Vaccines Unleash Wedding Boom. ‘Everyone Is Ready.’

After a year of don’ts, brides and grooms are lining up in a big way to say “I do.”

Wedding caterers and venues are booked solid. Sign-ups on wedding-registry sites and platforms are soaring. Designers are racing to outfit bridal parties. And invited guests, sick of being cooped up during the pandemic, are eager to join the party.

At last

The result is a logjam of demand for venues and services. Couples who put off ceremonies during the pandemic are competing with others who got engaged during the lockdown and those who had planned 2021 weddings all along.

So long, weekend wedding. “Monday is the new Saturday in Palm Beach,” said

Caroline Scarpinato,

director of event services at the Breakers Palm Beach, a Florida resort. “With such limited availability, couples are willing to host their event on a Monday or Thursday.”

After so many false starts, brides and grooms are eager to get the show on the road.

“I’m so excited for it to finally be here,” said

JoLissa Jones,

who married on Saturday after postponing her wedding twice in 2020. “We wanted April, but April was all booked up.” The save-the-date postcards sent out by the 32-year-old Houston criminal-defense lawyer and her fiancé,

Bradley White,

read: “Third Time’s The Charm.”

Ms. Jones said she was relieved, given all the talk about pandemic weight gain, that when she took her wedding dress out of storage, it still fit. “Thank goodness,” she said. “I was very worried.” Her hairstylist, though, was another matter. “She was so excited about getting her vaccine, she booked a trip to Vegas and forgot she had a wedding on our wedding weekend.”

An engagement portrait of Laura Kelly and Michael Sullivan, who rescheduled their wedding for July.


Stephanie Scapellati/3 Elements Photography

Laura Kelly,

who put off her wedding last July, rebooked it for this July 3. Her guests, she said, are ready to celebrate after a year of too little fun.

“Being the fourth sibling in my family and the last one to get married, I used to think nobody’s going to care about my wedding when it’s my turn,” said Ms. Kelly, a 35-year-old elementary-school teacher from Woodbridge, N.J. “But now everybody’s super-excited.”

Rebooting the happy occasion wasn’t seamless, though. Her fiancé needed his suit taken in after losing 20 pounds exercising and dieting during quarantine. The venue charged an extra $10 a head to change the date. A bridesmaid changed her mind about the dress she chose two years ago. The couple also had to line up a new officiant. “Thankfully, the photographer, the videographer, everybody else was available,” Ms. Kelly said.

Share Your Thoughts

Do you have a wedding to plan or attend this summer? How have your plans changed because of the pandemic? Join the conversation below.

Nearly one-half of couples planning weddings in 2020 postponed either their entire wedding or their reception, according to a survey of more than 7,600 couples by wedding-planning website The Knot. The U.S. wedding industry is poised to bounce back after revenue declined more than 20{2f36692215c92488191f15c49f485bc8da437d4cca01014075d40c79880301cc} in 2020, according to research firm IBISWorld.

Vaccine rollouts appear to have opened the floodgates. “You’re seeing this momentum come back,” said

James Marcum,

chief executive of David’s Bridal retail chain.

“Before, we would have six clients a week, now we have four a day,” said

Danielle Hirsch,

chief executive and creative director of Danielle Frankel, which makes bridal wear. The label, known for a pared-back style, has been making “a little more over the top” gowns, Ms. Hirsch said, to reflect the optimistic mood of brides.

High-end venues such as the Breakers Palm Beach and Arizona Biltmore are filling up quickly for the fall. “We are now starting to see more leads and bookings for February through April 2022,” said Stacey Murtaugh, assistant director of catering at Arizona Biltmore.

In May of last year,

Newtanya Baptiste

of Dallas postponed her wedding at a resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, to June 2021. She even considered canceling it altogether because of the pandemic. But Ms. Baptiste, a 31-year-old registered nurse, said she realized that with vaccines and safety protocols, it was possible to host a wedding safely.

“I said, You know what? This is something that I really want, and we’re going to go forward.”

‘I’m so excited for it to finally be here,’ said JoLissa Jones, with her fiancé Bradley White, about their postponed wedding.


Ken Maurice Studios

The initial postponement, coupled with Covid worries, had reduced the guest list from 80 to 30, including the bridal party. Now, with vaccines available and cities reopening, more people want to attend. “The last weekend of April is when people started emailing and saying they wanted to come,” she said. “Everyone is ready to go.”

Some brides who married in Zoom weddings last year plan to exchange vows in person before family and friends. Lili Koenig, a television-news producer in New York City, at first postponed her wedding from May 17 to Columbus Day of last year. Then she decided to marry in a Zoom ceremony on her original wedding date.

Ms. Koenig, 31, moved the in-person event again, to Memorial Day 2021, even though she had hoped for a Sunday event. “That was the only date that we could book without paying more money or having to move to a different space,” she said.

She also decided that she and her husband could hardly exchange the very same vows they had recited in their Zoom wedding. “He is not happy to be writing new ones, but it’s fun for me to do that,” she said.

Her husband, Perry Koenig, said, “When Lili presented the idea to me to write new vows, I’m pretty sure I laughed at first. But after thinking about it for a day or so, I realized that writing new vows really isn’t the worst thing because we can talk about the last year together. Come May 17, 2021, we will be married for 365 days.”

Perry and Lili Koenig during the virtual ceremony at their apartment in Staten Island, N.Y.


Edward-Daniel Simons Jr.

Write to Ray A. Smith at [email protected]

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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