Local wedding venues say they are preparing for a very busy season ahead

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With pandemic restrictions gradually lifting, some Waterloo Region wedding venues say 2022 will be a busy year as they try to overcome a huge backlog of weddings and events.

Many couples have chosen to postpone their weddings due to pandemic mandates, restrictions and capacity limits.

Kyle Priestly, co-founder and creative director of Gas Light Events Company in Cambridge, said they were able to hold a few weddings in the summer of 2021 when some capacity limits and restrictions eased, but intermittent pandemic measures were tough on business. This year, however, the venue has over 100 weddings and events booked.

“We don’t have weekends available,” Priestly said. “As for 2023, I think we should have our order book full and we are looking forward to further bookings.”

Priestly said the company’s events and wedding venue, Tapestry Hall, will host select weddings this year that were booked in 2018 when the venue was still under construction.

“Some of the weddings we’ve booked here were when we were still in a sand pit and selling weddings on a render of what the space would look like,” he said. “[We’re] constant appointments with brides to remind them of what they booked two years ago.”

At Steckley Heritage Farm in Kitchener, staff are also preparing for what is expected to be a busy wedding season.

Christopher Jupp, executive director, said they had less than 10 places available for this year’s wedding season, and with the easing of capacity restrictions he said it was good news for their business and for couples.

Jupp said this year they will be able to host weddings of up to 120 people – the number his staff and their catering partners are comfortable working with, as it allows for social distancing.

“We followed the instructions of our caterers because we wanted to make sure they are safe,” he said, noting that the venue also requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Kyle Priestly, co-owner and creative director of Gas Light Events Company in Cambridge, Ontario, oversees wedding and event venue Taperstry Hall. Priestly said 2022 is going to be busy and there will be “no weekends available”. (Tapestry Room/Facebook)

Increased “bittersweet” ability for some couples

Although the lifting of pandemic restrictions means weddings can have more guests, Jupp said people might choose to keep their weddings small due to inflation.

“Prices are going up per head now for a wedding and I think that’s straining people’s ability to want to go up [numbers] because it’s not $80 per person anymore and for some people it might be $110 per person and that may be out of some people’s budget, especially if they’ve been laid off. »

Jupp said his facility also had to raise prices and staff pay.

“We’re still getting a lot of interest, but the days of having a $3,000 wedding to rent the barn for 12 hours are long gone,” he added. “I guess that’s the bittersweet side of people increasing their numbers. It’s going to come at a higher price.”

Stephanie Soulis, general manager of Little Mushroom Catering in Cambridge, said it was difficult to balance raising their prices while remaining affordable for people.

“We don’t want to foreclose ourselves in the market, but at the same time we need to make sure that our costs are covered and that we are also living wage employers,” Soulis said.

She said most of their food and ingredients are sourced locally, and she’s had some “hiccups” in the supply chain getting certain items in the quantity they need.

“There are supply chain issues, but on top of that the prices of meat, especially our seafood…have gone up in price.”

Despite this, Soulis said, the demand for caterers is still strong. They will be expanding their team this year and have had to turn some people away as they are booked for weddings during the busy months of June and September.


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