Wedding bells ringing double-time this year

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Throughout the past year, we’ve seen the effects of the pandemic hit every industry. Work, love, and commitment were tested in many ways.

According to reports in 2016, the wedding industry brought in $72 Billion, but last year that all changed. Wedding professionals are used to tying the knot, but last year, the steps required became a little more complicated. This multibillion-dollar industry brought in less than $56 billion.

They had to deal with a halt to traditional weddings while not only keeping their own businesses afloat but dancing delicately around the hearts of couples with plans to tie the knot.

The pandemic put a veil on lots of events last year, including the wedding industry. As the virus spread worldwide, events quickly began to cancel and before long brides and grooms were having to hang up plans while changing everything about what they expected the happiest day of their lives to look like.

Connor Lincoln and Shannon Barrett were one of the couples that had to change all of their plans.

“May 23, 2020…November 10, 2020…And then July 10, 2021, and now we’ve decided to cancel until we can have some kind of solution,” Lincoln and Barrett said.

Three dates later, the wedding of their dreams has been put off indefinitely. Lincoln and Barrett live in London, but their story is not much different from many couples in the states. Couples weren’t the only ones facing heartbreak. Bakersfield coordinator and owner of Oh So Purdy Events, Tracy Miller, says last year was something no one could plan for.

“Most of our businesses had to stop, unfortunately, some closed but the work never stopped, we still had a wedding to plan and we still had to figure out what we were going to do for our clients,” said Miller.

Planning and re-planning with no certainty caused some couples to postpone or cancel altogether, a financial burden for them and wedding vendors. Miller says she had 20% of her clients cancel, another 20% decide to have a micro wedding on private property and about 60% of clients postponed.

“We knew that all of the wedding industry has been suffering and if we didn’t have to take back our deposit we didn’t want to, I know it’s been hard on us but it’s been even harder on them,” Barrett said.

With vaccines out and COVID-19 cases dropping, there is a glimmer of hope for wedding season once again.

“Right now it’s wild, because of the pandemic last year we are doing double if not quadruple time because we have weddings that postponed from last year to this year, and then, of course, our already booked 2021 couples,” Miller said. “So we are doing double.”

Although wedding planners are busier than usual, Miller told me they are only making revenue on half of the weddings happening this year. As last year’s financial burden was so tough, now it’s a game of catch-up.

Wedding season in Kern County is typically seen in the spring and fall, but because of so many postponements last year due to the pandemic, this year you may hear the wedding bells ringing a little more.

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