ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – COVID-19 took a major toll on several industries, but event planning was one that was hit the hardest. Wedding vendors at Franchesco’s Bridal Expo on Feb. 20 say when the pandemic started, it changed everything for the industry.
“It has been I mean really hard, that first 14-day thing,” said Ron Reiner, an event and wedding DJ. “Then it rolled out to however many months, so that year really crushed a lot of us.”
“In terms of weddings, they were getting delayed or canceled or rescheduled. It was difficult for us,” said Rockford Rides CEO Joshua Beitel. “We had to figure out unique ways we could offer services, social distancing.”
Several vendors say they’ve seen a huge rise in people booking weddings and believe 2022 could be a record-breaking year. But even as restrictions for indoor events ease, safety is still the top concern for both the bridal party and guests.
“We’re making our drivers get a COVID test every week,” Beitel said. “We’re sanitizing our vehicles every week with hospital grade sanitizers.”
Franchesco’s general manager Michelle Lamay says people are more eager to have larger events now that there are fewer limits on the number of guests allowed.
“I think people are just excited to get back to normal and do things like we used to,” Lamay said. “Get back to enjoying life and celebrating a really important day.”
Reiner says COVID started certain trends for couples, like outdoor ceremonies. Some brides and grooms are even planning years in advance.
“I have even heard some of the top people are booking three years into the future,” said Reiner. “Three years into the future. It’s amazing, but you got to get started early.”
Reiner added that the COVID gap year allowed business owners to perfect their brand. He said another interesting trend – fewer brides and grooms require event staff to wear tuxedo or formal wear.
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