DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Wedding industry experts predict 2022 to be a big year for weddings, but health officials are warning it may still be too soon for large gatherings.

Wedding experts said the wedding industry is returning to normal after the pandemic put many plans on hold.

“I think people want that 2022 date, I think a lot of people, too, have rescheduled from COVID and, you know, put it off for a year, maybe year and a half,” Dayton Wedding Show owner and producer Tracy Claiborne said.

The Dayton Winter Wedding Expo is underway at the Wright State Nutter Center. Blush and Bloom Wedding Planning in Bellbrook owners Jena Steinke and Lisa Fantaci said business is booming.

Steinke and Fantaci said industry experts predict a higher number of wedding bookings now through 2025. and many wedding plans are starting to feel like they did before the pandemic.

“It used to be a lower guest count, and now it’s spiked back up to almost normal,” Fantaci said.

Even with these signs of normalcy, COVID-19 is still a topic of concern for couples.

Right now, with record-high COVID-19 case counts and hospitals filling to capacity, Miami Valley Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roberto Colon said it’s still best to hold off on large gatherings.

“We also have got to be wearing the mask and avoiding those large gatherings to reduce the number of cases, that is going to be our best way to reduce the future number of coronavirus cases, which will in-turn lead to a lower number of hospitalizations,” Colon said.

For those going through with their 2022 wedding plans, Steinke said Blush and Bloom works with their clients’ comfort levels when it comes to masking and seating arrangements for social distancing.

“We’re always cautious on that to ease their minds and let them know what we do to take proper precautions,” Steinke said.

The Dayton Winter Wedding Expo continues Sunday, January 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.