Struggling wedding venues demand guidance from governor

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wedding venue owners feel as if they're standing out there in the dark, shooting into the night, with no idea really how to rebook events during the pandemic or what to tell brides about their big day.

The billion-dollar industry is at a standstill.

"These brides are on their third wedding date now, and we're just doing the best that we can," said The Bradford owner Dana Kadwell, who is also the President of the Triangle National Association of Catering Events.

Small-business owners are urging Gov. Roy Cooper to offer guidance.

One letter has already been sent his way and another plea is being drafted.

Kadwell and other small-business owners want to know what the next six months will look like and hope it's not like the Phase 2 rollout.

"If they want to keep people safe, they need to tell us now how to do it. Not on a Wednesday, reopen on Friday," she said.

There are an estimated 1,500 wedding venues in North Carolina and for any given event, 15 to 22 additional small businesses are hired to bring the big day to life. That can include the photographer or cake and linen vendor.

Kadwell has not held a soiree at her New Hill location since November. She did renovations during the winter offseason and was planning on welcoming brides into the fresh space this spring.

She questions how much longer she can go without guidance.

"I need to conduct my business in a way now that'll still be open in October," Kadwell said.
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