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Wedding planners ready post-pandemic celebrations

Local event planners and brides talk about prepping for intimate and large celebrations
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - After a year of canceled ceremonies and rescheduled receptions, wedding industry professionals are planning to help brides tie the knot in a whole new way.

If you look at an event planner’s calendar, it may be challenging to find some free space.

“It’s out of control, but in the best way possible,” says event planner Caroline LaRocca.

With over 20 years of experience and nearly 2,000 events in the books, LaRocca is now juggling double the couples, preparing for rescheduled events from 2020, and working with newly-engaged brides to save the date.

“It was devastating in some ways because our industry got so impacted by this pandemic; basically everything was canceled. This year, it’s back with a vengeance,” explains LaRocca.

Apart from a few cancellations, LaRocca says many clients had smaller ceremonies already, with close families and friends, and are now planning events with a few hundred people, finally gathering for a more relaxed celebration.

“It’s still sacred but sacred doesn’t have to be serious,” adds Larocca. “We’re finding ways to make it different but celebrate that one year of marriage that they’ve already had.”

One of those brides, Lauren Sisler Willard, an ESPN correspondent and WDBJ7 alum, has been planning her big day for years now.

“When the pandemic came around, there was a lot of concern about what this was going to look like, how long it was going to last, so guess who I called up? My wedding planner!” she exclaimed.

A year later, the final touches are being made for another magical day this weekend, that Mr. & Mrs. Willard will get to experience in a whole new setting.

“We get the best of both worlds,” says Lauren. “The day of, May 30th, was beautiful. It was amazing, and we got a whole year to look forward to this celebration. I feel like I’m so immersed in it and I’m excited, and the planning was already done.”

Thanks to LaRocca, Lauren says the bigger celebration is stress-free.

“You just have to take a deep breath and enjoy the process and not get caught up in all the Pinterest and the information that’s out there,” is LaRocca’s advice to newly-engaged couples. “Because it can be overwhelming in the wedding industry.”

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