So many events are back on the calendar for 2021 after an extraordinarily dull 2020. This year will be marked by the return of the exchange of vows now that the pandemic is losing some of its grip and restrictions on gatherings are eased.

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The words “I do” were in short supply last year. So many ceremonies were postponed that the wedding industry just about crashed due to COVID. The couples who forged ahead were forced to have very small gatherings, which wasn’t all that awful because it led to a more intimate occasion (at a highly reduced cost). Some weddings were shared by zoom calls. That’s just not quite the same as a packed church followed by a big party.

Some couples that risked hosting a big event caused a chain of deadly consequences. A 300-person wedding in Washington led to 61 cases of COVID. Some of the attendees worked in a long-term care facility, where they brought the infections to residents, leading to 15 deaths. Even a small 55-person wedding in Maine set off a 200-mile radius of infections that killed at least four people.

Now that a significant part of the population is vaccinated and contagion numbers are dropping, the wedding industry is booming. My brother and his fiancé checked out a ton of venues for a reception in the St. Louis area. The only opening for the entire year was for September 11. They booked it. It was either that or wait until 2022, and those dates are filling fast too.

As we all know, weddings are expensive, not just for the couple, but for their friends in the wedding party. My god daughter is in her early 20s. That’s the prime time for all your friends to exchange vows. She has six weddings to attend this year. Three bachelorette parties will take her to Vegas and other far-flung parts of the country. She also has showers to attend for the bride. As a young woman trying to pay off college, that’s racking up a lot of expenses. And if the wedding boom is happening now, it’s sure to be followed up by a baby boom. She’s going to have to start saving now for the baby showers coming up in her future.

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