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Wedding frenzy: How pandemic drives demand for venues, vendors, planners

Myesha Johnson, The Detroit News on

Published in Fashion Daily News

DETROIT — Anna Connolly’s birthday surprise for her longtime boyfriend took a sudden turn along the Detroit River roughly 14 months ago when Jonah Newblatt popped the question.

Newblatt tells Connoll, 25, they’re going to meet his parents for drinks at Atwater Brewery. She didn’t give the evening much thought — until Newblatt, 25, suggested they walk on Detroit’s riverfront before going to Atwater.

They celebrated their engagement that night in a rolling pub in Detroit with their friends and family. What Connolly did not foresee for her 225-person wedding at The Crofoot in Pontiac was the planning challenges ahead for her, Newblatt and so many couples like them.

“It’s just been me, (while) working full time, it’s definitely been a lot,” said Connolly, a trainer at Detroit Sweat in Royal Oak. First lesson: She wished she’d booked a wedding planner to manage communication with venues and vendors busily trying to satisfy soaring demand from others for wedding-related services.

Many venues and businesses in the wedding industry are scrambling to meet pent-up demand from the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing many to upsize space and increase employees to keep pace with needs of brides and grooms during this wedding season.

The Circ and Root of Ann Arbor, Saint John’s Resort in Plymouth and Roostertail on Detroit’s riverfront each invested in outdoor space that allowed them to service weddings during the pandemic or help them manage their current increases in bookings.


The Roostertail’s outdoor deck and side patio made co-owner Michael Schoenith proud that the venue did not have to cancel any weddings amid the pandemic and were able to reschedule 75.

“There's still a ton of weddings happening but for our unique scenario, because we had so much outdoor space, we were able to maneuver a lot," Schoenith said. "But I think a lot of places had to just postpone ’til now."

During the pandemic, Roostertail added a 6,000-square-foot tent, the largest tent it could fit, costing $100,000 and giving it a total of three outdoor spaces in 2020. It features chandeliers, hanging flower chandeliers, theatrical lighting, and custom bars “to accommodate those brides and grooms that were planning on getting married when the pandemic hit,” Schoenith said.

“People are able to still say they're on the water,” he added. “The Roostertail is famous for being on the water, so we made it work.”


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