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Weddings trend toward smaller, less traditional events in Manitoba

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Weddings trend toward smaller, less traditional events in Manitoba
Whether you have some dates circled on your 2024 calendar to celebrate the weddings of friends and family, or you’re the one getting married yourself, this year is set to be a big one for many Manitobans when it comes to marriage. Teagan Rasche reports – Jan 9, 2024

Whether you have some dates circled on your 2024 calendar to celebrate the weddings of friends and family, or you’re the one getting married yourself, this year is set to be a big one for many Manitobans when it comes to marriage.

After years of delays and postponements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions, the industry is finally bouncing back, although local experts say it’s still not quite where it was pre-coronavirus.

Dave Neufeld, who runs the popular Whitetail Meadow venue south of Winnipeg, told 680 CJOB’s The Start that his staff are pulling out fewer tables these days despite receiving a lot of bookings.

“Our capacity at our main facility was 350 (people)…. That would have been a large wedding,” Neufeld said.

“But I think that now, post-pandemic, we’re seeing wedding sizes, on average, more like the 125-150 range.”

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Neufeld said a lasting impact of the pandemic has been that people are looking for smaller, more intimate events, which continues to affect the business model for venues like his, which aren’t making as much money per event.

“Larger gatherings are being accepted again, but I think what we’re seeing is a bit of a change in the size and the types of weddings vs. the way that things were pre-pandemic,” he said.

Thankfully for those in the wedding biz, some industry experts are predicting 2024 to be the “year of the ring” — with an influx of engagements meaning another big year of weddings could be ahead in 2025.

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Stonehouse Creative has been providing flowers for local weddings for the past decade, and owner Lauren Wiebe told Global Winnipeg about a number of changes as well.

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Wiebe said a typical wedding season would see between 25 and 35 events, but those numbers have dropped in 2024, and the ways people are choosing to get married have also shifted.

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“This year looks a little bit different, I’m seeing a little bit fewer weddings … which I’m OK with, but it’s kind of a little bit of a different vibe,” Wiebe said.

“People are still getting married but they’re doing it on their own terms. Previous to COVID, people tended to have very long engagements and plan their weddings for a year and a half, sometimes two years. Our calendars would be booked out sometimes 18 months in advance, and that has shifted.”

Wiebe said she’s noticed a trend toward less traditional gatherings, especially as costs continue to increase across the board.

“It’s more about the guest experience and creating an ambience for the guests and the couple to have an awesome time.

“I think that’s a really refreshing take on how people are hosting their weddings.”

Winnipeg’s MacKenzie Cook got engaged in the U.S. while attending a Kansas City Chiefs NFL game. Submitted

Winnipeg bride-to-be MacKenzie Cook — who experienced a memorable public proposal from her boyfriend at a Kansas City Chiefs football game on a trip to the U.S. — told Global Winnipeg she’s also planning on finding ways to make her big day, planned for next year, easier on the pocketbook.

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“It’s kind of one of the reasons why we hadn’t gotten engaged yet … because we have so many other things going on financially and obviously the cost of living right now is kind of crazy,” Cook said.

“But we’re just going to try to do as much of it ourselves as we can — just find venues that have a lot of things included together … looking at ways we can cut corners.

“I feel like I’m a pretty crafty person, so I know I’ve already saved things on Pinterest and Etsy that I can do myself.”

Cook said she knows a half-dozen other people who became engaged over the holiday season, so the idea that the number of engagements is increasing rings true in her experience as well.

“It’s in the air,” she said.

“I’ve been to quite a few weddings and seen quite a few of my friends get married, but actually being on the bride end of it now … I still don’t feel like it’s real.”

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