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Maine's hospitality industry optimistic for 2021 wedding season as COVID-19 takes toll on 2020

While many couples are postponing their weddings because of COVID-19, those who work in the wedding industry are hopeful 2021 will be a record year.

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — In mid-June, we're usually right in the middle of wedding season. In 2018, Maine's wedding industry brought in close to $1 billion. Due to COVID-19, however, that won't be the case this year.

Still, many who work in the hospitality industry are optimistic for what 2021 holds.

"We're calling 2021 the year of the bride," Nonantum Resort General Manager Tina Hewett-Gordon said.

While many weddings have been canceled or postponed this year, the folks at Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport are looking for the silver lining.

Tim Ammes is the resort's director of sales.

"Now is a great time to be planning a wedding," he said.

On average, there are about 40-50 weddings at Nonantum each year. But with so many couples rescheduling to 2021, the venue is on pace to host 70-75 weddings next year.

"Couples are afraid, fearful that they won't get the venue of choice," Ammes said.

He added that the coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to do more research online before touring a venue, so they're able to make a faster decision after they've seen it.

While some couples are planning for their 2021 wedding, others are postponing ceremonies that would have been happening this summer.

But not every couple is postponing.

"And so we're seeing some smaller parties coming in," Hewett-Gordon said. She added the venues first small wedding will be in July with 35 guests.

Smaller, socially distant ceremonies can still be had at many Maine venues. Some couples are opting for that and holding off on the big party.

"The end result is that the couple still gets married and they're still making memories, it's just going to look a little bit different," Hewett-Gordon said.

But come next summer, those who work in hospitality are hopeful business will be booming again.

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