CAMBRIDGE, Minnesota — If you're looking to gauge demand for weddings in Minnesota as, it always helps to ask an expert.
"It's absolutely bananas right now," said wedding planner Laine Palm. "So bananas that I'm actually working at a wedding right now, on a Monday."
Yes, the owner of Laine Palm Designs worked a rare Monday afternoon wedding at Pinewood in Cambridge, Minn. She said the couple had already postponed their ceremony twice during the pandemic and they were done waiting for the right weekend.
"They wanted to get married here," Palm said. "They didn't want to change their venue, and venues are booked Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays right now."
It's not just venues. Palm has largely stopped taking on new clients for a while.
"I am booked for next year," she said. "I refuse to do 2023 right now, only 2022. I'm just trying to do one wedding a weekend because this year is just crazy and, for a lot vendors, it's not really feasible for business because it's exhausting."
For example, she says surging demand for floral arrangements means many florists now need to be booked at least a month in advance. She says caterers and other vendors are fighting to find enough staff, so they need more lead time too. Then there's the unexpected new demands brought on by the pandemic and all those cancellations.
Laine Palm: "We were the unofficial lawyers, we were the mental health people, we were the therapists, just because planners are looked at as the leaders of the wedding day."
Kent Erdahl: "Do YOU have someone to talk to?"
Palm: I have my other wedding planners to talk to, and I have a baby to cuddle. So that makes me really happy."
That's a good thing, because even though she estimates roughly 50% of her business is a backlog from the pandemic, jewelers nationwide are already announcing that demand for engagement rings is also way up. Meaning even more couples have their eye on the future.
Palm: "I was even having a conversation with someone today, who - knowing the venue side of things - said that couples that aren't even engaged yet are booking their venues just because they want to get married in 2023. So venues definitely are booking out that far."
Erdahl: "They're booking their venues before they even get engaged?"
Palm: "Yeah, just kind of out of fear that they're not going to get the wedding date that they want or even just the year or the month that they want. Which is, again, bananas. It's bananas right now."
Erdahl: "It's the summer of love."
Palm: "It's the summer of love. It's going to be the summer of love for awhile I think."
All of the added demand has also led to an increase in prices in just about every area, Palm said. That's another reason why you're likely to see more invitations to Thursday - and maybe even Monday - weddings. Those days offer some rare opportunities to save money.