The Year 2021 Journal: a difficult year, but full of events and emotions

The end of the year is always a time for reflection, opening the door to new dreams and new perspectives. The year 2021 had a particularly difficult start, which marked the entire events industry. Despite this, the restart of June 15 gave us a succession of events and unforgettable emotions.

In this interview with Ylenia Incecchi, location manager of the Antiche Scuderie Odescalchi, we outline a journal of the past year. With stories, anecdotes and fragments that see as protagonists, first of all, the newlyweds.

Ylenia, how did you spend the first months of 2021?

The events industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, which in the first half of 2021 really put us in a tough spot. We didn’t lose heart, though. Many of our partners took advantage of the period of closure to hone their skills and develop new ideas, using our facility as inspiration to design even more original and innovative displays. Others have invested in promotion, to expand their network of contacts and potential customers. Several professionals have chosen the Antiche Scuderie Odescalchi as a set for videos and photo shoots, taking advantage of the beautiful halls and green spaces, full of suggestive corners and panoramic views, to enhance their work and highlight their creativity.

How did you experience the period leading up to the June 15 restart?

With a lot of uncertainty. Until the last days of May, there was a big question mark. Many events were postponed at the last minute because we still didn’t have definite news about the restart. We were hoping for an early reopening because we had weddings scheduled for the first week of June. The couples were very persistent and patient. Some couples had already decided to postpone the date to 2022, due to personal needs or fear of new restrictions. But there were very few. Most couples waited until the last minute for the government’s decision. None cancelled. They held on because the desire to take this step was so strong. Some had already had to postpone the wedding before, because of the pandemic. In some cases, it was even the second or third time. When it was decided that the reopening would take place on June 15 and not before, as we had hoped, we had to reschedule a series of events, because the bride and groom did not want to wait until 2022.  A few weddings, originally scheduled for early June, were postponed to July, some to late August, others to September. We have worked with all our commitment and energy to manage this emergency situation in the best possible way and not disappoint the expectations of the bride and groom.

Did the need to reschedule affect the success of the weddings?

No, absolutely not. The versatility of the structure, the long experience and the relationship of complicity that we have with our partners has allowed us to reschedule weddings according to new needs, without sacrificing the expectations and desires of the bride and groom. There was, in some cases, a small variation on the number of guests, because having changed the date the notice was less and some guests could not take part in the event. But the weddings all went very well. The couples were really happy with the outcome.

To what extent did the pandemic affect preparations?

It definitely affected the mood of the bride and groom. Couples who got married in 2020 and 2021 could not face the preparations with the joy that usually accompanies these moments. There was an underlying anxiety, due to the fear of new closures. However, the success of the weddings was impeccable. The bride and groom were happy to have held on and not put it off until 2022. The uncertainty that had accompanied the preparations was amply rewarded on the day of the event. Indeed, perhaps it was precisely because of these initial difficulties that the emotion of finally crowning their dream was even greater.

How did the newlyweds feel about the security measures established by the government?

Everyone was very helpful and cooperative. When I called the bride and groom to ask for the guest list, I pointed out that a green pass would be required and that, in the absence of the vaccine or the test, the guests would not be able to take part in the event. Everyone understood the situation perfectly, in fact for them it was an additional assurance of safety.

If we were to take a review of 2021 would you call it a good year?

Despite the closing months, yes. It was an eventful and exciting year. Couples have not only looked at Saturdays and Sundays, but have also focused on weekdays: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The possibility of organizing midweek weddings, always exclusive and with the same attention to detail, has allowed couples who had to postpone the date of the wedding not to put it off any longer and new couples to find the right place to realize their desires.

Can we say that the spaces and versatility of the structure have played a decisive role?

Absolutely, yes. It is no coincidence that many couples have opted for an outdoor dinner, to have more guarantees of being able to carry out the event in peace and with all the necessary logistical support. We made sure that the availability of the caterer coincided with that of the photographer, flower designer, musicians and other partners involved. For those who had chosen to celebrate the wedding with the authentic civil rite, the difficulties in redefining the date were minor, because the entire event would take place in our structure. Rescheduling everything required a great deal of collaboration and very well-coordinated teamwork. For couples who had decided to get married in a church, there was the additional difficulty of making the date of the celebration coincide with that of the reception, but even in this case we provided all our support, contacting the parish priests to help the couple to reschedule the ceremony. The area of Bracciano is full of magnificent churches, such as the Cathedral of St. Stephen, which in some cases has allowed us to provide a larger and equally impressive alternative to couples who had initially chosen the church of Santa Maria del Riposo, smaller and more intimate.

Did you also organize overnight stays for guests who needed to stay in the area?

Yes, this is something we do on a regular basis. We have a network of contacts that includes several B&Bs and hotels, which can accommodate in total comfort and safety both the bride and groom and the guests who wish to stay near the structure.

What were the most popular themes and arrangements in 2021?

Continuity with nature was the dominant theme, due to the fact that many weddings were held outdoors. Many brides and grooms chose to hold their dinner under the ancient maples, a very evocative space that evokes the magic of the woods and can be set up with cascades of light reminiscent of the stars.

Have you had any further feedback from the spouses after the wedding?

All the spouses have contacted us after the event. Some have called or written to thank us, others have posted beautiful reviews on our profiles. This is something that always happens, because we establish a special relationship with each couple. But in this particular time, preceded by so much uncertainty, this feedback is even more valuable. The second half of 2021, as I mentioned, was very busy for us. Between June and July we found ourselves managing one event after another, without a day off. Yet, I didn’t feel the slightest bit tired, so much was the desire to start again. And I can say that for our partners it was the same. A wedding requires incredible dedication and care: planning, designing, organizing, coordinating, setting up, and in some cases rescheduling are very demanding activities. To ensure the success of an event, every gear must work perfectly. And this is only possible thanks to the professionalism and commitment that each of us puts into our work.

Plans for 2022?

A few weeks ago, companies started to contact us to organize new corporate events. After months of social distancing, it is important for companies to create moments of sharing with their employees, partners and potential customers. The Antiche Scuderie Odescalchi offer ideal solutions, both indoor and outdoor, to host fairs, meetings, team building, promotional launches, automotive events etc.. Then, of course, a new, intense wedding season awaits us. The spring calendar is already full of commitments, but we look forward to helping every future married couple realize their dream.

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