CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s no secret the pandemic pummeled the events industry. Brides anxiously awaiting their big days have been forced to grapple with delays, vendors have been trying to hold on until everything’s rescheduled, all while newly engaged couples search for any scrap of availability left.
CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory takes you inside one Chicago wedding planner’s prediction: 2021 is going to be a wild ride.
COVID-19 not only rained on clients’ parades, the virus created a tornado of wedding plans for Lincoln Park-based Big City Bride. Owner Susan Cordogan hasn’t been getting much sleep while she’s been playing puzzlemaker, re-configuring the pieces of almost 100 weddings for 2020.
“In the spring, it was a waiting game; and when Governor Pritzker announced the [reopening] plan, the five-phase plan, that is when the floodgates of rescheduling opened,” she said.
That’s because Phase 4, the current stage of the Restore Illinois reopening plan, limits public gatherings to a maximum of 50 people.
Postponing wedding plans might seem like the obvious choice, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
“There’s conflict with availability,” Cordogan said.
Cordogan said Chicagoloand usually sees 60,000 weddings a year.
Squeeze 2020’s rescheduled weddings in with already existing 2021 nuptials, and that’s a lot of brides competing for vendors and venues in just 52 weekends.
“It’s going to be Thursday weddings, Friday weddings, Saturday weddings, and Sunday weddings. We are even seeing weddings that are Saturday day and wrapping up in the afternoon in time for that venue to have an evening wedding,” Cordogan said.
Then there’s Olivia Rink’s wedding wrinkle. Delaying her walk down to the aisle to spring or summer 2021 wasn’t an option for her guests!
“My sister is also getting married, and my friends are having babies,” she said. “We also had to work around everyone else’s schedule; everyone else’s wedding who got engaged after us, too.”
She found solace, in part, among her nearly 300,000 followers on social media.
“I was overwhelmed by all the COVID brides who chimed in,” she said.
Despite all the stress, she found a positive takeway.
“We were being way more realistic about finances, and just making it easy for our families to get there,” she said.
Rink and her fiancé moved their Chicago wedding to her Indiana hometown.
Other Big City Bride clients have eloped, and some are filling Cordogan’s calendar years in advance.
“We are seeing people who are booking 2022, ‘23, into ‘24 and ‘25 because of this pandemic,” she said.
An industry hugely disrupted but not destroyed.
Cordogan said Labor Day weekend is a big time of the year to pop the question. She suggested any newly engaged couple book early.
She also stressed waiting to have your wedding until it is safe, if you can, and also making sure family and friends are available.