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Wedding industry faces challenges during pandemic


While this time of year would typically be the height of the wedding season, businesses like Coni & Franc, a boutique on High Street, have had to adjust and face uncertainty through the 


“We had at least 40 or more weddings rescheduled,” said Coni Merandi, co-owner of the bridal shop. “Our brides needed reassurance; they needed to know we were here.” 

Despite challenges, Merandi said they have used alternatives to remain open. Throughout the shutdown, Merandi said the shop provided services via phone, email and virtual appointments as well as curbside pick-up and shipment options for those living out-of-state.

Merandi said the bridal shop is now allowing small groups to come in and see their selection by appointment. Between each appointment, a 30 minute slot was left open to sanitize the shop to protect customers.

“People are very anxious to get back to normal, and we have been trying to provide as much normalcy as we could during this period of time,” Merandi said. “Now there is so much joy because people can actually get things done.” 

Merandi’s business is not the only one that has had to work through cancellations and postponements. Morgantown wedding and events planner Brittany Fink said facing the questions of how the virus will develop and continue impacting business has been difficult.

“Right now we are working with unknowns,” Fink said. “The biggest concern is how this will affect events moving forward until there is a vaccine.” 

Fink said she has had to cancel or postpone between 15 and 20 events so far. Although she still has about 12 weddings planned for 2020, she said she is uncertain as to how many of them will be possible.

Fink said it is important for couples to be in constant contact with their venues and vendors about their plans moving forward. She said for small businesses in the wedding industry, it is important for them to know about cancellations and postponements as soon as 


“Especially a lot of these smaller businesses, venues, photographers and florists, it really affects them,” Fink said. “At the end of the day, if [couples] are going to cancel, [businesses] could have taken another wedding that still is happening.” 

Benton Grove Bed and Banquets, a wedding venue in Morgantown, is among those who had to temporarily shut their doors completely.

“There is nothing we can do about it and we decided to close the business,” owner Elias Hishmeh said. “We don’t know what the future is going to hold for us.” 

The next wedding scheduled to be held at Benton Grove is not until August. Hishmeh said he feels it is best to continue following guidelines to keep the public safe.

Brian Poling, manager of Dream Mountain Ranch, a local wedding and events venue  in Preston County, said his business has been doing relatively well despite challenges with COVID-19.

The venue has had to postpone three weddings so far, but as an outdoor venue, Poling said they have been able to continue safely holding weddings.

“We lost a good chunk of change, but it’s just for the safety of the people,” Poling said.

Poling said the venue has also taken extra safety precautions, including spending extra time cleaning and sanitizing, and keeping the walls off of the venue’s pavilions to keep air flowing through the area. He said in-person tours are also limited.

“When people have weddings, people come from everywhere,” Poling said. “This is something really big for them and it’s really put a damper on it.”

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