2020 Recap - What a Shitty Year
Okay, okay. It wasn't totally shitty. Let's be honest - some great things came out of 2020. From the inspiring couples who jumped into the unknown, to the almost daily reminders about the important things in life, 2020 definitely had its moments.
It's been a goal of mine to start blogging for like, ever. Well, here I am! In all my authentic, half idiotic/half amusing ways, I hope to make blogging a staple in my communication with you. We're going to dive into wedding goodies, insider secrets and design tips and tricks. I'm going to give you a real look at how insta-weddings come to life...good, bad, and ugly. I'm super pumped, but before we jump into 2020's first beautiful event, I wanted to take a post and recap the year in general. I mean, who doesn't want to talk about 2020?
For starters, ME. Last year sucked. I mean, not all of it, obviously. From the depths of fire and brimstone that was 2020 rose couples whose love really did conquer all, vendors who leaned on each other and showed compassion to their clients, and a sheer hell-bent determination from all of us to just carry the fuck on. But in general, believe me when I say that 2020 can go jump off a cliff.
My year started out great. I was planning my first content creation lab, working with super creative people and we were dreamin' and schemin' all the things. I was close to being booked out for the year and already booking into 2021. Things were stupidly blissful. And then? Then came the vomit inducing month of March.
We waited anxiously as the first waves of COVID-19 hit and we all tried in vain to give our clients some reassurances. "Surely by June this will all blow over. Sit tight." I can't believe now how many times I opened my mouth and inserted my big, dumb foot. As fear and uncertainty became our new norm, I tried to ride the waves of crazy with my clients and vendor friends. Most people learned to surf, but some vendors drowned. As an industry we all turned to each other for answers, but no one had anything but more questions. Many of us, myself included, tried to hunker down and spend less, turn inward, and focus on the few things we felt we could control. I watched as what was supposed to be a short term hiccup became a long term shift in the industry as a whole. I watched, unable to turn the tide, as my clients joy was replaced with fear. A planner's worst nightmare is to see your clients unhappy, and boy was everyone unhappy.
I cried with clients whose wedding was so freaking close, and we had to wave goodbye to all the dreams and plans we had made. At 3 am I worried what I would tell them when they needed security in answers. I tried to keep busy to ignore the fact that my anticipated paychecks were disappearing in front of my eyes. Weddings were postponed, and, God forbid, cancelled. It was unlike anything any of us had ever seen.
In May we had a blip of hope as weddings were back on. Cue the DJ! Sure, guest counts were reduced, masks encouraged, sanitation increased, but we were planning weddings again! Hallelujah. There were some bizarre logistics to work out, but hey, that's my happy place. Any wedding planner worth any count can pivot on a dime with logistics. Add shields to a buffet, and make it served? No problem, add people. Increase distance for guests? Great, add outdoor event space. People scared to dance? Okay, bring on the alcohol (for legal reasons, I'm kidding). We thought, for a stupid, idiotic moment, that things were getting back to "normal." What if we had known then that normal wasn't going to exist anymore?
There was so much uncertainty, but we began to stand back up from the sucker punch of life. Folks big in the industry began talking through reopening policies with lawmakers, explaining our impact on the economy and why we needed to be seen as a priority. My clients were optimistic, hopeful even. I was moving forward on summer weddings and I finally got to a place where things felt sane...and then, we found out dad was sick.
If nothing else happened in 2020, losing dad would be enough for me to write off the entire year. Hell, it's hard not to write off the entire next decade because of our loss. My dad was the kind of man that made a huge, positive impact on anyone he encountered. To say that we were close would be an understatement. I fell into the black hole of grief that we all shared as we watched him decline over weeks. We were by his side constantly. I had a mattress on his bathroom floor while my sister and stepmom shared their bed. The night that he died we were all up at 3, listening to his breathing change. I hugged him as he passed on into the next life. Three hours later, I got up and left for Lexington to manage my third wedding of the year. It felt like a dream. Needless to say, it was a bizarre day. That wedding was one to remember, and I can't wait to share more about it. Later.
Weddings continued for another couple months but, inevitably, the second wave hit as cold season came on. The industry came to a screeching halt, again. We were less optimistic but more determined than ever to keep moving forward. I was just surfacing again to my clients as I stopped crying everyday, and my brain could hold thoughts of anything but dad. Slowly, painfully, I crawled back into life and tried to regain normalcy. Soon, the season ended and it was the holidays; woohoo. I was less than excited and honestly, it never felt real when we "celebrated." Everything was numb, or agonizing. But, time passed.
The calendar changed, and I began to cry less. I began telling stories of dad that made us all laugh. I began remembering more than just the horror of his last weeks. We all began to heal, the industry, too. Small but meaningful events began to run like well oiled machines. Clients were resigned to the new normal, but they seemed happy all the same. Despite losing half their guest list and seeing masks on the dance floor, my people were happy to just be able to marry their love. As dad would say, time will heal.
Now, heading into 2021's season, I feel an excitement as the industry becomes more confident in holding events and clients gain real-world experience of weddings amidst COVID. We're finalizing spring wedding plans, scheduling walkthroughs, and moving forward with bookings. Clients have been so resilient, which honestly has kept me sane through it all. In 2020 I witnessed some beautiful, intimate events that are some of my most treasured memories. I can't wait to tell you all the details of the backyard weddings with moments that never would have been witnessed at a larger event. I cried happy tears at every. single. one. And the crazy thing is, at the end of each 2020 wedding, no matter if it was 200 in the barn or 10 on the patio, my clients looked at me and said "this was the best day, ever." In the midst of this chaos we're calling life, what more could a wedding planner ask for?