WALLINGFORD — Two weeks before their planned wedding, Carlie Luchino and fiance Michael Ciarlone decided to postpone.
The move was prompted by a state ban on gatherings of 50 people or more in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.
If the virus hadn’t spread to the United States, the Wallingford couple would be getting married next weekend, on Saturday, in New Haven.
“Honestly I thought I would be much more upset than I am. It was kind of a relief, knowing that we’re safe (with a new date),” Luchino said.
The Wallingford couple invited around 130 guests, some from out of state, who worried about their own travel plans.
Luchino feels lucky and relieved they were able to easily rebook the venue and all related vendors for a May 9 wedding, but is starting to worry that another delay may be necessary. She said the venue didn’t have any other Saturday openings until fall.
“At the time we thought May would just be a safe choice,” Luchino said. “We’re getting to the point we’re even worried that we’ll have to postpone again.”
They also have to consider whether the closing of municipal offices will prevent them from getting a marriage license. The couple has a license that expires May 5.
Caroline Andrukiewicz and Jay Adamski, a Meriden native, may postpone the celebration with family and friends, but still plan to tie the knot on May 23.
“We’re just excited to get married and if it's an elopement ... it's a heck of a story to tell our kids someday,” Andrukiewicz said.
The Portland couple canceled their upcoming bridal shower and stag party, but don’t know if they should cancel the wedding reception.
For them, the hardest part has been not being able to tell friends and family traveling from out of state whether to come. If they do elope, they plan to have a celebration with everyone later in the year.
“We’re right at the cusp of that current eight week (recommendation),” Andrukiewicz said.
For March and April weddings or other events, postponing is really the only option with ever-increasing social gathering limits.
However, it’s not clear when these bans will be lifted and some worry when they are, family and friends will be wary to travel.
The Aqua Turf in Southington said on Wednesday that clients have postponed or canceled about 85 events in March and April. The Silver City Ballroom didn’t have weddings scheduled, but has postponed a Quinceanera Expo and canceled its own Easter and Mother’s Day brunches.
With canceled or postponed events comes disruption to the lives and businesses of many vendors as well. Photographers, makeup artists, hair salons, tuxedo businesses, tailors, DJs, henna artists, florists, caterers, and more are adversely affected.
For some of these businesses, the loss of not only weddings, but proms and other spring and summer events will hit hard financially.
Joseph Florio, Silver City Ballroom owner, said it’s still the slow season for events, so he didn’t have to cancel many. However, the pandemic seems to be slowing future business too, since calls have halted for showings.
“We’re not really gonna feel the full effects of it until late on in summer,” he said.
The ballroom is closed, but still able to make appointments with clients interested in booking the space down the road.
How the less than three-year-old ballroom will make it out of this is unknown. Florio said they’ll need to rely on disaster relief from the government.
“I don’t see how we can continue,” Florio said. “We’re gonna try everything we can.”
Event planner Carisa Lockery, owner of Pink Olive Events in Cheshire, says she’s had a few postponements too, including one in June.
They’re all rescheduling for the busiest months of the year, assuming all their vendors can be available as well.
“It's gonna get really hard because I’m gonna not be doing anything for like four months and then all the sudden I’m gonna lose my mind for four months,” she said.
Lockery said the number one question she’s been getting is “when should I make the decision to postpone or not?”
It’s not a question she’s ever had to answer before, but she’s trying to help her clients as much as possible, like interacting with people on social media and through blog posts.
Some of her tips include to stay calm, be flexible when it comes to new dates, make sure to contact all your guests with a new date, and check in with your vendors about their schedules.
“Use it as an excuse to get married twice,” she said in a vblog. “Have a small ceremony on your original date that you planned and go and have the big reception later when all this cools off.”
She said some couples can choose to get wedding insurance (a popular choice is WedSafe), however it usually applies more to storms.
For those unsure what to do, Luchino says to go with your gut and don’t be afraid to postpone if you can.
“Just postpone because it gets rid of a lot of the stress,” she said.