Now, their big celebration is on for Aug. 15 outdoors at their original venue in Park City, Utah, with about 230 guests and events over several days, including seven clothing changes for bride and groom. Many of their closest loved ones in India aren’t permitted to travel to the U.S. She and Suhaas Prasad, 33, met in 2014 and got engaged in May 2019. They planned a traditional South Asian Indian wedding last August in Utah, where Balagopal grew up, with 320 guests and events over five days. But they couldn’t make it happen under pandemic restrictions. They decided on a small sunset ceremony that month with fewer than 10 people in attendance on Muir Beach near San Francisco. It’s where they had their first date and where Prasad proposed. “It’s just a really big part of our culture,” Balagopal said of the extravaganza. “In the end, it was really important to our parents.”
“We’re seeing a lot of last-minute bookings with shorter planning windows,” said Anna Noriega, who owns the luxury Alorè Event Firm in Miami. “With vaccinations becoming more prevalent and on-site COVID testing available for events, we’ve seen an uprise in guest counts and a push for bookings.” Also contributing to the rush are couples who went ahead and got hitched during stricter pandemic times with few or no guests and are now on their second go-arounds with larger groups. They’re competing for services with those who had always intended to marry this year.
Namisha Balagopal, 27, in Emeryville, California, is among the double brides. “We’ve run out of trucks for some dates this year and that hasn’t happened before,” said Ben Goldberg, co-founder and president of the New York Food Truck Association. “Our phones have been ringing off the hook with clients looking to have the weddings they had to put off during COVID.”
The budget-friendly David’s Bridal chain, with 282 stores in the U.S. and more in the UK, Canada and Mexico, has 300,000 dresses in stock due in part to the wedding drought of 2020. “Moving forward it’s going to be an unprecedented wedding season this year,” said Maggie Lord, a vice president at David’s whose online wedding planning guide, Rustic Wedding Chic, was acquired by the company. David’s has been tracking broad wedding data through the pandemic. The boom is on in bridal and bridesmaids dresses, too.
“The wedding is going to be so much fun. It’s just delayed gratification at this point,” Balagopal smiled. She’s mostly beyond the frustration phase of being a pandemic bride.
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