A Paradise, N.L.-based wedding and events planner says the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled the wedding industry for 2020.
Kathy Dicks-Peyton is owner and event strategist for Functional Communications & Events. She has over 30 years experience in business/government communications, marketing and event planning.
Her business involves marriage commissioning, wedding planning and coordinating, as well as corporate events and communications.
Ninety-eight per cent of her 2020 wedding and event business has been rescheduled to 2021, she said, resulting in a considerable loss of income.
“It's very unfortunate that weddings as we know them - grand, festive events with our close friends and families - won't be the norm again for awhile,” Dicks-Peyton said via e-mail.
If all goes well, she said, next year's wedding season will be incredibly busy, especially when couples who were planning to be married in 2021 - and are still looking to book vendors – are factored in. The dates they are looking for may not be available due to rescheduled 2020 events, she said.
Dicks-Peyton encourages couples to think about what's most important and work to make their special days the celebrations they are meant to be surrounded by the people who love them.
Although the majority of couples are postponing their weddings, others are going ahead with their plans, she said.
“I have been performing wedding ceremonies throughout the pandemic, right from when only five people could attend (commissioner, couple and two witnesses). People have respected the public health orders and have followed the required health and safety measures,” she said.
Couples who are choosing to go ahead with their ceremonies are doing so because, at the end of the day, the commitment they are making is not all about the fancy decorations, venues and flowers, she said.
“It's about their love for each other. Go ahead, get married and plan your big celebration for later because you deserve it,” she said.
“Whether you choose a sunrise ceremony on the cliffs of Logy Bay, (NL) or an intimate garden event - remember 2020 for more than just COVID-19,” she added.
Ashley Wright and Evan Vandervelde have not only cut their wedding guest list from 170 to six people, they have also changed their wedding date and the province where the ceremony will take place.
Wright is from PEI. Vandervelde is from Ontario. They both live in the Cole Harbour area of Nova Scotia.
The couple’s initial plan was to get married on July 31 in PEI.
But by early June, Wright said, the airline flights her fiancé’s family had booked from Ontario to PEI had been cancelled.
The couple has now decided to go with a small wedding in Wright’s sister’s backyard in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia. The ceremony is planned for July 3.
“There will be six of us … and that includes Evan and I.”
All six live in Nova Scotia.
“It will be very small, very intimate, very casual,” Wright said.
Financially, Wright said, they are out money, as they had a non-refundable deposit on the venue in PEI.
Thankfully, she said, deposits placed on other wedding services were refunded.
When asked how he felt about the changes, Vandervelde said his biggest disappointment is that his immediate family in Ontario can’t attend his wedding. However, he’s fine with a small, intimate ceremony.
COVID-19 may have changed their plans, Wright said, but the pandemic has not dimmed their enthusiasm for their special day.
“It’s certainly been a unique process along the way and one that we’ll be able to share with our children and our grandchildren. But, for us, marriage is all about us two and, at the end of the day, as long as we are married, that’s the most important thing. We are just so excited to start the next chapter of our lives,” Wright said.
“There will be many more celebrations still to come. We’ve got a whole lifetime to celebrate with people,” Vandervelde added.
Travis Cummiskey is a livestock farmer from Tarantum, PEI, where he lives, and a workplace assistant with Prince Edward Island’s Public Schools Branch.
Cummiskey’s fiancé, June-Marie Noakes, is from Winnipeg, MB, where she currently lives.
The couple sent invitations for their August wedding, to take place in Manitoba, to about 150 family and friends earlier this year. As COVID-19 took its grip in communities across the country, they soon realized their plans were unrealistic.
They slashed their invitees from 150 to 50 guests – in keeping with gathering restrictions in place in Manitoba.
“Children are very important to both Travis and I … I work in childcare and I never envisioned my wedding without all of the children that I know … So, it’s been really tough calling people to tell them. But friends and family have been super understanding,” Noakes said during a recent phone interview.
Cummiskey and some family members from Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia will be going to Winnipeg to self-isolate for 14 days before the wedding on Aug. 15. They will also need to self-isolate once they return home.
Cummiskey said both he and his fiancé thought about postponing their wedding, but neither wanted to be separated by distance any longer.
“We had booked a hall, originally, but they told us there was no way they could do it. Our caterer has been absolutely phenomenal. She worked out of a hall in another town just outside of Winnipeg and they were willing to take our reception,” he said.
Cummiskey said some decorations they bought will not be used because of the restrictions.
The reduced guest list has saved the couple some money, but overall, the money situation hasn’t changed too much, he said.
Cummiskey had planned to take his new bride on a surprise honeymoon in the Dakotas but that plan has been shelved.
“Our honeymoon will mostly be us driving back to Prince Edward Island,” he said.
Prince Edward Island is where the couple will start their lives together, and that’s just fine with Noakes.
“What’s keeping me going through all of this is that we will finally be together. I’m happy that we are getting to close the distance,” she said.