16 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • FEBRUARY 2021
HOW CATERING HALLS ARE ADAPTING TO COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS
continued from page 15
“They’re served safely to you,” said
Kelly Kiernan, owner of Captain Bill’s, a
restaurant, bar and catering facility on
the Bay Shore waterfront. “And you take
the plate back to your table.”
Captain Bill’s has hosted weddings that
are smaller than they might otherwise
be, with sanitizing stations, social distancing
and Covid-19 protocols.
The coronavirus has created a different
world for just about everything, including
weddings, as venue operators stress
safety as well as scenery.
Lessing’s Hospitality Group, founded
in 1890, notes on its website that the
company has survived the Spanish Flu,
the Great Depression, World War I and
II, the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, and
“We have learned to pivot, to change
and adjust our operations through the
years,” the company, which operates
numerous Long Island wedding venues,
says online. “In light of the Covid-19
pandemic, our past demonstrates that we
can and will adapt and evolve our best
practices accordingly, keeping you safe.”
Some venues call events “micro weddings,”
while others refer to them as
intimate events that are different not
only in scale.
“We’re finding most couples are starting
to prioritize the experience as a
reflection of their love versus a party,”
said Lauren Smith, sales and hospitality
"Couples are starting to prioritize the experience
as a reflection of their love," said Lauren Smith.
manager for Sparkling Pointe Vineyard
in Southold. “They focus on making it a
special day for a smaller group.”
A lot of people have simply downsized
ceremonies, getting married on dates as
planned, but with smaller events.
“I think people want to get married on
the day they’ve chosen,” Kiernan said.
“We had a lot of great weddings last year.
The brides were thankful we could pull
it off. “
While some weddings have gone on, often
smaller than planned, other couples
postponed, leading to busy schedules for
some venues in 2021.
“We are fully booked,” Melius said of
2021. “They all moved to this year.”
Amy Israel, senior vice president in
charge of events for Bedell Cellars in
Cutchogue, is seeing a mix of decisions.
“Some people are moving forward and
others are postponing to have a higher
guest count,” she said. “We’re seeing a
little bit of each.”
Some couples switched to backyard
ceremonies or turned to a “minimony,”
the ritual without a reception.
“It’s not a wedding,” Melius said. “It’s
just a ceremony. Some of the brides and
grooms have embraced it.”
In those cases, some couples forgo the
traditional wedding or have the ceremony
now, with a larger ceremony to be
held in the future.
Many venues, such as vineyards, are
touting outdoors as a huge asset when
the peak season arrives this spring,
summer and fall.
“We spread out the tables more. They
use a grass area,” Pindar Damianos,
owner and general manager of Pindar
Vineyards, in Peconic, said. “They add
tents. We have a lot of space.”
Vineyards are hoping to have their
share of upcoming weddings, as the
beauty of a vineyard is perceived as
scenic and safe.
“Most people are going to wait for the
warmer weather to get married at a
vineyard,” Smith said.
Israel said Bedell can offer “beautiful
sit-down dinners in front of the vines,”
while some vineyards are touting special
lighting on the vines as well.
Places like Oheka, which also has hotel
rooms, a restaurant, and bar, have relied
on other revenue sources during
stretches with fewer weddings, although
they anticipate busier times when the
peak wedding season arrives.
“We have other streams of revenue,”
Melius said. “Now the weddings are
happening. Even if they’re smaller, at
least they’re happening.”
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