Pandemic prompts some couples to hold wedding do-overs

For Lauren Kuehn, this past year has been beyond stressful, both emotionally and financially. She knows countless other brides can relate.

"We had all the money locked up in the wedding, in both weddings, so it's definitely been a little challenging," Kuehn said.

The Long Island phys ed teacher was supposed to marry Joe, her now-husband, last April, just weeks after the pandemic hit. The reception has been rescheduled three times since but the couple officially tied the knot in July in a small ceremony. Their big party is now set for next month, where they'll be shelling out tens of thousands of dollars, in addition to a few thousand already spent on their small reception.

Holding these mini ceremonies, or "minimonies," as they've been called, is a trend the Piermont venue in Babylon has been seeing a lot of. In fact, the venue offered its space for free to its brides and grooms to hold minimonies.

"Everybody was under a tremendous amount of stress and was just a way for us to kind of ease their stress and do something that was going to be memorable and just make the best out of a terrible situation," said Steven Squitiro, the owner of the Piermont.

Just last week, wedding venues and catering halls in New York got the green light to expand their capacity to 50%, with a maximum of 150 people. With so many weddings canceled last year and rescheduled for this year, it was tough for Nicole Companion and her fiancé Danny to find a wedding date in the near future.

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"Definitely because people had to move their weddings and then anyone who got newly engaged was booking quickly," Companion said. "Only the Piermont had our date available after touring and talking to a bunch on the phone and online, I had a spreadsheet of 30 venues that I spoke to."

In addition to the financial stress that brides on Long Island are dealing with, they now have to require all guests show proof of a negative COVID test result or proof of vaccination before showing up to celebrate on their wedding day.