Weddings servicers expecting 2021 surge

Posted 1/15/21

Weddings are big life events, bringing together friends and family to celebrate the couple’s matrimony. They are also big business.

According to IBISWorld, an industry research company, the …

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Weddings servicers expecting 2021 surge


Weddings are big life events, bringing together friends and family to celebrate the couple’s matrimony. They are also big business.

According to IBISWorld, an industry research company, the wedding service industry involves over 330,000 businesses in the United States that generate over $55 billion in revenues every year.

As an industry that involves large gatherings, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the wedding business hard. IBISWorld estimates revenues in the industry declined in 2020 by more than 20% as people canceled or postponed their weddings.

Smaller businesses dominate the wedding service industry, and no player has more than a 5% market share. While these small businesses had a hard year, they might see a surge in 2021 as postponed weddings are finally booked.

Among the brides to be in 2021 is Rayven Faxon, owner of Rayven Flowers and Gifts. She’s planning a June wedding. Her aunt has a large farm out in the country, which will serve as the venue, and with most of her friends and family in the area, she doesn’t have to worry about travel restrictions.

She said in the early months of the pandemic, there were a lot of cancelations. Certain types of flowers were also hard to source as supply chains broke down.

“That was kind of challenging,” Faxon said.

She expects many other people who like herself, held off getting married last year, will line up to say “I do” in 2021.

“I have a feeling, we’re going to have a lot of orders. Last year, people canceled their weddings. And now they just want to do it,” she said.

Lynn Lampe is the owner of Geysers on the Terrace, which bills itself at Cody’s premiere event location. It has a 5,000 square feet of open space, a catering kitchen, a full service bar and seating for up to 300 people.

Lampe caters to a number of different events, including business conferences, Christmas parties, and fundraisers. She’s only had four events this year, she said, whereas she usually had events every month, but she said those four events went off without a hitch.

“We’ve never had a problem with anything,” Lampe said.

Every year at this time, she puts on a bridal show at Geysers on the Terrace, but this year it, too, was canceled. She usually gets 15 to 20 vendors, with 30 to 40 brides participating. This year, she had only three vendors willing to sign up.

“Some of them think it’s not worth it because they’re not booking any weddings, and I told them I got brides crying, ready to get married,” Lampe said.

The event follows a much larger bridal show in Billings. Lampe’s Cody event is designed to show brides in the area that an extravagant wedding is possible in the Big Horn Basin.

“Plus, they don’t have the travel and lodging costs on top of it,” Lampe added.

She also thinks 2021 will bring a surge of weddings, since “people have chosen to have their weddings this summer because a lot of their guests can’t or won’t travel, due to travel or quarantine restrictions.”

It’s hard to predict at this point just how much business will pick up. Lampe said some planners are still hesitating as there are many unknowns, so she hasn’t gotten a whole lot of inquiries so far this year. 

“How can you plan something months in advance if you don’t know what’s going to happen months in advance?” Lampe said. “The health department changes their mind frequently.”

She thinks in the coming months that will change as couples, many of which have postponed their wedding, get restless, expecting all this would be over by now.

“The brides are getting fearless. They’re saying, ‘Screw this, I’m having my wedding,’” Lampe said.

The catering businesses, too are expecting a turnaround this year. Beth Dickerman, director of dining services at Northwest College, is planning to start marketing campaigns for Northwest College Catering in anticipation of capturing postponed wedding business.

Dickerman said it’s hard to tell how much business is down as a result of the pandemic. Sodexo was contracted to provide food services about 18 months ago, so the bulk of the time they’ve provided the service has been during the pandemic.

In that time, they’ve catered two weddings, one of which was last August. That had about 300 attendees, and Dickerman said it went well, despite social distancing requirements. 

“We also have a lot of safe ways to conduct events, even buffets,” Dickerman said. “It’s still a served buffet, but we do it in a way that it looks very nice. Safety, of course, is a priority with us.”

She expects to see more bookings this year of all event types.

They provide linen and china service, and they have a new chef and catering truck. Dickerman said they’re poised to serve the expected wedding surge this year.

“From meetings to parties, we can handle it,” Dickerman said.

Lampe of Geysers on the Terrace said she isn’t sure other types of events will see a lot of bookings, but she said “people are ready to be people again.”

“The brides are moving forward. I’m definitely very hopeful for 2021. It’s going to be great.”