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Five regional wedding experts offer advice on organizing your wedding amid the ebb and flow of the pandemic.
By Lisa Dukart
Making plans for anything over the course of the past 18 months has proved challenging, and weddings were certainly no exception. Typically requiring at least one year of planning, celebrations have run the gamut as pandemic restrictions have changed—and then changed again as vaccines became widely available, only to have variants multiply. No matter the conditions, love prevails and weddings carry on; they just require a bit of agility and creative thinking. Here’s what five wedding planners say to expect when organizing nuptials for 2022.
Owner, Proud to Plan Wilmington, Delaware
We’re not seeing masks at Delaware weddings much, guest lists are back to pre-pandemic sizes, and gone are the dividers separating guests from bartenders and food displays. Maintaining social distances in groups is one way my team is managing safety protocols, which has been easy due to having mostly outdoor weddings. We are taking lots of breaks to wash our hands and sanitize our items, and, of course, being vaccinated keeps us safe, too. It’s been such a nice return to planning with our couples; they are relieved to progress forward without worry and confusion. Guests seem so happy to have something to celebrate after all those long months of sadness and anxiety.
Owner, Ambiance Created New Castle, Delaware
Since the COVID-19 restrictions have lifted, we have seen a shift in inquiries for weddings. While there is a rush to secure new dates for the fall and winter, more folks are planning for next spring. There has been an uptick in engagements, which equals more weddings. Venues are booking up faster or are already fully booked for the fall from weddings that were canceled in 2020. However, some couples are opting for fewer guests but more elaborate décor. It’s almost as if they want to spend the money that they were able to save during the pandemic.
Caitlin Maloney Kuchemba
Owner, Clover Event Co. Norristown, Pennsylvania
We are seeing couples moving forward mostly as planned. Vaccinations and loosening of restrictions have allowed weddings to return and be reminiscent of pre-COVID times. We are still seeing many vendors, especially catering staff and hair and makeup artists, wear masks at weddings, which may be something we see well into 2022. New variants like Delta are causing some concern, but overall couples and their guests who are vaccinated are able to celebrate safely again.
Owner, Designs by Daisy West Chester, Pennsylvania
For 2021 couples, the year started with an uneasy mindset when it came to their upcoming weddings. Since the COVID-19 vaccines have been approved, everything seemed to start settling. Couples started to regain their hope, and the worries seem to have faded. Venues have lowered their restrictions, and couples started to get excited with their original wedding plans. Have patience and kindness towards your wedding vendors, because this year the amount of workload has doubled, if not tripled. We are trying our best to make all of our 2021 and 2022 couples’ weddings perfect. Just like you needed patience with the pandemic, please now have patience with your amazing wedding vendors who will make everything fall into place on your gorgeous and stress-free wedding day. Make sure you are always prepared with anything that could come your way in the next few months.
Owner, Pine Hill Events Wayne, Pennsylvania
We are very busy this fall. Couples do seem to be interested in pulling something off in the short term. I think initially it was just excitement… but with the rise of variants, that’s kind of adding a double urgency. There’s an interest in having outdoor space, even into the fall, and larger rooms, so people can spread out. And there’s still a little hesitancy with self-serve food, but less than before. I’m seeing guest counts back up to normal. I think as long as the guidelines from our local health officials allow for larger gatherings, they are still going to happen. My advice is plan for different contingencies. We have Plan A, which is the large initial size wedding with masks optional. But we also need to plan for scaling things down, having more outdoor possibilities, or even changing food and beverage service. It’s about planning and managing expectations. Let’s remember you found your person and you’re getting married. Your wedding can still be beautiful, and it is absolutely still worth celebrating.
“My advice is plan for different contingencies. We have Plan A, which is the large initial size wedding with masks optional. But we also need to plan for scaling things down, having more outdoor possibilities, or even changing food and beverage service.”