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'It is going to be nonstop': What you need to know if you are planning a large event in 2021

When it comes to weddings and other celebrations, "flexibility is definitely still the name of the game"

ST. LOUIS — It was set to be the most magical day of her life at the perfect place: then Allie Menne found out her St. Louis wedding venue closed indefinitely, without telling them.

“So we had to scramble and plan the whole thing from start to finish all over again,” she said.

She moved full steam ahead with a new plan for a new perfect day. Unfortunately, that perfect day was March 27, 2020, right when the COVID-19 pandemic set in.

“So 10 days before that wedding, we had to cancel,” she said. 

They got married in their living room and planned for a large September party — only to have to cancel that, too, due to the ongoing pandemic. Their large celebration commemorated their one-year anniversary.

“I've had to plan my wedding four separate times, so I feel like I'm a professional bride,” she said. 

Technically, though, she’s a professional bridal and event designer — she launched a business, “Something Bleau," through this process.

Despite everything she’s been through, she’s ready for more.

“2021 and 2022 will be the year of revenge parties. It is going to be nonstop,” she said. 

It’s been nonstop for a.companie events as well, where many of the events they planned for 2020 had to be redesigned to meet health and safety protocols, or for a later date.

“People who are celebrating and have been planning for like two and three years,” said designer and planner Melody Lowry. “It's all happening at once.”

That means venues of all sizes are booking up far in advance.

“If you got engaged, you know, take a couple of days, enjoy it. Then the next week, get on venue,” said Menne. “Once you booked that, the rest can fall into place.”

In fact, the rest might need to come later.

People are having a really hard time committing because we went a year and a half without being able to commit and losing deposits and, you know, a lot of things that had to happen and it was out of everyone's control,” said Lowry. “So right now, I think what's important is that accepting that if you do have to wait for the last month or last two weeks before your event to make some of those big decisions: just be patient, have some grace with your vendors, be flexible and just knowing in the end it's going to be great.

While we’re turning a corner in the pandemic, it’s still important to look for COVID-19 clauses in any contract you sign — get everything in writing. Also know the pandemic continues to have other impacts on wedding planning: everything from catering staff to floral vases are in short supply.

“So flexibility is definitely still the name of the game,” said Lowry.

Menne advises focusing on three moments you care about most in your event. If things have to change, you know your priorities.

“So for me, it was seeing my dad, my first look with my dad, and then it was seeing [husband] Mark down the aisle and then after that, definitely the food and the party. So for me, that was what I just kept focusing on. And I carried those three things into our living room wedding,” she said.

Lowry said to have fun with the event planning process — celebrate that we’re even planning events again, and know your guests are happy about that, too.

“I think people are just like starving for that interaction with people and their families,” said Lowry. “The love in the room and like that energy is just as great, if not better than what it was before.”

If you're attending an event this year, know that invitations could follow a different timeline than usual. Look for updates, sometimes via email or on a couple’s wedding website, to communicate any changes. And the best gift you can give a couple? Grace, and rolling with the punches with them.

“I think that that is probably the biggest the biggest thing,” said Menne. “If you have an opinion about how the bride and groom are doing something, take a moment, realize all that they’ve been through, before you say anything.”