Couples are racing to the altar in a vaccination-era wedding boom that has venues and other vendors in high demand.
With restrictions on large gatherings loosening, wedding planners and others who make the magic happen said they've started pushing their bookings into next year and early 2023.
"We've run out of trucks for some dates this year and that hasn't happened before," said Ben Goldberg, co-founder and president of the New York Food Truck Association. "Our phones have been ringing off the hook with clients looking to have the weddings they had to put off during COVID."
Also contributing to the rush are couples who went ahead and got hitched during stricter pandemic times with few or no guests and are now on their second go-rounds with larger groups. They're competing for services with those who had always intended to marry this year.
"We're seeing a lot of last-minute bookings with shorter planning windows," said Anna Noriega, who owns the luxury Alore Event Firm in Miami. "With vaccinations becoming more prevalent and on-site COVID testing available for events, we've seen an uprise in guest counts and a push for bookings."
The boom is on in bridal and bridesmaids dresses, too.
"Moving forward it's going to be an unprecedented wedding season this year," said Maggie Lord, a vice president at David's Bridal chain, which has 282 stores in the United States and more in England, Canada and Mexico.
"Couples are getting super creative and having Thursday night ceremonies or Friday afternoon ceremonies just because of the amount of people getting married this year," Lord said.
Competition for vendors has some upping their prices. "They know they have customers who will pay it," she said. "Wedding vendors are making up for a year of limited if no work at all."
Anna Price Olson, associate editorial director for Brides magazine, said many vendors in the wedding industry are small businesses.
"They're trying to meet the demand of new clients and clients who have postponed," she said. "In order to do so, in many cases, they're having to charge more. They're having to hire additional resources, bring staff members back. Also the cost of goods is increasing. There are only so many linens, only so many rentals and only so many flowers that were planted this past season."
Tirusha Dave is the owner and CEO of the upscale wedding planning company Bravura Brides based in New Jersey. She handled 10 weddings in 2019, with just three in 2020. Dave already has 11 weddings booked this year, with 250 to 300 guests planned at each.
"I think everybody's ready for things to bounce back, but just in a safe way," she said.