HONOLULU (KHON2) — According to industry experts, it’s hard to think of a more popular time to have a wedding than this summer has been, with pandemic restrictions in the rearview mirror of life’s limo to the future.
With the Hawaii World Class Wedding Expo taking place this weekend at the Honolulu Convention Center, many from the industry exclaimed how they have bounced back better than expected.
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“It picked up in 2021, and 2022 is better than 2019,” owner of Casablanca Bridal Gladys Agsalud said.
Increased demand includes a backlog of weddings postponed during the height of the pandemic.
“It’s such a huge boom that I don’t think we were prepared,” Esselle Weddings & Events wedding planner Stephanie Le said. “There’s an extreme backlog. I mean, we have couples who were waiting from 2020, 2021, and the early half of 2022, who are still queued up, waiting to plan their weddings.”
Agsalud says that has been heightened by couples postponing their big day, some of which she says have rescheduled 5 times. That is now causing some couples to schedule far in advance.
“That’s why we were kind of shooting for 2024 so hopefully everything will be good by then. And I have a lot of time to plan too so that’s always good,” engaged couple Ronald Santos and Ashley Yamashita said.
For some, this calls for trimming down festivities.
“Its a mix of we want to make sure we’re not delaying something that’s important to us so COVID also realizes what’s important to us, the marriage itself is also important so this way we can find a balance of celebrating not putting off but also feeling safe with our loved ones,” engaged couple Christian Kitamura and Jason Izu said.
With Japan easing travel restrictions come October 11, the industry is expecting even more demand.
“Since Hawaii is a destination wedding place we do have a lot of brides coming in from Japan and the Philipines and we even had a few customers that were a part of the 90-day fiancee,” David’s Bridal sales manager Jaylen Lum said.
The state of staffing around the industry may make things more difficult.
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“There’s still some labor shortages here and there for certain segments of the wedding industry. And we’re all working through that, you know, like, I don’t think caterers have fully recovered yet with their waitstaff. Crew. I don’t think many rental companies have fully recovered with getting all of their stuff back pre-pandemic times,” Le said.
If you’re on the waitlist, Le recommends being flexible to ultimately get a great wedding.
“Have an open mind. There is such a wealth of wedding vendors on Oahu. So, even if your first choice is not available, there’s going to be so many more who can fulfill and execute your wedding day,”