Wedding industry prepares for 'explosion' in 2022
Photographer already triple-booking weekends next year as couples race to the altar
Couples that had to postpone or cancel wedding plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic are now starting to make plans for celebrations in 2022, creating a massive increase in business for the wedding industry.
On Tuesday, B.C. health officials announced the province's restart plan, which includes the gradual return of organized gatherings. As of this week, outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed.
Jeremy Stone, director of community economic development at Simon Fraser University, expects the demand for wedding vendors of all kinds to skyrocket.
"I would assume that in the next year there's going to be an explosion of weddings and other events like that," Stone said.
"There's a lineup, I believe, of people who are looking for this kind of service and want to do these kinds of events."
Hiring more staff
Vendors confirm that demand has been rising, quickly, as couples rush to rebook their celebrations.
Rana Singh of Sunny's Bridal in Vancouver expects to have to hire more staff.
"As the cases drop and people feel more confident, we started getting more calls, more appointments," he said, adding he hopes they'll be able to keep up.
Wedding photographer Donald Risky also plans to hire and train more staff for his photography business, Open Aperture Cinema, and anticipates more weekday weddings in 2022 because he's already had to do some fancy rescheduling to fit in all the couples seeking his services.
"People book us for our services years in advance," he said.
"I've had as much as three years in advance, so I have weddings for 2022 that I booked back in 2019. And now we're suddenly having to make room for everybody from 2020, 2021 that all want in that same year as well."
He said he's had to double, and in some cases, triple-book weekends.
That influx of business is welcome news for wedding vendors, who have struggled to make ends meet over the past 15 months.
"It's been very challenging to try and work through this pandemic because none of us have ever really faced a challenge like this before," Singh said.
"Generally, the first six months of any calendar year are the busiest that we have. Last year in 2020, when we went into the first lockdown here in B.C., we had about three months of no business at all during our general, like, peak season."
Risky said he'd spent much of 2019 building his business with plans to make 2020 a great success, but as restrictions came down in March of 2020, the calls from couples wanting to cancel started to flood in.
"We were sort of all of a sudden, you know, left with huge months of just no work," he said.
Businesses like Risky's and Sunny's Bridal produce culture, which is something society has been lacking as the pandemic has kept people home and away from others, Stone said.
"What's great about weddings is that they represent lots of individuals, small businesses, community based businesses," he said.
"You rarely see weddings that are chain stores or that are comprised of corporations. Really these types of events are the backbone of our business community."
With files from Anita Bathe