CLEVELAND — Dozens of brides-to-be flocked to the IX Center for this year’s Today’s Bride Cleveland Wedding Show.
That’s probably because wedding planners and vendors are reporting record numbers of bookings over the next two years. Market research firm The Wedding Report estimates there will be 2.5 million weddings this year.
“It's very huge and there's like a venue for everything. Actually two venues for everything,” said bride-to-be Ashley Henderson.
Henderson spent her Saturday going from stall to stall at the wedding show, getting ideas for her big day coming up in November 2023.
“I just don't want to be last minute trying to book a venue so I'm trying to figure out, get some ideas,” said Henderson.
Experts said that’s a smart plan, especially because the demand for weddings has skyrocketed.
“Statistics are showing—yes, it's up,” said Jennifer Fyffe, vice president of Today’s Bride.
Fyffe said it all comes down to cause and effect.
“It’s more so because of that demand and the overflow of people that had to wait to get married and also the uncertainty. Some people did want to plan a wedding 16 months out, which is the average length of engagement, not knowing how the COVID and the variants will take place,” said Fyffe.
While she believes 2022 will be a big year, she said it will take businesses several more years to recover the losses from the pandemic.
“There's only so many weddings we can pack in a year. And the prime dates are Friday, Saturday, Sunday and also the staffing. If they don't have more staff for that cyclical time, they can't accommodate more weddings,” said Fyffe.
Vendors at the show said they are seeing record numbers of bookings.
“I mean, we've been in business over 20 years. And this is hands down the busiest we've seen,” said Jeff Kutz, partner and vice president of social sales at Rock the House Entertainment.
So the message from vendors to engaged couples is to book now.
“Unfortunately our capacity is filling up quicker than ever. So we're just encouraging people today that whatever vendor they find, book them if you love them, and then you don't have to worry about them being taken by someone else,” said Kutz.
Henderson still plans to take her time on some things and move quickly on others, but her advice to other brides is simple.
“Don't overthink it. Because at first I over thought it because of the stipulations, like you gotta have this day and that day and everything, just fine tuning but no, I'm just having fun with it,” said Henderson.
The Today’s Bride I-X Center Cleveland Wedding Show is open Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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