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Central Coast venues, vendors booked out as demand for weddings increases

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Posted at 6:31 PM, Jun 18, 2021

Your next chance at getting married on the Central Coast may be a while.

Wedding industry workers on the Central Coast are trying to squeeze in weddings that got canceled last year because of the pandemic while accommodating everyone who wants to get married this year.

One popular wedding venue, La Lomita Ranch in San Luis Obispo, is booked every weekend for the rest of the year and even taking reservations into 2023.

“Book early and book often,” wedding planner Amanda Holder said.

At Amanda Holder events, Holder typically plans 35 to 40 weddings per year, but demand is at an all-time high in 2021.

“This year, we are pushing the 70-mark and then next year we are already at 32, 33 somewhere in there and continuing to get inquiries for next year and continuing to book,” Holder said. “It’s bonkers.”

Rescheduled pandemic weddings combined with those already on the calendar for this year are making for an extremely busy wedding season.

Companies are having to up-staff and shift business models to accommodate the influx of inquiries.

“The problem we are having is so many vendors are impacted with double and triple bookings this year that there aren’t any available dates left for a lot of vendors in the industry, so we are having to push people to next year who might have originally considered getting married this year,” Holder said.

Vendors like florists, caterers, and DJs are booking fast, but venues may be the most impacted.

“A lot of [couples] are pretty surprised when things aren’t available so it's a little bit of coaching and reassuring them there are opportunities but it may not be this year and to really look at next year or the year beyond,” said Tom Halen, general manager of La Lomita Ranch.

Pismo Beach resident Shelby Wineman got married in 2020 and is glad she didn't put it off.

"My husband and I now have six weddings planned for this summer already and we have already gone to two,” Wineman said. “Everyone deserves a spectacular moment in celebrating their marriage and being able to be with loved ones and family and friends is seriously an opportunity that no one wants to miss out on.”

Despite the challenges, local industry workers are happy to be back in business after a bleak year.

“Love conquers COVID. We are excited that couples are ready to get married and celebrate their lives,” Halen said.

Wedding planners recommend booking venues and vendors 18 to 25 months in advance as the industry catches up with demand.