The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped couples from saying, “I Do.” For brides, finding the perfect wedding dress can be quite the challenge regardless of COVID-19 obstacles. Stella Jones, the owner of Stella’s Bridal Boutique in Le Roy, New York, has operated her business for almost a decade, but this year some changes had to be made.
Photo courtesy of https://www.stellasbridalboutique.com/
“Initially when we first reopened after the shutdown, we sadly saw a ton of our brides being forced to cancel or postpone their weddings. Tears were shed but lots of love and guidance from our staff was given.” Jones explains that she treats all of her brides not just as clients, but like sisters.
“I can’t tell you how many long phone calls we had with our brides simply trying to uplift them and reassure them that they will get their “I do” moment.” Jones adds.
Face coverings and social distancing are strictly enforced at Stella’s Bridal Boutique but their full service shopping experience has remained the same. Jones explains that shopping for a wedding dress while wearing a mask isn’t the easiest, but she has made it her mission to continue to serve her brides as close to “normal” as possible when shopping at the boutique.
“Our brides are still able to shop one on one with a fashion stylist but also able to bring along their closest friends and family because our store has a lot of space to work with.” Jones said.
Photo courtesy of https://www.instagram.com/stellasbridal/
However, there have been challenges on the business end that Jones and her team have had to go through. The main challenge is simply not knowing what the future holds when it comes to trends in the wedding industry.
“Determining what budget brides will be shopping with and what styles will reflect the time period we are now living in has thrown a bit of a curve ball but one that we are confident we will be successful with.” Jones said.
Even with the global pandemic, Stella’s Bridal Boutique has seen a large increase in traffic this past season and according to Jones, this increase has taught her that love really does conquer all.
Hali Plummer from Rochester, is one of these brides planning her wedding during COVID-19. Her fiance, Timothy Davidson popped the question December, about three months before the pandemic began. The soon to be Mr. and Mrs. already started planning and getting things booked as soon as they got engaged.
Photos courtesy of Hali Plummer
When businesses and vendors shut down, trying to plan certain things was a little difficult since they could only meet via Zoom or phone call.
“I had to book the florist, photographer, and videographer just by talking to them over the phone. Then when things started opening back up in June, I struggled more with booking the other items like hair and make up because now I was competing with brides that had to reschedule their wedding for 2021.” Plummer said.
Plummer says her biggest worry is that the pandemic will continue into 2021 and her July wedding will have to be rescheduled.
“I get so nervous that it won’t be what I had imagined and it will have to be a small ceremony, a reception at a later date, guests needing to wear masks, no dancing, and also family members who are older or out of state not being able to make the wedding.” Plummer said.
Luckily, Plummer and Davidson are ahead of the game and already have their rain date for a large reception booked for 2022. If she could give any advice to anyone else planning a wedding during this pandemic it’s to stay positive and remember it is truly about love and you and your partner spending the rest of your lives together.
“No matter how many guests, the type of decor, or where we get married, it’s about love at the end of the day.” Plummer said.
Some couples planning their 2020 wedding have had several problems due to the pandemic. Laura Burgess from Canandaigua got engaged to her husband Brad on July fourth of 2019. The two started planning their wedding set for September sixth, 2020, but it was not the experience they hoped for. According to Burgess nothing about planning her wedding during a pandemic was easy.
“For starters, I had to shorten my guest list from 150 to 50 people. I had to cancel my DJ and lose my deposit because we were no longer allowed to dance at the reception. I canceled the dinner portion because I refuse to pay thousands of dollars to just sit down and eat dinner and if we were up we had to have our mask on.” Burgess said.
Although the couple was able to keep their original wedding date, they were unable to have a reception due to COVID-19 restrictions. Burgess explained her frustration towards the constant change of information.
“Everything changed on a day-to-day basis and you never knew what was going to happen. It was very hard to plan anything. You will get your heart set on something and It would get taken away from you.” Burgess added.
Burgess’s biggest worry was not being able to have their wedding at all because it would really impact the couple’s plan for the future.
“My husband and I wanted to continue growing our family and did not want to be on a time limit of when we could do that.” Burgess said
Brad and Laura were married on September sixth, 2020 and after all the confusion and anxiety of planning an event during a global pandemic, love was always in the air.
“Even though it was very very stressful and nothing that I thought it would be, it ended up being even more special at the end of the day because it was more intimate and I still got to marry my best friend.” Burgess said.
Photo courtesy of Laura Burgess