The wedding industry has pivoted and reimagined itself countless times since March of 2020 and will continue to do so through the 2022 wedding season.
Though the past two years have slowed business down considerably, those in the industry predict that this year is shaping up to be a busy one for weddings of all types, especially outdoors.
Barbara DuMont, manager of event venue Brownstone Gardens in Oakley, said the key will be flexibility.
“Last year at this time, we were getting a little nervous about our April and May weddings, and we actually had to reschedule some of them,” said DuMont. “I don’t anticipate that this year. San Francisco is already lifting some restrictions, so are other cities, so I think in April we should be OK. I’m anticipating a great year. 2023 is already starting to book, because people want to get married and want to have weddings and we have to learn to work around the COVID, because it’s not going away.”
DuMont said the changes Brownstone made revolve around state and local health mandates and extra cleaning procedures to keep staff and guests safe. Beyond that, DuMont said choices are being left to the bride and groom.
“I’ve had weddings where the wedding party doesn’t care, I’ve had weddings where they are doing temp checks at the door,” said DuMont. “Things change, and if we get back into social distancing, then I have to do that, but the bride and groom are setting the tone. Some are asking for more precautions than the restrictions from the county, and those restrictions change on a weekly basis.”
Since Brownstone Gardens venue is completely outdoors, it has had an easier time than indoor venues. The Ryde Hotel event venue in Walnut Grove has two indoor and one outdoor wedding sites on its grounds and saw a big dent in their revenue when indoor venues were closed.
“When everything happened and COVID came about, our whole life was just a sad story, because there was no income, no revenue, and I never in my life thought that I would experience anything like this,” said manager Tina Flores. “When I meet with the brides or people planning an event, every event is my event, my dream, and we had been planning some events since 2018. So every time I had to cancel a wedding, it was like I was cancelling my own wedding. It was horrible.”
Ryde had its own set of struggles during the past two years. Being a seasonal venue made obtaining federal aid difficult, and the hotel barely managed to pull through. They are now booking weddings for 2022 and look forward to serving wedding couples on their grounds.
“We are booking weddings now and we are having conversations I never thought about having before,” said Flores. “In the past, we talked about how many guests there would be, decorations, colors, food, and now you add in ‘what if we get shut down?’ and we talk about the need for spacing, the need for face coverings, and I always make sure they understand these are the government restrictions right now, and I don’t know what the restrictions will be tomorrow. It may be less or it may be more. I want them to fully understand the possibility we could be facing another shutdown.”
As the 2022 wedding season gains momentum, DuMont said trends have taken a back seat to simply having a wedding this year.
“Everyone asks ‘what’s the color of the year?’, and I’m seeing the same colors I did last year,” she said. “Dusty rose was over the top last year. I’m not seeing big changes other than they want to have a good time and they are over the COVID thing. They want to have their wedding and have it be something special and celebrate with friends and family.”
Brownstone Gardens is open April through mid-November. For more information, call 925-418-4532 or email email@example.com.
Ryde Hotel and Event Center is located at 14340 CA-160 in Walnut Grove. For more information, call 916-776-1318 or visit www.rydehotel.com.
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