Wedding bells on hold in the Central Valley, hurting wedding venues’ bottom line


Wolf Lakes Park in Fresno County normally hosts around 100 weddings a year

FRESNO, California (KSEE) — It’s hard to think of an industry not heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With all the cancelations and postponements, event venues have been hit hard, especially since they’re now missing the beginning of wedding season.

Madison Hayworth started planning for her wedding scheduled on April 4 for about a year and a half. It was going to be at Wolf Lakes Park, a popular wedding venue in Fresno County.

“My fiancé and I have been dating since April 4, 2012. That has been our date for about eight years now,” Hayworth said.

But, as the pandemic worsened, Hayworth and her fiancé Justin Anderson decided to postpone their wedding.

“We just kind of broke down and thought [this was best] for the safety of everybody. Just for making sure all of our family could be there,” she said.

Elyse Griffin, whose family has run Wolf Lakes Park for generations, has been busy helping many couples reschedule their big day. All weddings in the immediate future have been postponed to dates after June.

“To be the one that has to tell them that it’s not going to happen — it’s just heartbreaking,” Griffin said.

Aside from weddings, Wolf Lakes Park was scheduled to host more than a dozen high school proms and numerous fundraisers. It’s a lot of lost money and it’s scary for them, with the pandemic’s end nowhere in sight.

“In an industry of planning, this is what we do, plan events. Being totally out of control of any part of planning now — we don’t know how long this is going to be put on hold. We don’t know when we can reschedule,” Griffin said.

All of Wolf Lakes Park’s clients have been very understanding, according to Griffin, including Hayworth.

“It is what it is, no point being upset over something you can’t control,” Hayworth said.

Wolf Lakes Park normally hosts around a hundred weddings a season, which starts the second week of March to November.

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