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Brides say yes to the dress, even as pandemic disrupts wedding plans

By Katie Park, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Fashion Daily News

In early June, Hart and her business partner, Stacey Veeraraj, hadn't been sure how much business they would get when they reopened. Then, women began to call for dress appointments.

But at the shop - soon to move from a small spot with a leaking roof on South Street to a bigger space in Old City - the routine changed as a safety precaution. Just one bride was allowed in at a time, and she could bring only one guest.

If the pandemic was going to dash brides' original dreams, Hart said, some would dress to meet the change.

"A bride getting married next month changed her plans," she said. "She got a jumpsuit for a City Hall wedding, and she's meeting with just family in a fabulous dress."

Despite flexibility from some couples, widespread delays and cancellations have unsettled the $74 billion U.S. wedding industry and its 1.2 million employees.

"I think people were sort of waiting to see what happened," said Norcross, lead wedding planner at the Styled Bride. She began rescheduling several brides' weddings in July.

 

This year, Norcross and vendors at large have taken on an additional and novel responsibility for those who intend to go ahead with their original plans: Keep weddings as safe as possible from the coronavirus.

In addition to wearing masks and social distancing, Norcross recommended eliminating the dance floor except for parents and the couple in an effort to reduce the chance of spreading the virus through heavy breathing; seating fewer guests at a table; having ample hand sanitizer; and placing the tables at least six feet apart in a pod-like setup she likened to a box seat.

"Sort of your home base," she said, "so everyone's distant and comfortable." Masks ought to be on at all times save for eating and drinking, she said, but she noticed they sometimes came off as guests danced and drank.

The majority of vendors she worked with performed temperature checks on employees, she said, and some signed waivers stating they had not traveled to other states or otherwise put themselves in situations where they could have contracted the coronavirus.

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