PUYALLUP, Wash. - The wedding industry in Washington state is beginning to rebound after taking a hit during the coronavirus pandemic.
Wedding planners said their calendars are booking up and engaged couples are finding it more challenging to find available vendors.
Alyssa Lunde and Ian Smith of Puyallup are planning a wedding in September. The couple got engaged last August and said they had to find a new venue in recent weeks.
"Our original venue called and said, ‘hey, we’re not doing weddings in Phase Three or Four.’ I wasn’t going to wait. I definitely was not. You can imagine that if somebody planning a wedding, just waiting to find out," said Lunde. "As of two weeks ago, we got a new venue and now we’re planning everything again."
Under current state guidelines, weddings that meet conditions for a fully-vaccinated event may operate at full capacity whether it's indoor or outdoor. COVID-19 social distancing and masking requirements don’t apply. All guests must provide proof of vaccination.
Cindy Savage of Aisle Less Traveled based in Seattle said in her experience once guests start eating and drinking, it becomes more difficult to enforce masking.
"Moving forward, if everyone is vaccinated, then maybe we’d be able to have no masks, which I know everybody wants," said Savage.
Savage said she’s currently experiencing booking season and wedding season simultaneously, which usually booking season happens in the earlier part of the year.
It’s a stark contrast to 2020 when Savage was booked for just two elopements. This past weekend, she finally worked a proper wedding in Los Angeles, where some masking was required.
"It’s hard, especially for those people getting married," said Savage. "It’s hard to imagine those photos that you were going to take with you for the rest of your life. They have to look back on them and see everybody wearing mask."
Lunde and Smith said they’ll leave masking decisions up to each individual guest.
"You can wear masks if you want to," said Lunde for her wedding. "I’m not going to force anyone to, but if it makes you feel more comfortable, then yeah."
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