Wedding season ‘returns with a boom’ as vendors scramble to meet demand

Orders for wedding cakes at Darmayne Robertson’s Lower Paxton Township bakery crashed in 2020.

As large gatherings have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, demand to Sweet Confectionery Cakes fall. Now, a year later, Robertson is scrambling to keep pace.

“It has been really crazy for us,” she said. “We’re currently full until July 6 and we’re just monitoring the dates to make sure we’re not stretching too far.”

Thanks to the increase in vaccinations and the lifting of restrictions, large gatherings like weddings are resuming. Couples who had postponed, canceled or planned weddings during the pandemic are booking in record numbers.

“The wedding business is coming back with a boom,” said Greg Spiese, owner of Strictly Formal in the township of Susquehanna. “I think it’s above average compared to two years ago.

The formal wear store is seeing a surge in interest among weddings, a far cry from last summer’s closings.

According to the market research firm The marriage report, an increase of 650,000 marriages nationwide is expected, bringing the total number of marriages to 2.77 million from an average of 2.12 million marriages in a typical year.

As a result, wedding vendors including florists, DJs, and caterers are rushing to meet demand. Some relationship dates fill up so quickly that couples are happy with any date they can get.

“We are finding that many newly engaged couples have become very flexible with their wedding date as they find that most wedding venues are already booked over a year and a half in advance of weekend dates. choice, “said Michelle Hare, chief marketing officer for The JDK group, a caterer and special events at Camp Hill.


She said they produced more weddings on Fridays and Sundays compared to the past and noticed a slight increase in weekday weddings. They are also welcoming more requests for weddings and outdoor receptions held in private residences.

In fact, in an age of social distancing, tents continue to be popular and many couples are incorporating indoor and outdoor options, she said. According to Hare, this is a trend that continues into the fall, especially as more emphasis is placed on ensuring that guests have enough space to feel comfortable.

Event planner Joy Boudreau from Joy of Events in Harrisburg said it was becoming difficult for sellers to keep everyone happy, and due to demand, she had to turn down couples’ requests, especially during the popular months of August and September. She encourages the bride and groom to book dates and find suppliers as soon as possible.

“Nail it, get your contract, get it settled,” she said. “If you wait a few days, your place could be gone, the photographer you wanted could be booked. “

Tom and Hailey Stank tied the knot on June 12, 2021 at the Hilton Harrisburg with around 150 guests in attendance. Photo by Melissa McClain Photography

No one knows more than Tom Stank, a DJ from central Pennsylvania, to pick up the phone and secure suppliers. He and his new wife, Hailey Stank, wereted no time on their June 12 nuptials after getting engaged last summer.

“I knew we had to start booking suppliers immediately because I knew a lot of people had to reschedule. I looked at Hailey and said, ‘We have to book this now,’ ”he said.

The York couple booked the Hilton Harrisburg, where around 150 guests gathered for the ceremony and reception. Finding a florist has been their biggest challenge, Stank said, adding that many are booked with rescheduled and new events.

The larger marriage of the Stanks is increasingly common, as the size of marriages has also been influenced by the lifting of restrictions. While micro-weddings with 20 to 40 guests have become popular during the pandemic and are likely to continue, bigger deals are back.

“Quite simply because it becomes a way of celebrating. Everyone just wants to have a big party and see so many family and friends, ”Boudreau said.

The JDK Group said that while it hosts a variety of wedding size events with 100 guests, it is now the average.

“Some couples have 90% of their guests engaged, while others are still seeing a large number of guests decline. Some plan small intimate weddings from the start, and others are ready to host their big party! It’s really just a balance, ”said Emma Santana, JDK Sales Director.

Spiese noted he was having bigger weddings than last summer.

“I think they want to involve their family and friends more in the celebration,” he said. “It’s hard to say, but our average marriages are usually six to seven people, and we have marriages of up to 14 people. “

Bigger business calls for bigger cakes. Robertson of Sweet Confections said she is baking more tiered cakes, a possible sign that couples are gravitating towards more formal affairs.

Ben Cavallaro, Director of Weddings and Events for Klock Entertainment in Susquehanna Township, business has grown significantly, making it difficult to keep up with requests. Some Klock deejays accumulate three weddings per weekend. On average, he said, the company hosts around 25 events per week.

“People are definitely ready to have fun and relive life,” Cavallaro said.

However, the problem for couples is to find sellers who are more and more reserved. Cavallaro has therefore said that many people are booking until 2023.

“My days are pretty busy, but at the same time it’s fun and it’s really, really cool to see how the wedding industry weathered the storm,” he said.

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