This year is expected to be a blockbuster year for the wedding industry after the COVID-19 pandemic forced couples to postpone tying the knot.
“I'm probably the busiest I've ever been,” said Carisa Lockery, who owns Pink Olive Events in Cheshire and has been planning events for nearly 15 years. “We're completely booked for June, October. We have 10 weddings just in the first four weeks of October. That's not even counting the last weekend.”
Liz Barry is one of the many brides who has had to navigate the crowded waters to plan a wedding this June.
She and her fiancé Peter got engaged on Jan. 1, 2021 and immediately started planned their wedding. But finding everything from a venue to vendors proved to be difficult.
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“We were coming off of the pandemic and a lot of people were moving their weddings, and a lot of people were just saying, let's not even bother with 2021, let's just wait until 2022 to make sure that you know things will be OK. So, we were competing with all of these people that you know, had been postponing their wedding two, three, four times,” said Barry, a bride from Wethersfield.
Lockery was working with several couples who had planned to get married in 2020 and postponed to 2021 or even 2022. She said her experience and relationship with vendors across the state helped.
“We had to do a lot of things on the fly, a lot of cancellations, a lot of moving things around,” said Lockery. “Smaller-scale weddings, elopements, let's do our ceremony now and have our big reception next year. You know, hey, we're moving our reception from -- I did one that was moving from New Jersey, to mom's backyard in Connecticut. We had to replan the whole thing in like three months.”
As more and more couples were competing for coveted weekend weddings, brides like Barry found it difficult to find someone for hair and makeup or a DJ.
“It took me a while to find a DJ. Every single DJ on our suggested vendors list from our venue was booked,” said Barry.
The soaring demand has led several couples to pick weekday weddings, off-season months, even holidays, all in an effort to avoid further postponements and price hikes, according to Lockery.
Speaking of price hikes, many brides who booked last year were lucky enough to lock in their prices for things like food, flowers and limo services before record inflation.
But for couples looking to book now, prices are soaring, especially for food, transportation and delivery services.
“They're still being pretty good with contracts already in place. But I think going forward, with new people, it's definitely going up, they have to or they’ll lose a lot of money,” said Lockery.
Lockery suggest that if a couple is planning a wedding now, book vendors as soon as possible and lock in those rates that are likely going to continue climbing.