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Local couples, businesses head into peak wedding season with caution and celebration

When the pandemic hit, many soon-to-be married couples had to move or cancel their weddings.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Wedding season is full of love and stress at the same time.

But during the pandemic, it's another story.

“Around the start of the new year we started kind of trying to game out what the world was going to look like in 2021," said Times-Union Columnist Nate Monroe, who is getting married in May. 

Monroe said setting a wedding date took some planning and involved some risk.

“We didn’t know if the vaccine rollout was going to be effective, we didn’t know how things we’re going to look," Monroe said.

Monroe said by the look of it, things are going in the right direction for his wedding, with 85% of his guests now vaccinated.

The manager of a local bridal shop in Jacksonville Beach called 'Love a Bridal Boutique,' Laney Maddox, said this year business has been nonstop.

“We’re staying very fully booked. So, we are very grateful to be on the waitlist. Every Saturday we see anywhere from 12 to 15 brides," Maddox said. 

But at one point, the owner, Melissa Moneypenny, said foot traffic was put on pause when the city mandated businesses to temporarily close.

“Last year was a little scary because everything was so up in the air and brides we had a lot of cancellations for weddings and brides were kind of up in the air on when they would get married," Moneypenny said.

It's all the more reason to celebrate a return to wedded bliss.

“It’s the best. That’s the best feeling. That’s why we do what we do. to help women feel beautiful and confident it’s really special to us," Maddox said.

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