On it’s 70th anniversary, Newlands Golf and Country Club in Langley, like most businesses, is adjusting to the new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lisa Wilson, the design studio manager whose team produces more than 200 wedding a year, said it is a challenging time to be planning weddings, but they are still happening, even with limits on the number of people allowed at public gatherings and social distancing requirements.
“Micro weddings” as Wilson describes them, allow smaller numbers to witness couples taking their vows, often with the ceremony live-streamed or recorded on video for those who can’t attend.
“It’s forcing people to be creative,” Wilson told the Langley Advance Times.
She praised the team at Newlands for managing to provide memorable experiences, despite the limits.
“Everything we’re doing, we’re trying to make it special.”
A wedding with about 100 people can usually scale back to meet crowd limits, but the bigger nuptials, with 200 or more attendees, are finding it difficult.
“They either look to cancel or reschedule,” Wilson explained.,.
She is expecting numbers to jump in 2021, assuming the coronavirus is under control by6 then.
Other pandemic-induced changes include increased spacing in the restaurant, lunch buffet, lounge and shop as well as on the golf course, with plastic dividers that allow players to share golf carts, among other measures.
It is a far cry from the early history of the facility, which goes back to 1944, when a couple from South Africa moved to the Langley area and purchased the property that would become the Newlands Gold and Country Club.
Clive and Dorothy Rogers named the site after the Newlands area of Capetown, Africa.
Their plan was to operate a flower wholesale business, but that changed after a few years and the property became a nine-hole golf course.
In the early years, the facilities were modest; a clubhouse consisting of a small lounge, coffee shop, banquet hall an pro shop.
There have been more than a few changes over the years, with an expanded course offering an 11-hole executive course and an 18-hole championship course, with new and remodeled facilities including the restaurant, ballroom, new golf shop, conservatory ballroom and second floor meeting space with administration offices.
Newlands will host a micro wedding showcase and open house on Friday, Sept. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 5 from 9 am to 5 pm.