Increasingly Smoky Summers Bad News For Wedding Industry

Aug 15, 2018

With its breathtaking views, the Mountain West has long been a destination for weddings. But now, some wedding industry workers are seeing fewer couples wanting to get hitched in late summer months because of an increasingly smoky backdrop.

August and early September is a busy time for people like florists, caterers and photographers. But Missoula-based wedding planner Autumn Kozimer said in the last couple of years demand has gone down.

"I got a call over labor day and the bride was crying about her September 23rd wedding because the smoke was so bad," Kozimer said. "She actually wanted to cancel it. She wanted to try and find another date."

Most of Kozimer's clients are from outside the region.

"I always have to make them aware if they're booking in August or the beginning of September that it could be really hot, it could snow, or there could be fires," said Kozimer

But the more severe wildfires we're seeing today are blocking the beautiful views they were expecting. Kozimer said local brides and grooms usually know what to expect from fire season, and are now looking at other months.

Right now, fires are burning in Yellowstone and Glacier National Park—two regional wedding destinations.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.