reopening Massachusetts

For Mass. Couples Waiting to Get Married, 2021 Isn't Providing Much Hope So Far

One woman who pushed her wedding from October 2020 to May 2021, "As the date gets closer, the less optimistic I am"

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When the coronavirus pandemic hit, weddings were put on hold, and venues like Lombardo's in Randolph, Massachusetts, were shut down.

At first it was for two weeks. That has turned into a year, sending brides like Crystal Leger into despair.

"Planning a wedding is supposed to be the best time of your life, and I've definitely spent more time crying about it than celebrating about it," she said.

Her original wedding date was in October 2020. That's moved to May 15 -- fingers crossed. And what was supposed to be a guest list of more than 200 people is down to 10, if they stay with Lombardo's.

Leger said that’s a tough decision: "If we stay at 10, we have to decide whether we want to exclude our wedding party or our parents because we won't be able to have everybody in the same room."

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.

David Lombardo doesn't understand why places like his family's business aren't under the same COVID restrictions as restaurants, which can handle 40% capacity right now. Massachusetts is in Phase 3, Step 1 of the reopening plan.

"Our ballroom can hold a 1,000 person capacity, so 40% would be 400 people," Lomardo said.

Het added that the venue may not be ready for 400 people inside yet, but 100, 150 or even 200 could be accommodated safely

Wedding planner Blair Mitcham has lobbied the state on this, to no avail. And it's costing the industry, she said.

Alexi Paraschos, of Newton, Massachusetts, created a music video with his original song ‘Mine’ and dozens of wedding videos and pictures from couples who were married during the coronavirus pandemic. The project raised enough money to feed 2,000 families through Feeding America.

"We are doing the best we can in Massachusetts, but a lot of people want to go to other states, where the regulations are a little bit looser and they can have the party that they dreamed of," she said.

As for that May 15 date for Crystal and her fiancé, she said, "As the date gets closer, the less optimistic I am."

Mitcham said there is a meeting comping up next month that she hopes will result in fewer restrictions. In the meantime, 140 of the 148 people who work at Lombardo's remain unemployed.

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