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Local catering company finds new way to help couples say ‘I do’ amid COVID-19

The company developed a micro-wedding elopement package
Credit: SLBJ
Judith Bellos (left) and Cecily Hoffius in front of their venue in Catawissa, Missouri.

ST. LOUIS — This was supposed to be Judith Bellos’ and Cecily Hoffius’ first full year of operation at their new venue in Catawissa, Missouri, about 50 miles south of downtown St. Louis.

The two, who own Ces & Judy’s Catering, had 65 events scheduled at The Venue at Maison du Lac in 2020. But that was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“It looked like it was going to be a great year,” Hoffius said. “And then everything kind of fell apart.”

Corporate businesses began canceling events in March, followed by nervous brides who were concerned about how to move forward with their events. April and May weddings were moved to June and July, while others were moved to next year. Now, June remains a question mark and some events will have to be moved again, Hoffius said.

The duo, who have operated Ces & Judy’s for over 35 years, knew they needed a new plan. That’s when the two developed a micro-wedding elopement package.

“It was in response to two things,” Hoffius said. “One is people have been waiting a long time to get married, but how do we do it safely, and the other is we’re also hearing from vendors, people want to do something now.”

The micro-wedding elopement package includes a two-hour rental of The Venue at Maison du Lac, an outdoor lakeside or indoor barn ceremony, a personalized ceremony from STL Wedding Celebrant, a 30-minute session with Be Lovely Photography, a small cake from Cake House Design and a meal and bottle of champagne from Ces & Judy’s.

Ceremonies held between Monday and Thursday will cost $795, while those held from Friday to Sunday are $950. Couples can include six guests at their ceremony.

In addition to its wedding elopement package, Ces & Judy’s has implemented other changes during COVID-19.

The company introduced Kitchen Door in April — a no-contact pickup and delivery meal program serving the St. Louis area. Kitchen Door's menu changes weekly and orders can be placed for next-day home delivery (within 10 miles of Frontenac) or pickup at 10440 German Blvd. in Frontenac, where the two maintain an office and small kitchen for off-site catering.

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