NJ’s non-wedding events rebound after COVID
Couples whose planned wedding days have been delayed, sometimes multiple times, by COVID-19 have embraced new planning trends in the Garden State since the easing of pandemic restrictions.
But other events have been slower to return to regularity. Corinne Statia Thomas, meetings and events specialist and founder of Absolute Events by Corinne, based in Kearny, said she had hosted two in-person events in the last 10 months of 2020, both commemorative, and not s don’t expect to reach pre-pandemic volume until maybe next year.
Part of that, Thomas said, is that companies and businesses are finding that with virtual and hybrid formats, they don’t have to spend so much money bringing in attendees from other countries and continents for meetings and functions.
But she feels that this is not sustainable in the long term. Eventually, she thinks people need to “crash into each other,” which will happen as the return to the office continues.
“Companies wanted to do something for their employees, so there were employee appreciation events — let’s get together, get everyone together, we didn’t go to offices, let’s get people together,” Thomas said.
At the same time, private and personal events like birthday and anniversary parties, bar and bat mitzvahs, and right now graduations, are in full swing.
This despite a spring surge in COVID cases that equates to something like New Jersey’s sixth coronavirus wave over a 27-month period.
Either way, “people are ready to go crazy,” according to Thomas, and that includes clearing up a backlog of planned, scheduled or canceled rallies.
“People are going out. Everybody wants to go somewhere, everybody wants to do something, which is also – we have a recession, but it’s also driving up the prices of things, which is a whole different story,” Thomas said. “Of course the celebrations that didn’t happen because of COVID, it really intensified. In my opinion, people are not shy about having an event right now.”
As inflation forces New Jerseyans to watch how much they pay for gas and groceries, Thomas said she hasn’t seen the same when it comes to event planning.
Her company no longer handles weddings, but there’s a lot of appetite for other types of celebrations in the Garden State right now.
“At the end of April, someone turned on the tap, because when I talk to a lot of my suppliers and vendors, everyone is slammed, because people are really ready to book again,” she said. .
Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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