Tammy Sweeney, the chief operating officer of TCU Place in Saskatoon, said the downtown venue has weddings on the books and future brides and grooms are paying close attention to restrictions.
“We’ve got upwards of 40-some odd weddings that are in various stages of readiness so whether they’re on the books or in conversations. They do extend several years … we have weddings on the books up until 2025,” she said.
“We have one that’s basically on the books for May that says it doesn’t matter what the restrictions are, they’re having their wedding and they’re having it at TCU Place. They’ll just abide by the guidelines, whatever they might be at that time.
“A lot of our other weddings though have been pushed off. Some of them more than once, unfortunately, but we have a beautiful wedding venue and really can’t wait to host weddings again.”
Before the pandemic hit, Sweeney said the venue was booked most weekends in the summer and even into the fall.
“We had some Christmas weddings. It’s a prominent wedding venue in the city and we have people that have been waiting, waiting patiently for over a year to host their wedding at TCU Place,” Sweeney said.
“We haven’t had anything … since the pandemic started in 2020.”
A Saskatoon wedding planner with Pretty in the Pines Events, Karly Shanks, is heading into a second season this summer with the struggles created by the pandemic.
“2020 was definitely a tough year for the wedding industry as a whole, as well as couples planning on getting married,” Shanks said.
“We’ve had to postpone a large number of weddings and events, work within planning restrictions, re-plan multiple times and then also pivot and offer new ways to get married, such as pop-up weddings and micro weddings.
“A lot of our clients are planning to move forward with their weddings this year, especially if they postponed from 2020 already. We just advise them to plan for current restrictions that are in place in hopes that maybe they’ll lift a little bit, but if you plan for now and hope for the best, it’s your best bet this year.”
If a wedding were to be held with current COVID-19 guidelines at TCU Place, Sweeney said it would look different.
“We would make sure that even, there’s no coffee, there’s no water, there’s nothing out that is going to be shared or cross-contaminated with people. There would be no bar,” she said.
“We would ensure with the bride and groom that they understand all of the standards people would have to wear masks in the building. So they would be wearing masks for their wedding photos if they had photos taken during the ceremony and we take that quite seriously.
“There would be no more than 30 people in the room and that includes staff … They’d have to be socially distanced. So it would look very different than what you would think your wedding would normally look like.”
According to the government on Monday, there were 143 new infections for an overall total in Saskatchewan now at 26,693. The province’s hospitals are currently providing care for 183 patients with the virus.
Sweeney hopes for a phased-in approach when the green light is given to loosen the restrictions for gatherings sizes.
“I expect, given our (COVID-19) numbers of where they are, that the current restrictions will be extended for a little bit longer. We do expect more of a phased-in approach so once the numbers start to go down further,” Sweeney said.
“I’m hoping that will be open even to the numbers that we were in the fall. We can do a little bit of work with 150 people … that percentage capacity, it’s nowhere near what we could do and still keeps people safe.
“Obviously, we want it to be safe. We want to make sure that the community is taking care of our community first. We are excited and eager to move onward and open when we are safely able to do so.”
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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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