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To plan or not to plan? Engaged couples set their eyes on 2022

Stephanie Carroll, 28, is engaged to Kevin King,

Stephanie Carroll, 28, is engaged to Kevin King, 29, of Patchogue. Credit: Steve Badolato

With 2020 in our rearview mirrors and vaccines being rolled out, it might seem that 2021 will be the year for postponed large weddings to finally happen. But many engaged Long Islanders say obstacles remain for taking an elaborate trip down the aisle anytime soon — ranging from booked-up venues to guests still not being comfortable.

"Unfortunately, I don’t think weddings are going to get back to normal until 2022," says Babylon-based celebrity wedding planner Michael Russo, who planned the nuptial events for such star clients as Kevin and Danielle Jonas and "Dancing with the Star’s" Kym Johnson. "They’re still kind of on hold."

And even Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, has said it’s "quite reasonable" to expect that it won’t be until 2022 at the earliest that weddings, as we remember, can be seen as a safe bet.

FAR OUT PLANNING

Kaitlin Curran, 27, and John McKee, 28, of Lynbrook, got engaged in March of 2020, and "then the state shut down the following week," Curran says. The couple is now planning to wed on Oct. 1, 2022.

Curran says she thought she had a lot of time to plan but was wrong.

"Vendors were booking up quickly so suddenly I was in a rush," Curran says. The couple hopes to have a wedding with 200 guests. "We’ll see what happens but we’re prepared mentally for a micro wedding on our date — we want to get married on that date no matter what because it’s the 10-year anniversary of our knowing each other." She adds, "We don’t want to go past 2022 — we want to get married and move on."

Stephanie Carroll, 28, a teacher engaged to Kevin King, a 29-year-old claims adjuster, says she too is finding vendors are "booking quicker than usual" due to wedding postponements, making it challenging for newly engaged couples to plan at a relaxed pace. "COVID is still affecting all decision making," says Carroll, of Patchogue, who plans to get married in 2022.

Carroll adds she and King originally wanted to have their wedding at a location in Aquebogue in 2020 but now it will be at Flowerfield in St. James because everything remains so unsettled.

"We had five top choices for venues but we wanted to choose somewhere that we didn’t think would be shut around the time we want to get married," Carroll says. She notes the pandemic has also affected the couple’s budget considerations. "We had to think about job security" and whether she or King might lose their jobs. The couple wants to be able to have about 200 attend their wedding, with Carroll saying family alone would number about 50.

THE SPOTLIGHT ON 2022

Late January, New York State upped its limit on wedding attendees from 50 to 150 starting in March. An update on dancing, which is currently prohibited, has not yet been announced. "Hopefully, by 2022, we can have a majority of our people there," says Carroll.

Brianna Clever, 24, of Farmingville, and Vincent Quagliata, 26, were encouraged to postpone their March 28, 2021 wedding to 2022 but the pair decided to stick with their original date though they’ve had to make several venue and guest number changes.

"We were super hopeful that come the new year, things were going to change but we had to go from Plan A to Plan B to Plan C to Plan D, and we got a lot of pressure from friends, family and venues to postpone," Clever says. The current plan is to have the marriage ceremony at the New Village Church in Lake Grove and, afterward, have a dinner for family and friends at the Farm to Table restaurant in Smithtown.

"We switched from a 120-plus wedding plan to a 50-person dinner," Clever says. "Venues were saying to push it to 2022." She notes that she and her fiancé lost a portion of their deposit fees and secondary payment at a venue they originally selected when COVID regulations changed and it couldn’t accommodate the number of planned guests.

"It’s stressful," says Tarek Mostafa, 43, operations manager at The Pavilion at Sunken Meadow in Kings Park. The venue is owned by Lessing’s Hospitality Group which owns many wedding venues on Long Island including Smithtown Landing, Bourne Mansion in Oakdale, Essex Club in Brentwood and Heritage Club at Bethpage. "I’ve postponed my own wedding four times."

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