OAKLAND, Calif. - As coronavirus pandemic restrictions ease and the state is allowing more in-person events, many people who postponed weddings and other events are facing a challenge trying to schedule a time and venue.
"Everybody's trying to book and they can't," said Malena Clegg, co-owner of The Gala Downtown in Martinez. She says 2020 was brutal for the event-planning business, but now, she and the in-house DJ, photographer, cake designer, and hair and makeup artists can barely keep up with calls.
"There's not enough space for everybody that lost out on their dates and the ones wanting to come in this year as well," said Clegg, calling it the "firehose" effect.
Postponed weddings and pent-up demand now mean more competition for booking services and venues.
"Venues are booked out this summer I would say starting June, all the way through the end of next year they're booked," said Clegg.
Demand is being driven with more counties in orange or yellow tiers allowing for weddings and receptions to resume with some limits of 50% capacity and up to three households. Also, Governor Newsom says the state is set to fully reopen on June 15.
Convention planning is beginning to resume as well.
"I do anticipate we will be hosting hybrid events, virtual and in-person events, at least for the short time-being for the next year or two," said Frances Wong, director of communications for Visit San Jose, the convention and visitors' organization.
Wong says San Jose, like other cities, used 2020 to upgrade air filtration and technology at venue facilities to accommodate new needs brought on by the pandemic.
"We've also taken this downtime to upgrade all the connectivity within the buildings so our clients can get 5G, enhanced wireless connections," said Wong.
Photographer Brandi Rollins says people planning an event need to be aware that services are getting booked up.
"I booked almost twice the number of clients I normally book. It was amazing, like whoa. Surprising," said Rollins.
Rollins says it's a shock to some clients who thought they had more time.
Her advice? Be decisive, be sure to put down a deposit, and focus on what's most important.
"Even though you have to pivot. Pivot into something that has great volume and great beauty. COVID has not taken away human connection and the ability of human connection to transcend Zoom," said Rollins.
Event planners say you should shop around, but be warned that some services could have higher prices due to the higher demand.
Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU. Email Jana at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or ktvu.com.