Blocking the aisle: How to navigate a post-pandemic marriage boom

Many couples have postponed their ceremonies during the pandemic and are now fighting for dates and locations with couples who have always wanted to get married in 2021.

LINDALE, Texas – Walking down the aisle looks a bit like rush hour traffic this summer for many couples in East Texas.

The pandemic has prevented many newlyweds from having the wedding of their dreams. Many of them are now ready to get married, but find themselves caught in a whole new set of challenges.

“I’m trying to be encouraging,” said Baylee Rhodes, sitting in front of photos from her wedding. “That’s really all you can do.”

Rhodes is a Lindale-based wedding planner, trying to impart the same magic she felt on her special day to other couples in East Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. “It’s just that at this point,” she explained, “they’ve waited so long and they really want to get married.”

The pandemic has interrupted marriage affairs, like almost everything else. Rhodes felt the shock as she wiped out most of her first full year as a wedding planner. “I think I ended up having only two weddings in 2020, in October and in November,” she said, “and everything else was pushed.”

Rhodes spent a lot of time during the pandemic trying to calm customers down and talk to uncertain sellers. Some couples chose to postpone their weddings, while others canceled their big plans and settled for a certificate.

“You know, you have really laid back couples,” Rhodes said. “But of course there are some who are worried and who are on edge and just want everything planned out and supposed to be such an exciting time.”

As a result, 2021 has become a boon for wedding bells. The “COVID couples” who have delayed their big day are competing for places and dates with couples who had initially set their sights on this season. Rhodes said some couples agree to unusual dates in order to secure the venue of their choice.

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“Every once in a while you’ll have a Friday, but I mean, we see Thursday, Monday, just when they can come in,” she said. “But like I said, a lot of times people who have had to be pushed back because of COVID, they’re actually going to get the first choice. So, these brides usually get on Saturdays and Sundays. This is the new wave of engaged couples who have a harder time sometimes and have to sort of push their dates and things like that.

Rhodes said some places are offering “COVID couples” discounts to help them finally celebrate their special moment. But the couple still need a caterer, a florist, a DJ and more. “These vendors also can’t do 20 weddings a day,” she said. “It’s one of the biggest hurdles I’ve personally encountered as a planner is trying to set up, you know, caterers or florists because they’re full and they have a hard time accepting new customers. “

Rhodes said she encourages newly engaged couples to think about what they need to have as part of their marriage and what they can live without. For those who want a traditional wedding, “I think if you wait until 2022,” she said, “or, you know, plan later in the year, you’re more likely to have options. “

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For some couples, however, doing things a little differently is the best idea. Rhodes said that some of the backyard “micro-weddings” that a handful of people are in and more look from their homes on Zoom have been the most memorable.

“Those 10 people are you know, they know they’re the closest to you,” she explained, “And they – you had to have them there to have the wedding. , those are the essential people you had to have there, so that is to say, he is special in his own way.

Either way, “I want it” dreams can come true.

If you need inspiration in planning your wedding, the East Texas Bridal Expo returns Saturday, July 31 to the UT Tyler campus.

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