A backlog of weddings from last year has resulted in a flood of business for marriage vendors, including one celebrant who has come off seven ceremonies in just over a week.
Newcastle celebrant Lauren Hensby, who runs Hungry Hearts Co with her photographer partner Rhys Ireland, said she had officiated all seven ceremonies on separate days at the end of last month.
She said many couples who had to postpone due to last year's COVID-19 lockdown were opting for weekday weddings so they could have all their chosen vendors, with March-April already a busy time for marriage celebrations outside of the coronavirus situation.
"People are picking up whatever dates they can get," Ms Hensby said. "Getting five to 12 people all available on the same day again can be pretty tricky."
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But she said the weekday business was not all coming from those who had to postpone, with many just deciding not to get married on a weekend.
"I think COVID swept through and has completely shaken up the way people think about weddings," she said.
The weekday trend is one that suits Ms Hensby.
She said she wouldn't normally recommend taking on so much in such a short space of time, but after a tough year for business in 2020, the boom has allowed her to catch up on lost time.
And while she has previously done more than one wedding in a day and has dual bookings coming up, she prefers to focus on the one ceremony at a time.
"I'm such a clinger - I get so emotionally attached," she said. "I prefer to get there an hour early, have a drink with them, and stay afterwards to mingle and see if they need anything."
It has been tiring, Ms Hensby said, and things don't look like slowing down until June. But she says it is all worth it.
"The exhaustion is completely outweighed by the excitement that we are back in the mix of weddings," she said.
"People have been waiting for so long, and to see all that emotion on the day makes it so much better for them."
Ms Hensby said bookings were strong again from August onwards and into 2022.
"We've recently started getting inquiries for 2023 which is pretty snazzy," she said.
Former Newcastle couple Caitlin and Dorian Djenidi opted for a mid-week wedding after their big day got cancelled at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak last year.
They had everything booked for March 28, 2020, but had to pull the pin less than a week out when restrictions began to be introduced.
"Which sucked," Ms Djenidi said. "People started calling on the Sunday before and we had to make a final decision on the Monday or Tuesday.
"Restrictions were changing so quickly and I guess we all thought it was all blow over in a couple of months."
Mr Djenidi's grandparents had already flown out for the wedding from France, and were stuck in Australia until May.
Ms Djenidi said she waited a few months before re-booking everything, and found that she couldn't get everything she wanted on a Saturday again.
"Even on a Friday we couldn't get all our vendors. Our celebrant was booked out until 2022 on a Saturday," she said.
They ended up going for a Thursday, and were wed in front of a smaller than initially planned crowd at King Edward Park on March 25, before celebrating at Dixon Park Surf Club.
"We were again pretty apprehensive because there had been flooding that week," said Ms Djenidi, who hails from the Mid North Coast and had family travelling from there.
"But it was fantastic. It was definitely a little different guest-wise but we were so happy to finally get there."
The lockdown also came at a bad time for New Lambton celebrant Nell Dark-Jones, who had just gone full-time after joining the industry five years before.
She said business was still sporadic for her now.
"It's still quite up and down," Ms Dark-Jones said. "Inquiries are still coming in ebbs and flows. I might do four in a week then it's quiet again.
"After each round of restrictions easing, people get excited and start rebooking."
She has also noticed the mid-week wedding trend and said it helps to avoid having to squeeze multiple weddings into a day.
"I could do two on a Saturday easily enough if the venues aren't crazily far apart. But that doesn't always happen," she said.
"A lot of people want their original venue and that's the date they can get it."
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