Hudson Valley wedding industry braces for busiest season in years

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  • Photograph by Mariana Feely Photography
  • Allison and Renzo’s wedding on August 7, 2021 at Brotherhood Winery was planned by Bianca Hendricks of RSVPbyB.

For many couples, planning a wedding involves finding a variety of vendors – a wedding planner, a caterer, a venue – but this year, and perhaps for a few years to come, finding such vendors can be more complicated. . According to COVID-19 2021 Wedding Market Update, the number of weddings in the United States fell to 1.27 million in 2020 from 2.1 million in 2019, and many of those weddings took place on Zoom, without caterers, planners, or a venue. In 2021, the number of weddings almost rebounded to reach the 2019 figure, although concerns over COVID still affect the choice of venue and the size of the guests.

This year should be a year in which a record number of couples are once again saying “yes” to in-person events. Industry experts predict there will be more weddings than there have been in the United States for decades. Some of the weddings that are slated to take place this year – or after that – are weddings that were called off in 2020.

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According to owner Judy Tallerman, the Senate garage in Uptown Kingston will have its busiest wedding season ever in 2022. - PHOTO BY NICOLE NERO STUDIO

  • Photo by Nicole Nero Studio
  • According to owner Judy Tallerman, the Senate garage in Uptown Kingston will have its busiest wedding season ever in 2022.

In 2021, the Senate Garage, a popular wedding venue in downtown Kingston, hosted weddings almost every weekend from summer to late December for the first time since the start of the pandemic. And the venue has a few free dates next year. “We continue to have weddings from two years ago that have been pushed back to 2022,” said owner Judy Tallerman. “So we are still trying to make up for this year and a half that we have lost. This year looks to be possibly the biggest wedding season we’ve seen. This is true at all levels. This is not only true for our site. This is also true for caterers, florists and event planners. People who didn’t get started early now have a hard time finding these suppliers. Some people who would have preferred to get married in 2022 are pushing the dates back to 2023. So people who want to get married in 2023 should start booking quickly, because there has been this kind of rollover effect that I don’t think will happen. clean until 2024.

The elegant former industrial space sits on the grounds of the historic Senate House, which offers the possibility of hosting events both indoors and outdoors.

“People were having events indoors from the beginning of August,” says Tallerman. “It was scary, but everything went well. There were no guidelines at the time. The guidelines had been removed so everyone we worked with we told them about what they were doing so they could have safe events. ”

Dealing with COVID

Agnès Devereux of the Staatsburg-based Agnès Devereux Catering, which specializes in farm-to-table comfort dishes, hasn’t seen much change in wedding menus. The tables are more spaced. The wedding cake is sliced ​​and plated, but not much else. “In the beginning, we implemented COVID protocols where we served all of our appetizers in individual containers instead of on a pass tray. But they lifted those restrictions at the start of the summer, and then food service was pretty much the same. “

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Cathy Foti with lamb meatballs with mint and yoghurt raita by Agnes Devereux Traiteur

  • Cathy Foti with lamb meatballs with mint and yoghurt raita by Agnes Devereux Traiteur

One change that has affected and may continue to affect dining plans is the number of guests canceling, sometimes at the last minute. the whole household was canceled, ”explains Devereux. “Some brides asked for a negative COVID test on the wedding day and some people balked and didn’t come. ”

Guest lists were generally smaller. “We’ve only had a few weddings with around 200 guests,” says Tallerman. “We have never had so many weddings with between 70 and 125 guests.”

While it’s tempting to think of smaller guest lists as part of a trend toward more intimate weddings, Tallerman is once again taking bookings for 2022 with around 200 guests.

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Allyson Cannella's wedding on the way to the Senate Garage in Uptown Kingston, August 28, 2021. - PHOTO BY PHOENIX PHOTO

  • Photo by Phoenix Photo
  • Allyson Cannella’s wedding procession en route to the Senate Garage in Uptown Kingston, August 28, 2021.

Nicole Friedman from GlampStar, which offers luxury tent rentals for weddings, also notes an increase in the size of weddings. “In 2020, instead of pitching 20 tents, I pitched four tents,” says Friedman. “In 2021, some who had only booked five tents increased it to eight or 15. The events were definitely bigger and there are a lot more.”

It’s no surprise that a glamping option had a pull during a time of social distancing, as it meant weddings could move outside and guests could have their own comfortable tent to stay in.

A desire for war

Bianca Hendricks, Poughkeepsie-based wedding planner RSVPbyB noticed other trends in 2021 that appear to be on track for 2022. “I saw a lot of assigned seating versus guests just going to the table they wanted,” says Hendricks. “I made a lot of place cards. I also noticed more family style dinners. Many families haven’t spent a lot of time together over the past couple of years, so there’s a lot of focus on being together.

Couples who have had to postpone their wedding until 2020 have had time to plan something special, says Hendricks. As a result, many decided to make a statement, whether it was transforming the space with flowers, using bright colors, or making the wedding a mini-vacation by extending the event throughout the season. weekend.

“I have couples who say, ‘Everyone is from out of town, so we create a route of things that people can do all weekend long,” says Hendricks, who coordinates both marriage and weekends.

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A wedding planned by Bianca Hendricks of RSVPbyB.

  • A wedding planned by Bianca Hendricks of RSVPbyB.

Destination weddings in exotic locations have quickly lost popularity due to travel restrictions linked to COVID. However, Tallerman has noticed that people aren’t as interested in getting married in New York City as they used to be, and more couples are choosing to host Hudson Valley weddings.

“Some of the city’s caterers and event planners have started contacting us here looking for references,” says Tallerman. With caterers and wedding planners in the Hudson Valley currently booked, there are opportunities for New York City wedding staff. open because people don’t want to get married in town, ”says Tallerman. “It’s definitely a different trend. ”

The increase in bookings holds promise for the wedding industry, but it can also be seen as a positive demonstration of faith in the future. “2022 is looking good,” says Devereux. “It’s not only encouraging that people have postponed the schedule from last year. It’s encouraging to see that so many people want to get married. It’s almost as if there is this desire for war. People want to get involved and move on with their lives, making a statement even though times are uncertain. ”

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