‘The floodgates have opened:’ Tri-Cities wedding vendors experiencing busy season as restrictions ease

Regional News

GRAY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Some couples have seen delay after delay this past year for their weddings. The pandemic delays impacted vendors and venues as well. Now, as vaccine distribution continues and restrictions are lifted, vendors said they are seeing an increase in clients and calls.

“The floodgates have opened is what we joke around here,” said Cakebuds owner and head decorator Timmy Norman. “Everybody’s rushing to it right now, just because they don’t want to wait. You never know what’s gonna happen, maybe there’s a rise back in the pandemic.”

Camille McDonald, co-owner of The Side Porch wedding venue, echoed that sentiment.

“It’s almost like everyone is trying to squeeze it in while it’s safe,” said McDonald.

That rush is a bit of a blessing and curse for vendors.

“We are having to turn away some people because we are so booked up,” Norman said.

“We do try to work with everybody, but sometimes it’s just booked,” said McDonald.

“I have definitely had to turn away some people and I hate doing that,” said Blossom and Bloom owner and florist Chelsea Blount.

However, the vendors say they have become flexible and are seeing flexibility with their couples as well.

“The brides have been very, very willing to change what they thought their dream day was going to be. It’s still gonna be their dream day, but it will just be a little different than they anticipated,” said co-owner of The Side Porch Luci Jernigan. “‘Do you have anything at all that I can have? An intimate wedding or an elopement? Even on the weekday, I’m willing to go on the weekday now.'”

“I have had some who are getting married or eloping or going up on top of the mountain to have a small thing in a month or two, so pretty quick,” Blount said.

Both The Side Porch and Blossom and Bloom owners said they are seeing more couples hold smaller ceremonies and opting to wait to hold larger receptions at a later date.

The types of food and how it is served have also been adjusted.

“We’re seeing a lot of bite-sized things, so people can just grab it and go. So we’re seeing a lot of dessert bars, with cookies and cake pops and cupcakes and things like that,” Norman said.

“As far as serving food, we’ll have the caterers stay and serve the food, so not a lot of people are touching the utensils,” said McDonald.

However, there is also a shift in attitude and outlook by couples that they said is being seen across the board.

“Kind and gracious and understanding about the situation all of us are in,” said Blount.

“At the end of the day, it is very much about their union and the people who have brought them to where they are,” Jernigan said.

Both the owners of The Side Porch and Blossom and Bloom said this is the busiest season they’ve ever seen.

The biggest piece of advice both Jernigan and Blount offered couples is to be patient and flexible.

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