Local wedding venues are seeing mixed emotions from people looking to book their big day as restrictions loosen.
While some venues are dealing with a backlog of demand for bookings due to the pandemic, others are either seeing hesitancy from potential customers or seeing their venue completely booked.
“A lot of people over the last few years — once it kind of became apparent that it wasn't going to happen for them — they just sort of picked a date the next year. So for some people the next year didn't happen either so some of them kind of just kept bumping it forward,” said Aaron Dufraimont, general manager of Springfield Golf & Country Club.
“There's still some that might do something or might not do something. People are still a little hesitant to commit to a lot because you never really know.”
He said many people felt uncomfortable having a wedding with restrictions such as limited gatherings and facemasks in the last two years. A lot of people he said just chose alternate venues.
“Really, it's a little bit everything,” said Dufraimont.
Cutten Fields sales and business development manager Amy Ridley said this year has been Cutten Fields busiest year ever with customers who are booking for the first time.
“Gone are the days when you need to book weeks and months in advance,” said Ridley of the changing and adapting wedding business.
Ridley said this year, the venue is focusing on recovery from the lost revenue in the last two years.
“People are ready to celebrate,” said Ridley.
Corporate event specialist John Trevor from The Grand Guelph Banquet & Event Centre said he saw an influx in requests for bookings once restrictions began to ease recently.
“There are definitely backlogs with couples that have put off their wedding receptions as they didn’t know what indoor and outdoor restrictions would hold. We have also had to re-book quite a few weddings from the past year and find them their preferred date,” said Trevor.
He said he expects to see the number of weddings increase in 2023 when people are confident that there will be no more shutdowns.
“The many changes that we have had with government lockdowns and other requirements put into place has drastically affected how many wedding couples are looking at regular wedding venues like ours,” said Trevor.
“Thankfully we didn’t have many people cancel their special day. It was more of a ‘let’s hold off and postpone until there is hope in the future that restrictions are lightened or removed.’ It has been a very hard few years for the hospitality industry to say the least.”
Victoria Park East Golf Club’s owner and club manager John DeCorso said many people are still waiting for simple restrictions to ease such as dancing before they book a hall.
“I'm anticipating they're going to lift restrictions on capacity limits on venues that have dances, at least I hope because of course, any wedding 99.99 per cent of them. They want to dance,” said DeCorso.
He said most of the bookings from the last two years carried over this year.
“We often get asked will we be able to do this or that? We'd have to say, we don't know 100 per cent yet which way it's gonna go. I think everybody does have a sense that capacity restrictions are going to be totally lifted for both indoor events as well as dancing at weddings,” said DeCorso.