After a full year of cancellations and postponements of weddings in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been a busy year for wedding venues and vendors.
â2021 seems to be catching up. It’s such a busy year. We have more weddings than ever before, âsaid Joelle Cowden, co-owner of Shady Elms Farm in Hickory. âPeople are thrilled to be able to go out again and celebrate. “
The outdoor wedding venue, which has rescheduled five weddings slated for last year through 2021, only has two open dates available this year and is reserving until 2022.
A recent poll from The Knot found that of the 7,600 couples across the country who initially set their wedding date between Jan.1 and Dec.31, 2020, nearly half of couples – 47% – postponed a reception. in 2021 and beyond. The survey also showed that in 2020, 32% of couples held a âminimoineâ or were legally married, but were planning to host a reception in 2021.
And, according to the survey, 43% of couples who initially set their wedding date for 2020 advanced the wedding and ceremony.
âThe wedding industry was hit hard last year. But now we have vaccines and weddings have grown, âsaid wedding planner Brenda Widows, owner of Wedding Wishes in Washington and a mental health nurse. “Many outdoor sites book faster than indoor sites because being outdoors, where fresh air is always circulating, is the safest at the moment.”
The advice of wedding planners to any couple looking to host a wedding this year or in 2022 is to start planning as soon as possible.
Wedding planner Jaclyn Pheasant of Dream Creations in Smithfield advises couples to hire vendors as soon as possible.
âThe most important thing that I have recommended to my couples is to secure their suppliers as soon as possible. Secure your date and your suppliers. DJs, photographers, videographers and caterers are filling up fast due to the many postponements of last year and the number of weddings pushed back to 2021, âsaid Pheasant.
Wedding planners also suggest that couples consider flexibility in the date of the wedding, such as a midweek ceremony instead of a Saturday wedding.
Bryce and Samantha Walter, who tied the knot on June 5 at Fernstone Retreat in Farmington, County Fayette, were forced to relocate when the indoor site where they originally planned to exchange vows was closed due to of the pandemic.
” We were lucky. We got engaged in July 2019, before COVID was a thought. We weighed all our options – we had thought about delaying or running away. We called everywhere and Fernstone was only available on one weekend day all year round, on our original date June 5th. So it worked perfectly, âsaid Walter, who now lives in Bellefonte. “It was really nice to be able to meet up with friends and family that we haven’t seen in a long time, since the start of COVID.”
Pheasant, who was the organizer of the Walters’ wedding, said about 95% of the weddings she plans this year are outside.
Widows and Pheasant both said that even with the COVID-19 vaccine now available, couples are incorporating health and safety measures into their marriages.
These measures include hand sanitizer stations, face masks and socially distanced amenities.
Serving food to guests is recommended instead of having queues for buffets, and tongs and gloves are provided for cookie tables and candy stations to avoid contact with guests. food.
âSome people are still apprehensive and won’t come to weddings yet, but a lot of people are feeling more comfortable,â said Widows, who is currently finalizing details of two weddings that have been moved from 2020 to this year. âCouples should consider their guests. If a family member has a health problem, be aware and place them outside of the seating arrangement, where there is not a lot of traffic.
Widows also said it was appropriate to include in invitations for weddings planned for fall or winter, or indoors, a note that if guests are sick they are encouraged to stay. at home.
Most of all, wedding planners encourage couples to enjoy their engagement and bridal planning.
This is advice that Samantha and Bryce Walter have adopted.
Samantha and Bryce were junior high school sweethearts who met in eighth grade.
The summer before their senior year of college – she graduated from Robert Morris University, he graduated from Juniata College – Bryce proposed to Samantha near a waterfall in Bedford Springs, one of their favorite spots.
Samantha Walter said the challenges of planning a wedding during the pandemic have helped her focus on what matters.
âI feel like you’re really learning what’s important. At the start of the wedding planning process, before COVID, we focused on all the little details. But we had to make a lot of concessions, and what really helped us was the idea that we were still going to get married at the end, âsaid Walter, 23, who studies at the law school of the United Kingdom. Penn State University. âThis is the most important thing. And it was a perfect day.