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."
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.
"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.