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BC News: End of COVID-19 restrictions sparks wedding boom

Wedding season is back and with the backlog of postponed weddings due to the pandemic, BC operators say it’s busier than it’s been in decades.

While this is a welcome change, some companies are struggling to keep up with demand.

“I think this is the busiest wedding year since the 80’s because of all the COVID support – all these girls were waiting. And as soon as they picked up, everyone was like, ‘Okay, go for it!’” Said Erin Cockerill, a senior stylist at Bisou Bridal in Vancouver.

The boutique had to extend its hours to accommodate all of its new brides.

Cockerill said customer numbers have nearly doubled since last year and the shop has hired three more seamstresses to keep up.

“The numbers are definitely increasing, which is very exciting. I don’t see it slowing down before 2024,” she said.

Allan Burnett, owner of The Chapels, said while he’s excited about the industry’s robust recovery, he’s been overwhelmed by pent-up demand.

He said he is facing staff shortages after laying off some staff early in the pandemic.

“I haven’t reinstated anyone yet, and that’s probably what makes it so difficult because we need help now,” he said.

His phone line is busy with people calling and booking their special event even on weekdays.

“We have weddings next weekend on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. So that gives you a pretty good idea that it’s busy a lot right now,” Burnett said.

Carissa Quan, the Brock House restaurant’s catering and events coordinator, also saw an uptick in business.

“We realized that we have a lot of catching up to do from 2020 to 2022,” she said.

“We only have a certain number of Saturdays and Sundays, so we open on Mondays and Fridays, but we see back-to-back [bookings], especially in high season – that is July and August. We see a lot of weddings happening between Monday and Friday,” she added.

As dates fill up quickly, couples are urged to plan as early as possible.

“I can tell you that in the 20+ years that I’ve been in the wedding industry, I’ve never seen the number of weddings for the next year at this number this early,” Burnett said.

All operators agree that demand is unlikely to abate anytime soon, and are forecasting an equally busy – if not busier – season in 2023.

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