It’s the season for wedding proposals and engagements. That’s exciting for the bride and groom and the wedding business. As you may have noticed, in March of 2020, the world, as we knew it, came to a grinding stop. Wedding planning took a massive hit from the effects of the pandemic. There were government restrictions, and social gatherings were halted — including wedding celebrations. Those of us who work in the wedding business remember vividly when emails and texts began coming in by frantic brides. By the third week of March 2020, phones were ringing nonstop and not from interested brides who wanted to tour. Those incoming concerns were from brides who had booked through 2021. They wanted to know “what will happen to my wedding,” and how are you, as a vendor, going to work with us. Fortunately, we offered options and rescheduled wedding dates at no additional fee to our clients. Eventually, the governor in our state of Tennessee lifted the restrictions to resume our bookings and tours. Sampson’s Hollow is finishing up for 2021 and looking forward to an increased number of bookings for the future. With many couples who had to reschedule the wedding, they had intended for 2021, the availability of preferred wedding vendors is becoming limited due to demand. The concerns for the Delta and Omicron Variant are causing brides to say the “heck with it.” We are going forward to getting married this year! Brides and grooms do not want to postpone anymore, and wedding venues and other vendors are booking up rapidly due to this fact.
According to projections from the wedding-planning website the Knot, an estimated 2.6 million weddings will take place in the U.S. in 2022, a record high. As a result, wedding venues find themselves having to refer brides to other venues for available wedding dates. We are already ahead in bookings compared to last year. Before the pandemic, approximately 40% of U.S. engagements occurred between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. If that same pattern holds true for our current season, there will be hundreds and hundreds of brides-to-be making decisions for their wedding day. The proposals and engagements will continue heavily from now until February 14.
Sampson’s Hollow is more so a destination wedding venue than a local venue. Over 16 years, our venue has attracted the majority of our bookings from brides and their grooms from out-of-the-area locations. The couple who traveled the farthest distance was from Denmark. They had decided to elope to the Great Smoky Mountains and had never been to the United States. The bride found Sampson’s Hollow on the internet, visited our website, and contacted us to book a date. They stayed at our next-door neighbor, Blackberry Farm, and then traveled for three weeks, seeing as much as they could of our country. We have had couples inquire from Spain, China, Canada, London, and Australia. And of course, none of these couples could do a personal visit. Those who booked did so, site unseen. It’s a bonus for out-of-area couples to choose one of our all-inclusive wedding packages instead of spending countless hours contacting wedding vendors in our area. While this is a tremendous leap of faith, the information, and photographs on our wedding website, as well as reviews on Google and The Knot, have been highly critical in giving these couples assurance when they choose to book a date before visiting.
Come to Tennessee. This statement has been one of our state promotions. The mountains are calling me, and I must go. Whether you, as the bride, are already engaged or are anticipating receiving a proposal during the current engagement season, carefully consider your options. Of course, your wedding budget will guide you in many of your decisions. Suppose you are interested in a Destination or micro-wedding package, an elopement, or a full-scale production. Choose your venue as soon as possible, especially if you have a specific date. Micro and intimate weddings were significant in adapting to the needed modifications of 2020.
While the size of the guest count has increased in size, smaller–more intimate weddings have made a lasting impression for many brides and grooms. Do you want your wedding day to be a lavish production with hundreds of guests — which is fine if your budget allows that. Or, does the thought of being able to use your budget for a smaller guest count and splurging on more amenities sound good? These are decisions that need to be made early in your wedding planning. Destination weddings are an excellent way to trim the guest count and make it more meaningful for those attending, especially if the wedding location is where all of your guests will find it enjoyable. The bottom line is this. Wedding trends will come and go. Pinterest idea boards provide a ton of images to guide your decision-making. However, the bride and groom should decide based on their budget and priorities. You can’t make everyone happy — it’s impossible. Create the event based on your ideas and inspirations. Wedding planning can be stressful, but it should always be a journey to one of the most important days of your life. Enjoy the adventure, and congratulations on your engagement. The Great Smoky Mountains are calling your name!