“Flowers Are Astronomical”: What the Pandemic Wedding Backlog Means for Couples’ Budgets

Emily Pilon is optimistic that she will marry on the date and place that she and her fiance, Chad Pynch, had originally chosen. But after the COVID-19 pandemic has repeatedly muddied the couple’s wedding plans, it’s just a happy coincidence.

“The plans have changed… a dozen times since we started planning the wedding a year ago,” says Pilon, a digital marketing and engagement professional based in Hantsport, Nova Scotia. “

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The couple, who started planning their wedding in November 2020, initially envisioned a small get-together at a nearby vineyard. When it looked like pandemic restrictions would make it impossible to escape there, Pilon and Pynch began planning a backyard ceremony, only to abandon those plans when the province imposed a 10-person cap on gatherings. private. As COVID-19 restrictions evolved, the couple’s wedding script continued to switch between the vineyard and backyard option, Pilon said.

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Ultimately, it was a fortuitous cancellation that allowed Pilon and Pynch to reserve the vineyard again for October 16, the Saturday the couple had originally chosen for their big day.

But the costs of the wedding will likely exceed the limit of $ 15,000 under which the couple had initially hoped to stay comfortably, Pilon says.

“What (the budget) was initially and what it is now – it kind of exploded,” says Pilon.

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As vaccination rates skyrocket and COVID-19 regulations loosen, a backlog of pandemic marriages is forcing couples to climb to secure venues and, often, struggle to contain costs as supply shortages make jack up prices for everything from ivory-colored chairs to floral decor.

Couples who had planned to tie the knot in 2020 but were forced to postpone those plans now hope to finally marry in 2021, said Toronto-based wedding and event planner Rebecca Chan. But the same goes for those who got engaged during the pandemic, she adds.

“It’s almost like this double cohort of all the people who had to reschedule, and on top of that, the new inquiries all book and compete for the same dates,” Chan said. “It’s a little wild right now.”

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The pent-up demand for bridal celebrations, coupled with vast supply chain issues linked to the pandemic, is resulting in a shortage of some popular wedding items, said Michael Wood, director of marketing at Ottawa Special Events in the capital. national.

“From a supplier perspective, prices have skyrocketed,” says Wood, although companies don’t always pass these costs on to consumers.

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Shortages are particularly acute when it comes to flowers, Chan says. Several flower farms have reduced production as demand for fresh flowers fell during the pandemic and have not been able to restart quickly enough, she adds.

“We’re not getting the kind of variety and price that florists usually get at the wholesale level,” she says.

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Pilon felt firsthand the impact of the floral sourcing bottleneck. Her budget for the flowers is now about $ 100 more than she originally planned, and she had to settle for white, green and pale pink tones for the floral decorations instead of the burgundy color she had. initially considered.

But perhaps the most sought-after piece of wedding gear right now is outdoor tents, Wood says. With most couples planning outdoor weddings, guests look for canopies for hosting outdoor receptions, he adds. But in Ontario, where only patio dining has been allowed so far, the bride and groom are competing with restaurants for the same limited supply of tents, he says.

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Pilon also ran into the tent dilemma. When she inquired about the possibility of renting one to use at the vineyard, she said she was shocked at the price it would cost. It was then that, in order to stay on budget, the couple started thinking about having the celebration in their backyard instead. Fortunately, under current provincial regulations, the couple will be able to host the reception in the vineyard dining room with a limited number of guests.

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Wood’s advice to couples having their wedding outdoors is to “definitely put (a) down and reserve the tent”.

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In general, however, customers should be very careful to read the fine print on deposits and refunds, he adds.

As Global News and other media have reported, many couples lost thousands of dollars in deposits following wedding cancellations in 2020, while others were forced to postpone their wedding dates to preserve their deposits. instead of getting their money back.

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While the prices for some wedding and flower rental equipment soar, many venues are still not, says Chan.

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After a brutal 15 months of the pandemic, many places are offering wedding packages at discounted rates just to bring in business, she adds.

“There is still business to be done,” she said.

But that’s if you’re ready to get married in 2021. From 2022, venues return to their regular prices, Chan warns.

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This is the case at Wedding in the Woods near Windsor, Ontario. The spa, which offers rustic weddings on 30 acres of woodland, is already booked for each weekend of the last week of April through November 2022 and is already taking reservations for 2023, said owner Jordan Goure, who runs also BREW, a local microbrewery, With his brother.

But the company is sticking to its discounted pandemic prices for 2021 as it continues to host reduced capacity weddings, Goure said.

Pilon says her venue costs are now higher than initially expected, even though she is getting married where she originally planned. Indeed, the couple will now have to reserve all the space since the vineyard will not be able to accommodate other guests at the same time.

Yet by keeping their marriage frugal and the number of guests at 35, Pilon and Pynch still manage to keep costs down. And although she says that at some point – after the umpteenth wedding planning upheaval – she was considering getting married at the courthouse, she is happy now that her marriage is finally taking shape.

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“I’m looking forward to it now because it will be beautiful.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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