Wedding venues open in NM but future income looks shaky

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A local wedding planning service in Albuquerque is left in a rough spot as the state reopens from COVID restrictions.

Owner of Prestige Event Center, Debbie Landavazo, does it all from cleaning, cooking to making sure every single bow is perfect.

“We do weddings, we do quinceañeras, we do birthday parties and memorials for funerals, lunches and business meetings, it’s a wide scope of what we do,” said Landavazo.

For the last 15 months, the wedding planning service had little business due to COVID restrictions.

“It came absolutely to a dead halt, we were notified by the state March 11, we were told ‘effective immediately cease all large gatherings,’” said Landavazo.

When New Mexico got the turquoise light to reopen, the event center faced a different problem.

“It’s left us in a difficult situation, we gave up inventory, dates are basically our inventory, and we gave those up to existing customers, so there is no new income,” said Landavazo. “Just because we have opened up doesn’t mean there is income.”

The event center may book a small event during the week, but there is no guarantee.

“I actually had a wedding scheduled for today, and they called it off about two weeks ago, only because they couldn’t put everything together in time and that is a lot of what we are seeing, you don’t have any time to rebook it so that day is lost,” said Landavazo.

That means the center may not see income for years.

“I spend a lot of time saying ‘gosh it’ll be two plus years before we recover, I’ve lost two years of business,’ that’s hard to think about,” said Landavazo. “It is, so I don’t, I just stay focused and do whatever I have to do.”