Wedding vendors looking forward to a good summer, better fall

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
The Amish built barn at Hills of Luella welcomes wedding as large as 200 people.

Wedding season 2020 was like every other occasion season of the year in that COVID-19 caused a lot of changes that people weren't expecting to have to make. In some cases that meant people did weddings on the internet for people to watch and in others, people drastically reduced the number of guests to allow for social distancing.

In Texoma, vendors said some people are continuing to keep things smaller and others are opting to go big again.

Kristi Godinez, office manager at Best Day Ever Ranch in Whitewright, they've had  a good spring especially compared to last year, but not as good as they have seen in the past. 

Tables await a party at Best Day Ever Ranch (courtesy photo)

"June is definitely busy and last month was as well," she said. She said that is expected to drop off some as June gives way to July and Texas starts to really see its annual onslaught of heat that can make even the coolest wedding venues too hot to handle.

She said their average sized wedding includes between 70-100 people though the venue can hold up to 200. She said though they are a wedding venue, they also serve as a place for other gatherings like family reunions. 

The Best Day Ever Ranch's event barn offers comfortable seating for wedding receptions, company parties or family reunions (courtesy photo).

"A lot of people are wanting to just like tone down there weddings and then there's like the half of them that just still want to get together and have just the same weddings," she said.

Those who are making cuts, she said, seem to be doing it because of costs. 

The chapel at Best Day Ever Ranch awaits a happy couple

She said COVID-19 cost a lot of people their jobs and those who went through financial hardship during that time aren't really ready to spend big on a wedding at this point.

Owner Stacey Patterson at the Hills of Luella agreed that costs is still a contributing factor to the way people are looking at wedding plans right now.

He said said it is hard to tell exactly how COVID-19 impacted their business since it hit just as they were opening the venue.

"I think considering all things, we're doing really good," he said noting that they expect to have an even better fall. 

"The best season for Texas (weddings) is the fall in September, October and November because of the heat and everything," he said. 

A sitting room at The Hills of Luella (courtesy photo)

They had an OK fall in 2020, he said, but they really are on par for doing much better for such a new business.

The Hills of Luella is an Amish built structure, he said, that was built from the ground up for events.

It can also hold up to about 200 people and they are booking weddings for smaller than that. 

"Our average size (right now)," he said, "is between 100 and 150 people," he said.

Those smaller weddings he said reflect couples who still seem to be focusing just on their inner circles for wedding guests. 

"Their making it more intimate," he said. 

He said right now they are focused on trying to help people save money on their weddings. 

"We have a lot of DIY brides that are coming in," he said. 

The light breaks through the windows at the Hills of Luella wedding venue (courtesy photo).