The devastating wildfires in northern California last fall have faded from the headlines, but they continue to plague the renowned Wine Country’s wedding industry, according to CBS News.
It’s one of California’s most popular spots to say “I do,” but since the wine country wildfires, many couples don’t choose the area for their special day, and it’s taking its toll on the industry.
Wedding planner Samar Hatter said, “It’s a pretty catastrophic time for many of us.”
Hatter runs Blissful Events, one of top planning companies in the area. This time last year, she was 80 percent booked. Post-fires, she’s only 15 percent booked.
She says venues and vendors are feeling the pinch, too.
“It’s so unfortunate that there are so many vendors in this industry that have lost their homes and are now are on the line for losing their businesses,” Hatter said.
The Visitors Bureau doesn’t track revenue from weddings, but you can believe it’s a big business. So much so, they have a complimentary referral website for brides-to-be.
It’s been quiet in even the busiest booking time of the year and you can blame misperception.
Charmaine Louzao with Sonoma County Tourism said, “So we’ve recently done a survey and the consensus is that we’ve burned completely, we’ve burned down. And that’s not the case. We are absolutely open for business.”
So while Sonoma County only lost one wedding venue in the fires, the collateral damage of the blaze will likely be millions of dollars in lost revenue, which is why the industry is trying to get word out — with social media, photo shoots, and advertising — that they are more ready than ever to host your happily ever after ... CBS News