Ontario’s wedding industry is overwhelmed, but is a full recovery within reach?

Couples are finally heading to the wedding aisles in Ontario after years of pandemic-related restrictions that have derailed many marital plans.

For members of the industry, the 2022 wedding season is unlike anything they’ve ever experienced. But some are wondering what their businesses will look like once the chaos subsides.

“I’ve been a wedding planner for about 15 years now. This is by far the busiest wedding season I have ever seen in my career. This is insane,” said Shalini Misir, owner of Maid for the Bride and Swag Events in Thunder Bay. , Have.

Some industry experts say this season has seen a “wedding boom”, with vendors handling a backlog of events due to pandemic postponements.

“We have about, well, three years of weddings that we do in a year,” Misir said. “It all adds up this year and it’s just non-stop, non-stop wedding season. And we are here for it and we are delighted.

“But that’s crazy.”

Some in the industry are calling this season a “wedding boom” as vendors work through a backlog of pandemic-related weddings. (Maria Maria Photography)

On average, about 61,000 marriages were registered per year from 2015 to 2019, according to the Ontario Data Catalog. But in 2020, when the pandemic started, that number dropped to just over 40,000.

In 2021, the number of registered marriages jumped to around 50,000.

Weddings are big business, estimated at more than $2 billion in Ontario alone, according to consumer information website HelloSafe. The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, meanwhile, estimates that the Canadian wedding industry is worth $5 billion a year.

A recent HelloSafe article suggests that the wedding industry in Ontario lost $780 million in 2020 due to closures and other restrictions. He estimates that overall, 2022 could be a banner year, with some 70,000 marriages in the province.

Businesses face staffing and supply shortages

While industry members are excited to be back in business this summer, the wedding boom has faced challenges.

One of the big problems for Misir has been a general staff shortage that she has faced from other companies.

“I had to give up all my planners and coordinators because we had two years without marriage. So, I had to rehire and retrain for one of the busiest wedding seasons. It was really difficult.”

Many vendors host two to four weddings a week, which Misir finds unsustainable.

“It creates a bit of a burnout, I think, in all areas. I know the majority of us sellers usually take a weekend off in the summer to be human. It didn’t happen,” she said.

“That was the hardest part because I think as wedding vendors we all give it, we give every wedding our heart and soul.”

Ontarios wedding industry is overwhelmed but is a full recovery
Shalini Misir, chief planner at Maid for the Bride in Thunder Bay, Ont., says that in her 15 years as a wedding planner, she’s been her busiest. (Submitted by Shalini Misir)

For Thunder Bay florist and designer Natalia Fernandez, staff shortages and other issues specific to the floral industry have left the reality of pandemic recovery out of reach this season.

“We source flowers from all over the world. Flower supply is impacted globally. So not just with COVID, but a lot of political issues that are happening in certain countries, for example in South America.

“We are now seeing pricing from a wholesale level not seen in the 10 years I have been in this industry. I have never seen such prices.”

“The profit margin is not there”

Fernandez said political unrest in countries like Ecuador has created a major supply chain problem in the floral industry, leaving her to do the math.

“When you look at the number of weddings I do, it’s like I’m incredibly busy, like all of us. But when you look at it from a business perspective… just the cost of everything, the profit margin isn’t there. And so, yeah, it was a struggle,” she added.

1660392817 192 Ontarios wedding industry is overwhelmed but is a full recovery
Some wedding industry experts believe the boom will subside by next year, although many vendors are already booking into 2024. (Maria Maria Photography)

Industry experts believe the current wedding boom will subside by next year, although many vendors are already booking until 2024.

Misir said she hopes things will stabilize in the industry and grow even after such tough economic times.

“We’ve seen some of our favorite people lose their businesses or have to close. And now we’re trying to catch up. We don’t have as many vendors as two years ago and we don’t have as many startups because people are afraid to get into the industry when it hasn’t been as supported.”

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