Local wedding venues ready for an uncertain season


Some sites are facing a backlog due to the pandemic, others are dealing with hesitation from potential customers while others are fully booked with new customers

Local wedding venues are seeing mixed emotions from people looking to book their big day as restrictions ease.

While some venues are facing a backlog of booking requests due to the pandemic, others are either seeing hesitation from potential customers or their venue is fully booked.

“A lot of people over the last few years – once it became clear that it wasn’t going to happen for them – they kind of picked a date the following year. So for some people the next year didn’t happen either, so some of them just kept pushing things forward,” said Aaron Dufraimont, General Manager of Springfield Golf & Country Club.

“There are still some who might do something or not do something. People are still a little hesitant to commit because you never really know.

He said many people have felt uncomfortable having a wedding with restrictions such as limited gatherings and face masks over the past two years. Many people, he said, simply chose alternative venues.

“Really, that’s a bit of everything,” said Dufraimont.

Amy Ridley, Sales and Business Development Manager for Cutten Fields, said this year has been Cutten Fields’ busiest year with customers booking for the first time.

“Gone are the days of having to book weeks and months in advance,” Ridley said of the changing and adapting wedding industry.

Ridley said this year the site is focused on recovering lost revenue over the past two years.

“People are ready to celebrate,” Ridley said.

John Trevor, corporate events specialist at the Greater Guelph Banquet & Event Centre, said he saw an influx of requests for reservations once restrictions began to ease recently.

“There are certainly backlogs with couples who have postponed their wedding receptions because they did not know what the indoor and outdoor restrictions would be. We also had to rebook several weddings from last year and find them the date of their choice,” Trevor said.

He said he expects to see wedding numbers increase in 2023 when people are convinced there will be no more closures.

“The many changes we’ve had with government closures and other requirements put in place have significantly affected the number of wedding couples looking at regular wedding venues like ours,” Trevor said.

“Fortunately, few people canceled their special day. It was more of a “let’s wait and postpone until there is hope in the future that restrictions will be eased or removed”. The past few years have been very difficult for the hospitality industry, to say the least.

Victoria Park East Golf Club owner and manager John DeCorso said many people are still waiting for simple restrictions to be eased, such as dancing, before booking a room.

“I anticipate that they will lift restrictions on capacity limits on venues that have dances, at least I hope because of course any wedding 99.99% of them. They want to dance,” DeCorso said.

He said most bookings from the past two years have been carried over to this year.

“We are often asked if we can do this or that? We have to say that we don’t know 100% yet which direction it will go. I think everyone has a feeling that capacity restrictions are going to be totally lifted for indoor events as well as dancing at weddings,” DeCorso said.

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