‘From zero to 100’: B.C. wedding industry booming without pandemic restrictions

Click to play video: 'B.C. venue seeing uptick in weekday weddings'
B.C. venue seeing uptick in weekday weddings
After more than two years of small ceremonies and missed nuptials, it seems B.C. couples are no longer waiting for prime time to tie the knot. Since all societal-wide COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, event planners are seeing a rush in business – and it's leading to a new phenomenon: weekday weddings. Kylie Stanton reports – May 12, 2022

It’s been more than a month since the last pandemic restriction was lifted in British Columbia — a milestone clearly visible in the calendars of wedding planners.

In the past three months, Vancouver’s Paige Petriw said she’s seen an “insane” number of bookings, largely due to pent-up demand.

“We had an almost immediate influx of business and requests and inquiries coming through, which basically went from zero to 100,” the Spotlight Events CEO told Global News.

“It’s been a challenge as a business to be able to ramp up that quickly. A lot of businesses in our industry are short-staffed, us included.”

Provincial health officials removed indoor gathering limits on Feb. 17, dropped face masks on March 11, and removed the proof of vaccine requirement for events, restaurants and other businesses on April 8.

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Petriw said she still has weddings from 2019 and 2020 on her calendar, and spots are beginning to fill up in 2023, as those calling to book realize venues, planners, photographers, DJs, and marriage officiants have few available dates.

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“All of our Saturdays for the most part, definitely in July and August are booked up,” she said. “We are starting to look at weekdays, the shoulder season, the fall … absolutely, there’s a lot more availability on some of those dates.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. wedding and event planners fed up with restriction unfairness'
B.C. wedding and event planners fed up with restriction unfairness

Petriw called it a “best-case scenario” and a “welcome hit of business,” even if it is challenging to keep up with demand.

Carlle Chatten, wedding director for the Shaughnessy Restaurant in Vancouver, agreed. She said weekends are completed booked until November and the venue is hosting smaller events during the weekdays — sometimes multiple events per day.

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“We’ve almost doubled our wedding business this year alone so far,” she told Global News.

“I think we had 45 weddings in 2019 and we are running at least 85 this year. That is just because people are wanting to get married in every single month, not just in the summer months now.”

As a family-run business, Shaughnessy Restaurants appreciates the traffic, she added.

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