Caterers suffer as 2020 brides say ‘I don’t’

Eds’ note: New Gloucester’s Misty Coolidge and Pineland’s Black Tie Catering are among the business owners profiled.

With weddings, fairs, festivals and corporate events canceled by the coronavirus, caterers are cooking up alternative business models to keep their companies afloat.

| Meredith Goad, Portland Press Herald |

As the COVID-19 pandemic tightened its grip on life as we know it in the spring and early summer, David Golden, co-owner of Rustic Taps & Catering in Gorham, watched anxiously as 90 percent or more of his business for the rest of the year vanished.

The staff at Black Tie Catering in Portland usually works about 50 weddings a year. All but a handful of brides have changed their minds about walking down the aisle in 2020.

The last wedding catered by Blue Elephant Catering in Saco was Feb. 29. Then the phone stopped ringing – except for people calling to postpone or cancel.

“We’ve had nothing since then,” said Reuben Bell, president of the company. “Just complete crickets.”

It’s wedding season, a time when the Maine landscape usually blossoms with big tents, seaside photo shoots of brides and grooms, and a cornucopia of catered hors d’ouevres, signature cocktails, towering wedding cakes, and stunningly plated (check one) beef, fish or poultry. But the pandemic has dashed many a bride’s dreams of her big day. It’s also canceled graduation parties, corporate events, festivals and fairs. And the caterers who feed people at these celebrations? If you think the coronavirus isn’t scary, just look at their books. Keep reading