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Brides-to-be say pandemic no longer delaying wedding plans – Midland Daily News

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Kasey Carter of Auburn-based boutique Unique Bridal, right, hands a pamphlet to a guest while modeling a wedding dress during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
Midland residents Taylor Swinson, left, and Tammie Lee, right, take a picture together in the Photo Dispatch LLC photo booth during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
Saginaw resident Tarah Lapine looks at a slideshow by Serendipity Farms of Beaverton after winning a free wedding at the venue during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
Marlette resident Cadie Ferguson looks at an item at the booth for The Glass Slipper during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
The master of ceremonies addresses the crowd during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
A guest watches as the wheel spins to win a prize during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
A staff member for 94.5 WCEN hands a guest a souvenier during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
Samuel Coicou of Midland-based company Kwakoo Productions speaks to potential customers during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
A couple receives a prize from the DJ during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
Chef Erik Swenson speaks to a potenial customer about his food during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
A guest puts their name down to enter a chance to win a free photo session with Chesaning-based company Staveland Studios during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
David Spring of Lansing-based company Atomic Sounds speaks to a guest during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
Kahleel Rider of Midland based company Mid-Michigan Limousine speaks to the winner of a $200 gift card during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
A guest hands a paper to the attendant at the Three Diamonds Bridal booth during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
Three Diamonds Boutique model Chantel Halladay serves herself sweet tea braised short rib from the booth of Chef Erik Swenson during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
Employees of New York Life speak to each other during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
Nina Jillaine of Rhodes speaks to the owners of Pure Romance Boutique during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
Gladwin resident Jackie Dymond speaks to one of the many photo companies during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
Pictures taken by Karen Fordos Photography are displayed during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
An employee from Three Diamonds Boutique takes down flowers from their stand during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
Shepard resident Sarah Bellinger looks down at her prize priced at around $250 during a Bridal Expo on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the Midland Center for the Arts.
Brides are saying weddings are back, after many had to delay their dreams during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Some brides in the Great Lakes Bay Region are looking forward to a “typical” wedding season as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are down from previous years of the pandemic, when many plans were put on hold due to restrictions on large gatherings and concerns over spreading the virus.
Event organizers of the Wedding Expo estimated around 75 brides would attend the Sunday event at the Midland Center for the Arts. 
Michelle Murray, of Beaverton, is early in the planning stages before the wedding day, but so far she said she hasn’t felt the impact of the pandemic. In fact, she said it appears that the industry is ready for a big return of weddings. 
“I feel like you can go see a lot more stuff now,” she said of her experience while booking appointments to pick her dress and meeting with potential vendors. 
Just the day before, Murray said she picked out her wedding dress in person. 
Saginaw resident Tarah Lapine became engaged in November 2020, with an original plan for her and her fiance to be married last fall. 
Now, the wedding is going to be held outdoors this June. Lapine noted the gathering will be held outdoors to mitigate health risks because her father is going through cancer treatments. 
Another bride, Julia Madigan, of Bay City, said she’s aware of the potential pandemic impact, but doesn’t believe she’s facing a similar climate to brides from the past two years. 
“I feel like I have less to worry about,” she said, while noting that the planning process overall can bring high stress.
Most brides seem to lean on their support systems when facing stressful planning. Madigan attended the Midland event with her future sister-in-law, who she said was providing both emotional and planning support. And, Lapine said family members and friends helped her hand-dye flower petals for the reception tables and for the flower girl to sprinkle down the aisle. 
According to The Wedding Report, there was nearly 51,000 weddings in Michigan last year. Nationwide, The Wedding Report is predicting nearly 2.5 million couples are expected to tie the knot this year, which is about 15% higher than normal years.
Tess DeGayner is a reporter for the Midland Daily News. She joined the Daily News after studying journalism and broadcasting at Central Michigan University. DeGayner graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2021. She previously reported for WCMU Public Radio, the Traverse City Record-Eagle and the Tri-County Times – her hometown newspaper in Fenton, Michigan.

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