Massachusetts

Mass. Brides Rejoice at Planned Move to Expand Wedding Venue Capacity

“Every person I talked to was like, 'Oh my God, this is happening. We’re here. We made it over the hump of 2020 and we can finally put it behind us'”

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Patriots cheerleader Alicia Capone got engaged on the field at Gillette Stadium. She and her fiancé were planning a big wedding in May, with 275 guests. COVID restrictions cut that way down.

But that changes on March 22, when reception venues and other public events will be allowed 100 guests indoors and 150 outside in Massachusetts, as the state moves to Phase 4, Step 1.

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“Even if that just allows us to have our close friends, our family and close family friends, I mean, that’s a wedding,” Capone said.

Brides are happy, and wedding professionals are almost as happy.

“Every person I talked to was like, 'Oh my God, this is happening. We’re here. We made it over the hump of 2020 and we can finally put it behind us,'” said Blair Mitcham, owner of BAM Events.

Phase 4 of the Mass. reopening plan allows for a significant increase in gathering capacities, which means the wedding industry is hoping to bounce back.

The new capacity numbers still present a challenge, she said.

“But I think 100 is so hopeful for these brides and couples to get married and the 150 outside is huge for us. There’s lots of tented venues here in Massachusetts and 150 is definitely a great number to throw a great party,” she said.

For many, their first wedding reception of 2021 will be their first party in a year.

“People want to have the party. They want to dance. They get out there and they want to have a band and have a good time. This is going to be the roaring 20’s,” said Steve DiFillippo, who owns Davio’s, which has several locations around the Boston area.

“It’s gonna be the biggest year in weddings in Massachusetts history because we didn’t have any weddings last year,” DiFillippo said.

When COVID-19 hit the U.S., event and wedding planners had to pivot fast. Instead of packed corporate halls and crowded wedding dance floors, they were suddenly producing virtual ceremonies and intimate outdoor receptions. Even once the pandemic is over, some of these trends may last. NBCLX contributor Alex Wohleber talked to event planners about how their industry has changed.

He said the phone has been ringing with people looking to book receptions.

That makes for a lot of pent-up energy and affection.

Crystal Leger is getting married in May and she’s looking forward to seeing people she hasn’t seen in a year.

“To have the chance to possibly give someone a hug -- it’s basic but we can’t wait,” she said.

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