With public health restrictions ending and summer fast approaching, people in the wedding industry say they are seeing a marriage boom.
Venues book up as couples finally take the plunge on a ceremony after lengthy COVID-induced delays. For Tina Bartel Nickel, that rush meant adjusting her own wedding plans last month.
She married her partner in March after seven years together. The ceremony was an intimate affair: 20 people gathered in Peace River, Alberta. groom’s parents lounge.
Bartel Nickel had hoped for a big follow-up reception this summer in Edmonton, but finding an affordable venue was a hurdle.
“I think if you really want to throw this big party, you might end up compromising a little bit more,” Bartel Nickel said.
“Everyone is sold out, so it could end up being 2023. But there’s nothing wrong with having a little intimate party.”
According to Service Alberta, 2,885 marriage licenses have been issued so far in 2022, about 400 more than the previous year. So far, 2,065 weddings have taken place this year, compared to 1,939 at the same time last year.
This is still below pre-pandemic levels: between January 1, 2019 and April 8, 2019, 3,043 licenses were issued and 2,324 marriages took place.
Event planner Jennifer Bergman said it was the busiest season she had seen in recent years, as weddings carried over from previous pandemic years meet with the last of this season.
“We have people who were maybe waiting to have an event or a wedding, who now see things opening up and they decide you know what, let’s go,” Bergman said.
She said smaller, last-minute weddings were all the rage. That ceremony size — about 50 people — allows couples to choose more expensive cuisine or even take destination weddings a bit closer to home, like in the mountains or the West Coast, she said.
Bergman said 2023 could prove even busier, as it has had three times as many bookings as at this point in previous years.
“People are planning faster and earlier,” she said.
Grow in the fall
Dave Shannon, a professional DJ for over 25 years, said the past two years have been tough for sellers, but things are picking up.
“The demand is the same as before the pandemic and maybe a bit higher,” he said. This year even saw unusual activity, he said, including a very busy September.
“I think couples have been trying to find different vendors, venues, photographers, DJs and caterers this summer, and now they’re pushing it a bit further.”
Shannon tempers that some sellers can be busier than others and couples don’t get discouraged.
“You can always find a solution – just keep digging and be resourceful.”
Application for alliances
Mohamed Tarrabin is the Marketing Director of Prestige Jewelers, which has offices in Fort McMurray and Edmonton. He said the request for alliances was difficult to follow.
Before COVID, the company received four to 10 special orders every two weeks. Today, it’s four to ten special orders every day at both locations.
Tarrabin said couples are also rushing for more expensive diamonds. While one carat has long been the norm, he said, it is now more common to see two.
“I think it has to do with everyone staying home,” he said. “They have extra money and they just want to spend it on something that will benefit them.”