Wedding industry still seeing setbacks despite lessened restrictions

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Spring and summer are normally busy seasons for weddings. During the pandemic, however, weddings became smaller and more intimate. With wedding season in full swing, the newest changes will make a difference for some venues.

With more weddings happening due to the warmer weather, it lines up perfectly as occupancy capacities are increasing.

Even with the event capacity increase, some venues are not seeing a huge rise in guests or booked dates for weddings and other events.

“Their numbers, where they might have been 200, are now 100. So it’s all gonna be a ‘wait and see’ type of thing. I’m hoping that people will start to come back out,” said Margaret Olsewski, director of sales and marketing at Genetti Manor.

Wedding venue directors say they struggled over the past year and a half during the pandemic.

“Facilities like ours and some of the other caterers in the area who are built for big took a major hit, and we are hoping to bounce back,” said Olsewski.

Sandi Brady is the food and beverage director at Elmhurst Country Club, another popular wedding venue. She says some people still have concerns.

“People are still really nervous about the COVID or COVID-19. They are booking out into 2022… Still a little bit nervous for October, November and December. So their numbers are still a little bit lower,” said Brady.

Venue directors tell Eyewitness News planning these weddings can get a little complicated, especially with the new mask regulations.

“If you’re vaccinated you don’t have to wear a mask, well how do you know who’s vaccinated and who’s not vaccinated? It’s not very clear and I’m not sure how they’re going to do that and I’m not sure how they’re going to police that,” said Olsewski.

Brady says many couples have enjoyed their small, intimate COVID weddings after down-sizing from a large wedding due to restrictions.

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