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Some wedding venues are bouncing back from a devastating year

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Sarah Wiley Joyce
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Arlington Acres

Last year, Arlington Acres, a family dairy farm-turned wedding venue in LaFayette, had 22 weddings scheduled.

Only four of them actually happened.

“2020 was nothing short of devastating to the wedding venue industry,” said Katie Jerome, the owner of the popular venue.

This past year has been economically devastating for many businesses, especially within the events industry. Luckily, most of Jerome’s couples postponed for this year or even further out rather than cancel, so she didn’t have to return very many deposits.

For Jimmy Golub, the owner of Our Farm in Manlius, last year was a different story.

“Every wedding we had was canceled last year,” he said.

Golub gave countless deposits back to people who canceled, which was a challenge, to say the least.

“And it wasn't as if we had the money in a drawer waiting to give it back to them, we, we had to, you know, we had to come up with that money,” he said.

Luckily for Golub, weddings are really just a side gig for Our Farm. Their farm is also home to a petting zoo, corn maze, and pumpkin patch. In terms of their crops, which are their main source of income, their pumpkins and sweet corn had a tremendous year.

At Arlington Acres, Jerome also found another way to bring the community to her venue despite the pandemic.

“We actually hosted pop-up drive-in movies,” said Jerome. “So we put a screen on the side of our barn and, you know, got a projector and an FM transmitter and early on the pandemic, well, all last year, [we] hosted pop up drive-in movies for the community”

In March, the state did ease up the restrictions on weddings now allowing up to 150 guests but clamping down on restrictions such as mandatory testing and dancing regulations. Golub said those are totally valid restrictions, even with the vaccine rollout underway.

“I feel a lot better about the restrictions that they have we can live with,” he said. “They're reasonable, and we want it to be safe anyway.”

Despite their struggles last year, this wedding season is shaping up to hopefully recuperate some of their losses.

Golub says all of his available weekends at Our Farm are booked up already for the whole season. And at Arlington Acres, Jerome says their weekends are double, even triple booked.