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Wedding bells are ringing once again
weddings 2022
Wedding guests celebrate Rachel and Nick’s nuptials at their ceremony held at the Galas Barn in Oakdale. Due to COVID concerns, many couples are choosing an outdoor venue for the celebrations (Bogdan Condor Photography).

Erika Moreno and Robert Saldana of Livingston are one of the approximately 2.6 million couples planning to get married in 2022 — the most weddings in one year in recent history.

The Knot, a wedding planning and resources authority, recently released a study that revealed couples who postponed their weddings due to COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 have made 2022 a booming year for nuptials as pandemic restrictions have lifted.

According to the study, 98 percent of those set to wed in 2022 are confident their wedding will take place as scheduled. While the reality of Omicron is top of mind, couples feel confident that they can move forward with their wedding plans and 81% will implement at least one health or safety measure on their wedding day. Providing hand sanitizer is the most common (53%), followed by requiring staff to wear masks (40%). Sixteen percent of couples will require testing or for guests to be vaccinated (30%). The average guest size in 2022 is projected to return to pre-pandemic numbers at 129 (131 guests in 2019).

“COVID had major impacts on our plans and had us push out the date two times over the span of two and half years,” said Moreno. “We even looked into elopements and destination weddings, but we knew having the large wedding we have always wanted would be worth it in the end.”

Moreno said she and Saldana were engaged in June 2019 and had originally planned for a November 2020 wedding. Due to COVID, the couple moved their wedding date to February 2021.

“Around late summer/early fall we knew that the February date would not work out, as COVID was at its peak and did not look like it would be getting better any time soon. So, we locked our plans of having our wedding in October of 2022 and preferred to have an outdoor venue so our guests would feel more comfortable rather than being enclosed indoors,” said Moreno.

Moreno and Saldana’s story is common for local couples, said Turlock-based wedding planner Lori Cole.

“We have numerous waves of weddings — those that got cancelled in 2021 moved to 2022, others never set a date because of what was going on until now and recently engaged couples from the holiday season,” said Cole.

Because of the increased number of couples planning for a 2022 wedding, Cole said venues have been booked out for months, leaving those trying to put together an event within six to 12 months scrambling to find a venue, caterer and other wedding services.

“We’ve been encouraging clients to go into next year and save yourself some stress. It might also be financially beneficial to wait until next year to see prices go down,” said Cole.

Cole said that supply-chain issues and staffing shortages has hit the wedding industry just as hard as other parts of the economy.

“Couples are having trouble finding all the vendors that they need for popular months — October, September, November. Out of our vendor pool, we have several people who are no longer in business. Our main rental company, due to staffing issues, is no longer delivering to our prime venue areas,” said Cole.

She said that some popular wedding flowers are now double the price per stem, wedding gowns are taking longer to be created and shipped and caterers are turning down larger events due to serving staff shortages, a problem that Moreno and Saldana have also encountered.

“Our headcount is 275 plus and because this is a high number, we have had some catering services decline due to being short staffed. Luckily, we found a Mexican food caterer out of Delhi who will be serving us buffet style,” said Moreno.

Cole said flexibility is the key for couples keeping their cool while trying to plan a wedding right now.