Wedding industry, engaged couples prepare for the worst as gathering limits tighten in Virginia again

Weddings during a pandemic
Weddings during a pandemic
Updated: Nov. 17, 2020 at 8:47 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Brides-to-be are being forced to once again make changes to their big day.

Virginia’s new coronavirus restrictions drastically cut the number of people allowed at gatherings from 250 to 25 people, throwing another curveball at the wedding industry.

“The wedding industry is being hit really hard right now,” Emily Clemenson, the Events Manager at Veritas Winery and Vineyard said.

“A lot of these vendors from planners, to photographers, videographers, and florals, this is our job,” Clemenson said. "This is our only source of income”

Clemenson has been doing her best to help brides and grooms navigate a nightmarish year.

“You’ve been working with them so long and then suddenly to be like, ‘oh, you can’t have a wedding anymore’ or ‘what you had planned is going to look completely different,' it’s heartbreaking,” she said.

Shelby Dodd has heard similar words. She had been planning on getting married at King Family Vineyards in the coming weeks, but now that dream is up in the air.

“I’ve joked with friends about it,” Dodd said. "It’s like you have to keep dancing and you’re crying, you’re trying to keep up with this whole thing and the show must go on.”

Now, she and her fiancé Mark Koninckx are looking for smaller venues and rental homes around Charlottesville and Albemarle County to possibly have a micro-wedding.

"You’re planning a big event, but at the same time you’re kind of grieving the changes that are happening and the things that you’re not going to get to experience,” Dodd said.

Veritas just hosted its last wedding of the year, dodging a major bullet with the new gathering limit. Clemenson knows that is not the case for everyone.

“You think about couples from the beginning of the year that moved their wedding till later this year, in hopes that it’d be better,” she said. “So now you have couples who are having to reschedule their wedding for a second and third time.”

Although the events at every venue feel the impact, Clemenson says the revenue from the winery itself has gotten them by.

“Weddings have definitely been hit with so many reschedules, but luckily the winery is doing really well so we’re thankful for all of our patrons that have been coming out,” she said.

Veritas is currently operating walk-in and reservation spaces while maintaining a list of safety precautions for guests.

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