Coronavirus outbreak upends wedding plans in the North Bay

Planning a wedding can be fun and exciting, but not in the era of the coronavirus.

Not for the bride and groom. And not for the businesses that depend on weddings to survive.

Lauren and Eric of Petaluma are planning to get married May 9. They're not sure whether they should postpone it.

"There is just a lot of uncertainty around whether it is going to happen or not. We're in limbo to find out what we should do right now," said Eric.

They are planning to have their wedding at Vine Hill House in Sebastopol, a popular place to get married and celebrate.

The invitations to 125 people have already gone out, the caterer booked.

"We might have to reschedule or postpone or do something completely different.

Maybe postpone or have a smaller group," he said.

Vine Hill House, like the other wedding venues we called have not experienced any cancellations so far.

But event planners have  moved the April weddings to later in the year. And May will likely be a similar story.

"We are still planning on moving forward with all the events in mid-May and throughout summer and fall. Understanding we have to be flexible," said Dan O'Connell, owner of Vine Hill House

But that's not easy when there are some many mixed messages and different edicts coming from elected officials.

"The Bay Area shelter-in-place was for two weeks until April 7 or 8. Gov. Gavin Newsom had an undefined end date [for his stay-at-home order issued on Thursday]. The federal government's is 15 days from this week," said O'Connell.

Weddings and special events are a more than $2 billion a year industry in Sonoma County alone. 

All corporate functions have been canceled. Two caterers report losing hundreds of thousands of dollars each in lost business.

"It is going to affect a lot of people. And we are going to have to look for some kind of solution to help us try to stay in business," said O'Connell.

As for Eric and Lauren, the wedding plans are not all that is up in the air.

"We have all our honeymoon arrangements booked already in Hawaii and paid for too," said Eric. 

Many events in Napa and Sonoma counties are being rescheduled for September and October, right in the middle of fire season.