After arguably the most up-and-down wedding season in recent memory, local event planners are looking forward to a normal or — fingers crossed — a booming wedding season.
Anna Perez, venue manager/wedding coordinator at Herrin’s Dragonfly Wedding Venue, said last year was slated to be the business’ first four-season wedding season. Then COVID-19 hit and tossed any and all plans to the wind. This year will be that first, Perez said.
Dragonfly offers more than the average wedding venue. Perez said couples have been excited about the full-weekend rental availability — with a house and other accommodations on site, they don’t have to leave the facility once they settle in for their big day.
“Couples don’t have to marathon their wedding day,” Perez said. She looks forward to helping couples finally get to celebrate their weddings this year.
Through the chaos of last year, many businesses took the opportunity to make upgrades. Some restaurants refinished the floors or upgraded their dining rooms. The same happened with some wedding venues.
“Each year we have added a little something,” Perez said. This year, that little something extra was the addition of the Dragonfly’s groom’s room — a place for grooms and their best buds and bros to hang before the ceremony.
Dirk Borgsmiller, owner of Carbondale’s Garden Grove Event Center, said his facility is the largest in the region and because of this has a leg up on post-COVID-19 nuptials. He said because of the center’s size it can safely allow couples to have their big dream wedding, but COVID safe.
Because the space is so big, he said his set-up team can space out tables and people as much as possible while still being able to hold larger crowds. Many venues in the area, he said, can hold big crowds but not with social distancing.
The Garden Grove can.
While there are a lot of couples looking to book weddings right now, Borgsmiller said many will wait too long out of fear of more COVID-19 restrictions coming and limiting their party, some possibly for the second time.
But what this means is a lot of people may miss out on their desired date — a big deal for couples who may have already had to reschedule flights for family, for example.
“I think what’s going to happen is a lot of people are going to hesitate,” he said.
This aside, though, he thinks the make-up wedding season might prove to be a success.
“I think the end of this (year) and I think all next year is probably going to be busier than normal,” he said.
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