Nova Scotia

Last-minute nuptials lead to wedding boom in Nova Scotia

Wedding professionals had an unexpectedly busy season thanks in part to some rushed bookings.

Many couples can't wait to tie the knot

Amy and Nick MacNeil are shown in front of the Big Fiddle in downtown Sydney. Cape Breton is seeing a surge in weddings this year, many booked at the last minute. (Anita Clemens)

Wedding professionals like florists, decorators and photographers saw an unexpected boom this year, and last-minute nuptials seem to be driving the trend.

With changing border restrictions and gathering limits, many couples just want to tie the knot as soon as possible.

"I think they're tired of waiting," said Anita Clemens, a photographer in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

"They're tired of the changes that they've had to make. They're just sick of it all, and they said, 'You know, what the main thing is, we just want to be married.'"

Clemens has seen an unprecedented increase in couples asking for bookings mere weeks in advance. Most photographers book months, even years, in advance. 

Anita Clemens is a photographer in Cape Breton. (Anita Clemens)

She's not the only vendor seeing couples forgoing meticulous planning.

Katie Hodder owns Family Heirblooms in Membertou. Her phone is ringing off the hook these days.

Often couples who live away from Nova Scotia are rushing to come home to get hitched before restrictions can tighten again. 

"They're literally calling me two weeks before they arrive here," Hodder said. "They're not even on the island yet and they're calling me going, 'What are the chances I can get, like, this, this, this and this for this date?'"

Hodder said everyone always buys flowers but they might need to adjust their expectations. The unusually busy season has put pressure on a market that's already struggled throughout the pandemic.

"The prediction was we weren't going to have a wedding season this year so they planted about half the amount of flowers they usually do.

"So what's happening now is we're going into a full crazy wedding season where everybody wants almost all the same things and these poor nurseries can't keep up."

Katie Hodder owns Family Heirblooms in Membertou. (Brent Kelloway)

Changing public health measures 

Changes to gathering limits have also meant couples need to be flexible.

Nicole MacCormack, a wedding planner and owners of Nicole's Event Decorating and Rentals, said some of her clients were faced with tough decisions in the days after the province chose not to move into Phase 5 earlier this month.

She said she was thankful that the couples had also made plans in case gathering limits didn't change.

"So a lot of probably family members or friends were kind of cut off, but I think they understood at that point that they had no choice, and it wasn't them doing it on purpose," said MacCormack. "But, I mean, it wouldn't be fun to do that though."

Some couples may have to make some difficult decisions on wedding parties and guest lists come Oct. 4. when proof-of-vaccination rules begin.

If a member of a wedding party or guest list isn't vaccinated, that person may need to be cut from the list. 

MacCormack also had last-minute bookings this summer and even gave up vacation time to take on some couples who were in need of help.

"I just wanted to make them happy and make their day a little special."

Nicole MacCormack owns Nicole’s Event Decorating and Rentals. (Brittany Wentzell/CBC)

What does this mean for next year?

Many couples who cancelled their plans in 2020 chose to move their weddings to 2022 just in case. Clemens is expecting an even busier year in 2022, possibly spilling over into 2023. 

"A lot of your vendors may be booked next year.… I would suggest maybe looking at weekdays for weddings because we're available … and you're going to get more of what you want."

Hodder offered some advice for people booking into 2022 and 2023. She said to book any professional who needs to be there for the entire day as soon as possible.

"Find a date, get your venue booked now, call your caterer, call your DJ, get literally everyone who is booked for the day. Those are the people who are hard to get."


Brittany Wentzell

Current Affairs Reporter/Editor

Brittany Wentzell is based in Sydney, N.S., as a reporter for Information Morning Cape Breton. She has covered a wide range of issues including education, forestry and municipal government. Story ideas? Send them to