By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Many South Florida couples did not let COVID-19 get in the way of their wedding plans, many downsized and more than a few scrapped foreign destination weddings to hold them locally.

Some wedding event producers were even surprised at the number of weddings they have been staging.

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The events and wedding business was smacked hard by the pandemic, but love always finds away, as Bill Hansen of Catering and Events Production found out.

“The wedding business is incredible. I have never seen anything like this,” said Hansen.

The company made the decision to stage small weddings. Lots of them. And there was a benefit not expected.

“They have a budget for 150 people and now they only have 75, so they like to invest some of their money to make it a more spectacular wedding,” said Hansen.

Upping the menu, decorations, lighting, design, and then there is the Miami Weather. Outdoor facilities attracted couples who wanted to escape the pandemic and the cold.

“I just had a request from someone from California,” said Hansen. “I had a request from Indiana, another one from Minneapolis and we got all the brides from Boston, D.C., New York.”

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The progam helped with payroll. Most of the permanent sales force and staff was retained, but cash flow was crucial.

“We did what we needed to do to generate a positive cash flow which meant taking smaller events,” added Hansen.

But the bottom dropped out of one of the companies major and lucrative revenue streams.

“Where we have been hit is in the corporate field. Corporate entertaining is virtually nill,” added Hansen.

With no conventions, no corporate parties to produce, Hansen banked on small weddings and catering small family events.

“It worked very very well and kept our business going,” said Hansen.

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It probably did not hurt that destination weddings in the Caribbean and Mexico became problematic because of COVID restrictions.