JACKSON TWP. – It’s important for couples getting married to book the best venues, DJs and photographers ideally a year in advance.
Couples are noticing higher prices for venues as they plan their weddings.
Labor shortages being experienced by vendors might affect the options available to couples.
And the pandemic and the protocols to stay safe seem to be changing so quickly that some couples are deferring decisions on whether to require wedding guests to wear masks.
But the days of delaying wedding plans, common in 2020, seem to be largely well behind us.
These were among the themes that came up Saturday during discussions with wedding businesses and brides during the 25th Annual Belden Village Bridal Show at the mall. The show, put on by Event Day Marketing also will run from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. A fashion show was scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, a Price is Right game show contest was planned for 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and a Nearly Newlywed game was planned for 5 p.m. Sunday.
Labor shortage limits services
Dayna Yurkovich, the owner of Event Day Marketing, said the show this year had about 40 vendors, a decline from 50 to 55 prior to the pandemic. She said some businesses are so understaffed that they could not spare any employees to man booths at the show.
She said she was anticipating normal attendance of 200 to 250 brides who pre-registered in advance in addition to the foot traffic of thousands of shoppers.
Rich Bossler, a sales manager for Canton Chair Rental, said the labor shortage is limiting the services that the company can offer couples.
For example, prior to the pandemic, the business had seven or eight warehouse delivery employees to deliver rented chairs, tables and tents. Now it has only five warehouse delivery employees. So it can only fulfill so many orders for outdoor events including wedding receptions and ceremonies. The result is having to turn some people away who require delivery.
“I hate the fact that people are calling us to rent things, and we have it on the shelf. But we can’t give it to them because we don’t have enough people,” he said.
Bossler said more couples are opting for Canton Chair Rental’s will-call service. They’ll rent the linens and china for a wedding. But they have to pick up and return the items themselves. The cost, of course, is less without delivery.
Bossler said prior to the pandemic two or three employees would staff Canton Chair Rental’s tent at the bridal show. On Saturday, he was the only employee there.
He added that couples have expressed concerns that COVID restrictions could return. So they’re planning more outdoor wedding receptions and ceremonies. They’re limiting how many people can attend. And they’re opting for simpler arrangements.
‘It’s a little difficult to book stuff early.’
Madison Shaffer, 22, of Hartville, got engaged Dec. 18. Due to the time needed to plan and book venues, she and her fiance have booked a wedding for 200 guests in June 2023 at Glenmoor Country Club in Jackson Township.
“It’s a little difficult to book stuff early especially with vendors,” she said. “I wanted a specific venue. And I was willing to wait a little longer to get that specific venue. … It has a really nice castle feel. And I really appreciate all of the things that the package includes.”
Shaffer, long-term substitute teacher, said she wants to book as many things now, about 17 months in advance because she’s concerned pent-up demand for weddings will result in vendor and venues being solidly booked way in advance. In addition, she’s seeing higher prices, as much as 10% more, for venues, catering and wedding packages for 2023 than for 2022. And she worries about COVID restrictions in the future.
“A year from now, masks and all those types of guidelines are going to be a little different and will be based on the situation,” she said.
‘People really want to go all out after being cooped up for so long.’
Brandy Colando, a sales coordinator for Glenmoor Country Club, said nearly every Saturday for 2022 at Glenmoor is booked for weddings. The venue, which includes catering and many other services such as a hotel, has a capacity for 300 wedding guests.
“People want to throw a bigger party,” she said. “People really want to go all out after being cooped up for so long.”
Colando, who was wearing a mask, said Glenmoor’s policy is its employees will wear masks while working on events. But it’s up to the wedding couple whether to have such a policy for guests.
Jake Schwendiman, a fifth grade teacher and 20-year wedding DJ for Flash and Sound Events, said he’s had to turn away business because he’s solidly booked throughout 2022.
He said anyone seeking a highly experienced wedding DJ for an April, May, June, July or even August wedding this year is going to have a hard time finding someone.
“Right now, if you want somebody, you’re going to have to do late fall or next year,” Schwendiman said.
‘You definitely have to be a little bit more careful.’
Breann Camp, 24, of Amsterdam in Carroll County booked her wedding in March this year more than a year ago at Century Farms near Carrollton.
She said she is requiring her guests and attendees wear masks at the event when not eating or drinking. Camp said when looking for venues, many had limits on number of people and required a certain amount of spacing. Her ceremony will be outdoors. The reception will be indoors.
“You definitely have to be a little bit more careful. Because obviously, you don’t want to put your guests at risk for anything,” she said. “So you want to make sure they’re safe and everyone’s having a good time.”
Camp said her fiance really wanted chicken wings at the reception, for which there’s an apparent shortage. That increased the cost of catering.
Brandon Dailey, the store manager for Lavender Bridal Salon in Dover, said he has always urged brides to order dresses a year in advance. And it can take four to six months for them to be delivered. And brides should allow for enough time for alterations. So he has not seen a supply-chain issue with getting bridal dresses.
However, due to COVID, his store is limiting the number of people who can enter the store to check out dresses or fittings at high-demand times like Saturdays. So brides may not be able to bring as many friends as they had planned.
Molly Miller, 32, and Josiah Beha, 26, both of Perry Township, got engaged in October. Their wedding is set for June at the Tudor House in Portage Lakes. They booked the venue in November.
However, her friends say they paid much less for a comparable wedding venue a few years ago.
“According to my friends, I think things just keep getting expensive,” Miller said. “We’re paying a few thousand more than some of my friends who are married did maybe five or 10 years ago.”
At this time, they’re planning to only suggest people wear masks indoors at their wedding.
“We kind of chose that outdoor space for that reason so just we can have a little more flexibility with masks and things like that. And still have everyone feel at least as comfortable as possible,” she said.
Reach Repository writer Robert Wang at (330) 580-8327 or [email protected] Twitter: @rwangREP.