Vail weddings seeing plenty of postponements
There have been few cancellations, but we may see more fall and winter weddings in the coming months
Weddings are big business in the Vail Valley. Along with much of the valley’s business community, that business is currently on a long, unknown pause.
JoAnn Moore, a longtime valley wedding planner, said all of the weddings in her portfolio through July have postponed their events.
But “postponed” is far less harsh than “canceled.” Vail’s Donovan Pavilion hosts a lot of weddings and receptions. Facility manager Laurie Asmussen said only three events have been canceled under the parameters of the current state public health order, which currently lasts until April 30.
For people with dates booked in May and later, Asmussen said many are “nervous” about whether or not they’ll be able to hold their events.
“We’re working through (possible refunds) and we’ve been keeping them updated,” Asmussen said, adding that she expects town officials to be “fair” in whether or not to issue refunds.
“Our goal is to have people come back to Vail,” she said.
Donovan Pavilion is just a part of the valley’s wedding business, which includes photographers, musicians, DJs and hair and makeup artists.
And Vail Valley weddings can often be pretty elaborate affairs.
The waiting game
Moore said she just had a postponement from a wedding party that included several people coming from Italy, with the bride and groom coming from Florida.
Given the way the COVID-19 virus has affected those areas, it may be a while before that celebration is held.
Even in normal times, Moore said she’s in frequent contact with her clients. These days, she contacts them at least once a week.
“I stay positive, and give them updates,” she said.
Staying positive is something Moore has learned in decades in the wedding planning business.
During the global financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, Moore said she had plans in place for those people, and still arranged 17 weddings that year.
One thing Moore learned was changing the way she asks for deposits, and setting hard dates for extensions.
Moore added that she’s been working with insurers and urging clients to make sure their wedding insurance policies also include health emergencies as well as the usual contingencies.
So far, though, Moore has only had one cancellation, and not for reasons related to the virus. She fully expects most, if not all, of her current clients to say their vows in Vail at some point.
“Brides will not give up on their wedding dreams,” Moore said.
But dream weddings and reality sometimes require creative solutions. Moore said she’s heard of a couple that had a wedding in the church of their choice. Instead of filling the chapel with guests, the couple live-streamed the ceremony.
Another couple, in another state, held an outdoor ceremony and those who were invited kept their distance by driving past to honk and wave their best wishes.
In a busy Vail Valley, postponed weddings may not find a spot on the calendar this summer.
“I ask if they want to try for fall, or the winter, or next summer,” Moore said.
But couples do have to commit, she said. Otherwise, “we’re out of business.”
Moore remains hopeful, though.
“We’re going to get through this and be so much more grateful,” she said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.