big of a deal, but when people are planning 18 months ahead and they want to fall wedding, football schedule is not posted yet. So you just have to take your chances because you can’t wait to see what Virginia Tech’s football schedule is to book your wedding. But you also have to realize that there might not be discounted hotel room blocks for your guests, and there might be a lot of traffic and that kind of thing.
I think that something that’s probably different from planning at the beach or somewhere that’s a lot flatter, is that the weather could be one thing in Roanoke and completely different in Blacksburg and you’re really only 30 to 45 minutes away. You could be in downtown Roanoke and then go up a mountain and it’s 15 degrees colder and raining. I’m sure there are other places in the United States that are like that, but I do find that’s something that you really have to plan around.
Really any type of couple could benefit from working with a planner, it just depends on what collection might be best. So if you’ve got a super busy work life, and you really don’t like to plan, and it’s in your budget to hire a full-service planner then that’s ideal. But the kind of couple that maybe loves to plan and has the flexibility to book their own vendors, but wants to enjoy their wedding weekend would maybe book a month-of coordinator. So really any type of couple of benefits from it. But it just depends on where you fall in how much you want somebody else to take on for you.
I’m seeing more bright colors for flowers, more indoor weddings. And kind of leaning towards less traditional things. So for instance, no formal first dances, doing toasts at the rehearsal dinner, dessert tables instead of cakes, funky rentals and decor and that kind of thing.
People are planning weddings in 10-12 months rather than 12-18. Therefore, couples are having to be more flexible on their date. Instead of saying “I want to get married on a specific date in October” they have to say, “I want to get married anytime in the fall.”
Don’t pick a vendor based on cost alone. Like, yes, budget is very important. But if you’ve got three great vendors to choose from and one is only, I don’t know, $500 less than the other and you just pick them because of that. That’s not an ideal way to do it because you really have to click with your vendors. And the one that’s more expensive might be worth the extra and be a better fit.
The biggest way to save money is to have a lower guest count. I mean, I don’t think that most couples realize that because they think, “that’s just saving on catering and bar,” which are your biggest expenses. So yes, that’s true. But it’s not only saving on catering and the bar. It’s saving on the number of tables you need, the number of chairs you need, the number of linens, the number of centerpieces, it all comes back to your guest count. So that’s the biggest way to save money and still have the vision that you want is invite fewer
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