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COVID-19 and it’s impact on the wedding industry

Photo of a bridal party. (Photo credit to Deb Kalsbeek of Snap Studio)

By Breegan Petruska

Roughly seven months after the coronavirus pandemic began, couples and families around the world are still left questioning whether or not to go through with their planned 2020 wedding ceremonies. Many couples, due to stay-at-home orders and executive orders limiting gatherings, have been forced to cancel or postpone their wedding celebrations. This is not only affecting these couples and families but the businesses that help make these celebrations come to life.

Deb Kalsbeek, owner of Snap Studio, in Grand Rapids, has been shooting weddings for eight years. This year has looked quite different for her because the majority of her engaged couples have postponed their weddings until 2021. For the few weddings that she has shot since quarantine ended, her team has been taking precautions by social distancing, wearing masks, and keeping hand sanitizer on them whenever possible. 

Wearing masks and social distancing are only a couple ways that working a wedding has changed for Kalsbeek and her team. Luckily, her business hasn’t been hurt by the pandemic.  

“Since coming back from quarantine my business boomed super quickly. It is still booming,” said Kalsbeek. “It has changed though. I am doing way more photoshoots and way less events.”

Bethany Cramblet, owner of Joy Photo in Grand Rapids, is another photographer who has been successful since the quarantine has been lifted. 

“I have heard about a handful of photographers who have turned down weddings and jobs,” said Joy. “I don’t do a whole lot of weddings, but only one has been postponed to October. If we look at the other side of my business, it hasn’t really changed. I bring a mask and sanitizer. I do keep more distance between me and my clients.” 

In the past few months, she has seen an increase in business. 

“COVID has brought a real reality to people,” said Joy. “More people are wanting to take these moments and capture them in family photos because you never know what’s going to happen. This has really helped my business.”  

The Hydrangea Blu Barn is a wedding venue in Rockford. Like many businesses, this pandemic has been less than kind to them. 

Not only have they lost quite a few weddings, but they have also had to limit the number of guests in attendance. To keep their staff safe, they have set up sanitation stations, start wearing masks, and require masks at the buffet. Hydrangea Blu Barn has gone from having 25 weddings scheduled to nine. 

There has been very little growth in the number of weddings in their 2021 wedding lineup. 

Calli Decocq, 30, of Cedar Springs, is one of the thousands of Michigan brides who have had to postpone their wedding due to the pandemic. In Aug., Decocq and her fiance decided to postpone their Oct. 2020 wedding to May 2021. Since deciding to postpone, Decocq has had a hard time working to get her deposit back from her original venue, and rescheduling everything for her new date. 

“If I have to reschedule a second time, I’m running away,” Decocq said, jokingly. “I plan on seeing what the CDC tells me closer to the wedding to decide what kind of precautions I will be providing for my guests.”


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