As COVID-19 continues to impact day-to-day life in Wisconsin, local couples are having to consider rescheduling weddings they have been planning for months and even years. OnFocus spoke with Marshfield area wedding vendors and a local couple to see how the pandemic has changed the wedding industry here in Central Wisconsin. We found a lot of positivity, community spirit, and love!
An Engaged Couple
After getting engaged in March 2019, Savanah Sawyer and David Haas were scheduled to get married on May 9 of this year, but have since made the decision to reschedule to August.
“What solidified our decision to reschedule was the stress of not knowing if social distancing and group restrictions would continue through the month of May,” said Sawyer. “Not only was it stressful for us, but also we felt it would be stressful for all of our vendors to receive last minute decisions. We wanted to give our guests a timely notice rather than waiting until a week before hand.”
She said the hardest part was finding a different date that worked for all of their vendors and did not conflict with any other family gatherings.
“Thankfully, our vendors have been absolutely amazing!” said Sawyer, adding that she was able to reschedule seamlessly and receive a refund for the one vendor that wasn’t able to switch. “Fortunately for us, we already have everything done and planned and it was just a matter of switching dates – which went smoothly!”
Sawyer added that she and Haas are looking forward to celebrating with everyone they love on their new date.
“We also look forward to the stories we will be able to tell our children and grandchildren about this crazy time in the world! I have no doubt our rescheduled day will be as perfect as our first one would have been, just with more stories for the future,” she said. “We are thankful to both still be employed and have a healthy family. Many Americans are not that fortunate during this time. We’re praying for this pandemic to end very soon.”
A Dress Shop
Wedding dress shops are also adapting to the situation, with downtown shop Circle The Date providing curbside pickup and services over the phone as much as possible.
“This has been really hard on myself and employees. Weddings and prom is my whole business! Basically all my employees are laid off,” said Jenny Kilty, owner. “I’ve applied for the SBA loan/grants but nothing has been finalized yet.”
Kilty comes into her store daily to answer phone calls and emails, with brides, bridesmaids, and mothers placing orders over of phone to meet their fall wedding deadlines.
“I have faith that love will pull us through and all the couples can still get married this year,” she said.
A Local Venue
“COVID – 19 has heavily impacted our events at Hotel Marshfield,” said Tricia Berg, Director of Sales. “April was a very promising, busy month, and we have had to basically clear the schedule. Weddings included.”
At this time, Hotel Marshfield is working with couples to accommodate in any way possible.
“Our wedding season really kicks off towards the end of May, so we have been able to give the situation a bit more time. We are planning to reevaluate limitations towards the end of April, beginning of May. We have some brides holding one or two dates, later in the summer or fall, or even 2021 in case they would need to push the wedding date back.”
She said that some couples have opted to cancel at this time, without rescheduling.
“I have encouraged our brides to just give the situation time, but to also be proactive,” said Berg. “My job is to eliminate the stress of planning, so anything I can do to be helpful, is my main goal. My clients work so hard planning, and putting everything together for a certain date, the best thing we can do, is be flexible with our policies and space, and work to get everything changed easily and as fast as possible.”
Berg encourages everyone to move forward with their wedding plans, even if the date would need to be adjusted.
“Weddings are such a special time, and every love story deserves an exciting start,” she said. “When the pandemic has passed, and things are up and running again, people are going to be ready to get out and see loved ones, and friends – what better way, than a wedding!”
“I have a serious passion for planning weddings – if any brides ANYWHERE have any questions, or need anything at all – don’t hesitate to call, or email,” she added. “No matter their venue, location, or time.”
As a designated “non-essential” service, local photographer Laura Schmitt Hiller of Laura Schmitt Photography, is not been permitted to work.
“I had a couple postpone their April 2020 wedding until April 2021. They are still getting married on their planned date in April 2020, but only with immediate family, including the officiant, who is the groom’s father,” said Hiller. “A June couple is also planning a smaller, more intimate ceremony on their current date and postponing the large party until next year. The other couples whose weddings I am photographing in May and June are still waiting to see what will happen before they make a decision about moving their date.”
Hiller added that most wedding photographers and wedding vendors would be more than happy to accommodate couples who postpone their wedding.
“Wedding planning is stressful enough as it is. I can’t imagine the stress of having to plan alternative dates or plan for a pandemic where everything is uncertain,” she said. “Talk to your vendors and photographers and include them on the planning or rescheduling. Another great alternative is to keep your current date and hold a smaller intimate ceremony and hold the party later. That way you don’t have to wait to get started on your life as a married couple and can still move forward together. Late fall and winter is a time when many wedding vendors aren’t as busy, so postponing your wedding reception until later could be a great option.”